Aug 10, 2013
Our life living with Meniere's.
It's no secret that my Mom suffers from Meniere's disease. Meniere's Disease is a disorder that causes spontaneous bouts of vertigo, dizziness, or even passing out. It can cause ringing in the ears or fluctuations of hearing loss in generally one ear. There really is no cure. There are treatments, but no cure.
It all started one cold Saturday in either 2009 or 2010. It's been so long, I had forgotten. But Twin and I were in the bedroom watching TV. Dad was out back, fixing the lawn mower. Twin says to me, "I think she's yelling for us.". The hair on the back of my neck pricked up because it wasn't a normal yell. It was very faint, and you could barely hear the word "girls". I walk into the hallway, look in the bathroom, and see Mom sitting on the floor. I didn't know what to think. She told me she had passed out for the second time in less than 10 minutes. I get Dad and we rush her to the hospital.
They kept her for a few days, but couldn't find anything wrong with her. So she comes back home and we do some research. We finally find out that her symptoms were exactly like Meniere's. Everything fit, down the bouts of vertigo.
Our lives have drastically changed since that fateful day she passed out. She no longer drives. She can't have certain foods. She's not supposed to have caffeine (since it can make it worse), but you can't keep a woman from caffeine. She can't go into a store alone just in case she passes out. But before you think she has lost all independence, she can still do some housework. She just asks for help when it gets to be too much.
She has also come up with ways to deal with the symptoms. For her nausea and even light-headedness, she takes with generic motion sickness medicine or the brand Dramamine. If you suffer from vertigo and have nausea, you might want to give Dramamine a try. It's a lot better than generic motion sickness, but I must warn you- it is awfully expensive, too!
If she feels she is going to pass out, she lays down on the couch and tries to push the feeling away. She hasn't passed out in years (or so she says), so I think her idea works. But she is most prone to want to pass out just before a cold front or storm. What she does is take Dramamine and does breathing counts. She counts in 4 breaths, holds it for 4 seconds, and breathes out for 4 seconds. This is called "square breathing". It helps bring the oxygen back into her brain, and she is less-likely to pass out. For those who suffer from vertigo and get dizzy before a weather change, I suggest you don't do anything extraneous to cause any further dizziness. If you have to do something, take your time. Sit down when you feel like you could pass out at any moment.
Emotionally, Meniere's and vertigo can make you feel like you've lost a part of your life. You may even feel depressed. Don't let the bad days get you down. Surround yourself with family and talk about it.
It doesn't have to a life sentence. There are ways to deal with, one day at a time.