One year ago, I was admitted to Ruby Memorial – it started with vertigo a few days before and then to vertigo with double vision but slowly developed into slurred speech and word finding issues, difficulty walking, and focusing.  I remember getting to the hospital and they noted my clothes were inside out.  I knew something was really wrong.  At first I thought it was my imagination- I woke up and there were two alarm clocks, two TVs, etc…  Complete double vision, literally the real “item” with the second vision directly to the left.  At the time I joked – double the money and chocolate is GREAT, but two of some people/things are more than I can handle.  I remember the fear – as a nurse I knew it could be a stroke, a tumor, neurologic issue such as M.S. (extra scary since mom had M.S.).   I went through every test imaginable – even a lumbar puncture (by a resident who did AWESOME).  I couldn’t read or watch TV. Activity was limited – remember I had constant “world spinning” motion and double vision – so I listened to music and prayed.

I personally LOVE aUniversityHospitalwhere you have residents and consulting teams with residents and staff physicians with years and years of experience that are there 24-hours a day.  The more eyes – the more opinions – the more brain storming on what could be going on…  I had to PREPARE for the UNKNOWN.  It is one of the worse positions to be in for life.  I had physicians who called in more physicians (medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, ENT, ophthalmology).  They had no idea what was causing it — so there was no cure and no answers.   Physicians who had been there for over 25 years were called in – amazed and stunned.  Ophthalmology loved me most – my eye movement was recorded for training and extra residents came in to see them in person.  I left with NO ANSWERS – UNKNOWN ETIOLOGY!  I got to wear an eye patch to alternate because if I covered one eye I had single vision.  On an outpatient basis more testing to discover that I had a new profound hearing loss in my ear.  More puzzles… more unknown!

I kept working – it took me twice as long to do things because reading and typing was still a challenge.  I could have taken the time off work and got short-term disability, but I was afraid.  I felt like I needed to fight back from the illness.  I was afraid that if I stopped working, I may not ever be able to work again!  I had to do everything I possibly could.  They were NOT sure I would ever be okay – without double vision and vertigo!  PREPARE for the UNKNOWN – I may have to live the rest of my life wearing a patch and struggling at everything that once came easy.

The bottom line my brain and eyes were not communicating and my two eyes were also not communicating with each other – mixed messages happening continually.  Isn’t that how life goes – much of the problems faced are a result of not communicating, miscommunication, and sending mixed messages!  After 6 weeks it finally disappeared.  I woke up one morning and only saw one alarm clock!  They determined only after the symptoms resolved that likely a virus had attacked my optic and vestibular pathway.  Viruses do not show up on images and cannot be treated.   The problem is now the pathways are vulnerable to viruses. I have had a few mini flare-ups but catch them early, get the sinus medication on board to decrease the pressure – and kick up the prayer (:   Last week I even had to go to the doctor because the vertigo and some double vision started – time for an antibiotic.  I wrote a blog awhile back about viruses attacking us – the key is prevention and early treatment!  When we let a problem go and ignore symptoms, it can become larger than we planned and make us vulnerable for future attacks. 

What a humbling experience for me – I had to rely on so many people to help me!  I couldn’t drive – so everyday people had to help me take/pick up kids.  My husband drove me to work and I would ride home with a friend.  I learned how to space activities and to move a little slower to decrease the vertigo.  I look back on those days and feel so blessed.  Blessed that all the big tests came back negative – sometimes the UNKOWN is not the worst possibility / outcome.  At the time the UNKNOWN was the worst scenario, but in hindsight a blessing.  I think in hindsight it was God’s message to me – slow down – BE STILL and know that I am God  (Psalm 46:10a).  I should make it a habit when I am planning my weeks out to remember those days – a reminder to slow down a little and BE STILL.  God may be whispering something I need to hear!  I shouldn’t need the vertigo and double vision to get my attention! 

I had to PREPARE for the UNKNOWN.  But as a human – we want to KNOW everything.  Some call or visit psychics to tell us our future.  I went to one once with some people from work just to see what it was like – her “reading” was definitely not God’s “reading”.   I know people who believe everything they say – they can be fascinating and feed the needing to “KNOW”.    Life is full of UNKNOWNS – all you can do is PREPARE for the UNKNOWN.  It is UNKNOWN when our life will be over so we have to make the most of everyday (put life into our days – previous blog).  It is UNKNOWN what our children will be when they grow so all we can do is give them a good foundation and love and support  (Train up our child – Proverbs 22:6).  And those are just a few things – everyday can bring UNKNOWNS. Thankfully God knows the plans He has for me!  And though it may include bad and sad and uncertain times (and I may not understand) – His plans are not for harm but hope and a future.  I just have to trust.  I have to PREPARE for the UNKNOWN that God has in store for me.   Often that requires me to BE STILL and listen for His whisper… and though I may question it at the time – the UNKNOWN may be the biggest blessing!  

 “…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”  Jeremiah 29:11


One thought on “PREPARE for the UNKNOWN

  1. Julie Umbel February 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm Reply

    What you went through was extremely scary….I’m not sure I could have handled it but you were VERY, VERY BRAVE INDEED! So glad it is under control and at least you know what to do if it reoccurs. These difficult times defnitely make us stronger and you are a better nurse, mother, wife, friend because of what you have been through! Another good one Sheri!

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