Friday, April 27, 2018

So Now It's ...VERTIGO, Part 2

So after several hours of just sitting and waiting, with the world still spinning around me in all directions, I was finally placed in an ER exam room.  By this time it was 7PM and I had not eaten since noon so I asked the nurse when I could have food and water.  She said I'd be going for a CT scan within the next few minutes so we could address that when I was done.

I had the CT scan which showed nothing:  no stroke, no brain tumor, no brain disease.  Great news!  But the doctors weren't satisfied, so they ordered an MRI.  By this time, it was 8PM on Saturday, April 7th.  They told me it would take a few hours to set up the MRI.

Sound cue: needle scratching across a record

"A few HOURS?  That will put me past midnight!"  So it didn't look like I would be going home that night.  They didn't admit me, so I guess I was just being "kept?

I phoned Kevin and told him not to expect me and not to come visit me.  The orders were that I couldn't eat or drink before the MRI and I was already in a bad mood from being dizzy and nauseous so I told him to stay home and I'd call him when I was done.

And then I waited.

As anyone who has been admitted or, in my case kept, at a hospital, you know you don't get any rest.  Between alarms going off, patients screaming, and the nursing staff congregating at the nursing station like its the student center at a college, the noises alone prevent you from getting any kind of rest.  Add to that the very physical fact that the room is spinning, my eyes are flitting back and forth, my head feels like a giant hand is trying to push me into the ground.  Mix in the fact that my mouth was arid and my stomach was grumbling and I may have been the least pleasant person to be around in Chicago that night.

Because at 12:00 midnight, I still had not gone for the MRI, I still hadn't eaten or had anything to drink, I still had no idea how long I would be there, I had no clue what was wrong with me, and it was now Sunday, April 8th - my birthday.  On my 52nd birthday, I was almost exactly where I was 52 years before:  in a hospital, barely clothed, wrapped in hospital wear, unable to walk and see straight, and with an empty stomach.

But this time - I was not one bit happy about it.

By 4AM, I had HAD it.  I called the nurse and told her to take out my IV, I was going home.  I told them I would schedule my own MRI someplace and send them the results, but that waiting 13 hours for a test was ridiculous.  She said she needed to get the doctor.  Fine, I say.  A few minutes later, the doctor came in and wanted the details, which I methodically laid out for her.  She agreed that the CT scan was clear but that the MRI would tell them more.  She believed I would have mine around 8AM.  Nope, I said.  I'm outta here.  But she played her little ER mind games on me.  And when she offered to go to Subway and get me something to eat, I caved completely.  She came back 15 minutes later with a sub, chips, and a birthday cupcake.  I ate it all and by 4:30AM, I passed out.

At 6:30AM, they took me for the MRI.  I completely passed out during the procedure.  It was the easiest test I had taken so far.  The problem now was that I needed to wait for a doctor to read the results which, they estimated, would be around noon.

Sound cue:  needle scratching across a record.

Apparently, it takes 6 hours or so for someone to read the results and disseminate the information to the patient.  So now, just more waiting.  I ate breakfast and just as I finished, Kevin walked into the room -- a true sight for sore eyes.  He wished me a happy birthday and suggested we delay celebrating it for a few weeks, to which I agreed.  I updated him on the situation.

A few hours later, the nursing staff came into my room with lunch.  They sang "Happy Birthday" to me and sympathized with my being stuck in the hospital on my birthday.  I even got a piece of apple pie with a little decoration on top.  I mean, they tried.  And it did make me feel a little better.

Around noon, the doctor finally came in to let me know that they had ruled out a stroke, ruled out a brain tumor, but noticed some severe blockage in my left sinuses.

Sound cue:  needle scratching across a record.

Left sinuses?  The sinuses on which I had three surgeries, the last one being almost exactly one year ago? Those sinuses?  YAAASSSS Queen, THOSE sinuses.  So they suggested I make an appointment with an otoneurologist soon and see my ENT about the sinus infection.  So here we go again.

I was discharged soon after and Kevin took me home.  The rest of my birthday was quiet, just him and me watching TV in the living room.  Perhaps we will celebrate it sometime later, but frankly turning 52 doesn't really mean anything to me.  But he has a big birthday coming up next month, so more to follow on that.

And this story continues as well... 

Sound cue:  sad trombone.