Vertigo cont. plus an AFO!

“May I have your date of birth and is the member ID number on the back of your insurance card?”

I wanted to cry. My prescription was going to be filled and, soon, the world would stop spinning and I’d be able to close my eyes without feeling this feeling.

Vertigo sucks.

I read my birth date and member ID number to the young woman on the other end of the phone call.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

Fricking disarthrya.

I begin again, using the tips that I had learned in ST: speak slowly, over enunciate, and focus on not running out of breath. It worked, of course. Sigh.

Calm down, I thought to myself. My speech gets worse when I’m excited. And I was getting my prescription refilled, so I was pretty excited.

She was eventually able to understand me enough to process my request. My prescription of Sertraline would be available for pickup as soon as I contacted the pharmacy.

Relief, elation, relief, elation.

That was maybe twenty minutes ago. It’s been around a week since I was last able to take my prescription. A combination of phone and memory difficulties had prevented me from obtaining my prescription for the past week. The vertigo has progressively worsened over the last week; I managed to glean a few hours of sleep last night, but it wasn’t enough. I sleep a solid 8 to 9 hours now that I’ve had a stroke. Pulling 3 to 4 hours just doesn’t cut it.

Why can’t I sleep? Imagine getting on a roller coaster and not getting off of it. Eat, sleep, walk, dress, bathe – do everything that you normally do while you’re on that roller coaster. But don’t fall off. That’s the level that the vertigo has reached.

For the first time in over a year, I pulled a cane out of the hall closet and relied on it to stabilize me. You know, it’s not a great feeling, taking a step backward. Even if it’s only for a few days that I need to use it, it’s a step backward. I know that it’s necessary, but it’s still a step backward.

It was interesting at first, the vertigo. I spent several hours each day for the first few days researching connections between vertigo and the lasting effects of the infarctions in my brain. But it’s not interesting anymore.

I do wonder if the Sertraline (generic form of Zoloft) has been treating depression in addition to vertigo. I mean, that the primary you use of Sertraline, but I wonder about that for me specifically. I was prescribed Sertraline for tremor and vertigo, but I’ve noticed a few things very symptomatic of depression since I’ve been off of it.

I’m thinking that if wean off of the Sertraline for a time, I would likely be on the severely depressed/suicidal side of things. To be fair, it’s a little difficult to really determine whether the depression is due to the current status of my vertigo, or due to an actual chemical imbalance in my brain resulting in depression, as a result of the stroke.

I’m a nerd, right? Who else would study their own symptoms of depression? A neuropsychologist or a neuroscientist. Which is what I’m studying. Go figure.

Anyway. Moving on!

Today was pretty interesting. I had PT and OT this morning, and my orthotist brought my AFO to my PT session. It fit and felt great. So why don’t I have it, you ask? Because I broke it. Seriously.

afo-flexibleThe tone and foot drop in my right leg and foot actually broke the AFO. Well, it broke the straps on the AFO. My foot was so determined to point downward that the strap that held the AFO to my foot and lower leg simply snapped. It is a rigid AFO, meant to strengthen and support my ankle and whatnot during stride dorsiflexion.

I was originally looking to get the Allard BlueROCKER that my coach, Steven, uses (the featured image of this post is of him on his trike and wearing his AFO), however the strength of my foot drop and tone overpowered it, and the strap holding it to my foot simply broke. So I’ll need a rigid AFO until I have enough strength to move to using something with a flexible ankle piece, like the BlueROCKER has.

2894_bluerocker_2-0So my orthotist took it with him so that he could replace the strap with a heavier one that will actually hold against my level of tone. It should be ready on Wednesday, so I’m excited. Take that, unexpected depression!

I’m strangely cheery given the chemical circumstances going on in my brain, aren’t I?

Okay, well, the room is spinning again. Still. Later.


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