Tuesday, February 3, 2009
So, what's spinnin' with Djinn?
As you may remember, I've been suffering from some strange, undiagnosed dizziness, nauseous, vertiginous, exhausting disorder that a veritable raft of supposed medical personnel have been unable to sort out. I've been to one GP (numerous times, wonderful), two ENT's (take your pick, either ear nose throat DR's, or for extra spelling points otolaryngyologists (or something, too lazy for spell-check, besides I blame all those wanker 18th British Oxford-educated gentry totally obsessed with Greek, so we don't have an actual English word--misspell ho!))
Anyway, they both sucked. One diagnosed me with BPPV (Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo), let's call him Physician not so bad and the other (Let's call her Physician You Totally Suck) diagnosed me with nothing, after running a gazillion tests that made me sick as a very sick dog--never quite understood this metaphor.
After weeks of begging, crying, harassing phone calls, ineffective voodoo doll treatment and general hysteria, Physician You Totally Suck transferred my records to a Neurophysicisian of her choice. She worse than totally sucked and decided that I had silent migraines. I have not had a migraine constantly since Nov. 2007. Really. However, I listened (what was I thinking?) I tried her anti-migraine medicine for three weeks, (in spite of my rather horrific history using such substances) but as can be expected, such meds just kept making me sick so I threw it, and her credibility away.
Now, if you haven't been following this story from the beginning, I've been constantly dizzy (constant as in all the time) since a serious attack of vertigo in Nov. 2007. Yet, I kept on dragging myself to work every day, working hard enough to actually make a small bonus. But, every day was horrific. Dragging myself out of bed, walking (by closing my eyes and feeling my way down the hall) to my office, leaving once a day for a bathroom break (same procedure) Why? Fluorescent lights make me very ill, etc. Sometimes, I couldn't work for one or two days at a time. I'd spend them in bed. So happy. Then back to work furiously to make up for the lost time.
You have to understand, I had no diagnosis. I couldn't quit work, or go on disability, because.... uh, the medical establishment said there was nothing wrong with me in spite of my obvious agony. Fun times.
I received, in late November, my yearly approval rating. It was both horrible and strangely good. My main boss said that objectively I had performed superbly (which they found deeply confusing and didn’t seem to give much credit to), but in every subjective measurement I sucked. Of course. I was too sick to go to the bathroom, let alone spell. In their defense, I’ve now read some of the work I did when extremely sick, and it does not shine with the light of stellar intelligence. However, under all the grammatical and spelling errors, the logic is correct, hence, the success. I understand their confusion. They have been nothing but decent since my diagnosis.
Anyway, my most dear and sweet boyfriend, and Fiancee, George, discovered that the leading specialist on inner-ear disorders lived in Portland. Dr. Epley. Why didn't anyone of all the specialists I talked to even bother mentioning him? A question for someone much more intelligent than myself.
I immediately called the Epley clinic up, was quizzed for 20 minutes by a nurse of his, and was given an appointment for Dec. 11, 2008. The last day I was able to drag myself to work was Dec. 3. Miracles of Miracles, he gave me a diagnosis on Dec. 11th, and I was able to get disability. What happened? I fell down a flight of stairs Dec. 2004, and gave myself an inner-ear concussion and bppv (benign positional paroxymal vertigo—don’t ask, except to notice that the word “benign” could not be more incorrect.) Even though head trauma is a leading cause of vertigo, did any other physician ask me about same? That would be no. What?
By the time I quit work, all I could do is sleep, lay quietly in bed, and fail to keep down liquids. A couple more weeks, and I would have been in the hospital for dehydration.
Unfortunately during my appointment, sweet, sweet brilliant Dr. Epley took my nausea meds away and for some reason, did not give me a replacement.
My next appointment is Dec. 22. I am so excited!!!! However, an ice storm swoops in Dec. 22, closing the entire city, including my Dr's office. I cry. They fit me in Jan. 15th. I deal, lying in bed mostly.
Jan. 15th comes around, I show up at his office and am sent away as being too sick. !!! What!!!!!????? I told him and his nurse that I was ready for whatever they wanted to do, but I must have been that lovely shade of Wayne's world "I'm goona hurl!" green. I blame popular culture for not getting my treatment. However, I am given nausea meds. Yeah!
On the 23rd of Jan, 2009, finally, things started happening. It was like astronaut training, they stuck me in this special chair to treat my BPPV. They swung me to the right, to the left, upside down several times, put some shaky device on my ear; quite a thrill. This fixed my left ear. I'm now scheduled for Feb. 16th to treat the right ear for inner-ear concussion. My Otolith organ (it tells my body my orientation in space) is inflamed and giving random, yet always incorrect info to my head about my balance. The body sees (we are such odd spindly organisms) not falling over as perhaps the most important function it can perform. As my ears have failed me, my eyes have taken over.
What does this mean? Well, my cerebrum, usually used for functions such as speaking, thinking, short-term memory, and figuring out patent applications, is spending all of its cycles keeping me upright. Fun. Or just lying down, I get disoriented lying in bed—I fall behind my eyes even though I can feel my body on the bed. Can’t convince the head that I am safe and sound.
This wouldn’t be so bad, but the vertiginous effects are always accompanied by panic attacks. My heart goes pound pound pound; my head goes eek! My fight or flight response goes into red alert (I’ve been trying to talk it into orange, so much my style, but no such luck.)
On the 16th of February, some magic substance is to be titrated into my right inner ear. If it works, dizzy (actual) no more though I claim metaphorical dizziness as my right.