Speaking with a couple of neighbors yesterday, I was cheered to learn that even for our neighborhood, it is somewhat unusual to see a heifer sauntering down the road. But yesterday, there she went, apparently either having very recently delivered a calf or being about to deliver a calf, up our little dead-end road. Someone who’s a better neighbor than I am followed her in his truck and corralled her on another neighbor’s property until her owner could be identified and come and claim her. Welcome to the wild woolly subdivision.
The cow was actually an amusing distraction at about 7:30 in the morning. I had to wait till 8:45 for my doctor’s office to open. I decided it was really time to get some things checked out — an overall sense of feeling poisoned, more frequent migraines than usual, a strange and acutely painful intermittent throbbing in my ear, annoying and sometimes embarrassing vertigo most of the time, increased fatigue (even for me), increased irritability (even for me), and obsessive fantasies of chopping my computer into tiny pieces, shipping the shreds to Nuance (of Dragon Speaking voice recognition software fame) and somehow learning to cope with computer-free life. But I wasn’t going to present the computer symptoms to my doctor, at least not unless he asked. Mostly I wanted him to evaluate me for TMJ, because if that was behind the migraines and the vertigo, it was something I could have fixed. If the migraines were related to the damaged discs and impacted nerves in my neck, or something else, it would just have to remain a tough life.
My beneficent, forbearing God had already orchestrated things so that I would secure an appointment for that very afternoon. I was also given the brainstorm to write down all the vitamin supplements I was taking. I was cleared for TMJ — the clinical diagnostic pressure he applied didn’t hurt at all. My eustachian tubes are so miniscule that even a pediatric otoscope was thwarted, so he was not able to check my eardrum.
But my other symptoms roused other suspicions, and as we were talking, I noticed him doing something with this phone. I assumed he was texting his wife, “running late with patient from hell.” But he was fetching something interesting from some nifty side-effects app, and soon handed me his phone to behold the symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity.
I had purchased a Vitamin A supplement from Safeway. I thought the supplement would be a good idea because I don’t eat any vegetables except for a few slices of zucchini. Each tablet has 25,000 IUs, and the recommended dosage was one tablet per day. Okay, I’m a reasonable consumer who doesn’t check on things that are sold in common drugstores as common products to make sure that the dose is not uncommonly outrageous, which evidently in this case it was. The side effects of Vitamin A toxicity are things like vertigo, irritability, agitation, headaches, coma (how would I know?), and liver necrosis (not at all a happy thought). Needless to say, I’m off the Vitamin A, but it has a half-life of six months.
Between us, we decided that my symptoms could be divided between an allergy/sinus infection and the excessive Vitamin A. He decided to give me Singular to try to reduce inflammation caused by the allergy (I live in a cottonwood blizzard zone) before thwacking me with an antibiotic, or worse in my case, an antihistamine.
I feel wonderfully encouraged to think of a simple solution being underway instead of the horrific prospects I had imagined, like TMJ surgery, or a brain tumor pressing against the nerves of my ear, which actually seemed at times the most inevitable. Being an uninsured American, I tend not to call the doctor until I’m fairly sure I have, at the very least, a brain tumor.
No cows in the street this morning, though it would not be at all unusual this evening if we saw the couple who often walk their miniature ponies as if they were dogs; or someone riding in her pony cart, or any number of people riding horses in the street. It’s actually unusual for people to be out in their cars at night here.
It’s time to close down Dragon Speaking and restart my computer — the Beast is good for about 500 words before it starts to act as if it had a little too much Vitamin A.