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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up: Vertigo

Mau Mau, my good friend and fellow CBYX-Alumna, made it down from Glasgow to spend a couple of days with me in Hamburg. She brought along her friend Cherry and I had my usual itinerary of "tourist activities" all planned out. I'd known about the visit for about a month and I was quite looking forward to it. And really, it all went splendidly for the most part. I'll even show some pictures once Mau Mau uploads them to Facebook and I steal them from there (with permission, of course). But until then, I'll tell you the story behind that lovely bruise up there.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I went to the doctor last Tuesday. It was the second day in a row where I woke up in the morning and while still lying in bed, I experienced some dizziness. And no, smart-asses, I wasn't drunk. I did, however, decide that this merited a trip to my doctor, since it was very weird and off-putting. My regular doctor wasn't there so I saw another physician in the office. He checked my temperature and blood pressure and, finding nothing wrong with either, concluded that I was probably just dehydrated and gave me a prescription for something to help with the dizziness and instructions to drink lots of water.

Over the course of the next few days there was a slight improvement, but nothing major. Instead, I really just got familiar with a pattern. The room only started to spin when I went from a sitting position to a lying down position and vice versa. So I just...tried not to lay down. Problem solved. Thanks, doc!

Mau Mau and Cherry arrived on Friday and the problem still hadn't cleared up, which really threw a wrench in my party plans, because the last thing you want to do when you're feeling slightly queasy is add alcohol to the mix. I decided to go to the hospital on Sunday (today) after the girls left, if the symptoms continued to persist.

I ended up just throwing in the towel and going last night, because the whole dizziness thing was becoming annoying as fuck. And, because it's a side of the city that most tourists don't get to (or want to?) see, my guests accompanied me (and then I sent them off to do something else that didn't require them to wait for me in a hospital).

When we arrived at the emergency room, before checking myself in, I helped a Norwegian woman who couldn't speak German describe her symptoms to the nurse at the reception ("I have a fever and it burns when I pee"). Then I waited in one waiting room, before I was called back to wait in another waiting room -- but at least in the second waiting room I was able to catch a good chunk of Kung-Fu Hustle (with the volume muted). But...still...better than nothing.

After that, it went pretty quick. I spoke with a nurse, who despite being very nice, was really bad at drawing blood. She blamed my "stingy" veins...but I blame her less than stellar technique (step 1: jam needle into my arm). The result of which is the lovely discoloration above. Next, I saw an internist (who wasn't nearly as nice as the nurse) and who examined me by making me lie down on my left and then right side in quick succession -- kind of like in a very fast windshield wiper motion -- and asking me questions while my eye balls bounced around in my head.

Lastly, I saw a very very nice ear, nose and throat specialist and she informed me that I have Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), which is very annoying, but ultimately harmless. It's like something with loose rocks in my the Wikipedia page if you're that curious about it. Anyway, then I had to do some more windshield wiper-type moves...but this time not as fast or frantic. Feels just as shitty, though.

I was there for maybe three hours total. The Norwegian-it-burns-when-I-pee-lady was waiting for a cab and as a way of saying thanks for translating her pee problem, she paid for my cab fare to the Altona train station where I met up with Mau Mau and Cherry.

And then we went home, because it was late and I have to try to not make any sudden/jerky/strenuous head movements for (well at least now) the next 24 hours.

The End.

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