Simmons Consulting, the Website of Toby Simmons

Ready for MRI


I’m going in for an MRI on Tuesday, July 29. There have been some good days and some bad, but now we’re going to try to rule out some other things that could be causing the dizziness, like an Acoustic Neuroma or Multiple Sclerosis.

Things were getting better recently. For example, July 15-17, I felt almost normal. That was after going to the doctor on July 14.

I went to see my ENT (Dr. Guy Gardner) on that Monday after my GP said that I should, since I was still feeling dizzy after so long. So I made the appointment and went.

I felt pretty disoriented that day so sitting in the waiting room was painful. I felt anxious and nervous (not about the appointment, but just because I was so off-balance.)

When I finally went in to see Dr. Gardner, I told him about all the symptoms I had been having: the dizzy, off-balanced feeling; the muscle twitchings; the fatigue; the foggy-head; and the difficulting in concentrating, especially when driving.

He said he wanted to do a hearing test and an ear-drum pressure test. The pressure test consisted of having these little ear things stuffed into my ears then a loud buzzing. The woman doing the test said that this was to measure the needed sound to evoke a certain response in my ear drum. My pressure test showed little difference between my ears (but within normal ranges) and I had no detectable hearing loss.

That seemed to rule out Meniere’s disease. Plus, I hadn’t complained about any pressure in my ears or any tinnitus, which are other common symptoms for Meniere’s. (Oddly enough, over the last three days I have had a short burst of a sharp whistle in each of my ears, maybe twice on the right and once on the left.)

He said he wanted to do an MRI and balance test and I told him that I didn’t want to just yet because they are so expensive, even with insurance. He told me that if I didn’t feel 85-90% better better by the first of August, I should call and get the tests and I agreed. So, we told me to take a Dramamine before bed and keep pushing on to try to compensate for the lack of balance.

The next day, things seem to improve dramatically. In fact, Tuesday through Friday I felt almost normal. No noticable dizziness, no problems driving and I was able to work every day. I didn’t take the Dramamine because I didn’t feel like I needed it.

Then, the next week (July 21-27) things got progressively worse. By Thursday, I was feeling so bad that I left work around 1 p.m. and came home. I was feeling disoriented and panicked. It’s hard to explain why the panic feeling sets in, but it was like my whole body was trembling and it felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.

I tried for a while at the office to just sit still with my eyes closed taking deep breaths, but as I did that, I would notice several little pricks or twinges in my neck, arms and calves. It was most unpleasant. It felt like my body was just bouncing in the chair, although I suspect it was not discernable from the outside.

Anyway, I left and started the drive home. This was also very stressful. In fact, I got to within about 2 miles of the house and started to pull off the road into a parking lot because I wasn’t sure I would be able to stay on the road any farther. I suspect I was shallow breathing and was starting to hyperventilate. There was a little traffic on the road, so I wasn’t able to just pull into the parking lot without having to stop and hold up traffic, so I decided to press on.

I basically just took deep breaths, breathed them out very slowly, and focused as hard as I could on the road. After about a mile, was able to turn off on our side road and felt like I could relax a little bit and slowed down considerably. I managed to get to the house and stopped the car and just sort of collapsed in the sit for a few minutes.

When I came in the house, I called the doctor’s office to explain that things had gotten worse and wanted to know if I should go ahead and schedule the MRI and or ENG (balance) tests. The nurse asked me if the Dramamine had been helping and I told her that I hadn’t been taking it, thinking that, initially, I didn’t need it and, secondly, that I was afraid that it was impede any progress I might make. She said she would check with the doctor and call me back.

I spent much of the rest of that day working at the computer for a few minutes, then going back to bed. Thursday night, I decided to take a Dramamine before bed, hoping that it might help.

The next day (Friday) I woke up and still felt pretty bad. I decided to work from home since there were several things I could do remotely with my computer. I worked most of the day at the computer. Once, I felt a kind of sharp pain in my left ear and heard a whistling sound like my ear has sprung an air leak. It only last 15-20 seconds.

I had to get up about a half-dozen times to get away and stretch and move around, which helps sometimes when I’m feeling dizzy. That night, I took another Dramamine at bed-time and slept okay.

Then on Saturday, I still felt very off-balance and even a bit more jittery. I worked for about an hour and a half outside then came back inside. For the rest of the day, I didn’t really do much — didn’t feel like doing much. I didn’t eat most of the day because I was having diarrhea and didn’t feel hungry. I did eat dinner, some roasted chicken and soup.

Saturday night, I read for about two hours to the kids and when I had finished, I noticed that my hands were kind of tingling and I felt shakier than I had ever felt. I also was feeling my calves cramping up as I walked around and my hands felt like they were twitching. The back of my neck felt like it was trying to cramp up as well. The dizziness was quite unbearable. I took a Dramamine as I got into bed.

As I lay in the bed, I tried to go to sleep but kept jerking awake, feeling like I was falling. I got up to go to the bathroom a couple of times, hoping that that would relax me. I also got up and brushed my teeth, but I just felt so anxious in the bed. It felt like I was vibrating and twitching. My fingers would jitter and as I felt myself drifting to sleep, it was like someone would spin me in the bed and I felt like I was falling off the bed. This would give me a flush of adrenaline and my whole body would just tingle like I had been shocked. I also had the feeling of my skin crawling, waves of it, going up my shoulders to my head.

I must have finally drifted off to sleep, because when I woke up the next morning, I felt like I had slept VERY hard.

Sunday, I felt about the same and had more diarrhea. Don’t know if the diarrhea was caused by nervousness or what. I also didn’t eat for most of the day. I tried to eat some animal crackers, but I only managed to choke one down. I drank lots of water during the day, but continued to feel shaky with little muscle twitches in my neck, calves, shoulders and hands. My hands would occasionally feel a little tingly, but not as bad as it was Saturday night.

I didn’t do anything Sunday but lay in the bed, get up for a few minutes to move around, then go back to bed. I had slept late and couldn’t really go to sleep during the day, but I just rested because I felt exhausted from feeling so jittery and foggy-headed. I also had cotton mouth several times during the day, so I drank more and more water.

By Sunday night, I actually started feeling a little bit better. Not so crampy in my muscles and not so jittery. Sunday night, I ate pizza (I know, not a good idea) but it was very good. I didn’t take a Dramamine because I was concerned that the Saturday night sleeplessness might have been caused, partly, by the drug. I actually was able to go to sleep fairly quickly, but I did have the sudden jerking-awake-shocky-thing happen once.

I woke up Monday (this morning) feeling pretty good. I decided not to go to the office because I still am having the faint feeling of dizziness and I am still a bit jittery — especially my hands and legs. It almost feels like when I move them trying to keep them still, that they are moving across a washboard.

So, tomorrow is the MRI and we will see what happens after that.

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