Solve the Medical Riddle: Her Daughter Feels as Though the Room is Shrinking, Third Week

Editor’s note: Welcome to our ThirdAge feature that gives you a chance to play medical sleuth as we share the details of what happened when a patient presented with a problem that stumped the physician at first.

The first week of this riddle, the patient reported her symptoms and the doctor proceeded with the examination. This was step #1, <strong>S</strong>, of the classic S-O-A-P notes as follows:

S=Symptoms or Chief Complaint
O=Objective Findings
A=Assessment or Analysis
P=Treatment Plan or Recommendations

The second week, the doctor moved on to O and A=Assessment or Analysis to continue to look for clues to the medical riddle. This week, we’ll let you know what some people have suggested as possible diagnoses. Next week, the doctor will move on to P to reveal the actual diagnosis. Then we’ll begin a new riddle for the following month!

Some Guesses as to What the Diagnosis Will Be

“Chloe said she wasn’t near any ticks, but I think she might not have known that ticks were around that could cause Lyme disease. Is her college campus a grassy or wooded area? If so, deer and their ticks could be there. Lyme disease can give people weird neurological symptoms! I got Bell’s palsy when I had Lyme disease. Bell’s palsy affects the 7th cranial nerve and it paralyzed the left side of my face. Very scary but it eventually went away.”
— Carla M.

“My daughter experienced something similar to Chloe’s problem when she was a little girl and had mononucleosis. She would tell me she felt like she was shrinking and then getting really big. She also mentioned the room shrinking. But mostly it was her own body that was changing. We never went to a doctor because the issue didn’t seems serious. My daughter actually thought it was cool! We used to joke that she fell down a rabbit hole and was like Alice in Wonderland. She grew out of the episodes eventually.
— Betty F.

“Is Chloe positive she doesn’t get menstrual migraines? My daughter has those. You get the aura but not the headache pain! The way my daughter describes the aura makes me think Chloe might be having her shrinking room sensation because of an aura.”
— Kathy R.

“Maybe Chloe is stressed out because of the demands of her freshman year at college or maybe she’s depressed because she’s away from home for the first time. People can have strange reactions to psychological issues.”
– Regina K.

“Did anybody check for encephalitis? It’s an inflammation of the brain and you can get it from mosquitoes and from the flu!”
— Masha J.

To be continued . . .

Come back to next Thursday when the doctor will reveal the actual diagnosis and treatment plan.
Marie Savard, M.D., a former Medical Contributor for ABC News and a frequent keynote speaker around the world, is one of the most trusted voices on women’s health, wellness, and patient empowerment. She is the author of four books, including one that made the Wall Street Journal list of the best health books of 2009: “Ask Dr. Marie: What Women Need to Know about Hormones, Libido, and the Medical Problems No One Talks About.” Dr. Marie earned a B.S. in Nursing and an M.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She has served as Director of the Center for Women’s Health at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, technical advisor to the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, advisor to the American Board of Internal Medicine Subcommittee on Clinical Competency in Women’s Health, health columnist for Woman’s Day magazine, and senior medical consultant to Lifetime Television’s Strong Medicine. Pleas visit

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