[House lights dim to stage setting; curtain slowly raises]
The scene is somewhat a familiar one; our hero is back at the medical center that did his gene therapy and ultimately his Cochlear Implant- KUMC ;Kansas Univ Medical Center.
[On stage, an elevator door opens and our hero steps out; walking to a receptionist desk. He is walking with a cane]
Receptionist: Hello Mr Wilson, are you here to see Dr Staecker? [quick glance at the cane]
Hero: Hi Pam, yes. But first I think I am supposed to see Christy to do some testing.
Receptionist: Let me check. [pause for few moments] Ah yes, I’ll let her know you are here. Just have a seat.
[Stage lights go dark; sound of sets moving]
Lights come up stage right on an examining room full of equipment including a large cylindrical chamber in the far corner. Our hero and the audiology tech, Christy, are in conversation.
Christy: Let’s go ahead and get the rotating chair test out of the way. It may give us the most information anyway. Step in here (the chamber) and have a seat. I’m going to strap your head down so it won’t move and put these special glasses on you. Then I’ll seal the door.
Then, at first I want you to look at the dot of light on the inside wall. Then I am going to turn out the lights and it will be pitch dark. At that point, through the speakers, I’ll tell you which direction I want you to move your eyes. Got it?
[Lights dark stage right; lights up stage left]
A doctor’s examining room. Our hero and his surgeon, Dr Staecker are seated facing each other
Staecker: Rip, After you described what happened, I had Christy run the full sequence of diagnostics….Rotating Chair; Vhit; Vertical sequencing , all of them.
Rip: What do we know? Besides the fact that I am dizzy all the time?
Staecker: No easy way to say this. Rip, your right ear has no Vestibular function left at all. None of the three canals exhibit any useful activity. For one thing, it explains the debilitating vertigo you experienced when this first started.
As you know, we have lots of vestibular history and testing for you from the gene therapy trial and follow up to the Cochlear Implant. This loss of function is dramatic and sudden. And total.
I am convinced that your condition was caused by an inner ear virus infection…and no..its not Covid related. Which is good. The neuritis just wiped out your balance functions in your right ear.
Rip: Doctor……..Well, I guess I am grateful that I am not still traveling on my hands and knees and throwing up constantly like when this started. As I said, after the first few days, it settled in to just being constantly dizzy.
This is kinda scary…I mean seriously. Guess I really thought we’d find out what it is and then “do” something about it. This isn’t like that is it?
Staecker: Here’s where we are. You are dizzy because your brain keeps looking for balance information from your right ear. There isn’t any. And there won’t ever be any. Right now, your brain doesn’t know or accept that.
The challenge is to get your brain to quit looking for that data and instead rely on the information from your left ear only. And adjust to that.
That’s where we go from here. And I understand you being scared.