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STT757
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Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 3:18 am

I need some advice about some sort of weird condition I've been experiencing for the past week, it started Monday May 4th. My Brother and Sister in Law invited my Wife and I to a Yankees game, he gets great seats through his company and he invites me with my Wife or if she can't go with my Brother to Yankees games a few times per year. They're $350 seats on the third base side, I haven't seen the new Yankee stadium yet, and the Yankees were playing the Red Sox so we decided to tough it out even though it was pouring rain and the game was delayed for almost 2 1/2 hours.

While driving up there in the pouring rain coming from New Jersey we had to cross the George Washington Bridge, for folks who aren't familiar with the GWB it's one of the busiest bridges in the World . Typical two level twin span bridge, high above the Hudson River.

Here's a photo:



I've probably driven across the George Washington bridge two dozen times in my life, maybe more. As we were driving across I took the top level, I usually like the view. For some reason once we got onto the bridge I happened to look up at the Tower Span, and all of a sudden I had this horrible feeling fall upon me. I felt fear, also I felt what I would describe as woozy. I felt like I was going to pass out, or faint. I felt weak, and really weird. I didn't let on to my Wife and Pressed on across the bridge the whole time with this horrible woozy feeling. We went to the game and I felt fine, had a beer or two, ate some food etc.. Then it was time to drive home, I didn't think it would happen again but as we drove across as soon as I got on the bridge and looked at the towers I got really woozy again. I wish I could put the feeling into words, it felt like I was going to pass out and I was scared the car was going to go off the side of the bridge. I was faint and terrified.

To get home to Central New Jersey I had to pass over the Driscoll Bridge, the Driscoll bridge is a very tall bridge but is not a suspension bridge with the towers. I did not experience the woozy feeling going over the Driscoll Bridge.

Here's a picture of the Driscoll Bridge:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/84592731@N00/317369959/

While not as high as the GWB, it's still very high.

So I was fine for the last week or so, then last Night inspired by my visit to the new Yankee's stadium I decided to take my Brother to the new Met's Citifield. To reach Queens we had to take the Verranzano Bridge, this bridge I've must of crossed over a hundred times in my life. My Grand Mother lived right on the other side of the Bridge in Dyker Heights Brooklyn, the ramp to the bridge was in front of her house. I had forgotten about the incident the week prior on the GWB, I wasn't thinking of anything but the game and I was in the middle of a conversation with my Brother and listening to the radio as we crossed the Verranzano, again I was on the Upper Level as I always took this level across. As soon as I went up on the bridge the woozy feeling returned, this time it was a little worse, the Verranzano is longer and higher than the GWB. And the woozy feeling was more intense and lasted longer, I felt like I was going to faint or pass out. I didn't say anything to my brother but I think he noticed something because he was kind of giving me a look across the bridge like "Are you all right?"..

We get to the game, had a great time etc... Drove back and this time I took the lower level, I could not see the towers or anything. There was a road bed above and I was as far from the edge as I could go, yet I got the woozy feeling again. It was really scary, I thought I was going to pass out. I was biting down on my hand hard to try to distract myself from the woozy feeling by inflicting pain on my hand. It didn't work, and I must have really looked nuts to my brother.

Here's the Verranzano Bridge:



What is wrong with me?... I've been driving since 1992, and have driven over tall bridges from the GWB and Verranzano to the bridges to Philadelphia, Delaware and even that skyway in Tampa Florida. No problems, I usually blast across the Verranzano at a good clip.

I have to add this piece to the mystery, this is not the first time this has happened to me. About 11-12 years ago I was driving across one of the really tall spans from New Jersey to Philadelphia. I had the same woozy feeling, I got it on the way back that day. Those symptoms happened every time I drove across a tall bridge, it went away after about a week. I chalked it up to the fact that I had just quit smoking that week and my nerves must have been acting up. Also I do have some fear of heights, but usually not driving across bridges. I love to fly but being in tall buildings sometime makes me feel weird, the worst experience was visiting the roof top observation deck of the World Trade Center.

My question is why have I been fine driving across these bridges for the past 17 years, yet for a week in '98 and for this past week I'm getting horrible woozy feelings driving across these tall bridges. I describe my symptoms to my Wife and she said I might have an ear infection or something. One thing that I've just started a week ago is I'm taking antibiotics for a skin infection, I started taking those about two - three days prior to the first bridge incident and I'm wondering if they're playing a role.

Sorry about the long post, just trying to work through a weird situation. Any advice, input or experiences would be appreciated.
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RNOcommctr
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 5:21 am

Is the antibiotic gentamycin? My wife got severe vertigo from that.

Also, your wife could very well be right about the ear infection-- disturbances of the middle and inner ear can affect your sense of balance.

Other than those two physical sources, you might be looking at some kind of anxiety disorder--talk to a psychiatrist about medications, or talk to a psychologist.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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phatfarmlines
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 5:41 am



Quoting STT757 (Thread starter):
One thing that I've just started a week ago is I'm taking antibiotics for a skin infection, I started taking those about two - three days prior to the first bridge incident and I'm wondering if they're playing a role.



Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):
Is the antibiotic gentamycin? My wife got severe vertigo from that.

That sounds like vertigo. STT, I would suggest reading your prescription and seeing if vertigo is a side effect.
 
Phoenix9
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 5:49 am

Some of the possible sources of transient vertigo are:

-inflammation of the inner ear

(Have you had cold, flu etc.? You mention skin infection...which could be connected to ear infection...check with your doctor)

- Listening to music too loud or exposure to high pressure sound

- Excessive alcohol (Been drinking much?)

Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):
Is the antibiotic gentamycin? My wife got severe vertigo from that.

Also, your wife could very well be right about the ear infection-- disturbances of the middle and inner ear can affect your sense of balance.

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roadrunner165
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 6:07 am

Lupus.



I kid.

But seriously, I had a friend who was becoming woozy while walking down stairs, found out he had brain cancer after having an MRI.... so get to a doctor asap just to be on the safe side.

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seb146
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 3:04 pm



Quoting STT757 (Thread starter):
What is wrong with me?...

Interesting. Let me share my Space Needle story: I have been to the top about 10 times. The last time I went up was about two years ago. We went up, and everything was fine. When we got to the top and stepped outside, I felt like the building was falling over. No one was freaking out, so I just assumed it was me. And it was. About a year later, we went to YVR and did Harbour Center. Same concept as Space Needle, but on top of an office building instead of free standing. I had no problem there. I have not been in a tall tall building since.

I would look at conditional fear. Irrational, but, fear none the less. The way to "get over it" is to simply keep experiences what triggers the reaction. In this case, keep crossing the GWB and the reactions should be less and less every time.
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DocLightning
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Wed May 13, 2009 3:10 pm



Quoting STT757 (Thread starter):

I've probably driven across the George Washington bridge two dozen times in my life, maybe more. As we were driving across I took the top level, I usually like the view. For some reason once we got onto the bridge I happened to look up at the Tower Span, and all of a sudden I had this horrible feeling fall upon me. I felt fear, also I felt what I would describe as woozy. I felt like I was going to pass out, or faint. I felt weak, and really weird. I didn't let on to my Wife and Pressed on across the bridge the whole time with this horrible woozy feeling. We went to the game and I felt fine, had a beer or two, ate some food etc.. Then it was time to drive home, I didn't think it would happen again but as we drove across as soon as I got on the bridge and looked at the towers I got really woozy again. I wish I could put the feeling into words, it felt like I was going to pass out and I was scared the car was going to go off the side of the bridge. I was faint and terrified.

Sounds like an anxiety attack of some sort. I agree with you that it doesn't make sense why this happened, but what matters is that it did.

If you want to nip this in the bud, make an appointment with a psychiatrist today (it'll take you a few weeks to get in). Often these responses can be treated with a short course of medication and sometimes a bit of therapy (nothing long-term) so as to avoid long-term imprinting of these responses.

Best of luck.
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Go3Team
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Thu May 14, 2009 1:20 am

As someone who has been on both of those bridges, they do tend to sway. It's really noticeable when stopped on the bridges.
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lincoln
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Thu May 14, 2009 1:40 am



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 6):
Sounds like an anxiety attack of some sort

That was running through my mind as well. Never had the reaction on bridges, but reading the OP's post I've definately been there and know the feeling he's referring to. I've found in less severe cases stretched out over an extended period (unfourtinately more frequently than I'd like recently), it usually culminates in me vomiting; in more severe/"rapid onset" cases (discussions of/pictures of blood, gore, syringes, etc.) it goes very quickly from light headed/everything spinning to me blacking out and falling over. (Only gotten to the "blacking out" part 4 times I can remember)

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 6):
I agree with you that it doesn't make sense why this happened, but what matters is that it did.

Yeah, if it was anxiety of some kind (and not a side effect of medication or inner ear thing) there could be a subconcious thing going on -- earlier this week, for example, I woke up with a nightmare that my landlord was beathing down my door yelling about something having to do with change (as in coinage). Problem is I don't have a landlord, and the cooridor I visualized in my dream has nothing to do with anywhere I've ever lived. Still trying to figure that one out.
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DocLightning
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RE: Medical Advice, I'm Getting Woozy On Bridges

Thu May 14, 2009 7:36 am



Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):
Is the antibiotic gentamycin? My wife got severe vertigo from that.

You can't "take" gentamicin. It has to be administered by injection. It is not absorbed by mouth. It's also not an appropriate choice for a skin infection. The three choices that I would use for a skin infection are cephalexin (or another 1st or 2nd generation cephalosporin), clindamycin, or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. None of these cause vertigo.

Quote:
Also, your wife could very well be right about the ear infection-- disturbances of the middle and inner ear can affect your sense of balance.

Ear infections are strikingly rare in adults and shouldn't cause vertigo unless the inner ear is affected. In that case, it wouldn't just happen on bridges.
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