I have been unable to write for a while because I've been really sick again. All of the dizziness and trouble I've had since May finally proved too much. I was so incredibly dizzy and my head was filled with air. It felt like I was a walking balloon. I managed to drive myself to the doctor on Tuesday morning, though it felt like I was driving under the influence. I told her the dizziness and headaches were getting worse and worse and worse. After asking some questions, she looked really worried. Then she said what I've been secretly fearing for the past five months:
"I'm just going to level with you. I think you have a brain tumor."
I almost fell off the examination table. My father and my father's father both died of brain tumors, though theirs were caused from cancer that had originated in other body parts and metastasized in their brain. She didn't do any CT scans or MRIs because I don't have medical insurance. Instead, she referred me to a different hospital that has financial assistance for those who are uninsured. She told me to go straight to the emergency room. I couldn't because I can't drive. I felt like I was risking my life to get to her office in the first place and it's only three miles from my apartment. The hospital she referred me to is downtown, which is 20 minutes away, plus I'd have to take the interstate. In the middle of rush hour. Cars whizzing by at 80 mph in all directions. I'm too dizzy for that. I'd crash immediately.
Instead, I came back to my apartment completely nervous and scared and stressed. I needed to go to the ER but had no way of getting there. I haven't lived in this city very long, and I've been sick since I moved here, so there's no one in town that I know. So my boyfriend, who is in Boston on business for the next 6 weeks, flew his brother and his mom in from Minneapolis to take care of me. They got here Wednesday night and drove me to the ER. I explained my symptoms to a host of doctors and nurses and interns and medical students. I was so dizzy and there was so much pressure built up in my ears it was unbelievable. They did a CT scan. Luckily, it did not show a brain tumor! It did, however, put me back at square one wondering where all of these symptoms are coming from. The head doctor of the ER came over and talked to me for a long time. He examined my ears and made me do all of these crazy tests. I had to walk up and down the hallway on my tip toes, on my heels. I had to stand still and close my eyes and hold my arms straight out in front of me. After a few seconds I fell over and he caught me. He thinks I have Meniere's Disease (which I'd been told for weeks that I might have) or some other severe, vertigo-related oddity of the inner/middle ear. He referred me to an ENT, which I've been trying to get an appointment with for weeks but can't because of the lack of insurance. Through this program, if I qualify, I'll be able to see the ENT for up to a year if needed. I have to complete all of the paperwork, which is being mailed to me hopefully today or Monday. After that, we wait. They said it could take up to three weeks before the application review is complete. That seems like an awfully long time to wait to see the ENT, but I guess if I've dealt with this dizziness for 5 months I can wait a few more weeks.
So that's where I've been. Though I enjoy their company, it's been particularly challenging having my boyfriend's family staying here with me. His mother has been cooking all the meals and pressuring me to eat. She says I'm not eating enough. She doesn't know anything about my ED. It's nice though that they are here. I just wish it were under better circumstances. I feel bad because I can't show them around town or spend any quality time with them because I'm too dizzy to leave this apartment. They went to see the ocean today. I wish I could have gone. I haven't been in months. It's so relaxing. So soothing. So calm.