As you all know, Dr. Timothy Hain in Chicago is one of the U.S. experts on dizzy disorders. I’ve been aware of him for the past 20 years and have read much of his website. I’m not confident in my diagnoses (first vestibular neuronitis, then vestibular migraine) and was considering finding another specialist in our area. I’ve told my husband a little bit about the research that I’ve done, and about Dr. Hain, so my husband said, “Why don’t you just go to that guy in Chicago?”
It would be a long trip, halfway across the country, but I decided to call his office. The woman I spoke with explained that for out-of-town patients, he will see them once but won’t treat them on an ongoing basis as long-distance patients. That’s fine with me; I figured if he can figure out what I have and what I need to do, I can find a doctor here who will follow his recommendation. She said that his first opening for a new patient would be in February, but that for out-of-town patients they require them to first fill out his online questionnaire. Then he reviews the questionnaire and determines whether he is willing to see the person before they will schedule an appointment.
So I filled out the questionnaire, which probably took a good two hours (no exaggeration). It was extensive and I had to dig out all of my test results, plus list every drug, vitamin, supplement, etc., that I now take or have taken in the past five years, plus answer all sorts of questions about my symptoms. The questionnaire also had a few open-ended questions where they allowed up to 3,000-character responses, so I used those to write as much as I could about my history and such.
I submitted it probably about mid-morning on a weekday, expecting to hear back in maybe a week. To my surprise, at 5:00pm that same day I got a call from his office. Wow! The woman who called said that he had reviewed it and that I am a candidate to be seen by him. Woo hoo! But she said that because I am so far away, he gave her a list of four neuro-otologists closer to my home in case I would like to avoid such a long trip.
I told her that I’d investigate the list of doctors and then if I still wanted to make an appointment in Chicago, I’d call her back. A trip to Chicago in February isn’t particularly appealing (snowstorms are a possibility), so I reasoned that if one of the closer doctors sounded promising, maybe I could try him first and then if I still wasn’t satisfied, I could make an appointment to see Dr. Hain and by then it would probably be for April or May, which would be much better weather for traveling.
So, I researched the other three doctors and made an appointment for January with this one, Dr. John Li: http://www.dr-li.net/AboutUs.html. Look at that page-- interestingly, he’s an expert in BPPV and has taught the Epley maneuver alongside Dr. Epley himself. He has also invented a couple of surgical tools.