March is the time of year when the hospital was between heating and air-conditioning--too warm for heat, and too soon for the air-conditioners to be turned on. The way new buildings are made, it would be impossible to get a window open for a little fresh air. Most of the patients were complaining about the heat, too
The heat and humidity made my head feel full; and even though I was taking a Bonine tablet each morning before going to work, I still felt slightly dizzy. The pills seemed to be losing their effectiveness. I was uncomfortable, but was still able to do my work.
Each day, near the end of the shift, it was necessary for me to go to the pharmacy on the floor below to obtain whatever narcotics were needed. I had noticed that going downstairs and back up seemed to make my head feel worse. I thought this was due to the change in atmospheric pressure.
Then one day I did as usual, and when I reached my floor, my head felt so full and odd that I had to go to the lounge. I thought it was probably warmer than usual. I experienced this same feeling to this severity one other time. Two or three years before, my family was having a picnic at the Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia. The altitude was very high. When I arrived and started walking about, I felt quite bad. That time, I thought my eyes were just acting up.
The next day I went through my day feeling fairly good, took my trip to the pharmacy; and when I reached the floor and started through the routine of counting narcotics, I became severely dizzy. This was the first time it was severe for a long length of time, and I felt sure I was going to collapse. This dizziness was not a spinning effect, but more of the full, odd feeling in my head. I thought if I could have just gotten cooled off I would have been all right. There was no cool spot. Even though I had taken a Bonine before going to work, I took another one at this time and after a bit started feeling better.
It was only at this time that the full realization that I was very ill became apparent to me. My symptoms had come so slowly through the years that I had become accustomed to them. Only now did I realize that I could no longer return to work until I found out what was wrong with me.
I started going to another ear, nose and throat specialist. He resumed the Lipoflavanoid capsules. He also had a hearing test done. The hearing was quite bad in the left ear. He had expected it to be worse in the right ear, the one that had been sore from the cold. When I had the Caloric Test done several months before, the left ear was more excitable than the right.
He thought I should have some blood tests done to check my blood sugar and thyroid. I made an appointment with an internist for this. The internist said the leg tremors were probably from the dizziness.
The internist ordered the five-hour glucose tolerance test and the thyroid test. He told me that sometimes the hypoglycemic feelings were caused by early diabetes. I said my self-diagnosis had been hyperinsulism. He said diabetes could give the same reaction.
I was scared to have the glucose tolerance test done because I was afraid I would have one of those sudden weak spells. He said if I did the test could be stopped. So I took along a sandwich to the hospital just in case. Before I allowed the test to be started, I asked the technician to promise me that if I began feeling weak, she would take a blood sample at once and discontinue the test.
All that worrying was useless. I withstood the test fine and did not experience the weak feeling. The results showed some variations from the normal. (Mainly at the 4-hour level the reading was 71.) The doctor said if I lost some weight, it would correct itself. In a way, I wish I had had that reaction during the test so a better analysis could have been obtained. The hypoglycemic feelings were coming much more frequently now and staying much longer. The thyroid test was normal.
I did not think the dermatitis that I had on my feet since 1956 played any part in my illness. However, a few months before, I started having some on my left index finger and decided I should see a dermatologist to make sure. He treated me with Kenalog Ointment, Grifulvin, and Prednisone.
After several weeks, the ear specialist repeated the hearing test. It was greatly improved. That particular day I was also feeling better generally. The Lipoflavanoid was given credit for this improvement.
At this time, I was again having a tired feeling in my jaws. The ear doctor thought that my malocclusion might be causing it and also be adding to the dizziness. He recommended that I see a dentist.
The dentist told me in order to correct the malocclusion with caps, etc., it would cost $500. I did not want to spend that much money since we did not have it. He said he could just cut the teeth down to alleviate the problem and would only cost $30 to $40, but that I probably would not be able to stand the pain due to the sensitivity of the teeth to heat and cold. He said leaving the teeth without caps would not cause them to decay, but would cause pain.
I told him to go ahead. I could tolerate some pain; dizziness I could not. By now the Bonines had lost most of their effectiveness. I always thought pain was one of the worse things that could happen to a person. I found out it is not. (Even though I don't rate pain very desirable either.)
The dentist cut down several molars. He had to use the slow drill for this. I still get a chill whenever I think of that slow, grinding machine. My teeth fitted together much better. I had to practice speaking for an hour or two before I could get used to the different fit.
A feeling of terrible depression was coming at this time. I felt as though I wanted to cry. I simply related it to the events of the past several months.
After this depression, I started having anxiety. There is quite a difference between the two. Anxiety is a horrible feeling. It makes a person feel that something dreadful is going to happen. I felt my life was coming to an end.
