I went to the new ear doc to get the results of the vestibular testing, and I felt like I walked into the Twilight Zone.
He walked in the room with his too big smile, shook my hand and told me something about the test…that didn’t make a lot of sense. He said that it showed that I had reduced cochlea function in both ears. That at my age he would expect it to be a 21, but my right ear is a 4 and my left is a 13. I asked…”What does this mean?” He said that it meant that my cochlea wasn’t working as it should in my ears…well duh. I repeated, “Yes, but what does that cause?” “It means you have vertigo. And you might have this thing called Meniere’s”
WHAT?? I MIGHT HAVE WHAT? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? YOU DON’T REMEMBER ME? YOU DIDN’T LOOK AT MY CHART BEFORE YOU CAME IN THE ROOM?
Okay, another reason that whole thing was weird….cochlea function refers to hearing. My cochlea is not going to show up working on any test, I have cochlear implants, I have a device in my head that is coiled around my cochlea that vibrates so I can hear. It doesn’t work on it’s own. And the tests I were given doesn’t even test that. But the numbers he gave me do correspond to the main test that I was given. That was just so weird.
He also talked about a hearing test I had last February, I told him I didn’t have a hearing test last year. He argued with me and pointed to the computer and said, that it said the tests showed my right ear had severe to profound hearing loss. I looked at him and took off my Cochlear Implants and showed him and said, “I have Cochlear Implants, why would I get a hearing test? However, I do have some residual hearing in my right ear, but…” and he interrupted me and said….”That’s impossible, if you have Cochlear Implants, you can’t have any hearing…blah, blah.” Stuart tried to explain to him that with the newest CI’s you often keep any hearing you had…he still argued. Dang-it, I think I know if I can hear or not! When I told him that I wouldn’t need a hearing test I saw the nurse point out to him that the date on the hearing test was not from 2015. It was 2014, shortly after my CI surgery….of course he didn’t put that together, that I can hear out of my right ear, a little bit. And he did not admit to us that he got the date wrong. It’s also very sad that the audiologist that gave me the test knew that the new CI’s are often allowing people to keep some of their residual hearing, she was not surprised that I can hear a little out of my right ear. (I want to explain, I can only hear a certain frequency, I can’t hear much. For example, I was sleeping through the fire alarm at the hotel in December, yet Stuart said it was hurting his ears. So it isn’t much hearing, but there is some there.)
Finally, I got tired of dealing with him. I asked him a couple of questions, which I don’t really trust the answers to now, then I said, “So the plan is, I start Vestibular Rehab, I keep working with my migraine doc to get the migraines under control, keep up the low sodium diet, and taking the Valium twice a day. After I go through the Vestibular rehab we will talk about the gentimiacin injections. That’s the plan.” Then I stuck out my hand to shake his. In my mind he was dismissed. He just had that plastered on smile like he had the whole time, and shook my hand and said, “That’s the plan.”
I saw no reason to spend any more time with that man. It was obvious he did not review my chart before he came in the room. I do not understand how he could not remember me. He told me when I saw him last time that I am the most advanced case he has seen, and how many other patients do you think he has that have been to Duke and John Hopkins? Plus, Stuart and me together are pretty darn memorable. I have NEVER had a doctor make me feel like they didn’t remember me. I “might have this thing called Meniere’s”…geez…are you kidding me? He said a number of other things that just didn’t make sense…like, “I thought you had gentimiacin and it didn’t work.” He just said that I might have Meniere’s and then he said he thought I had gentimiacin injections? dodododo
About the tests….well he only gave me the numbers for the biggest test they did. The Caloric Stimulation Test. (click on the link if you want to learn about the test) This is used to for damage to the acoustic nerve (hearing and balance) and it test the brain stem. It is the only test that test the ears separately. The numbers he gave me fit right in on this test. 21 is normal. He kind of dismissed the 13, I really didn’t understand that. Of course, the one that is really out of wack is the right ear coming in at only a 4. So, I’m thinking when we get to the point of killing off the balance center we will do the right ear first and see if it straightens things out, or makes it so much better I don’t feel I have to do the left.
Now for the big decision, what do I do about this doctor? I really don’t trust him enough now to let him give me a shot in my ear that will kill my balance center. Heck I don’t trust him enough to give me a B-12 shot.
What do I do? I can’t find another ear doctor in this whole city that knows anything about Meniere’s except for the other guy I went to who thinks he is a god. He doesn’t listen to his patients…at least not to me, and according to his ratings on-line and on Angie’s list, he doesn’t listen to most people…he didn’t believe I have vertigo as often as I do. Really? Does he think I use a walker just for fun? Ugh…..I hear stories like this from so many people with chronic illnesses, we have such a hard time finding doctors who are compassionate. I’m lucky, most of my doctors are wonderful, but I’m having a heck of a time finding a good ear doctor since we moved.
I found an ear clinic I would like to go and check out that is close to 2 hours away from here. I have a list of questions for Stuart to ask them on the phone before I even think about making an appointment. If they treat people like it appears they do on their website, I think this would be a very good place to go. They are very well versed in advanced Meniere’s, and they aren’t afraid to treat it.
As you can see, I do believe in being an advocate for myself, but I know when I can’t burn my bridges just yet. I’m also not afraid to fire an incompetent doctor and as soon as I find a new one, I promise this doctor will know why he is being fired and I will write a review on him letting others know what I think. The group does have a good support staff, too bad he is the only one in that group that (supposedly) knows anything about Meniere’s.