SCDS is superior canal dehiscence syndrome, a condition of the inner ear. Typical symptoms are autophony (hearing your own voice in your head), dizziness, and balance problems.

todd-in-bed-2-jan-14-20081Todd keeps surprising me.

Sometimes I’m surprised by how well he’s doing, and I have to remind myself that he had surgery to patch a perilymphatic fistula only two weeks ago. Sometimes I’m surprised by how quickly his stamina disappears.

And sometimes I’m bemused at and a little proud of his stubborn determination to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Todd knew he would recover quickly because his symptoms were mild compared to those of many other people. Dr. Gianoli’s other patients that we met have marveled at how soon Todd mastered his dizziness; he was standing up and walking to the bathroom the first day, when some patients were in bed for days after the surgery. He’s now able to take a shower by himself, work at his computer, fix a simple dinner, be a passenger in a car for an hour, watch TV, and walk around the neighborhood.

What he is not allowed to do for four more weeks: drive, bend over at the waist, pick up anything heavier than 10 pounds, sleep flat on his back (he sleeps at a 45-degree angle), blow his nose, sneeze through his nose, cough, strain (as in going to the bathroom), use earplugs, or do anything else that might caused the newly installed bone in his inner ear to separate from the old bone. He’s also not allowed to “partake in any activity where poor balance may place you or others at risk for injury.”Todd Bradley at Northlake Nature Center

He had to stop watching Saturday Night Live because the show made him laugh so hard that his head felt full of pressure.

Weird little things cause problems: we did a few seconds of slow dancing to some bluegrass on Saturday, and that made him dizzy, probably because I was twirling in front of him. My moving in circles, even slowly, was too much for his eyes and brain to process.

But he was in tune enough with the bluegrass to be able to pick out mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass (I could hear only the bass and the mandolin, and occasionally a guitar note). When we were last in Hammond, Louisiana, eating lunch at Tommy’s on Thomas, he could determine which song was playing on the speakers, but he heard it twice, once in his left ear and once, like an echo, in his right.

I can see why Dr. Gianoli specializes in conditions of the inner ear. Those who are medically inclined would find it a fascinating field of study.

Leave A Comment

  1. BernardL January 27, 2009 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Wow, that makes for a scary four weeks to come.

  2. Beth Partin January 27, 2009 at 10:36 am - Reply

    He’s doing very well, actually, doing most of the things he likes to do. We’ll probably get him out in the car in week 5 or so. Dr. Gianoli thinks he can fly to Baton Rouge by himself.

  3. Ernie January 29, 2009 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting and keeping all of us up to speed on how he’s doing. Todd’s progress is likely partially attributable to the great nurse that’s been by his side every step of the way.

  4. Beth Partin January 29, 2009 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Aw, gee, thanks. I’m blushing.

  5. Todd Bradley January 29, 2009 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Yeah, I personally haven’t been involved with any part or process of the human body that is as complex as the balance system. And the weird thing is how many different “moving parts” there are. The inner ears (which are also used for hearing as well as balance), the eyes (which are also used for sight as well as balance), and the brain all have to cooperate to make this thing work.

    I think the balance system is probably the best argument against “intelligent design” of anything I’ve seen or read about. An intelligent designer would never hobble together such a strange array of organs and have them work the way they do. The current system is way too intolerant of damage and misuse. A truly intelligent designer would have made the balance system simpler, less error-prone, more resistant to damage, and more decoupled from other systems.

  6. Beth Partin January 29, 2009 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Unless the designer wanted us to have challenges to overcome…

  7. James Romine March 6, 2012 at 3:33 am - Reply

    I am going to see Dr Gianoli in a few weeks to get the surgery. This day by day was an awesome read and find. I have had one crainiotomy already for anuerisyms so I have an idea what to expect. I would like to know how your feeling now. I was diagnosed last year but delayed by anuerism find. I have struggled with it for eight years

  8. Todd Bradley March 6, 2012 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Hi, James. I’m doing pretty well now. The ear that was repaired – the right side – has been great. Unfortunately, my left ear continues to slowly deteriorate. I’d like to get it fixed, too, but life has had other plans for me lately. When I do get it fixed, I’m definitely going to back to Dr. Gianoli.

    I don’t know if you already read them, but I wrote a very detailed journal on You can find it here:

    And I wrote an account of it with a less clinical – hopefully more entertaining – perspective on my personal blog, here: