This morning, Fiance and I ate a gigantic breakfast at Big City, and then headed over to his boss’ house to borrow his truck so Fiance could finish moving out of his old house. We were hanging out in the backyard playing with Boss’ boxer puppies, when I started feeling sort of lightheaded. I toughed it out for a bit, hoping it would pass or we would hit the road so as not to make a scene, but eventually it became clear I would not be so lucky. I asked if I could go inside for a minute to sit down, as it was pretty hot out, and a few minutes later found myself sitting on their kitchen floor wondering exactly how I’d gotten there, and if it was necessary to be quite so sweaty and cold.
I was mostly fine after a few minutes, albeit somewhat confused since I had a) just eaten, b) been out in the heat for the past hour no problem, and c) am out in the heat constantly for frisbee. But whatever. So I passed out on their floor. No big deal, right? People faint.
Granted, the only other time I’ve been around Boss and his wife, I’d also left abruptly due to a medical problem. Back in March, at Fiance’s co-worker’s wedding, we were all sitting around at the reception when I decided the vision loss I’d had in my right eye for 24 hours or so was something worth being alarmed about. I went from flippant to freaked in about 15 minutes, and off we went to the hospital. They must think me either a hypochondriac or a medical trainwreck.
I was diagnosed with idiopathic optic neuritis, and given very little in the way of details (because there is nothing doctors hate more than scientists – we ask all manner of irritating questions). With an astounding display of poor bedside manner, the medical staff started mumbling about multiple sclerosis, using a delightful array of adverbs such as “likely” and “typically” and “probably” and thank god I was geeking out on all the medical details I could draw out of them, or else I would have Lost. My. Shit.
So, long expensive story short(er), I get pumped full of corticosteroids and sent packing, slightly alarmed and very intrigued. I get my head scanned (CT, MRI) and my eyes checked and checked and checked. Ultimately my MRI comes back clean, which means, I am told, that I have “only” about a 50% chance of ending up with MS. We will assume I don’t have MS until I turn up with another neurological symptom, of which there are a variety pack. I am also told my vision should improve and return within about 6 weeks (just long enough to totally ruin the frisbee season…). Well, it’s the end of July and here’s some Susie Goggles (TM):
So that’s my central vision in both eyes. Left is normal with a normal blindspot, right is screwed up – about 30% gone, give or take. My peripheral in that eye is much worse. I’d say I lost about 50% total in my right eye. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter too much for most of my day-to-day activities. It’s really only a major detraction for frisbee, and it makes driving on the interstate during rush hour sort of… mentally taxing.
So, anyways, I’m glossing over lots of the details (hard to believe, I’m sure), but today I’m wondering if randomly fainting, and also the vertigo I’ve been getting occaisionally, might not be a neurological symptom worth mentioning to a doctor.
The crux is that fainting isn’t necessarily weird, and neither is a little bit of vertigo. It’s a question of how much constitutes “abnormal,” and my definition of too much might be different than someone else’s. Additionally, if it were as simple as going to the doctor and getting a satisfactory answer, the way would be clear. However, after reading some of the primary literature on optic neuritis and MS, I disagree with the choices my doctors made, the details they shared with me, and the explanations offered. That’s another story though.
Maybe it just was my subconscious satisfying my love of taking naps on the kitchen floor. Bad subconscious!