Friday, February 25, 2005

the ENT, my ENG, etc.

On Thursday morning I found out from my ENT that my ENG was normal, which means... I actually don't know what it means. I was too busy weighing out the options of insanity being offered to me instead of asking all the appropriate questions.
Since my balance is getting a little bit better, the tinnitus is gone and my hearing seems to have improved I was hoping I would get some sort of answers regarding what's been keeping me dizzy for the past 4 months. Instead I was told that I was getting a diagnosis of vestibular neuronitis, which the ENT then called a "wastebasket diagnosis," meaning I have something wrong with me that doesn't fit into any other category. Then he offered me a referral for a consult to chemically destroy one side of my vestibular system.

That's right, he suggested destroying half of my vestibular system, with chemicals.

Perhaps the doctor noticed the look of panic on my face which is what led him to suggest his next option, which for some reason seemed perfectly normal to him; he would cut a hole in my ear drum, put a tube and sponge all up in there and then drip steroids right onto the nerve every other week.

That's right, he said he wanted to cut me and put steroids into my head.
I started getting a sneaking suspicion that he was trying to scare the dizzy right out of me.

I finally got my wits back and asked for a referral for some vestibular rehabilitation therapy and another hearing test. These things I can handle. So now I just wait for the okay from my insurance to go into rehab.

I just like saying I have to go to rehab.

Friday, February 18, 2005

happy birthday, Dawn!

I know we haven't talked in ages, but that doesn't mean I don't think about you all the time. I wish we still worked together, because you made it possible for me to do things like this in the office:

Monday, February 14, 2005

happy valentine's day

I'm thinking about you...

Saturday, February 12, 2005


At my last job there was this awesome guy on the facilities staff named Johnny and he loved to chat. He'd chat you up in the courtyard, at your desk or even when you were leaving for the day. Johnny especially loved to chat when Alex would come by to pick me up or have lunch with me. One conversation went a little something like this:
Johnny: In the summer tigers used to walk through my village. So we would kill the tiger and eat it. We would all eat the tiger.
Alex: Really!? What does a tiger taste like?
Johnny: You know. Like tiger.
Alex: Actually, I don't know. What does it taste like?
Johnny: Yeah. Like tiger.
Alex: Yeah, I don't know.
Johnny: You know. Like cat.

But the conversation that I think of most was one that took place when Alex was sitting at my desk waiting for me to finish my day. Johnny walked into the office and stood next to a table which was always a mess with stacks of papers. On one of the stacks was a sticky note that said FYI. Johnny scanned the papers and then pointed to the sticky note and started to chuckle and nod in disbelief.
Johnny: FYI. You know what that stands for?
Alex: ummm... for your information?
Johnny: No, they think we're stupid. You know what FYI means?
Alex: For your information?
Johnny (tearing off the sticky note and furiously stabbing it with his index finger): No, it means Fuck You Idiot!
(maniacal laughter)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I just can't stop writing about my ear!

Last Friday I had an ENG, which is short for electronystagmography, which is a long word for things that make you want to puke. Julianne was nice enough to accompany me on my journey to nausea, which I am most grateful for, because I really didn't want to do it alone.

When my ENT gave his approval for this test a few weeks ago, he said that I would have to go to Stanford to have it done. But it turns out his office in Oakland had just got some brand spankin new equipment for ENGs and I got to be one of the guinea pigs. This was good for me because I didn't have to go somewhere unfamiliar, but bad because the woman being trained and administering the test was one nervous newbie who was easily flustered. Her name was Shirlee, and I'm not sure if that's really how you spell her name, but the permed hair and fan shaped cloisonne earrings lead me to believe I'm right. Shirlee was being trained to use this equipment by a man whose name I don't remember. I do remember that he looked like Tony Robbins though, so that's what I'm going to call him from now on, and he's going to like it.

To take these tests I was suited up with some spectacular goggles. The right eye of the goggles was left open, so I could still see around the room and the left eye was always covered, that was the camera-hog eye, the one on the TV. Of course, the first thing I did once I had the goggles on was look at my eye on the TV monitor, which was pretty kick ass. You haven't really seen your eye until you've seen it six inches tall, looking right back at you. I had to overlook the fact that it made my mascara look totally clumpy. I may be dizzy, but a girl still has to look good.

