Saturday, October 2, 2010

Back in the Emergency Room

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.


  1. I'm so sorry you're dealing with all this!/: After everything you've been through, you do not deserve this. But the only thing you can do now is stay positive. I'll pray for you.
    Take care,

  2. Thank God it wasn't a brain tumor! (I remember when I was told I had a brain aneurysm - scared the crap out of me! It has since dissolved back into my artery.) Does your doctors know about your eating disorder? Because that can sometimes cause seemingly unrelated illnesses to develop. I would make sure that all your doctors do know, just in case.

    I will be praying for you. Please take care.


  3. My goodness! I'm hopeful that you will find relief from these symptoms that have been plaguing you.

    Do what you can do to take care of you in the very best of ways.

    Sending thoughts of warmth and goodness your way.


  4. I cannot believe a doctor would tell you she suspects a brain tumor in the absence of a CT or MRI. Ugh. Well, I CAN believe it, but it is upsetting to hear about. It is frustrating to know, also, that you haven't been to an ENT yet! (my healthy boundaries are prolly slipping here a bit because I know how debilitating vertigo can seem)

    I've had Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo four times in the last 15 years. It mimics many symptoms of Menieres disease but is usually much easier to treat. I now use Epleys Maneuvers, at home, at the first sign of vertigo (the ENT doc gave me a pamphlet for use at home). Here is a link to the description of BPPV, in case it is BPPV, it might put your mind at ease!

    Good luck and I hope you can see a responsible doctor and get a sound diagnosis very very soon. You will get through this, and maybe there will someday be a gem to mine from it for use in your art (writing). Bless you. Chin up!

    Robin (aka Z.)

  5. I am very sorry to hear this! It is relieving to know that you do not have a brain tumor yet it is also frustrating that you still dont' know the cause of your dizziness. I agree with Angela that you should inform your doctor that you have ED because it could have contributed to this somehow. It's better sharing than not telling, you know? I'll send you good karma.

  6. I will be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts your way!!! Take care of yourself. <3