September 21, 2004

Oto Noto

It has been awhile since I have written anything. Two months ago I was stopped dead in my tracks by vertigo. I will save you all the details about how sick I was because I am tired of talking about it. It is old news.

Some people have urged me to look for the lesson in this illness. Those folks I have shot, so they will not be reading this newsletter. Instead I would prefer to look at the humor in all of this. I have had to look very hard because for a long time there was no humor.

My favorite day was my trip to the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. This is the holy grail in the Boston area for any malady from the neck up. It took many weeks of letting my suburban doctors tell me how much they did not know before I could get to Boston.

Due to an insurance snafu I spent a long time in registration that day. After awhile I was struck by how many blind people were in one place. They kept coming through the lobby. I had not been to Boston for a long time, so I figured it had to be a city thing. Blind people must live in the city. About twenty minutes later it dawned on me where I was – in an EYE Infirmary. My brain was a little slow.

I was released from registration on probationary status and ascended to the medical offices of Otoneurology. That is where they drive through your brain. The secretary proceeded to tell me in a very loud voice about all the forms I was to fill out. Why was she shouting at me? I tried to fill out the forms but she kept shouting at everyone that came in.

I asked my wife, "Why is everyone in here yelling?" Her answer was clear, "Because people can't hear. This is an EAR place. Oto means ear." More evidence that my brain was a little slow.

But my brain was not missing. I have proof now – an MRI of my brain. My nickname in childhood, given by my loving older brothers, was "Head" due to my oversized noggin. I guess they were right because my MRI pictures come in a very large size. I like to think they are oversized because there is so much information stored in my oversized brain. My brothers still say otherwise

I met my new doctor and of course he was younger than me. That seems to happen more and more. Do they send these people directly from nursery school to medical school? What ever happened to more mature doctors?

He wanted to make sure I qualified to be in his hallowed office. So he took my head and shook it in every direction he could think of and then looked at my eye reaction. Did he do this just once? Oh no! Have I felt worse since seeing him? Oh yes!

I have a few more tests before this Harvard Medical School doctor can definitely say that he does not know what is causing my illness. Up to now the medical ignorance is just speculative. Next up is the Full Battery Vestibular Test. They hook up your ears to a car battery and see if they can get smoke to come out your eyes. That will be followed by a VEMP test. That stands for Very Energetic Mind Pummeling. I cannot wait.

After all of this testing I will be easy to spot. I will be the guy with the big head, droopy ears and fire breathing eyes.