Vertigo

Friday at 3:00 PM I walked from my cube on the 4th floor to my car parked ½ a block away to put in my last 2 dollar coins so the meter would be paid until 5:oo PM.  I ran down without a coat since I wouldn’t be that long.

I reached down into the car and grabbed the 2 dollars. When I stood up I felt “off”. I was slightly dizzy. I’m not sure if my neck “popped” as it usually does or if it just hurt. I noticed that the right side of the back of my throat felt icy cold and I was walking with a slight gait to the right and was bumping the right wall if I didn’t consciously pull myself to the left.

I noticed my right thumb and index finger “go numb” as if they had “fallen asleep”.

As I reached my desk I looked up the systems for a stroke which included dizziness and numbness along with a crooked smile and slurred speech. I checked my smile with a small mirror at my desk. Nothing different – I naturally have a slightly crooked smile. I mumbled to myself and thought I sounded ok, but to be sure I called my wife at home. She concurred that I sounded ok, but mentioned my company’s in-house doctor’s clinic and suggested I stop by.

I got quite a stare suggesting to the intake person that I suspected a stroke, especially at age 34, but they took me back and took my blood pressure. It was a “normal” reading, under 80 for the first number — I don’t remember the second.

The nurse asked for a list of meds which I produced from my Blackberry and we went through the whole scenario again. She led me back to an examining room and I had a seat. When the doctor came in I was feeling foolish for coming in, especially this late on a Friday make her and her staff have to stay later than usual.

The doctor and I ran through my meds and the scenario again — best if I just go with the flow and try to repeat it each time. She thought she remembered a reaction between my RLS medication (Mirapex) and one of my antidepressants. She called the pharmacist for confirmation but he didn’t remember seeing this publication within the last couple of days. “Shoot” the doctor said, “I didn’t really read through it because none of my patients are on [RLS medications].”

My thumb and finger were back to normal and although I was still feeling a little dizzy, nothing was majorly wrong. The doctor had me hop onto the examination table. She went through some basics like temperature and blood pressure and asked me what year it was, my name, who was president, etc. Then she asked a seeming innocuous question of why people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks. I tried to spit out a comprehensible explanation, citing that it was an idiom, when «BAM» my world was spinning!

The room was quickly spinning and my body was moving along with it. I felt as if my body was rotating in its place. The X-Y plane was rotating along the z-axis, my angle fluctuating from a normal 0° to a little-past-sideways degree of 120.  This was happening at an alarming rate of many (10?) times per second.

I shut my eyes as the scene was too excruciating to see. I was given a vomit bag since I was now very nauseous.

Blood pressure went up, but nothing too alarming.

My eyes were dancing back and forth. (Nystagmus?)

“Vertigo” and “Ménière’s” mentioned.

I did some severe sweating.

Feelings subsided, but I knew I couldn’t get myself out of there.

They called Christi and told her where I was and asked if she could come get me. She said she could. The doctor, or nurse, or both, told me that if it got worse I should go to the ER.

Two prescriptions were written. If only Christi got there before 5:00. At ¼ til, she showed up and I immediately told her to get the prescriptions. She got those and then it was asked where my car was so she could drive me home.

I was pushed up to the door, eyes closed still, to be picked up. As I waited I vomited. The doctor now thought it would be best to go to the ER. I got in the car. Christi ran back to the other car she arrived in and told them she would be taking me to the ER. Just who was with her? Did she drive her car? Which kids were with her?

We drove to the ER. Christi went past the street where I would have turned. Oh well, bigger things to worry about.

Eyes still closed she summoned someone with a wheelchair to carry/drag me in. I was placed in front of an intake window. A lot of good that would do me I humored. They needed my insurance card so I gave Christi my wallet.

I was moved to another room and placed on a bed. Answered more questions, trying to keep it light. “Why do we treat tetanus? If men all had lockjaw, we would have the perfect husbands” joked a nurse.

Blood drawn. Saline drip with medication started.

Eyes still dancing. Nurses fascinated. I’m not.

EKG. Then CAT scan. All with eyes closed.

I apologize to one or two people for not looking at them.

I tried to use the “urinal” in the room. I was too pee-shy. With help from Christi we went across the hall and I was successful … eventually.

Then I just waited.

They gave Christi some prescriptions. We dropped them off at the 24-hour Walgreens and she took me home. Linda was there and stayed until Christi came back with the meds.

I made it upstairs where I puked again.

That was Friday night.

Saturday was better. I was able to open my eyes for longer periods until evening when I felt like I could keep them open if I stared at things close enough to me. Further things were (well, are) still moving slightly back and forth and made me dizzy. I took the anti-dizziness medications pretty much as prescribed – 3 times a day. I used the anti-nauseous medication once on Sunday and haven’t taken any since.

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