It’s Not Effexor

I went back to the doctor today. Of course, the one who I saw last week for the dizziness wasn’t there today. My regular doctor wasn’t there either. I got to meet a new doctor today, and I got to see a nurse who did a half-assed job.

I called this morning because I kept feeling sick when I would move even the slightest bit. I went in at 11 am. The nurse who took my blood pressure decided to use the machine, which is never reliable with my blood pressure. She put too small of a cuff on my arm, and instead of placing it above the elbow (where it is accurate), she decided to put it at my wrist. Putting too small of a cuff on the arm, especially at the wrong location, can lead to a (severely) misleading result.

I talked to the doctor, who didn’t really believe anything was wrong. He refused to look at my chart, which made explaining things a bit difficult. He asked if I had any health problems. I told him I did. It turned out that he only considers problems that are currently being medicated as being legitimate problems. I tried to explain that I couldn’t take most of the drugs that have been prescribed to me because my health is kind of bad like that. He didn’t care. He had the crappy nurse come back in and do the orthostatic test with the machine. She put the cuff in the same spot. Lying down 130/90. It was 135/95 sitting up. And when I stood it went to 145/95. Of course, she took the pressure within a very short time period. For an accurate reading, I should’ve been laying down for 10 minutes, then each test should have taken 5 minutes. Doing one right after the other in the same spot would increase the pressure.

When it didn’t have the proper results for what I told him the previous doctor had concluded, he told me that it had to be the Effexor. I started arguing at this point. I have been on Effexor on and off since I was 17 (just over 9 years now), and I know the difference in that kind of dizziness and this. I get the Effexor dizziness when I go through withdrawal after missing any portion of a dose. (Effexor has a very fast and very aggressive withdrawal pattern that can cause disabling vertigo.) I also get the dizziness when I go on the drug. Since I take it regularly, and rarely miss any dose at all, I know it isn’t that. Also, like I said, the dizziness is different. I’ve had dizziness issues off and on since I was young. Many of the women in my family have dizziness and balance issues. We’ve learned the difference between our most common kinds of dizziness. This is different. He told me I was wrong. He prescribed Meclizine.

I was a bit leery of the Meclizine prescription. Though I know it is a fairly benign drug, usually, I also know that people with Sjögren’s tend to have problems with certain antihistamines. Also, since I’m already dehydrated, which I’m fairly certain the phlebotomists from yesterday would agree that I am dehydrated, it seems dumb to take a drug that can cause you to dry out more. So far, the drug, which I did take 1 pill from, has helped the actual dizziness. It doesn’t stop the racing heart, the stabbing pains all over my body, etc. It just makes the room spin less.

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.