Vertigo patient Kim Aures shares her personal story and challenges on dealing with vertigo and BPPV to help others in Jacksonville, FL

Kim Aures

Patient Testimonial of Kim Aures

Kim Aures said it best when she described her vertigo experience as being in the “eye of the tornado”. She says it’s like standing perfectly still and everything around you is spinning out of control. This is the feeling of vertigo.

She never knows when it will start. It doesn’t occur every day, but when it does, she can sense it coming. The journey may begin in the morning when she starts to sit up and get out of bed. Her world spins round and round as if it’s never going to stop. A member of her family takes her to the closest ER and a barrage of tests begins. After the tests, she gets a shot for motion sickness, which stops nausea, and vertigo begins to subside. She then calls Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Institute (JHBI) and makes an appointment for treatment. JHBI is always there to help. 

Sometimes the dizziness comes from the right ear, sometimes both ears, sometimes the left ear. Donna Smith, PA at JHBI, has explained to her how the “crystals” in her ear(s) come “unglued” deep in inner ear, then travel down the semicircular canal causing dizziness. 

When Kim arrives at JHBI, Donna tests her with the Dix Hallpike Maneuver, and treats her with Epley maneuvers geared towards coaxing those tiny ear crystals back into place. Then, all is fine again – until the next time.

“It’s like standing and not moving in the center of a tornado and everything around you is spinning out of control,” says Kim. “It doesn’t hurt, but I get so sick with nausea because the crystals dislodged out of place.”

Kim has BPPV or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, a vestibular disorder of which is the most common cause of vertigo. In simple terms, it gives one a false sense of spinning. Though not life-threatening, the dizzy spells make her feel as if her stomach just flipped over, similar to what you might feel during an amusement park ride – and it’s unpredictable, you just don’t know when or if vertigo will start again. 

For Kim, it may start in the morning when she starts to get “up” out of bed or forgets she can’t just lean down to get something on the floor or move her head down past her shoulders to look through the stove window and lean in to get a meal out of the oven. She’s learned how to cope with squatting to do these things, especially to give love to her dog.

When talking about the imagery of vertigo, Kim says to imagine playing inside a wooden maze with a single ball. The movements of her head are like moving the ball through the maze – the ball is similar to the loose crystals in her ear. The goal is to get the ball back into place.

As a coder for one of the leading orthopedic surgeon groups in the region, she’s one of the lucky ones because they understand her dilemma and work with her on mornings when vertigo occurs. Kim has become an advocate for others and feels getting help is the first step – she wants people to know it’s important to know why you have vertigo and what you can do about it. 

“There are tricks you learn along the way,” she says. “This diagnosis does change your life, but I’ve learned what to do – call JHBI. I trust and depend on them – so should you!”   

You are invited to attend a FREE community medical seminar on VERTIGO and luncheon on Wednesday, June 16th from 11:30am to 1pm presented by J. Douglas Green, MD, FACS, founder of Jacksonville Hearing & Balance Institute at WJCT. Register Now »