Bein Werkin Mom Not So Ez Akshully
This week has been a whirlwind. I honestly can't believe I haven't posted since last Sunday. I don't know how working people get everything done. Right now, my husband is at home, which makes things infinitely easier. But I don't know how we're going to manage everything when both of us are working. Even with older kids, getting everyone off to school and work on time is going to be a challenge. Luckily, I am able to work from home as needed, but on those days that I do go in....oy.
My project is going well, although the first day I thought to myself...I am in WAY over my head here. But, I've completed the first and most difficult phase, and am now feeling less panicked and more confident.
I think I'm going to take the advice of readers, and that's all I'm going to say about my job. The last thing I need is to get Dooced before I even receive my first paycheck.
So I'll tell you instead about my MRI. Yes. I finally got one. It's funny how something as simple as vertigo will motivate a person. Well that, and the fact that I can't balance on my right leg (all my migraines are on the right side), and I have ringing in my ears that is getting progressively worse.
Also, strangely, the night of husband's class reunion, feedback from the band's microphone almost caused me to fall flat on my face. It felt as if the world turned on its side for a moment. When the feedback stopped, the world righted itself and I was fine. Weird, huh?
My doctor thinks I have Meniere's disease. It's a disease of the inner ear, and there is no cure for it. The symptoms can be managed with drug therapy, and in severe cases, surgery may be warranted. However, people typically experience symptoms to some degree for the duration of their life.
I almost wish it was a brain tumor.
Anyway...all my symptoms can also be precursors to a stroke. Since I had pre-eclampsia during my last pregnancy, I am at increased risk for stroke, even though I am fairly young. This is why I can't take Triptans (Immitrex, Maxalt, Relpax) for my migraines...they could trigger a stroke. So in order to rule out any other causes for my symptoms, I had to have an MRI.
One reason I had been putting off having one was cost. We have HORRIBLE insurance with a high deductible. We never meet it, because all things considered, our family is fairly healthy. So I would have to pay for the test out of pocket. But my doctor was insistent. She had been wanting me to have one for several years due to the increasing severity of my migraines and the onset of some new symptoms such as facial ticks during a migraine attack. So she decided to take it up with my insurance company herself.
Somehow, she got them to approve the procedure and several days later I received a letter from my insurance company stating such. It went on to say that "this is not a guarantee of payment"....along with a lot of other hyperbole. When it really comes down to is that they might decide to pay it, they might not. So I went in and had a $2,000 test, knowing I might ultimately have to pay for it myself. While we have no income.
Stressful? Why no, why do you ask?
I was a little apprehensive about it. I am not claustrophobic, but I have heard that many folks who did not expect to have a problem with it, did. I really did not want to have a spazz attack in front of some baby faced lab tech.
But in I went, dragging my husband along for moral support. I sat in the waiting room and looked around at the people, trying to figure out why they were there. I confess, people watching is one of my favorite pastimes.
I sat and listend to an elderly woman and her daughter discussing all the reasons why she couldn't continue to live on her own. The woman's voice was tremulous as she argued her case. Clearly, she was loathe to surrender her independance, but it was obvious from her physical condition that she needed to be cared for. Her back was bent into a question mark and her gnarled hands shook with palsy. She could not walk without support.
The daughter said with some truculance...."Ah cain't be liftin' you Mama. I'm down in ma back. And neither cain Ruthie. She's ain't no bigger'n a mite."
God...I do not want to get old.
At last my turn came and the lab tech turned out to be a handsome black man whose age made me feel fairly confident that he wouldn't fry my brain, and whose manner was soothing, but not obsequious.
He asked me to place my head in a barred structure that looked exactly like a cage. A head cage, how nice. But I didn't balk. I laid down and placed my head inside as instructed. He gingerlyN placed some headphones upon my head, handed me a button on the end of a thick cord and demonstrated that we could communicate when I was inside the cylinder of doom (not his words). Then he closed the cage, patted my arm kindly, and slid me inside.
I was really quite comfortable. A thick cushion behind my knees positioned my back comfortably and another cushion beneath my neck prevented tension. There was air gently circulating inside, and a mirror directly above me reflected the scene outside the window located behind the machine. That mirror really helped me feel less confined. I could see blue sky and trees and cars going down the busy road. I could see the grass and leaves rippling in the breeze. This isn't so bad! I thought.
And then the noise started.
When they said loud...they meant...LOUD. Even with the headphones on and music playing, it was deafening. The first series of noises sounded exactly like an alarm and I wondered if there was some kind of nuclear melt down occurring. I jumped and my heart thumped in my chest. The noise triggered a wave of vertigo that made me fearful of vomiting inside that tiny little tube.
The technician must have realized I was in distress (Or maybe everyone thinks that's an alarm and that's the point at which people freak the flock out) because his voice sounded in my left ear..."Don't worry, that's just the machine callibrating the magnet."
No nuclear meltdown. Awesome.
The first phase lasted twenty minutes. I was mostly okay, but at one point, my eyes began to tear due to the circulating air. When I realized I couldn't reach up and wipe it away because my arms were pinned to my sides, I had to fight a wave of panic. I managed to remain calm, but I was incredibly relieved when he slid me out to give me an injection of contrast dye. The dye was to define the borders of my inner ear structures, which are difficult to see. He was a good injectionist and I scarcely felt the needle stick.
"Doin' alright?" he asked.
"Well, it's not the funnest thing I've ever done, but I think I'll be okay."
"Ten more minutes and you'll be all done." he assured me.
That was a very long ten minutes. But I survived.
"So...." I joked, "Do I have a brain tumor?"
The technician looked at me with a wry expression on his face.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you. By law, technicians are not allowed to interpret or diagnose. We just take the pictures."
I rolled my eyes and he grinned, which made me think I probably wasn't going to need brain surgery. He helped me up from the table and I was on my way.
And now I wait. If there are no obvious problems, then the diagnosis will most likely be Meniere's disease, although I will probably have to see and audiologist and an ENT to confirm.
Oh, and that other kind of vertigo I had? The BPPV? Completely seperate issue, although the two tend to go hand in hand. It could happen again.
This condition can be hereditary. My Mom tells a story about how my Dad once took us kids on a ridiculously tame kiddy amusement ride...and spent the rest of the day in bed, sick and green. So I knew he was prone to severe motion sickness, but I didn't know he experienced vertigo on a daily basis. But my Mom tells me he has trouble looking up, such as lying beneath a car to work on the engine, but also has intermittent dizzines with no apparent cause. He's never been diagnosed with the disease, mainly because he won't go to the doctor, but it sounds as if he may have it too.
My sister has suffered from dizzy spells all her life, but assumed it was due to her vision problems. She was born with severe strabismus (crossed eyes). Despite surgery and extensive therapy her eyes still work mostly independant of one another. As a result, one eye is much weaker and her depth perception is pretty much non-existant, which causes her to walk into doors and bump her head on things constantly. But she wonders now, if there might be another cause. Now that I have been (almost) diagnosed with Meniere's, she wonders if she might have it too.
What a lovely family legacy, eh?
Now, I must go address the pile of laundry that has been mocking me all week. I hate that weekends are now all about catching up. But...that's the way it goes. We'll adjust. The paycheck helps.
So there we go. Aren't you glad you tuned in today?