Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I feel so good this morning that I feel compelled to write a blog about it. In a past blog or two I have written about my bouts with Meniere's Disease, so if you have read those blogs or know me personally to any great degree, you are aware of the bane of my life: Meniere's Disease. It is an inner ear affliction, apparently caused by stress (they think), which cause tinnitus (a ringing sensation int the ears), dizziness, nausea and lethargy. When I am suffering from the symptoms, all I want to do is lay down and try to sleep. I first experienced the disease at about age thirty and had violent episodes as often as two weeks apart. The tinnitus, nausea and dizziness would increase in intensity until I would have what I would call an eruption--when the world we seem to spin and I would become so nauseated that I would begin the vomit. I would have to keep water and a garbage bag and lots of water beside my bed--as soon as I could get to a bed--to allow me to vomit and then replace my stomach fluids so that I could have something more to throw up. Otherwise it was Dry Heaves City until I passed out from exhaustion. It is not a pretty picture and it was not nice experience.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I suffered with Meniere's for several years until I was called by my stake president (an ecclesiastical leader in my faith) to serve in a bishopric. When I explained my reservations about being as dependable as I thought i might need to be due to my affliction, he offered to give me a special blessing when he set me apart for the new calling. I then went more than twenty years without any serious Meniere's symptoms. Then I moved to Utah, and the very day of my arrival I experienced a Meniere's flair-up. I had been hearing the ringing during my drive from Kansas and feeling the lethargy--I had been very tired and stressed by the move and the decision to take a new job and being separated for several months from my family--and when I finally got to the place I was to stay, the proverbial fountain burst and the room began to move on me. I buried my head in a pillow and went to sleep as soon as I could.

Since then (almost three years), I have had occasional flair-ups, but nothing of the lengthy demobilizing variety of my early thirties. My recent experience has been a few uncomfortable days at a time, maybe lasting a week, but rarely ending in the dreaded vomit fest. However, about three weeks ago, the ringing began and gradually got stronger. I took a week of my vacation time that I still had left, the week before Christmas and I was generally miserable, having ups and downs the entire time. The Sunday before last I had to leave the Christmas program at church as soon as my reading part was done, because I felt so badly and the sound in the chapel was so distorted that it was adding to my misery. I made it through the Christmas weekend and went back to work on Monday and was feeling pretty miserable all day--the ringing in my right ear was pretty intense. Just as i was heading to bed I became suddenly more nauseated and ran to the bathroom vomited a bit. I then went straight to bed at 7pm and slept until 5am. The extra rest was helpful initially--the ringing was less and I felt a bit better. I went to work, but by 2pm the ringing intensified and the dizziness began again. I was driving, on my way to Lehi to look at a job that would be starting soon, when it became obvious that i should go directly home before I became incapacitated and started vomiting on myself while trying to drive. I laid down most of the evening and watched my Jayhawks play. By the end of the game, I felt like a big one was coming--the room was beginning to move. So, I went to bed and tried to keep my head low and still until I fell asleep.

When I awoke this morning I was like a new man. At this moment I feel wonderful--no ringing, no dizziness, no nausea. I actually feel like doing something without forcing myself. It is a very liberating and joyful feeling. I realize, of course, that it may be just a respite, and that the symptoms may recure in time, but right now it feels good to feel good. I need to appreciate the blessing of good health. And, we need to experience the bad to appreciate the good. I feel good! WAHOO!!!

1 comment:

Garry Wilmore said...

Sorry to hear that you have had to suffer from that. As you might know, so did Alan Shepard -- BEFORE he went to the moon on Apollo 14 in 1971. He was ineligible for space flight for several years because of this affliction, but eventually he was treated for it and evidently completely cured. While I doubt that you will be going to the moon anytime soon, I hope your experience with Meniere's has a fortunate ending just like his.