Yes, a sinus infection. I have been light headed and dizzy for 6 weeks now. I have been to my primary care doctor, to my neurologist and to the ER and much to my dismay, no one could give me a reason for it other than what my neurologist called “situational anxiety.” Right. So every moment of my life is causing me anxiety? Wrong.
Today was no different with the exception that I had chest pain and tightness. Almost like that feeling you get after a long hard run in the freezing cold where you were huffing and puffing so badly that you ran your lungs dry and raw, except as we know, I can’t run. And I sure as hell wouldn’t do it outside right now even if I could. As if being lightheaded all the time wasn’t enough, I now wanted to rip my lungs out of my chest, which clearly wouldn’t be the best choice if I do ever decide I want to run again, or breathe…just saying.
So after a few clients and a few hours of feeling like crap, I reluctantly go to the Urgent Care at Mass General. They ask me if I am registered in the system and I say, “Honey, I’m thinking of moving in. ” I guess my own sarcasm wasn’t appreciated as she didn’t really respond and just handed me a letter and told me to sit down and wait for the nurse to call me. About an hour later the nurse calls me in and I’m thinking, “Awesome, that wasn’t too bad of a wait. It’s 1:30 so I’ll probably make my 3 pm client.” Now, there is a system to this whole Urgent Care walk in clinic that I was completely blind to. You get a letter, you get called in with the nurse to chat about your symptoms, she takes your blood pressure, temperature and oxygen saturation levels. That information then goes to the doctors in the clinic while you sit in the waiting room and do just that. Wait…and wait…and wait…and fall asleep…and wait…until 2:45 pm rolls around and you get called in to see the doctor.
Poor kid. He didn’t know what he was in for. I could tell he was definitely either new or was just so by the book for bedside manner that maybe he should have written it. Turns out this is a teaching clinic…so he does the usual, asking me what brings me in today, how long its been going on, how bad is the pain, etc. I pause at how long it has been going on…my chest pain is about a day, my lightheadedness about 6 weeks. Then I almost start crying, of course. I don’t know what it is about me lately, I just can’t stop crying (I immediately start singing Miley Cyrus’s We Can’t Stop in my head as I am writing this), which might be why my lungs hurt as this is no meager crying. Looks kind of like this..
They take chest pain very seriously – as they should – so they order an EKG which of course shows me that I have an amazing heart 🙂 that beats like the wings of a butterfly. And so now I’m waiting for them to draw yet again more blood. It’s just like the “Sting like a bee” comment except it’s “How are you with needles?” What kind of a question is that anyways?!? Actually, I am great with needles. I love needles, which is why I keep coming back. Geesh.
Anyways, I realize this kid is not a full blown doctor yet because he brings in the head honcho of the clinic. Yikes. They don’t end up drawing blood thank the heavens, I need all of it that I can get. Instead he presses on my chest – no pain doc – it’s internal. Then squeezes my rib cage together from the sides – please don’t do that again. Tells me I have inflammation in my rib cage most likely caused my an allergen, mold maybe. I live in the North End of Boston. Mold is like a pet here. I would have taken a picture of the black mold in my shower an hour ago before I poured straight bleach on it but then my mother would have had a panic attack. (love you mom). Now I’m high on bleach…
Doc tells me, “Take anti-inflammatories 3x a day for a week and it should go away.” Sometimes I think being a doctor is too easy. One time I had a very prestigious doctor look up a symptom I was having on WIKIPEDIA. I won’t even go in to the embarrassment that should bring to all doctors. So then I get the, “Anymore questions for me today?” Actually, yes. Why am I lightheaded and dizzy all the time? He leans back against the desk and asks me to tell him about it. Well, I don’t really know what you want me to tell you other than it is all day, every day. Simple. The only time I am not is when I am sitting down and not moving my head quickly. “What makes it worse?” Dude, I just told you, it’s all the time. When I am walking, standing, getting up, sitting down, trying to work out. I really don’t know what else to tell you. Oh, I did almost pass out on the street the other day so I’d like to find a way to prevent that from happening. “What does the room do when you feel lightheaded?” Well, it pulsates and then I feel like I am flying which is followed by that feeling you get when you almost or actually do run into someone you didn’t see. If you don’t know what I am talking about, pay attention next time you almost smash head first into someone and tell me what you feel. Maybe something like this, except you have the pleasure of still standing.
He grabs the telescope light thingy to look in my ears which were normal, then my nostrils, which he tells me are inflamed. He then takes hold of my head and slowly turns it to my left and before he can even ask if that causes the symptoms, I tell him to never do that again. He turns my head to the right with no issues. Then he has me follow the light with my eyes to the right and then to the left…THAT did not make me happy and was not easy for my eyes. It’s like they pulsated when I went to the left. He starts to explain equilibrium units within our body…yeah yeah I know from high school Bio. I have some swelling and fluid in my sinuses and in my inner ear. He prescribes me an antibiotic, some Flonase and some other drug I can’t remember.
PROBLEM SOLVED, or at least we hope. But it was only after I pressed him about my lightheadedness that we found a probable cause. Mind you I had told the kid and told the doctor earlier in our conversation that I had been lightheaded for a very long time. If you work with me, you are probably just as happy about this diagnosis as I am because it’s like a broken record. But what amazes me is what doctors choose to hear. I have been harping on all my doctors about this issue. I understand that they see way too many patients in a day, especially at those walk in clinics…but when I am in front of you, listen to my symptoms. This doctor was slightly intimidating and if I was my younger self and not as fed up with the system as I am now, I would have taken that diagnoses of mold allergen and left, not addressing my head and then continued to be in distress.
BUT after many years of my mother in my ear about being forward with doctors and not letting them scare me into not asking questions, I finally took the bull by the horn and asked the question that gave me the answer I have been searching for, for weeks. I was not leaving the hospital until I got an answer or a direction as what to do next. I hope you’re proud of me for that one mom. All it took was a booger check and a head twist. No boogers here.
Moral of the story, keep asking questions, be forward and aggressive but maintain your cool and be polite…smiling helps too. So with a sinus infection and an allergy to mold (maybe?), I rest my little head…
Oh, and at least I got to have my double tall skinny peppermint mocha this morning (mulled over that one for the 10 minutes it took me to walk to the BUX on my way to work this morning). Started my day with heaven, ended it with a solid medical diagnosis. My kind of day. Bring it on Friday.