Let me tell you a story. A story about vertigo and my ENT visit.
I have never been to an ENT before for my vestibular problems. I just went to my neurologist who said they were vestibular migraines. And tried to treat them with such things as Verapamil and Sebelium. Both of which are calcium channel blockers and researched well for vestibular migraines with the whole vertigo issue. He refused to see me this last time because he actually said there was literally nothing he could do for me. My doctor wanted to rule out other vestibular conditions, however. And there are a few of them.
Let’s talk about vestibular migraines will tell you all about criteria and symptoms.
The main issue I was really concerned about was how each of these longer lasting bouts of mine due to driving regularly gets more severe every time. And unlike the typical vestibular migraine… they last a long time. If I keep driving, they just get worse and worse. When I stop driving and stay at home it takes a month to a year to get down to sporadic episodes. It doesn’t ever really go away. Motion triggers it pretty quick. Planes, trains, boats, elevators, escalators… anything will do it. Sometimes for hours mildly, sometimes for days severely. And I get like random attacks. No rhyme or reason from seconds to days. But driving regularly is a motion trigger that will trigger a massive enduring bout. I was so non-functional for four to five months. Then it slowly eased up a bit.
So the ENT visit
Despite the longevity of these severe attacks the ENT firmly believes they are migraine induced. He is going to just confirm with another test, but he is pretty positive about it. Which, currently, leaves me nothing to treat it with until the new class of CGRP blocking meds are approved here for migraine. That, in theory, could be any month now.
The ENT asked me about how my vertigo and symptoms function. Then he did that table thing for Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which didn’t help. But that would have been pretty sweet, because that can be Helped at least. Then he had me stand with my feet pressed together. And I couldn’t stand straight if my life depended on it. He wanted me to do the same with my eyes closed, but I just was going to fall. As soon as I closed my eyes my body was like ‘we need to be on the ground’ and I caught myself good on that one. He also wanted me to stand with one foot slightly ahead of the other, which was more stable and just caused me to slowly start to lean over until I caught myself.
Keep in mind, my vertigo is so much better than it was. I had a hell of a time walking and standing before and even used a cane. But we had a longer than normal drive to his office. That’ll do it. That’ll do it good… right to the brain. And means the now triggered vertigo will last about three days. It isn’t bad right now because when I got home I felt sick, so took a couple hour nap, and then later, did the same thing. This makes it less severe for a duration.
Now a story of a bunch of fools all doing the same thing and never getting a different result.
The irony of it is a just got a new car. New to me, anyway. Because my brother hit a deer in my last one. And the deer survived, but my car did not. And now I can’t drive it. My spouse has been because it is vastly more fuel efficient than a truck. Yes, my wee Kia Rio rocks. Sadly, I’ll be a passenger for some time.
The ENT specifically said I cannot drive. Now, this is vital because I am a stupid person. Yeah, I won’t drive when it get severe which is why I missed so much work before my leave. But the vertigo was triggered slowly and consistently when I returned to work from my last unpaid leave. Which has been its pattern for the last eight years. Sporadic short episodes, then brief intense bouts of dizziness, disorientation, and vertigo. So brief I wondered if I was just about the pass out. Then longer. And longer. And I couldn’t function during them. I would try to step away from my post and pretend to do busy work because I was so out of it. Then the disequilibrium, mildly. Then really not mild and I had issues walking. THEN I said I can’t drive or function when I am at work. So I push it, man, I push it.
And now, my insurance company is refusing to support my leave. They said they would consider it after the ENT appointment. So this is since November I have had no income. Thank goodness my mom has helped me pay my bills. So, often in this situations, I force myself to return to work against doctor orders. My doctor has been adamant for some time I cannot work. But I’d do it again rather than starve. So him telling me I can’t, is one of the reasons I won’t be that stupid. Poor, yes. But not stupid.
I don’t want to endanger other’s lives just because my insurance company is messed in the head. I get it. I do. I cannot prove the pain I am in. So they don’t care. Also didn’t care I was suicidal. But this? Is an issue. It potentially affects other people when they force me to return to work. And like a group of idiots, we all end up in the same place. Like a merry-go–round of moron. I do the same thing, with the same result. And they go ‘meh, it is just migraines, depression, and fibromyalgia’.
So here we are. Same problem on repeat. Refresh, rinse, repeat.
- I am on leave. Sometimes not paid at all.
- I am forced back to work
- Without my doctors permission. She is the only one that isn’t a fool.
- Things get worse. Pain. Depression. Missed work. Presenteeism
- But I do it. Because life can really suck like that
- Then, inevitably, the sporadic vertigo kicks in
- I think, maybe it is just temporary. Because, it never is when I drive regularly. But I forget. But this time, I went back into my written history. It literally is ever time. Faster if it is full-time. And faster if it is a commute to work of about twenty minutes. It was slower onset with part-time. But so severe in the end.
- And I wait. Thinking maybe it is something else. POTS. Or low blood pressure. Because the severe dizzy spells are not vertigo, yet. And the falling sensations and drop attacks haven’t happened, often, yet.
- Then all hell breaks loose in my brain and it is severe. And I can’t drive or function.
- I go on leave
- My insurance company refuses to do anything without more proof. As is par the course with them. You know I never did get how my suicide attempts were not proof of my Major Depressive Disorder. But I do blame my insurance company for the second one. Ignoring the MDD like that. Like it is insignificant.
- I struggle to pay my bills. My mom helps me out, because she is awesome, but I feel guilty she needs to.
- I end up going back to work because I can’t live on air. This one hasn’t happened yet. Because I can’t drive. Yet. If it gets so mild that it seems well and good, they will force me back to work.
- And then around we go all of us fools.
So ends the story of fools.
But this time the ENT put the foot down. My doctor doesn’t want me to return, at all. And the insurance company wins if they pay me or not. If they pay me, it is now at part-time wages not full time. I should never have been taken off the long term, like they did. So now I will get less income, if they manage to just pay out. I know it is hard for them. Easy when they take our money, but not so easy to pay us when we need it.
So my ENT appointment went fine. But I am angry about this cycle.