A weekend with my mate Ménière

Because terra firma isn’t exactly firm at the moment, more like a rolling ocean, most of my weekend was spent indoors and trying not to move too quickly for fear of throwing up. For someone who has a violent spasm every time he remembers something, measured motion isn’t easy to achieve. Besides, like whilst being on a boat, being sat down doesn’t stop the sea stirring.

It’s a constant sway back and forth, side to side, sometimes slight and sometimes violent — my stomach acid is matching my roll, sloshing wherever just after, churning, threatening to expel — alongside a head pressure that’s not a headache but should really be called one, tinnitus, and a smattering of hearing loss.

Usually confined to the first hour or two awake (it’s unusual if I don’t feel like this every single morning) it’s been an all day event for the last 4 or 5 days. A gentle swell chopping to gale force 12 and a dash to the toilet, nah false alarm, we’re cool — nah, heave — soothing to a bob on the ocean calm. As it worsens it snatches my focus, the urge to vomit is barely an urge with that thickness in my throat, the cold sweats, the heaviness in my head, the weakness of spirit because it’s 50/50 whether I’ll actually make it to the toilet in time or will vomit over whatever I’ve stumbled into; in my experience, since I’m unable to walk straight, it’s usually the latter lol. Great look. And all on very little notice.

Ménière’s disease — or Maynards, as I’m known to call it — is a rare disorder of the inner ear, and it affects around 1:1000 people. Symptoms and severity varies between people, and my personal take on the disease isn’t particularly unusual. According to my GP (I visited him this morning), my mate Ménière is always with me but particularly likes to rave hard every 4 years; 2009, 2013, 2017. These years of “remission” between severe attacks are again not unusual. So I’ve gone from being rare to being common in amongst all the rarity in like 3 statements. Typical.

I feel weak and drained and tired and feeble — I feel unable because pretty much breathing is enough movement to make the fluids all rush about, the balance stumble, the eyes loose all focus. Until Ménière is back to its morning onslaught, I just need to appropriately react whenever it decides to appear. I need to get down on that floor before I fall to it, and cling onto a bowl for dear life. It’ll pass, always does. It’ll come back, of course, but it’ll pass.

This morning I was prescribed Betahistine to treat the symptoms and I can confirm that their side effects are indeed the symptoms; I feel measurably more shit than I did before.

Tomos James

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