Indescribable sensations were beginning to be felt at this time. Once I was opening the refrigerator door and had one of those feelings. It wasn't one of weakness, shakiness, pain, depression, anxiety or anything I had ever felt before. These sensations would pass in a short time, and I would feel alright for a while.
I thought maybe I was becoming mentally ill. I had no personal problems other than this illness. I had been very happy in my job at the hospital. I had a good marriage and two wonderful children. Life had been very good to me so I didn't see how that could be.
Surprisingly, the anxiety was identical, but more severe, to the feeling I had on my "bad day"--the day the doctor thought I was probably ovulating. Now it stayed with me most of the time. I really felt like a "nervous wreck."
I have studied and have had experience with many diseases, but my abundance of symptoms did not seem to fit any particular one. The closest diseases, I thought, were perhaps multiple sclerosis, or a brain tumor.
Since so many of my symptoms seemed to be neurological in origin, I thought perhaps I should go to a neurologist even though the internists had not told me of any neurological indications.
I called a neurologist's office for an appointment. The receptionist asked who had recommended me. I said, "no one." She said the doctor only saw patients that were recommended to him by other doctors. I said I was a nurse at the hospital hoping to gain a foothold.
She said she would give me an appointment. The soonest he could see me was three weeks later. I told her I felt quite ill and would like to see him as soon as possible. But that was it; no appointment for three weeks.
I can understand doctors having to have some sort of system for seeing patients, and I suppose every patient that calls for an appointment thinks he is in dire need of help; but when a person becomes a patient, I can tell you that it is no fun trying to find help.
All the doctors I did see in the preceding years, however, were very good to me, and I believe they gave me the best they knew.
By now, my eyes had become so spastic I could hardly look at anything directly. The eyes and the dizziness seemed to be closely related. The headaches were severe, and the anxiety was terrible. The hypoglycemic feelings were frequent. The tremors in my legs were continuous. Those horrible indescribable feelings were coming more frequently.
I didn't think I'd be around in three more weeks for the neurologist's appointment, and I thought I'd better try something else. At this time, there was a great feeling of urgency for I felt that time was running out for me.
I had already seen most of the various kinds of medical doctors. About the only doctor that was left that I had not tried was a chiropractor. I had been told in my nursing work that they were quacks; but at this most desperate time, when death seemed so near, I decided to call one.
Years ago my sister Ann, who is also a nurse, had gone to a chiropractor for rheumatoid arthritis and had gotten such great relief that she had wanted me to see one for my eyes. She had suffered from arthritis since she was in high school. Gradually it had become so bad that she could hardly work. Her doctor was a rheumatologist, but he could not help her. Finally, she consulted a chiropractor. He relieved her in a very short time.
Through the years that I was having so much trouble with my eyes, she had tried again and again to get me to see one. I said, "No, not me." I had no desire whatsoever to have anyone move my spinal column around.
"And besides," I argued with my most irrefragable, impenetrable, irrefutable and invincible point, "if they were any good, wouldn't the medical profession be the first to approve and accept them?" Words cannot express how deeply I believed this statement to be true.
We lived in different cities; and when I saw her in June, she again asked me to see one. So now after all these years, I decided to take her advice. After all, even if he could not help me, my condition was such that he could do very little damage to me. When my sister heard that I had started going to a chiropractor, she said, "Boy, she must be sick."
Most nurses are like me, I believe. We like to work with a doctor and evaluate him before we go to him as a patient. All doctors have their own ideas as to how to treat a patient. So do all nurses. Naturally a person likes to go to one that agrees with her own ideas. I had always chosen my doctors with great care. I either knew them personally, or they were highly recommended by my co-workers.
Now, I planned to go to a doctor whose name I had picked out of the phone directory, and who practiced an art that was condemned by my own profession. To do this shows how desperate I felt.
Trying to find out something about Dr. Joseph Toman III, I called one of my neighbors, who was also a nurse, to ask what kind of reputation he had. She had lived in Hamilton all her life, and I was a new resident. She said she had never heard anything bad about him. Also, several years before, her aunt had gone to his father, who was also a chiropractor, for dizziness; and he had helped her.
I wanted to find out what to expect before I went to see him. When I called for an appointment, I told him I had never been to a chiropractor; and if I came in, what procedures would he do. He said he would examine me and take x-rays.
I thought that wouldn't be too bad, and it would give me an opportunity to size him up. (If I were a doctor and someone called and sounded that skeptical, I think I would have referred them to someone else.)
He asked me what seemed to be the problem. I gave him my string of complaints ending with a catchall of "and generally feel bad all over."
When I entered his reception room, I felt as though it was some ominous and sinister place. Upon meeting Dr. Toman, I found him to be a pleasant, professional-type person about my age.
In his office he asked me several questions about my past health history. This interview was almost the same as one done by a medical doctor.
We left the office and went into the treatment room. There he used a small instrument which I learned was a neurocalometer. He ran it along my spine. It worked on the principle of being sensitive to heat and could measure the tension on the muscles.
His examining table was upright. I stood on a step at the bottom and he lowered it automatically. He felt around on my spine and asked me several times if I felt soreness in those areas. It was odd: I had no pain or known trouble with my spine. In fact, that was about the only place I did not have symptoms; but when he pressed on those certain areas, they were indeed sore.
The examination took a very short time. We then went into the x-ray room. He took a full spine picture, a head forward view, and a head sideways view. That was all. The examination was over. I was to return the next day for his diagnosis.
When we returned, he asked my husband if he would like to come into the office with me and see the x-rays. When we walked in, there was a full spine picture on the viewbox. It looked horrible and very out of line.
I asked, "Whose is that?" feeling sympathy for whoever had a spine like that. He said, "That's yours!" I said "You're kidding!!!" He wasn't.
I had never had occasion to have my spine x-rayed, and this distortion was truly a shock to me. I knew I had one hip higher than the other one, but it was never thought of as a problem.
I have had many, many physical examinations and only one doctor (when I entered nursing school in 1952) ever even mentioned it. She said she would give me some corrective exercises to do. She didn't, and the incident was forgotten and only recalled at this time. She also told me, as she examined my nose and mouth, that I had poor air spaces. She is the only doctor to ever tell me that, too.
The only problem that could ever conceivably be thought of as "back trouble" happened in 1963 or 1964. I had a "catch" in it that lasted for a few days. It went away spontaneously.
Dr. Toman continued with his explanation and said he thought he could help me. He said to give him two months; and we would see where we would go from there, and that it would probably take him at least a year to straighten the curvature.
After going through the explanation, he asked if I wanted him to start the adjustments. I thought with a spine like that I needed something! I must say I was scared to death. I asked him what feeling, if any, I should expect. He said he would start very slowly with me and that I should experience no pain with the adjustments. Some patients, he said, got a little headache afterwards.The Nervous System
He lowered me on the table. I noticed that he placed his hand in a position below the left buttocks. I wondered why so I asked him. He said he was putting pressure on the sciatic nerve to relax my body. While his hand was there, he would use his other hand to touch my back at different places. He applied very little pressure, but to have him just touch my back made me feel as though I could hardly breathe. I don't believe it was anything especially that he was doing; it was only my back being in such tense condition. I can never remember being able to lie or sleep on my back for very long. I never realized before that there was a reason for it.
After doing this for a few minutes, he pushed on my spine at different places and caused it to make a popping sound. There was no pain. He then asked me to lie on the other table in the room. It was much lower. On this table he would do the neck adjustment. When I laid my head down, I have no doubt that I experienced the same feeling Marie Antoinette did when she placed hers on the guillotine.
The only immediate reaction I had to this adjustment was a small, lumpy feeling in my throat, but it went away quickly.
After being home for a few hours, a severe headache came. I did not associate the headache with his adjustment. I thought it was because I had been so terribly frightened.
He asked me to come every other day for an adjustment. After the next treatment, I also got a headache. This time my menses came so I assumed the headache was due to that.
After my third adjustment, I got one of the worst headaches that I have ever had in my life. I had been used to having bad headaches, but this one was the worst of all. I had excuses for the headaches before; but this time I was relaxed, and I did not have my menses. My sister had told me how great I'd feel. Well, I did not feel great!! I thought to myself, "They really are quacks and he is finishing me off."
That third adjustment was on a Friday. On Saturday I canceled my appointment, but on Sunday I experienced a tremendous change--great wonderful relief that chiropractic can give!!
I felt as though my dark stormy clouds had suddenly disappeared and a beautiful rainbow had replaced them. I had the most wonderful feeling. I felt very euphoric and very energetic. It was on the completely opposite end of the pole from what I had been feeling. It was wonderful. It changed my mental attitude, as well as my physical feelings.
I said if he can make me feel like that, even with those horrible headaches, I wanted more of it. This feeling made me know beyond a doubt, that I had at last found a cure for my illness. It was an awakening to a very bright light that I did not know existed before.
After spending so many years thinking I was only neurotic and after having accepted this as a child, I suppose I was the most surprised person of all to find that there was something physically wrong with me.
When I saw him again, I was flowing over with thanks. I told him I felt as though he had given me a "happy pill" and a shot of adrenalin." I felt practically well right then. He dampened my spirits some when he told me the road to health is usually a very bumpy one.
Since I was having headaches from adjusting the atlas vertebra, he said he could get the same results by switching to the axis and maybe avoid the headaches. He did this for the next three visits. I did not feel well with this type of adjustment. On the third one, I felt odd sensations in my head.
He went back to the atlas adjustment. The headaches with the adjustments soon disappeared. I still had some reactions from the treatments. At times, I had those odd sensations in my head. It feltTo Continue