It’s quite interesting that I worked in the medical field for a period of time before being sidelined by my condition. I was becoming intimately familiar with the daily dealings of the administrative side of healthcare. Working alongside doctors and nurses, training them how to run sophisticated electronic medical records, I found myself mastering the art of labeling. In order for me to train them properly, I had to understand the workflow of the hospital and how patients were triaged, treated and released. Immediately, as patients are checked into the clinic or hospital, the goal was to quickly assess and compartmentalize information in order to give patients a label. The labeling came in different forms, such as the placing of a medical wristband on the patient for identification, to entering a diagnosis code into the system so that the insurance would be billed properly. It was interesting to see how well oiled the machine ran, until a patient presenting rare or interesting symptoms forced a wrench in the system and was spit out.
Which leads me into my personal journey and how my condition threw a wrench in the system. I will save you the stress of intimate details and break this down as much as I can…
Marissa experiences intermittent dizziness> urgent care visit> ( diagnosis:dizziness, treatment: rest and given an o/c drug meclizine).
Marissa has full on vertigo spell>ENT Specialist visit>( diagnosis: dizziness, treatment: rest and given valium)
Marissa falls at work from dizziness>emergency room>(diagnosis:dizziness, referred to another ENT specialist).
Marissa heads to ENT specialist>(diagnosis:dizziness, treatment: removal of scab on ear drum. Doctor believes I had an earache that ruptured. treatment: rest and follow-up with an x-ray).
Marissa visits radiology (x-ray taken)> Marissa advised to schedule a follow-up visit with specialist.
Marissa follow-up visit> doctor says they can see cervical curvature of the spine and asks if I need pain medication. I state no I am not experiencing neck pain. The dizziness is dismissed>( diagnosis: dizziness, treatment: none.)
Marissa has another violent vertigo spell> Another ENT specialists visited> (Diagnosis: dizziness, treatment: vestibular rehab therapy).
Marissa takes leave of absence from work to try to find a doctor outside her HMO.
Marissa starts falling into depression> I was told by some of the doctors at the HMO that the dizziness is just in my head so I surrender and see a social worker> I ask for pills hoping it is in my head and once I take the pills the dizziness will go away>Social worker refers me to a psychiatrist since she is unable to prescribe pills> Psychiatrist says I am normal as can be and encourages me to find different doctors and get to the bottom of the dizziness.
Marissa travels to Oregon to see top ENT specialist> specialist visit>(diagnosis: perilymph fistula, treatment: surgery )
Marissa gets call from doctor stating that he hurt his wrist and can’t perform surgery so refers me to a colleague in San Diego.
Marissa heads to San Diego>ENT referral>( diagnosis: BPPV, treatment: no surgery will be performed. Epley maneuvers)> He says I do not have a perilymph fistula and I was asked to schedule a visit his colleague since he found nystagmus in testing. He wants a second opinion.
Marissa heads back to San Diego>2nd opinion visit> colleague confirms findings (diagnosis: BPPV, treatment: rotary chair to break the “crystals”. )
Marissa contacts HMO for assistance with outside doctors medical bills and travel cost and is denied( review board asks me to see their HMO specialist in San Diego)
Marissa heads to back to San Diego to see HMO specialist>HMO specialist with God complex shows zero empathy and my mom looses it and has to verbally check him>( diagnosis: Posterior canal obstruction, treatment: surgery; posterior cancel occlusion).
Marissa emails specialist that created the surgery and sends him information on case and he says he would never dream of doing the surgery based on findings.
Marissa presents email to God complex doctor and he refutes that he even mentioned posterior canal occlusion. He says he stated anterior canal occlusion. (because I love making up fancy medical names and rare diagnosis). He reminds me that the surgery he is suggesting is rare and I won’t find information looking on the internet! Marissa runs far away from the HMO approved specialist.
Marissa’s other two ENT doc’s say that there is nothing more that can be done. (Diagnosis: Canalithiasis, treatment: one believes surgery the other does not recommend surgery. )> I am left lost.
Marissa get’s call from employer that I have 2 weeks to return to work or I will be terminated. I am unable to return to work so I am let go.
Marissa is falling further into depression and finds herself questioning if life is worth living. ( I really was at a low at this point. My heart goes out to all of those who have thoughts of taking their own life. I have heard people say those who takes their own lives are selfish. I will be the first to say that I never felt selfish I actually didn’t feel anything at all!). I am not sure what pulled me out of that dark period but I figured there had to be someone or some organization that could help me.
Marissa aimlessly wonders into a vocational rehabilitation center>Was given a counselor and a case.
Marissa is sent on a vocational assessment>I was supposed to participate in the assessment for a week and I believe I only made it 3 days. I am devastated. It is then I realize this condition has taken over my life.
Marissa stops participating in the vocational rehabilitation program. The reality that I was considered disabled freaked me out. I refused to accept what was happening.
Marissa is spiraling further into depression. I didn’t even want to get dressed or converse with others.
Marissa starts to see a new social worker and that does the trick! During a session I realize that there is still a life to live. I then make a decision to reconnect with my vocational rehabilitation counselor.
Marissa is supported by her vocational counselor> We work together trying to find me to vocation that will allow me to work from home.
Marissa enrolls in an online course that will offer a certification in web design
Marissa begins to start looking into alternative doctors.
Marissa finds a wonderful doctor of chiropractic and a neuromuscular dentist. I am starting to heal slowly. I am still dealing with chronic dizziness and imbalance issues but I am seeing some progression.
Marissa is inspired by her chiropractor to began writing and here we are.
Please note that my current chiropractor and dentist do not believe I have the ear condition known as Canalithiasis. They have a different opinions on what may be happening. However, as I mentioned in an early part of this post there has to be a label. So for now I have to keep my diagnosis as Canalithiasis so I receive services. It will be interesting what label we come up with next!:)