I have become very good friends with a fellow Menierian from another part of the country through the technology called the Internet. We chat nearly daily, so it has been a bit of a surprise when he was nearly silent today.
Tonight I found out why.
He has been stuck in bed all day with vertigo and lack of balance. The only way he been able to get around is with the help of his son.
This beast doesn't care about who it chooses as a victim, or how big they are. It can drop anyone to the ground in misery.
I am not what people would call a small guy. I go about 6 feet tall and weigh around 210 pounds. I have been dropped like a sack of potatoes from this disease. Boom. Down for the count. It is rather embarrassing when you are full grown man of my size and you are left to crawl on your hands and knees to get where you need to go, if you can move at all from the misery.
My friend? He has told me he weighs in around 325 pounds. And yet there he is today, in need of having someone help him to get from point A to point B.
He mentioned yesterday that he was wondering if something was up. His hearing was just wildly fluctuating and was having some interesting sensations in his ear. Guess he was right in thinking things were not normal.
So what has he accomplished today?
And not throwing up.
People may question the motives about a person with Meniere's disease, but until they experience the kind of violent vertigo we live with and in fear of, they will never really understand.
Until they witness it first hand, all people can do is either take your word for it, or doubt you. Those are the only options. So much for awareness.
My friend is case and point as to why no one understands completely. As Dr. Alec Salt, professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, Washington University, has stated:
"I have always argued that if Meniere's patients walked around with one of their legs in a plaster cast, then there would be more funding for research of the disease, because the public would be more aware of the problem. As patients with Meniere's usually head to their beds, or to the bathroom, the symptoms of their condition are invisible to the public and the disease is therefore ignored."
So, to all who read this who don't quite understand what Meniere's disease means, I hope you never have to experience it and somehow come to an understanding of how debilitating this thing can be. To those who share my illness. I hope someday we are all able to get on with our lives, if not cured, at least by having some form of treatment available to help control it.
And to my friend, sleep it off, big guy. Tomorrow is another day. May you be back on your feet, ready to take on the world.
'Til next time
Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness