Friday, March 6, 2009

I Never Wanted to be a Tight-Rope Walker Anyway

Have you ever woken up feeling like you have been hit by a train? Or worse, hit and then dragged down the track? Well, that is how I felt when I woke up this morning and I know exactly why I felt that way. Yesterday I endured two and a half long hours of testing for my vertigo problem. Hours of drumming in my ears, blowing cold and hot air in my ears, wearing goggles and following lights with my eyes. Hours of balance tests, things pushed hard in my ears- did I mention jack-hammering in my ears?

The first test was an Electrocochleography (ECochG- I think that's how you spell the shortened version). I had to lay down and after they cleaned and flushed my ears out, an instrument was inserted in both ears. The lady said it would be best if I fell asleep for this test. I thought, okay- I'll pretend like I'm on a beautiful beach with my hubby. The test began and I felt like I was being blown off the island by a tsunami. One ear literally sounded like a jack-hammer was beating up and down as hard as it could while the other side had this constant buzzing sound. Twenty minutes on that side, and then it switched to the other. Okay, who can sleep through this? I thought. I decided to try to use my meditation techniques, to no avail. Then I said some prayers. I ended up talking myself through it, "Okay. I can get through this, I can get through this. I've been through much worse." Then there were several more minutes of other noises, silences and buzzes. Forty-five minutes had passed by the time this shorter test was over. I felt like I had been through the ringer. Where's my cigarette? Oh, yeah, I gave up smoking years ago.

The second test was a Videonystagmography, or VNG. The lady who gave me this test was so sweet. She told me we would be doing a variety of things and that the whole thing would take two hours at the most. Did I mention I couldn't drink coffee or have caffeine 24 hours before the tests? The first thing we did was a bunch of balance tests. I am so glad I never aspired to be a tight-rope walker. I guess the WII fit balance tests were correct when they said I was unbalanced. After the tests, she put some huge, bulky goggles on me. I had to keep my eyes wide open and follow a light back and forth, up and down, fast and slow for a series of tests. They were measuring the reaction of my pupils, I think to movements. Then they closed the goggles and I had more tests done, with eyes open and moving. The last part of this test was the worse. Air was blown into my ear for 60 seconds. Not once, but twice. On each ear. Hot air, then cold air. Then she had to do one ear again. I had to answer all kinds of weird questions after the air blasts, like name things that are red, blue, cities, states, Disney characters and movies, girls names that start with "J" and boys names that begin with "B". I guess they didn't want me to have a stroke?

After all this was said and done, the tests showed that my right ear tested positive for Meniere's Disease and my left ear tested positive for vestibular (balance) weakness. The doctor will have to read through the tests and make a diagnosis and recommendation when I go back and see him on the 20th. Until then, I'll be praying that this can all be treated with a pill. And thanking God those tests are over. Sigh. TGIF!

1 comment:

Jeni said...

Oh boy - oh my! how are you now?? That is some ordeal.....