Monday, January 3, 2011

"Shape of Things to Come"

Well, I can't exactly say that the New Year is shaping up to be a winner, at least not so far!  2011 has only existed for two days and already there has been an unexpected jolt.  I don't particularly care for jolts to the status quo; I'm just not great about things that pop up out of nowhere.  (NEVER sneak up on me to "scare" me because it really does scare me!)

On New Year's Eve, while the Big Guy was out and about in the afternoon, he had a few moments of dizziness...not too much and they didn't last long, but enough to be unsettling.

When he got up on New Year's Day the dizziness was much worse.  He said everything was spinning.  From the way he described it, it sounded a lot like the flipping screen you sometimes got on an old black and white TV.  Remember that?  He said as long as he was still, it diminished and finally stopped,  until he tried to stand or moved his head quickly to one side or the other.  Also, his gait was a bit wonky and he felt off balance.  He didn't fall, but he did feel like he might.

AHA!  The light bulb went on over my head (so to speak).  I have had similar experiences over the last few years to a much lesser degree.  I was pretty sure his dizziness was probably caused by an Inner Ear problem. 

He decided to go back to bed around 2 p.m. didn't really wake up again until after 9:00 p.m.  Unfortunately, he felt just the same.

He called the After Hours Clinic and talked with the nurse.  He described what was going on, including telling her his BP was pretty high. We both had anticipated that she would probably agree that it was an Inner Ear thing.   She didn't.  She said he needed to go to the ER.  Evidently (we found out at the ER later) vertigo/dizziness is one symptom of stroke.  The high BP was a red flag.  Oh great, he could have been having a stroke and we waited all day!!

So at nearly 10:30 p.m. off we went to the ER.  There were really no other symptoms, EKG normal, pulse OK, no slurring, just the dizziness and the almost-off-the-chart Blood Pressure (initially 210/120 - YIKES!) when we arrived.  After the initial exams, the doctor pretty much agreed it was most likely an Inner Ear thing, but because of the out of sight BP which was really alarming, he wanted to get an Brain MRI to rule out stroke. 
And so we waited because they had to call in a tech.  We were pretty sure there was no stroke, but we usually follow the rules, so we waited.  In fact, we waited a whole HOUR.  At that point the nurse very apologetically informed us that the order had been overlooked and the tech hadn't been called after all!!  She expected he would be there within a half hour.  Sigh....Mikey was very uncomfortable lying on the ER "bed" (the mattress as only about 3 inches thick!   Not much of a cushion.) Still it was better than the hard plastic, un-padded chair I was sitting on!  My tailbone felt numb! 

The tech did indeed arrive within that 1/2 hour and proceeded to take Mikey away for his test.  The tech told me it would take about 20-25 minutes.  He underestimated!  It was another hour!  Then we had to wait another 1/2 hour for the results which were no surprise.  No Stroke!  It was an Inner Ear thing!  Arrgh. 

We had been in the ER for over 4 hours to get a diagnosis I knew 12 hours ago!  They gave him a prescription for a BP medication and sent us on our way.  It was 3:30 a.m. by the time we got back home.

Don't misunderstand, we are grateful there was nothing more serious, but gee whizz, that's just not the way to start a new year....and it had better not be the "Shape of Things to Come" for this year!  Otherwise, I'm going to lodge a complaint and ask for my money back!


  1. Oh no, how stressful! I'm glad it was just the ear thing and hope he feels better soon--that must get really annoying, really fast.

  2. I am so glad it wasn't a stroke! So very sorry you had to spend so long in the ER!

  3. I get vertigo from time time. I thought my BP was too high, but it wasn't. I find if I feel it coming on, so long as I don't turn my head too quickly, I'm ok. I also find I can't lie one side or another.

    Glad to know Big Guy is feeling better!

  4. Oh My, I am glad he only had an ear infection and it is a good thing he is taking BP medication. High blood pressure is very dangerous but it sure was not a pleasant way to start the New Year.

  5. Glad to hear it wasn't anything more serious than an inner ear thing. But, those can be super annoying. I have had ear problems since I was 8, and they're no fun.
    Hope Big Guy is feeling much better soon.


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