Ian’s Journey with Meniere’s
In around 2003 I was working in my job as a nurse and suddenly I tripped on a flat surface. My work colleague laughed quietly and said how did you trip on that? This unfortunately was the first indicator that there was a problem with my depth perception (or so I thought!).
In only a matter of days I was feeling dizzy, disorientated and had a loud hissing in my left ear. My local GP diagnosed labyrinthitis. After taking anti biotics my condition seemed to settle a little although my head felt “full” and I felt uncertain about turning my head too quickly.
Another local GP prescribed anti-nausea medication and changed my blood pressure tablets. The GP was convinced I was just feeling a side effect from my blood pressure medication. After a number of attacks over a short period the GP put forward the possibility of having Meniere’s. I was told in no uncertain terms that there is no cause and no cure so you have to learn to live with it!
My wife, family and friends were (and still are) very supportive in looking out for me. I socially withdrew as much as I could and my most secure and safe place was in bed at home. I managed to maintain a full time job as a nurse but had several “conversations” about my sick leave.
My wife was told by a co-worker of an excellent ENT specialist, not far from home, who worked with a lot of Meniere’s sufferers. I managed to have my GP write a referral and I attended his surgery. The doctor sat and listened to my history and smiled and said we have some options to help you get back to a relatively “normal” life. Then surprise, surprise I started having drop attacks. I couldn’t drive and my wife changed her job to work the same hours as me to ensure she could drive me to and from work or indeed take me home if I had an attack.
My ENT specialist suggested a hearing test and possible Gentamicin injection. My left ear came up as nearly totally deaf so in 2014 I took up the option of the injection. Since the injection I have had no drop attacks or severe vertigo attacks to date.
I have managed to understand my triggers which are stress and being overtired. In the last year I have taken up a healthy vitamin supplement regime which has helped hold me to date. Currently I can feel a little “out of focus” but the “beast” hasn’t gone beyond that as yet. I take Serc twice a day and use Valium (Diazepam) if I feel that I need it. I use the Valium sparingly and infrequently. I have found that easy exercise helps me to feel well. My balance is still ok and the tinnitus sounds like a waterfall (or so I have convinced myself!). I do worry about others who are struggling with Meniere’s and feel quite passionate about helping them if I can.