Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Diatribe-ing

First, I'd like to thank Kara for the opportunity to rant about this, which I am now reposting, mainly because it's that ridiculous. Now, I take public transportation to work because it only costs me $250 a year to park and be driven to work rather than $600+ to maybe be able to park at work instead. It's bullshit, but I digress.

There are many issues with this plan, the least of which being that it's inconvenient and it makes me motion sick on a daily basis.

This morning, UNC closed offices until 10am (due to black ice), meaning every single employee and student tried to get on the buses and to work/school at the same exact time and the Chapel Hill transit service never thinks to run extra buses to make up for it, so I ended up with some large woman who was forced to stand up in the aisle because the bus was overcrowded, shoving her purse in my face instead of just stowing it on the floor between her legs like everyone else and it took a whole hour for the full, overheated (because the drivers always just turn the heat on high, which does wonders for car sickness) bus/clown car to drive me to work (four miles). If I had known, I would have worn running shoes and walked to work the much shorter route, in less time.

The meme that will never get old.

My next kvetch? Something I've no doubt discussed ad nauseam, and that is doctor copays.

The whole reason I gave up trying to find a diagnose for (let alone seek treatment for) the chronic vertigo issues four years ago was because of money. The costs just seem so arbitrary. For one "specialist" I'm charged $60 while it's $70 for another. One charges for every appointment, even if it's just a 10-minute follow-up discussion, while the other waives the copay for follow-ups. I'm a state employee, man. Have mercy!

Logic? That's SO last year.

I had a visit with the Otologist today. I discussed all the dizzy happenings with the MA and then again with the nurse practitioner. I cannot explain to you how sick I am of having to repeat myself or of having people look in my ears. I mean, it's way less obnoxious than perhaps having multiple people take a look inside some other orifices. Maybe I should count myself lucky.

I have two more tests coming at me in my near future: SOT (sensory organization test) and ECOG (electrocochleography). One of them isn't covered by insurance. 

That said, having to ridiculously alter my workouts because I can't run, lest I fall over, is becoming increasingly maddening. I have a half marathon in a little over a week and that thought, currently, makes me want to curl up in a corner and bang my head against the wall. 

...or something like that.

I don't know about you, but here it's officially wine-o-clock.

Any rants/kvetches/general complaints to share?

Monday, March 2, 2015

All the nope

On today's edition of What the Hell is Happening in My Head, we bring you the results of Emily's Videonystagmography. (Don't worry, the saga doesn't end here).

The smile is fake. The style is very real.

To say that this is one of the more strange things to happen to me at a doctor's office is quite an understatement, although I view any doctor's appointment where I don't have to remove my clothes to be a win.

Because going to the neurologist isn't creepy enough

To make a long story short, this test involved wearing these super snazzy infrared goggles and undergoing the following:
  • Keeping my head still and following Mister Potato Head on a TV screen with only my eyes while he moved all over the screen. That sneaky little sneakster.
  • Lying down, sitting up, keeping my head at certain angles
  • Having cold and then warm air shot into each ear for a minute at a time 
  • Feeling like I was floating all over the place
  • Lots of questions
  • Talking about dogs (this was just a bonus of having an audiologist whose dog has his own Instagram account)
The result? I have a 30% impairment of the right peripheral vestibular pathway (a weak Vestibulocochlear nerve in the right ear). So, clear as mud.

I've been doing a lot of research and I don't really understand it any more than when I first heard the diagnosis. The next step is I get to go see an Otologist.

Every time I have an appointment, I think "oh good, I'll finally get answers today! And then...all the nope. Someday.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Having my brain examined

Remember that race I registered for that takes place in three weeks? I've had the cold from hell for the last two weeks and have basically just been struggling to breathe ever since. We've also had lots of crappy, cold weather and ice falling from the sky.


That said, my workouts the last couple weeks have consisted of coughing and blowing my nose and coughing...and blowing my nose. So you know, to say that I won't be completely ready for this race is an understatement. Luckily it's also a full marathon, so I have plenty of time to finish.

I planned to get back into it Saturday and do a two mile treadmill run to remind my body what this whole running thing is. I got on the god forsaken machine and almost instantly the dizziness hit. Yes, THAT is still happening and it makes it really hard to run both straight and upright.

Except way less fun-ny.

After being wrongfully diagnosed with Pastulous Eustachian Tube back in 2011 (oh God, it's really been four years!) I was forced to give up trying to find the cause/cure due to lack of funds, especially after my MRI and hearing tests didn't show anything amiss. Endless guessing at my expense just isn't my thing. I recently switched to a primary care physician closer to my house who has filled me with a newfound need to get this shit found out! 

Last week I had a visit with a neurologist. Talk about an amazing/interesting/enlightening experience. Dude knew his stuff, treated me like I was an intelligent being, and he wasn't too awful on the eyes. So far in this train wreck experience, I've felt like the doctors were literally guessing, with absolutely no confidence behind their "diagnoses." This time, though, I have a newfound hope.


In case you're like me and have a need to Google search ALL THE THINGS, I'm going in later this week for videonystagmography (VNG). Enjoy, fellow nerds! Results to come.

By far the best image found by Googling videonystagmography

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Podcast virgin no more

This morning I discovered something I probably should have discovered a while ago: podcasts. I knew they existed and were popular, but not necessarily what exactly they were. It turns out it's like listening to chapters of a book on tape...for free. The Netflix of books on tape, if you will.

I'm a big fan of things like Investigation Discovery, crime "whodunnit" shows, and horror movies. I'm fairly surprised that, based on my Netflix and Google search histories, I haven't yet been investigated by the authorities. It's just all so fascinating!

I'd been hearing about this podcast called Serial and wondering what the big deal was. When I found out it's a nonfiction murder mystery, I already knew what had to be done.

My bus rides to-and-from work are about to get interesting.

So far it's pretty enthralling. The only thing that's hanging me up, though, is that some of the information is quite detailed (the crime scene, for instance), and I can't see it! HelLO...visual learner over here. I even Googled images of the scene.

Reaction GIF: no

I'm also excited to announce that it's 50 degrees and sunny here in central NC, while just south of DC where I moved from seven years ago?

Cloud barf.

It's not a ton of snow, but as anyone in northern VA knows, even the smallest snowfall means PANIC! and everyone forgets how to drive. To not have to be dealing with that today? Priceless.

Are there any other podcasts I should check out?