The Epley Manoeuvre

This has been a fairly unpleasant week as I woke up Monday morning with a nasty bout of vertigo. For you lucky people who have never suffered from it, the slightest movement of the head seems to cause the whole room to dip and spin horribly until the head is returned to its resting position, and if you try to fight against it and move anyway (for example to get out of bed to get to a toilet) the sensation causes you to vomit. I suppose it is like sea-sickness. Apparently it is caused by little calcium carbonate crystals in the ear breaking loose and floating off to the wrong place and thereby giving your brain the wrong spatial and positional messages.

This is the fourth time now, in four years, that I have woken up feeling like this. Only this time it was different in that it was still there, although in a milder form, the next morning. & the next, and the next. So I have spent this morning on the internet. I vaguely knew that there is some technique you can be taught to manipulate the head in such a way as to get the crystals back into the right place, but my UK doctor had refused to show me how last year as he would have had to induce a vertigo attack in order to do so. I didn’t fancy trying to explain it all to a doctor here, having no idea how to translate Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (the proper name) into French, so decided to find out how on the internet.

& there they were on YouTube, lots of nice little videos of people demonstrating the Epley Manoeuvre. So I shut my office door, cleared off a table, borrowed a towel from the bathroom to support my neck, got onto the table and started turning my head and body as instructed. I’ve done it once so far and already feel a little better, and will be so relieved when I perfect the technique (apparently it takes a little practice to get really good at it) as I was so worried about waking up with this one day at the wrong time and place (eg with a flight to catch).

Thank goodness for the internet. I’ve also used it this morning to book a flight and pay a tax bill as well as my daily check on the world news. What did expats like myself used to do without it?

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