I’ve been so dizzy I can barely walk for 5 days. I stagger all over like the worst, sorriest kind of day drunk. Needless to say, I’m unable to work, particularly since my job does substance abuse treatment. Working would also require me to be able to drive. And move smoothly. And sit upright without being pulled toward the Earth.
Oh and I hurt. All my little joints hurt. In my fingers, my wrists, my elbows. The tiny joints where my ribs connect, even the little knuckles of my toes. Like some gross campfire round, they all take a turn with this dull, sore, relentless ache.
The first time this happened, the doctor ran tests. The doctor scratched his head. The doctor (via his nurse over the phone) said “Your tests are all ok! He said drink lots of water & take Advil for the pain!”
Gee doc, thanks. Have any advice my mother hadn’t already given me for free?
The second time this happened, my regular doctor ran more tests. He scratched his head. He said “All your tests except one are normal, so heck if I know. We’re going to send you to another guy.” He gave me pills for the dizziness & vertigo. He made a referral to a rheumatologist ($10 word) to see if I have an autoimmune disorder.
The pills put me to sleep. I’m not talking drowsy or sleepy, they completely sedate me. If I take them as directed, I will sleep about 16-20/24 hours. That’s how they keep you from being dizzy – you’re just unconscious. I gave up counting of how many days of my life I’ve lost being out cold on these things because it’s too damn depressing.
The third & current time this happened, they didn’t run more tests (they’re leaving that to the rheumatologist I’m still waiting to see). Doctor #1 decided to try going at it like it’s an inner ear thing to see if it might help. I’m thrilled to see anyone do anything that looks like helping me. (If they wanted to jab 10,000 acupuncture needles in me while doing electroshock, I would be open to it at this point.) I start prednisone in the morning &, while that is hands down one of my least favorite things in the world to take, again I’m just happy someone is doing something other than sedating me.
Because in my mind, when the dizziness comes, I have a brain tumor. Or some growth on my spine. Or some God awful other thing that’s going undiagnosed that’s killing me. I also have a NOFX song stuck in my head. That’s unrelated, but it’s Don’t Call Me White so it’s still super annoying. Maybe that’s part of the tumor? Having the most annoying parts of punk songs blasting through your head over & over & over. Anyway, as morbid & disgusting as all that is, right now when no one can give you any answers, you can’t go to work, you can’t manage very much time even sitting upright before you feel like you’re going to tip over & you’ve got nothing but time to think & symptom check, that’s unfortunately where your mind goes. Not to mention that when the only thing anyone seems to be able to do to help is sedate you, it starts to seem like you may have to choose between perpetually dizzy or asleep for the rest of your life & that’s pretty damn bleak. To say I’ve shed tears would be an understatement.
But, here’s the thing, I happen to be one tough cookie.
I have had not one but 2 cancer scares. I’ve survived with significant depression way past the point I probably should have. I have ADD like a fruit fly on crack but have managed to function. I come from a long line of tough, strong men & women. I’ve had more personal tragedies large & small thrown at me over the past 3-5 years than I care to discuss, but I’m still here. So, it’s not really in me to curl up & die. That’s noreally my bag. Dizzy or not, whether anybody helps me or not, I’m going to have to figure out a way through this the same way I figure out everything else in my life.
I’m going to put one (occasionally staggering) foot in front of the other & see where I go.