Friday 21 December 2018

ENT Appointment for Dizziness

This morning, I finally had my appointment at the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) department. This was primarily for the dizziness I've experienced for years; which suddenly worsened around 4 months ago. I get this dizziness (amongst other symptoms) when standing up from sitting or lying down, or from sitting still for a prolonged period of time. I also feel as if I'm going to faint.

Other things, such as physical exertion or overheating, can make it much worse too, and I also experience palpitations, shakiness, nausea, and headaches.

So far, my GP has had blood tests done (all normal) as well as an ECG (normal), and had referred me to physiotherapy to see if I had a neck problem that was causing dizziness. I have neck pain anyway, but don't think this is connected to the dizziness. Needless to say, physio couldn't do a lot for me, so discharged me after an examination and after handing me a sheet of exercises to do. You can read more about my physio appointment here.

Anyway, back to the ENT appointment. Thanks to traffic, I was a few minutes late getting to the department. Thankfully, it wasn't difficult to find, but I had to rush. After about a 10 minute wait, a member of staff (a nurse or audiologist possibly?) called me to a room for a hearing test. This involved wearing headphones and having difference frequency/volume beeps played into each ear. Everytime I heard a beep, I had to press the button on a joystick shaped object that I was given. Some beeps were very hard to hear, and sometimes it was hard to distinguish between that and general computer noises, but I felt I'd done alright. I hadn't had a hearing test for as long as I could remember, so I was expecting to have some issues now.

Once that was finished, I was asked to sit in the waiting room. I was soon called to the doctor's office. I think it was a registrar that I saw, as it was not the consultant named on my appointment letter. He introduced himself, and I promptly forgot his name (typical me!) then he asked what had brought me here today.

I explained about the dizziness and faintness, and he asked what that felt like to me. The dizziness, I explained, felt like the room was spinning. The faintness, like I was about to collapse. I also had problems with balance, that were made worse by the dizziness and faintness. The doctor said that the faintness was not something ENT could deal with, but they could hopefully investigate/treat the dizziness.

He next asked me to let him examine my ears. He said they looked fine to him, so no worries there. He then asked to check my balance by getting me to stand without my stick (I had to keep steadying myself by placing my hand on the desk repeatedly), make marching movements with my legs; lifting them up as high as I could. Next, he asked me to walk heel to toe from my chair to the window, and then from the door to my chair. Both times I stumbled and nearly fell against objects close to me. I was also very wobbly. Once I'd sat down, the doctor conducted some neurological tests; including pushing my arms up against his, following his finger with my eye, then touching his finger, then my nose and repeat a few times as quickly as I could. I just about managed this, but really had to concentrate and was very shaky. He picked up on the shakiness and asked if it was something I experience often. I explained it always happened after any physical exertion. Lastly, he asked me to relax as much as I could, then focus on a spot on the wall, while he moved my head from side to side, slowly then quickly. After a few attempts, he managed this. I was focusing so much that I tensed my neck right up!

After these tests, the doctor asked about medication I take, any allergies to medication (Amoxicillin and Naproxen), current medical conditions, and any surgeries (I've had none). He told me his findings were that my hearing was normal, my ears were fine, but he wanted to investigate the dizziness more thoroughly. He said he would refer me for Vestibular tests, so to wait for an appointment letter for that and then follow up again with him soon. He also said that I should stop my anti sickness medication Prochlorperazine (Stemetil) as this would make the dizziness/faintness worse. He told me that something like Cyclizine would be a better choice. Next, he said I should be referred (probably to Cardiology) for the faintness and that he would write to my doctor to mention that and the anti sickness medication. Finally, he gave me a sheet with exercises to do, in the hopes of relieving my dizziness.

Overall, I felt the appointment went well! I left the hospital feeling well informed, taken seriously, I had clear information on what to do/would happen next and I felt the doctor had been thorough.

My next post will likely be about my latest CMHT assessment. My mental health has declined recently, for various reasons, so I got in touch and cried over the phone to the Access/Crisis Team. I will give much more information in the next post I write.

Depending upon the follow up appointments CMHT give me (if any), my post on the Vestibular tests may or may not be after that.

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