Saturday, September 11, 2010

Meniere's Disease

This artist refuses to give in. I won't I won't I won't.

My left ear is doing it hardest to take over so many simple things I do not take for granted. I've seen forums, blogs, read up on the aftermath of a Labyrinthectomy (yes I consider having this done when I get a bout of Meniere's).

It's been a few years since I last had my hearing in my left ear tested. I'm ready to go back to the doc's and get a work up to rule out any other physical cause. (if you have Meniere's maybe you can relate to what I'm ranting about)

In my mid 30s I opted to swim laps during lunch with some co-workers. (indoor pool) After a few hours the water and noise in my left ear couldn't be shaken out. Several days later, and much tinnitus to boot, (and mentioning this to my family and friends at work) decided to go get this checked out. Surely there was liquid trapped in my inner ear, and most certainly it could be drained? (I hoped) To my surprise the nurse did a check of my hearing and told me I had a 50% hearing loss, she seemed more alarmed than I. The test was done in an open room, with headphones and later I would come to understand a sort of crude gesture for actual hearing testing. (Bless her for trying) She (and the doc) did send me to an ENT specialist. I went to several and each said the same thing. I have all the symptoms of Meniere's.

Looking back through my life at various traumas I ponder the beginning of this hostile disease.

Was it from a fall?
A fall, I well remember the negotiations that went on between myself and 2 other young girls (standing atop a new slide) over who would take the actual metal slide down and who would get each of the outer poles to slide down. Clearly, I was not the boss and given orders for a pole. I recall the pole didn't hold and I fell. The slide was faulty and not well built, it came apart. Did I see dirt? I saw the hard dirt ground as I hit, or is this an image from hearing about the accident which produced an after-memory? I do recall that I was not in charge of my destiny. I was very young. I was knocked unconscious. Did I wake in the car on the way to the emergency room? That's all a blur. Were there brain scans back then? Was I watched for the next crucial hours to make sure there were no symptoms of any menacing head trauma? What seemed to come of it was one lucky little girl who fell onto the dirt, was knocked out and came to. Lucky girl!

Early Ear Infection?
There I lay at the end of my bed rolled in a ball crying, but not really crying, just grunting out some noise in attempts to dull the pain. It felt like an ice pick going in and out of my ear. Which ear? I have no idea. I suffered through. Was there a form of amoxicillin on the 60's? I must have been given something to help with the infection until it passed. (how many sleepless nights we had with my very young daughter during her frequent ear infections...I always knew when one was about to hit as she would pull at her ear while playing.)

Age 16, living in a very old building of sorts, away...for school. My ears began to constantly itch and the feeling went so deep I would jam my fingers in and scratch (savage girl!) Along with the actual scratching using my fingers I developed this sort of snort back throat scratch thing which further made me sound like an ape. Ooga ooga, it's a temporary fix...and I have never been able to actually quell the tickle(I still do it, you never need to see this!). I saw an ancient doctor back then. In Baltimore. He put these skinny rod looking things in through my nose and ears (the ends held some sort of cloth or cotton pad with a solution that smelled like hospitals. He give me some sort of medication which did nothing to help, so I chucked it. He wanted to use one of the prong tools to go from nose into throat, or was it throat to nose? This mapping was far too invasive and close to my brain for this teen and I said "no" enough. End of seeing the ancient ENT doc.

Who knows when it started and how it started and why it is. The fact is it hit again and last night I was spinning as I turned my head in bed, and finally had to put my book down for the night. I spun this morning rising up from the bed to the floor. These spells are more frequent and I'm angry. What irks me is how out of the blue these attacks occur. (Yes I do realize I could be much worse off with other health issues) but this is my big rant about my left ear. I've hinted at this disease in my blog and now decided to document the events leading up to the onset about 10 years ago to today.

The hearing in my left ear is just about shot to hell, it comes and goes and most of the time the ear is filled with a rushing sound, as if listening to a sea shell at the beach. Other times there's an empty fullness. Sometimes a distinct whistle. Maybe someone from Whoville  is trapped in my ear? If so, Horton, please phone home.

When the dizziness hits it's a matter of holding on (literally) to something stable and riding out the spells. Breathe in breathe out slowly and hope for my nausea to calm. I'm at sea.

I'm a metal smith; this does not gel with Menieres, but then what does?

Rant over.

It's September 11 and I'm thinking about this day and the senseless loss of lives. I'm also thinking about tolerance and the unfairness of those who are innocently suffering in war torn areas of this big world.

I have removed a copywrited photo depicting our beloved Twin Towers
this photo was not taken by me and had no idea I couldn't share it
it's a lovely photogrpah


Maryann said...

Oh Care.What an extremely difficult time you're going through. I can only hope the specialist may find a safe and helpful way to help you manage this condition.
After a year of unusual, frustrating and quite debilitating symptoms 'somewhere' inside my head between my ears, an ENT specialist finally diagnosed a rare form of 'palatus eustachian tubes'.To put it simply,surgery might help but not proven so I have to learn to live and cope with this condition. I'm very grateful nothing more sinister was found and on a good day,I cope.

Sending you warm hugs and a further boost to your creative juices. It's soo good to lose oneself in our creativity!


CarolynArtist said...

Hi Maryann, good to know I'm not alone with these ear isssues. Sorry you were suffering. I just did a google search and am still a wee unclear about your ear issues. Is it that a part that is supposed to open can close for a second every few minutes stays open? (the opposite of pooling liquid) or did I get that wrong? Anyway, it sounds like our ears are so delicate and we'll just have to deal with the bouts of our pains.

is it just plain old age? :p If so, I'd like to traade this in for a bad crick in my neck, or something...

Maryann said...

I think you're on the right track Care.
As for 'plain old age'....I think you might be onto something there!
I really should stop moaning and be grateful for all the blessings I do have.

Take care. xx

CarolynArtist said...

Maryann, I saw a new ENT yesterday for this ongoing bout, and found out my hearing loss is permanent and just about gone. I was stunned and cried. I guess there was this hope from reading all the information online about Meniere's that the hearing fluctuates. I had an involved hearing exam in the little booth with the ear plugs, pressure was checked, etc. My new ENT did stress diet, no more than 2g of salt per day and zero caffeine. No chocolate. He stressed how in some patients it will help the symptoms. So, today, it's one cup of decaf, eventually I guess i'll stop even that. I can't go full cold turkey in one day. (I think we're allowed to moan a little)