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Two days ago my mom (age: recently turned 50) was suddenly hit with severe nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and severe dizziness (more specifically what was determined as objective vertigo - seeing the surrounding environment spinning). This happened about an hour or so after eating a microwavable meal at work, so the first reactions to this was just a bad case of food poisoning.

However as the day progressed, the dizziness and nausea continued to get worse and the vomiting also continued. She was taken to the hospital that night and put on an IV drip to keep her hydrated. At the hospital various tests were done to explain what could be wrong but nothing has been discovered so far although the doctors don't seem to believe that it is due to food poisoning.

The results were:
-No fever,
-WBC (White blood cell count) was 18 then decreased to 14 (the average WBC in a "healthy person" is around 7-10),
-CAT scan came back clean,
-No heart problems that can be seen,
-Inner ear has no damage,
-Not on any type of medications,
-No history of cancer or brain damage.

Thankfully the nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting has stopped but the severe dizziness is still present (enough so that she can't walk without holding on to something). My mom is still currently in the hospital (hopefully she'll be let out tomorrow...) however the doctors are still unsure of what could be causing the problem.

Does any one have an idea or previous experience with the symptoms described above? I still am leaning towards a more severe case of food poisoning involving some type of bacteria (casing the WBC to elevate), but wouldn't the doctors be able to determine that?

Thank you for any advice or helpful suggestions!

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Health Ace
6473 posts
hey you would think that the doctors would be able to detect something. most food poisoning is caused by hemorrhagic E. coli, or Salmonella however a whole host of other organism can cause it as well such as shingella, campylobactor, vibrio and some bacillus species. in addition to that viruses and some fungal infectons can also cause problems. out of curiosity what were her differentials for her white blood cells? viruses can caue WBC to increase as well. a friend of mine was struck by some severe unknown intestinal infection a week and a half ago and they still are not sure what caused it but i believe she was in isolation for a while till she got better. also the fact that she got sick only 1 hour after eating the meal is odd however someone ealse i worked with in the lab at school got sick with a huge case of salmonella only 30min after eating!!

i would keep investigating this one.....
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Thanks for the reply! Sorry it's been so long to get back to this... things have kinda been hectic! My mom was in the hospital for four days until she checked herself out. The doctors didn't know what it could be and the only medication they thought might have helped with the vertigo (without knowing what was causing) reacted badly with her. For about a week she stayed home and started feeling better as time went on, not 100% again but much better than that first day. However there were may ups and downs in the progress of getting better so she made an appointment with a specialist.

The results were (and to anyone who may be reading this with similar symptoms, it may NOT be this for you! Make sure to get a diagnosis from a doctor before jumping to conclusions!): vestibular neuronitis. You can look for more exact information about it online, but the basic summery is that something (doctors are still not sure what it could have been: virus, blood vessel bursting, etc.) has caused damage to the vestibulo-cochlear nerve in the inner ear (this nerve connects the inner ear to the brain).

This is what has been causing the great amounts of dizziness/vertigo and distortion. Her eyes were recorded and show that they are moving back and forth at a very fast rate, and so the sick feeling she is having is due to her brain trying to make sense of all the extra input her eyes are processing (similar to what it would feel like if you were to continuously shake your head back and forth rapidly). Luckily it's unlikely that the damage is permanent but there still is a series of tests that must be done before anything final can be determined. There are lots of physical therapy exercises that can help the recovery time become quicker, although that seems odd to me... when I think of physical therapy I think of recovering from broken limbs not broken ears!!

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and advice! I'll try to post any other information that becomes available... But man... I hope this isn't going to be permanent.
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User avatar
Health Ace
6473 posts
GREAT!!! i'm glad they were able to figure it out.... vestibulochoclear nerve damage makes perfect sense to me.... and surely does explain all of your mothers symptoms

Best of luck with a full and speedy recovery
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My mother had the same symptoms... Doc's couldn't figure out what was wrong with her finally a friend told her to get tested for mercury poisoning because silver filling contain 50% mercury and we continuslay are exposed. And sure enough thats what she had. she got her fillings removed safely from a metal free dentist and all sympomtoms are gone.. something to ponder. Mercury is one of the most poisonist substances on the plant and we are all exposed. check out mercury poisoned.com or search symptoms of mercury poisoned or look up smoking teeth on u tube.

Heather
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