I hate going to hospitals, they always make me feel miserable. The smell, the low key lighting and the waiting around are a recipe for feeling pretty sorry for myself. However, my recent reasoning for having to visit was one I’ve been waiting about a year and a half for, after my first spell of vertigo.
It took a lot of stress to get my referral sorted, after the initial referral was conveniently lost. So after being diagnosed with Labyrinthitis and having it 3 times in the space of just over a year, I finally got to see a specialist at Chichester hospital last week.
As going to the hospital for any reason is a scary experience, I thought I’d share how it went, in case you ever need to go for the same, or a similar reason.
When I first arrived at the hospital, I had that awkward feeling of having no idea where I was meant to go. From a previous hospital visit I knew I was looking for the ‘Outpatients’ building, so it took a few wrong twists and turns to finally get where I need to be.
Once signed in at the reception, I was told to sit in waiting room 2. It was at this point I text Liam to let him know that I’d much rather be playing Theme Hospital at home than being sat in one. Everything around me was grey and dark, and there were a few patients walking around looking as I did, like this was the last place on Earth they wanted to be.
After about 10 minutes, I was moved to waiting area 4, specifically for the Audiology department, where I would first be having a hearing test. As you can expect, the remaining waiting room inhabitants were at least 40 years my senior.
Another 15 minutes passed before I was called into a small room where I was asked to wear some sound cancelling headphones. The hearing test involves a series of beeps of various pitches and volumes, and you have to press a button every time you heard it. Top tip: Turn your phone off before this test as it interferes with the machinery and causes static in the audio.
The test lasts about 10 minutes – and you’ll find out straight away if you get the all clear. Luckily, my hearing was fine. After this examination, I was sent back to waiting room 4 to await my consultation with the doctor.
The wait this time round was about another 10 minutes. I have to admit, I was expecting a lot more waiting around, but I guess in the middle of the week things aren’t so busy. I was then led by a nurse to the doctor’s room and introduced before taking a seat.
As with any consultation, this part was all about the doctor asking me about my experiences with vertigo – as my last spell had been quite a few months before, it was a struggle to remember everything. The sorts of questions asked were things like how often I would get the dizzy episodes, how long they would last and if there was any family history of things such as high blood pressure and migraines.
After taking extensive notes on my experience, the doctor performed a few tests which included checking my eye movements, looking in my ears and testing my balance by closing my eyes and marching on the spot (although, despite not feeling like I was moving, I managed to almost walk into the doctor’s chair twice!).
Nothing turned out to be particularly abnormal – likely due to the fact I haven’t had any dizziness for a little while now. However, the doctor was still able to provide me with a diagnosis based on my experiences, and it wasn’t Labyrinthitis! Instead it’s something called Vestibular Migraines.
Admittedly they are very similar to Labyrinthitis, and are triggered by the same sorts of things. The doctor gave me a list of these triggers, which include stress as well as certain foods (including chocolate WOE IS ME). I don’t have to completely avoid anything, unless I begin to get the dizziness, which from experience is usually when I’m unwell or stressed out.
The doctor also agreed to write a letter to my GP so that preventative medicine could be used when needed, and he has also offered an open appointment to see him again should the symptoms occur. Hurray!
Overall, even though I was dreading the appointment I am so pleased with the results. It’s good to know the actual problem, and to know that measures can be taken to avoid it.
I’d definitely recommend seeing a doctor if you feel like you have any problems with vertigo, as it can be really scary, frustrating and can make you feel awful.