Dr. John Epley and his Manoeuvre

Around about 6:30 a.m. this morning, with just the earlymost stirrings of the day started to make themselves known, I rolled my head in a way that seemed unremarkable as I was doing it. Until it didn’t feel unremarkable at all, and instead felt like I was on a roiling ocean liner amidst a hurricane: the room was spinning, and I was, it became clear, a victim of “sudden onset vertigo”–BPPV.

I’ve been fooling around the vertigo for some years now (here, here) and I’ve come to classify it into two types: there’s the background feeling of being slightly out of sorts that I’ve lived with unceasingly for a couple of years that appears to be related to the tendency of my eyes to not track properly, and there’s the tsunami-like vertigo I experienced this morning.

Fortunately, because of my longstanding dalliance, I had the steps of the Epley Manoeuvre (mostly) memorized, and was able to deploy it quickly. The positive effects were almost immediate, leaving me feeling less like on a roiling ocean liner amidst a hurricane and more like on a roiling canoe on a choppy day.

Unable to face the notion of sitting in front of a screen for the morning, I called in sick, arranged the pillows on the bed for best anti-dizzying effect, and spent the morning motionless. It helped.

Oliver, bless his heart, brought me lunch in bed. I resisted all urges toward productivity (so what if the office humidity skyrockets to 75% because I don’t empty the dehumidifier: the basement will survive). It was a wise move, as I felt better and better as the day progressed, and, as I write, I feel more hungover than roiling. 

Thank you, Dr. John Epley, for your crafty manoeuvre.


Oliver B's picture
Oliver B on August 13, 2020 - 17:55 Permalink

It’s lovely how Oliver helped you out, and that you seem to have hit on a protocol, but yikes! I wonder if there’d be some prophylactic value to doing the Epley or something equivalent routinely.

Paul's picture
Paul on August 28, 2020 - 06:23 Permalink

Well done for allowing yourself to properly rest, Peter - you strike me as the kind of guy who doesn't easily give in to such things.

I had my first-ever bout of this exact feeling a year or so again and it lasted a few days. Probably because it took me a while to figure out what was wrong, and I didn't try out the manoeuvre soon enough. But indeed it did help and I am glad to know of its existence in case it ever strikes again.