Thursday, October 2, 2008

Live from the LKH Rottenmann!

When we last met, I was heading to the Sturmfest in Irdning. I drank two small glasses of Sturm and walked home about 11:30 pm. At 4:30 am I was awakened by the worst bedspins of my life -- it felt like I was on the Tilt A Whirl! I figured it must have been a bad batch of Sturm, and tried to go back to sleep. But every time I put my head down on the pillow, I had terrible bedspins. On Monday I decided to see a doctor. Thus began my foray into the world of socialized medicine!

The doctor in Irdning adjusted my spine and gave me tablets. "If you get through the night without any dizziness, you don't need to do anything. But if you have vertigo again, I am giving you a referral to the hospital in Rottenmann for further tests." Monday I was o.k., but Tuesday I was still having trouble lying down on my right side. I figured I'd go to the hospital on Thursday after school or Friday on my day off. But then I made the mistake of telling my mentor about my ailment. He was so distressed that it could be something serious that he made me go to Rottenmann on my first day of work (coincidentally, the same day my Austrian insurance kicked in).

Funny thing about socialized medicine: In the U.S. doctors assume that you have something very simple; in Austria, doctors want to rule out any serious diagnosis so they put you through a battery of tests. So far I've had blood work, an EKG, spine x-rays, lung x-rays, an MRI, an ultrasound and a contrast MRI. As an American, I'm calculating all the costs in my head and thinking I'm glad I've got Austrian insurance! I met with the ENT doctor and he said most likely my dizziness is due to otoliths. These are tiny crystals in the inner ear which can get dislodged and cause Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The ENT gave me some exercises to do which should coax these crystals back into place. In the meantime, my symptoms have virtually disappeared. So here I sit, day three of my stay in the Rottenmann hospital. I've had visitors (thanks, y'all!) and Rob brought me my laptop yesterday so I'm back in touch with the world. The paperwork is being processed so I can leave the hospital this afternoon, and I should be able to go to a concert this evening. At least, that's the plan! (UPDATE: Arrived home in Irdning at 4:30 pm Friday, none the worse for wear)


Caitlin said...

Your hospital room looks nicer than my apartment! Glad you're out though..You know, my great-grandmother used to check herself in to the hospital between Christmas and New Year's every year to escape from the stresses of everyday life and write her thank-you notes! It must have been more like Rottenman and less like St. Luke's in New York where I spent the 11 most stressful hours of my life!

marilyn said...

OOOOHHHHH NOOOO! Sorry it happened and so glad you are better.
We are still cleaning up from the storm, will finally get the fences back up this week.
We are good. more later, marilyn