For the first part of the test I sat in front of a laptop where I watched red and green triangles go back and forth, then watched them jump from left to right. Next came the tongue depressor test. There were no real tongue depressors involved in this, but on the screen hundreds of lines, which looked like tongue depressors, would scroll by vertically and I was asked to count the ones in the center. I felt like I was doing it wrong, but Tony Robbins assured me I was doing a great job. After that I was told to look at a light which was on the top of the computer and turn my head right to left (as if I was saying no) along with the beeps. For some reason this confused me, because I wasn't sure if it was BEEP, right, left or BEEP right, BEEP left. Shirlee asked if I understood and for some reason I said sure, but when the test began I admitted my confusion and was then startled by Tony Robbins, who grabbed my head from behind with both hands and manually made my head turn to the beeps. Uncomfortable, yet hilarious. Once that was done I had the pleasure of doing the same exercise, but nodding as if to say yes. This time I did it all on my own, like a big girl, but I couldn't keep up with the beeps, which got faster and faster as time passed. There were a few things holding me back from the fastest nod possible; I thought the goggles were going to fling off my head and I felt uncontrollable laughter coming on. The last test in this section was the most fun, I got to spin from side to side while sitting and looking at the light. Wheeeeee. Through all of these tests Shirlee never really got the hang of when she was supposed to click on pause or next to record my eye movements. I don't think she was supposed to click either one of those. It was an uphill battle for Tony Robbins.

After the first round of tests was complete I was moved to a chair much like one for a patient at the dentist's office. For the remainder of the tests my right eye was also covered. Total darkness + listening to Shirlee ask the same questions over and over + knowing Julianne was thinking the same thing I was and looking at me and my ridiculous goggles = hard to not laugh out loud. I can't say I remember all the tests in the second round because they all seemed the same, I was supposed to look straight ahead while I was being tipped backwards, twisted to the side, sat back up, etc... it's all a blur.

Then came the caloric test. This was the one I feared. This test involves filling the ear canal with cold air and then warm air to track nystagmus, and amazingly enough the eye movement can tell if there is nerve or brain damage. I was reclined back and Shirlee put a tube in my right ear for about a minute, filling it with the cold air. I started thinking "hey this isn't so bad after all, I'm just a little more dizzy than before" but then 20 seconds passed after the tube was removed and I was in vertigo agony. I felt like I drank everything behind the bar at a Knights of Columbus meeting. This would be the time when Tony Robbins asked me if I wanted a bucket, to which I replied "not yet." Julianne told me her shoes were vinyl, so it would be okay if hurled. And then, for some reason, Shirlee stopped recording my eye movement, and when Tony Robbins asked her what she was doing I could sense the frustration in his tone. Being so dizzy and in the dark I wasn't able to voice my concern about the accuracy of the test now that Shirlee had clicked incorrectly. But luckily there was Julianne, the master of tactfulness, who was able to ask the question that was on my mind. And not only was she direct about it, but she asked the qustion in the most polite format I've ever heard. I'm not sure if Tony Robbins was throwing us a bone or not, but he told Julianne that everything should be fine. At this point I was still reeling and I just wanted out, but I figured if I hadn't puked yet I was good to go for the rest of the test. Cold air in the left ear was next, and I don't know if the air never got down there or if I have such severe nerve damage that I didn't react at all, but I felt nothing and was pretty thrilled to leave the land of vertigo... until Tony Robbins put the warm air in each ear. damn. It's amazing how air in the ear can really fuck you up. I feel like I should open up some sort of air bar and tell everyone to skip the middle man and get all crunk with air. Go from sober to sick in 80 seconds. I think I'm on to something.

Now I wait for two weeks to find out what the tests reveal. Until then I've decided to give up on finding a way to cure my vertigo, but instead I'm looking for a way to inflict it on others... if they're willing, of course.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

insightful SPAM

Today I got some SPAM from Christian Mortgage people and the Christian Debt Helpers informing me I could eliminate my debt the Christian way. They quote Matthew 6:12, Forgive Us of Our Debts. delete, delete.

But then I saw a nice one from The title was denied! Of course I didn't open the zip file, provocatively named my date, but right before the attachment it says
you are a bad writer

Who are these American Girls? and when did they meet my 7th grade English teacher?