Laying on Hospital Bed

Talking to the right person

If you’ve ever been on a tilt-a-ride, you know about the dizzy sensation that comes when you get off. After all, it’s part of the fun! But vertigo under different circumstances isn’t fun. Weeks ago, I woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap and felt like the world was spinning. It went away within a few minutes, but happened again the next morning. This time it was so bad I could not walk and it didn’t go away like the day before. Now I was alarmed. Who do I call?

Fortunately, I have a friend, LaVerne, who works in the health care business and she was available to talk. She said it sounded like vertigo and asked me was if my ears were hurting, or if I was drinking enough water. I didn’t think I was dehydrated, nor did my ears hurt. But my sight was becoming blurry. She told me to drink a re:tune hydration packet from Avon. I did and I started to feel better. She also said if it got any worse, to get to the ER right away.

I’m so glad she said this!

Within a few minutes of our chat, other symptoms started to come on and Scott drove me to the closest Dignity ER facility. We couldn’t get there fast enough! My mouth had a metallic taste, my hands were shaking and my lips were tingling. Once in the ER, I was again asked if my ears hurt and they still did not.

But upon examination, they found fluid in my right ear. The pressure from it caused vertigo and it was so bad, it affected my speech. I was put on an IV to counteract the nausea and dizziness and after a few hours I was released to rest for the remainder of the day. I also had a prescription for allergies similar to Zyrtec with the recommendation to take it daily (if needed); then do a follow-up visit with my primary care physician in two weeks. By then the fluid was gone, but there was still some inflammation in my ear which lead to five days on a steroid to wipe that out.

So why am I telling you this?

For a couple of reasons. The first is about who to go to when a health issue comes on unexpectedly. In my case, LaVerne’s experience led her to ask the right questions and convince Scott and me to get to an ER as soon as possible. Too often, people Google things and especially with medical issues, get lots of information. But Google doesn’t ask questions and worse, can mislead you which delays treatment.

Second, she told us to get to an ER, not an Urgent Care. Most people don’t realize that Urgent Care Facilities do not actually treat problems. They simply cover the hours that physician’s offices are closed. Had we gone to Urgent Care first, we still would have had to go to the ER, double the co-pays and delay my treatment.

Having a network of friends in different professions is invaluable and goes beyond medical issues. It doesn’t mean they’re experts; but finding out what they would do for themselves in a given situation gives you a good perspective on the best way to proceed.

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