Monday, April 23, 2018

So Now It's . . . VERTIGO

On the morning of Wednesday, April 4th, I was sitting in a conference room at work attending a weekly leadership meeting.  At one point in the middle of the meeting, I turned my head to the right to look out the window and the room began to spin.  It was quite a sudden and jarring action.  When I turned my head back to face the room, the spinning continued.

I shook my head quickly and hard-blinked several times in a futile attempt to realign whatever had been messed up.  But that only served to make the room spin even more.  I'm not diabetic, but I wondered if my glucose levels were off and my sugar was dropping.  So I stood from my chair in an attempt to walk to the corner of the conference room where we always have a ridiculous arrangement of treats and candy, and I immediately thought I was going to fall over.  I grabbed a few pieces of chocolates and woofed them down but nothing seemed to change.  Whether, I sat, stood, or walked, I felt like I was on a shaky merry-go-round, like I was being pushed back and forth and side to side at the same time.

I walked past the candy and excused myself from the room to go to the men's room, which happens to be, of course, down the other end of the hall.  I looked like a pinball bouncing off both walls as I stumbled down.  I looked in the mirror and from what I could tell I looked completely normal.  I could speak, I had used of my appendages, I was cognitive so I figured I wasn't having a stroke.  But no matter what I did, my world seemed to be spinning and shaking uncontrollably.

I managed to walk back to my office and sit down, and as word spread that I was walking like I was still celebrating St. Patrick's Day, my co-workers quickly deduced that I had been stricken with vertigo - something I have never before experienced in my life.  I sat paralyzed, unable to function in any capacity.  My boss, who actually suffers from occasional vertigo, walked me to the local CVS Minute Clinic for diagnosis and treatment.  The diagnosis:  vertigo.  The treatment: meclizine.

Sound cue:  needle scratching across a record

Turns out I can't take meclizine because it negatively interacts with a drug I already take.  Alternative treatment?  A rub on the shoulder and the advice to see my regular doctor, who squeezed me into his schedule the following day.  I've been with my doctor for 13 years now, ever since moving to Chicago in 2005.  He was recommended by a friend and it was the best advice I've ever taken.  He put me on an antibiotic, a steroid, and told me to visit my ENT - the good one who successfully fixed my sinuses last year, not the bad one who said all my problems were dental.  Ugh, don't get me started.

So I made an appointment with my ENT for the following week.  But by Saturday afternoon (two days of being on the antibiotic), I was feeling worse, not better.  I couldn't raise my head to look up because it made me nauseous.  I had to hold on to every surface in order to move anywhere.  I had to lean against walls to walk.  I felt best when I was laying flat on the bed, just still.  But even with my eyes closed, if I moved my head even ever-so-slightly I could still feel the world spinning.  So on Saturday I posted on Facebook that I wasn't feeling any better and my doctor (who is Friends with me) ordered me to the ER for imaging.

So I had Kevin drop me off at the ER.  I knew I would probably be awhile and didn't want him just sitting and looking at me, so I sent him home and told him I'd call him later with an update.  I was put through triage pretty quickly and then I sat in a wheelchair while I waited for an exam room to open.  I sat in the wheelchair for 4 hours.

Sound cue:  needle scratching across a record

That's right, 4 hours of just sitting and waiting to be put someplace.  No tests were done, no blood was drawn, no one offered me water or anything.  I just sat in a waiting room alone.  Occasionally someone would pop her head in to apologize and tell me it would just be a little bit longer, but that was all the "care" I got for that amount of time.  I played 86 games of solitaire on my phone.

So like my heart surgery and my sinus surgery, I will be writing about my vertigo in installments.  Perhaps I should rename this blog, "View from my Hospital Bed".

Next up:  A CT scan and an MRI for my birthday

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