Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Adventures in Dizzyland: Part Four

It's still snowing and, even though it's beautiful, I want spring! I am sure the snow plows are loving this weather, as well as the skiers, snowboarders, and other winter-loving enthusiasts. For me, I want warmth!!

Alas, come summer, I will be in sunny Florida on a Disney cruise with my family, so I will look forward to that!


Here is part four of Adventures in Dizzyland...



I came home, took my antibiotic faithfully, and viola! A week later, no difference. Went back, doc said the ear was nice and pink, but there was a little fluid still in there. It would take time, he said, to drain. Ok, I would wait patiently, but three months later, I was patient enough. This time, the fluid was gone, but I was still off-balance and dizzy. Why? I demanded. He didn’t know and sent me for an MRI, just to check for a tumor in my brain. Great! Just what I wanted to hear. When that came back negative, he sent me to an ENT. Test after test came back negative for anything and everything related to the ear. Sent me for another MRI to check my ears. Nothing to report there. This was starting to weigh heavily on my mind, not to mention my wallet. And of course, I couldn’t drive there, so my mother, father, when he could, mother-in-law, and husband became my chauffeurs. Month after month, test after test, and I was ready to pull my hair out, along with my ears! Maybe that would solve it. Uh, no, then I would have two problems.

Back to the drawing board—the internet. Let’s see, I could have Meniere’s Disease, and inner ear disorder, but is characterized as someone who falls down and vomits all the time. Not me, I hadn’t vomited once. BPPV? Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo…hmmm…could be…oh wait, ENT already tested for that—negative. What about Vestibular Neuronitis, inflammation of the vestibular nerve, perilymph fistula, a leakage of inner ear fluid into the middle ear. Ok, those are plausible. Of course, not one of these could be diagnosed without first seeing a hearing and balance specialist, thirty minutes away. More time off of work for my poor hubby, who by this time, is so tired of the millions of doctor’s visits and money being poured out in rivers, he could throw his own tantrum. Of course, I had to get to the bottom of this. I couldn’t be like this forever, could I?

I had, of course, researched what a balance specialist does, and it didn't sound pretty or fun. Nevertheless, I braced myself. How bad could it really be? Plus, it would be worth it to find out what’s wrong with me. The day of the appointment, I dressed casually, as if I was going to see a movie with a dear friend. My appointment was for 8:30, but my husband couldn’t get time off, so my mother drove. After parking underground, we walked inside the huge building that housed all kinds of medical specialties. Thank Heavens the Balance center was on the first floor (someone knew I didn’t want to be tortured) because my height phobia had jumped through the roof with this balance problem. We waited, me filling out a million forms, giving them everything from how long I had the problem to my pain scale, which was 0 for a balance problem, unless you count the time I fell back onto my then 11-year old son at church, oh and possibly when I bumped into the wall in the middle of the night, because I couldn’t see or walk straight.



A while later, we finally went in. The first thing was to check my hearing—been there, done that, twice already—but had to do a third time for their records. Hearing fine, except for a few high-pitch noises that should have sent me through the roof, apparently. After my hearing appendages popped back into place from the heavy, suck-your-ears-back-into-your-head phones were gone, they took me into another room. This is where it not only got very weird, but very nauseating. 

First, I had to put on these funky, not-so-cool-driving-with-the-top-down glasses that sucked into my face. A red dot appeared, and oh goody, I get to follow it, back and forth, back and forth—whoa! When did the room start spinning? Of course, on their computer, my eyes looked like huge saucers, as they watched them go back and forth. They wanted to see if I had nystagmus—if my eyes fluttered when the motion stopped, indicating an inner-ear problem. Very slight, he said, but nothing to indicate a serious problem. Next, I had to walk up and down the hall, just to check my gait, which I looked drunk while I did it. I had to close my eyes and stand on one foot, almost fell over, and a bunch of other tests. 

The last thing was to have a caloric test, and let me tell you right now, it is the worst, out-of-control feeling you have ever encountered. They first put cold water in your ear, which simulates dizziness, while wearing the funky glasses and closing your eyes and counting back from forty, or saying whatever they wanted you to say, so they could see what your eyes were doing, while you feel like puking your guts out. Then, they do the other side! After that, I lay on the table, on my side, not moving a muscle! I just wanted the world to stop spinning. How embarrassing, even though the specialist said he sees it all the time. Yeah, I bet!

After sitting there waiting for those results, I just wanted to go home and crash. Soon, the specialist comes back in and says the tests are inconclusive. WHAT?! Meaning, you need to repeat them at a later date. I wanted to reach out and strangle the life out of him, not really, but I had to endure this torture again?! Not cool! On the ride home, I cried. I was so tired, so sick, so sick and tired of feeling this way; I wanted to climb out of my body and say, “See ya!” At home, I tried to remain calm, but when my husband came home, he got the brunt of it, poor guy.

“Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”

“Nothing, but then nobody does anything to deserve what challenges they’ve been given, they just have to work through them, with the Lord’s help,” my wise husband said.

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