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A little over 4 weeks ago, after a huge birthday and graduation weekend, I thought I was still hung-over from a weekend of celebrations. It all started with a stomach bug. I had mostly diarrhea but with that came nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fatigue. After 3 days, I went to urgent care and the NP told me to take some Imodium and gave me a prescription for Zofran. A few days later, I had a family friend, who's a physician, diagnosed me with vertigo and told me to take meclizine. Meclizine helped but the drowsiness was not a way of life. I went back to urgent care and was diagnosed with a viral inner ear infection and told me to take some nasal spray called Afrin and gave me more Zofran. The next day, and a week after the symptoms started, I still wasn't convinced. I made an appointment with my primary care doctor. Being a RN myself, I wrote down my symptoms day by day for my PCP. She did multiple tests in office with my balance and vision. She diagnosed me with vestibular neuritis. At that point, I was relieved that I finally had a diagnosis. She wrote me a prescription for prednisone, a referral to physical therapy and gave me a note to return to work in a few days. I was so happy that we had finally figured it out... well at least I thought.
Being on the patient side of things has been completely eye opening for me. I'm a mid-twenties RN with no hidden illness other than childhood asthma and seasonal allergies. I had a patient in the hospital get diagnosed with BPPV which at that time I had never heard of it. Just because, you as a patient may look fine, there’s so much more going on. Friends and family look at me and say "You look fine" while I'm sitting still and feel like I'm rocking back and forth. I feel like no one completely understands. Which is why I'm writing this.
My symptoms are better and better every day. However, as an RN, I'm required to work 12 hour shifts. There are days that I hardly sit down and walk up to 5-6 miles/day. I haven’t worked in 4 weeks and I get anxious about going back to work in the fear of another attack.
Driving has never been an issue for me. The passenger seat makes me dizzy though. I've only had one episode of nauseating dizziness in the last week. I'm having left ear congestion and almost every day I've been having left ear throbbing and the only relief is Sudafed. I've been having constant headaches that are associated with the congestion.
The vestibular physical therapy has helped a lot but as of last week, my PT told me there was nothing else she could do for me. She expressed that I should be bouncing back quickly from this since I'm young. I scheduled an appointment with my PCP and her recommendation is for an MRI and to see an neurologist. My MRI is scheduled for next week and I wasn't able to make a neurologist appointment until August.
I'm at the point where I'm wondering if I'll ever get better. I do feel lucky I had an early diagnosis as compared to others. I know I can't speed up recovery but it definitely helps to talk to people with the same issues. Anyone, with similar occurrences, seeing a light at the end of the tunnel?
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