A number of people have written me, wondering where I’ve been, or if I’m ok. Sorry I haven’t been posting much, but I do have a pretty good excuse. A week ago, I was just sitting at work and all of a sudden started feeling a bit dizzy. I got up to get a drink and thought I was going to pass out. My first thoughts were simply that I had too much coffee and not a good breakfast. I laid down for a bit, but it didn’t help much. Luckily that day was the start of a three-day weekend for plenty of rest; surely I’d kick the dizziness in a day or two, right? Wrong.
It’s now been a full week and I feel exactly the same - no worse, but then again, no better.
I’m in very good health, no other symptoms, no headaches, no fever, no sickness. I excercise vigorously 4-5 times a week, eat healthy with lots of veggies, have never even broken a bone or had a cavity. My blood pressure is 110/70 - my blood work came back with all good news. So what’s up?
The first step I took, of course, was to go on the web searching for answers - BAD IDEA. All I did was freak myself out. Dizziness or Vertigo can be caused by such a broad spectrum of problems, ranging from a simple ear infection or stress, to a full blown “oh sh*t” problem such as a stroke or a brain tumor. Yeah, I’ve had a rotten week.
I’m able to walk around, but don’t exactly feel like being in public, I can’t safetly drive, have trouble staring at the computer for any length of time, and am getting pretty frustrated with the whole thing.
I guess I’m going to voice my experience with this, as I’ve read that most people will experience vertigo 2 or 3 times in their lifetime - if nothing else, maybe I can offer what it’s been like for me.
One thing I’ve learned from this is: Don’t wait to go to the doctor IF it’ll help your peace of mind. I waited for about 4 days and all I did was freak myself out by reading the stuff on the web.
Monday I finally went to an expat doctor in Jakarta - and after checking me out, she said I have a 90% chance of some kind of infection in my ear which is throwing my balance off and giving me vertigo. She made it clear that it’s not dangerous and will clear up on its own in a matter of days or possibly weeks. There’s not medication that will speed recovery.
Of course, knowing me, I had to ask THE question - “And, what’s the other 10% chance?”. Bad idea. Bad, bad idea. Well, she said I could have suffered a small stroke or there’s a small chance I could have a brain tumor. My face went whiter than my arse. Realizing that I wasn’t doing so hot, she reassured me that if either or those were the case, I’d have much worse symptoms, and it’s highly unlikely in someone of my age and health. Ok, a little better. Basically I had to just wait it out.
Tues and Wed sucked. Waiting sucks. Watching dvd after dvd sounded like so much fun when you skipped class in high school - lemme tell ya - things have changed.
I hit a low point on Wednesday night when after reading about symptoms of stroke - that your arm or leg could go numb, when, “holy SH*T” my right arm went numb minutes later. Until my wonderful girl calmed me down did I realize that I had been resting my elbow on the corner of my chair; cutting off circulation to my hand and providing ample reason to yet again freak myself out. I suppose this is as close to depression that I’ve come in my 28 years on this blue marble.
Only today, when a friend recommended a neurologist in Bintaro International, did I consider getting a second opinion. Glad I did. The specialist was very calming, and made sure that I understood that at this point and time he absolutely feels there’s no way it’s something as serious as a tumor or stroke. He gave me some pills to help regain my balance and said if things haven’t changed by next Monday, we’ll follow up with a CAT scan just to further ease my mind. Good guy.
Seeing as Novita is half Chinese / half Javanese - she definitely follows more ‘alternative medicine’ than I would - and good for her, cause I’ll tell you what; Western medicine certainly doesn’t have all the answers.
Immediately after leaving the neurologist, she took me to a doctor that practices holistic medicine; who was recommended by our Chinese neighbor. I’ll admit, it was my first time going to any type of doctor that wasn’t traditional in the sense - but at this point, I’ll try anything. She practices something that I don’t yet have the definition of, but basically involved her massaging my head for half an hour in an effort to ‘move the fluid surrounding the brain’ back into place, or something like that. It felt a bit odd, but was ultimately relaxing. The things she said were interesting. She believes that my dizziness is caused by ‘blockage’ in my head from radiation from computer screens; in correlation with high levels of stress. She said she’s seen it many times.
She then had me remove my shirt and lay down on my chest. I agreed to do acupuncture for the first time in my life. Ok, for those of you who say it doesn’t hurt - bullshit! - it does! BUT I think part of that was due to me being tense about it in the first place - instead of sticking a needle through a marshmellow, it was like they were pushing it through clay. At one point, they stuck one in my forearm, hitting some odd nerve which made my fingers twitch like crazy, “Um, doc - is THIS normal?” She ignored me.
After sitting there for 20 minutes or so, they started using some hot ‘infra-red’ lamp over my body, and began twisting the needles around a bit. I agreed to come back for three more visits in the following month.
I don’t think it was supposed to cure me straight away - and I was honest with her about feeling pretty much exactly the same as when I walked in the door (stubborn Americans), but I know that if nothing else, it helped calm my nerves a bit, and that is a good thing. As I said, right now I’ll try anything.
I did try two other non-traditional treatments that I’ll discuss at some other time. Let’s just say it’d be something you’d see in a movie and laugh your ass off watching - believing that no one would ever do that ‘in real life’. Yeah.
In an effort to clear my mind, I quietly went to work on this image.