About two weeks ago, I had an attack of extreme vertigo that lasted about 12 hours. It was accompanied by severe nausea, vomiting, and hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing) in my left ear. In the meantime the vertigo has subsided, leaving me feeling foggy-headed, fatigued, and a general malaise. The hearing problems are also still there, along with sensitivity to loud noises. Today’s the first day I can really say I’ve felt “good” (other than being tired and the constant noise in my ear) this month.
The diagnosis from an ENT doctor is Meniere’s Disease
, characterized by periodic vertigo attacks, fluctuating tinnitus, and hearing loss. There is no known cause or cure, but Meniere’s is generally thought to be associated with fluid imbalance in the inner ear. Treatment is usually aimed in that direction, so I’m taking Prednisone (a steroidal anti-inflammatory) and Maxzide (water pills or diuretic). I’m also supposed cut out caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, and eat a low sodium diet. Fortunately for me (or unfortunately?) none of the first three apply so all I have left is cutting back on salt. Say adios to the Tostito Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips!
Now that I have a day where I actually feel pretty good, I can laugh about some of the things associated with this adventure. To be sure, it’s been a miserable couple of weeks in many regards, and the constant ringing in my ear can be maddening, particularly at night. But eating is really funny.
One of the side effects of Prednisone is increased appetite. I don’t mean just being a little hungrier, I mean being ravenous pretty much all of the time. Over the last few days my wife has described my eating as “tearing into food” as I’ve never done before. I don’t want to eat like this – I try to slow down – but I can’t help myself!
Last night I went to a church board meeting (one thing I felt I just couldn’t miss), and by the end I was really wiped out and it was all I could do to drive home. What kept me going, interestingly, was a robust food fantasy about the Honeydew melon and fresh lime I’d bought the day before. I could just picture walking in the kitchen, pulling out the knife, cutting the melon into delicious green curves, and soaking it all in fresh lime juice.
So when I got home, that’s what I did – to my wife’s great amusement as she tried to talk to me and I just gave the “back off” hand signal as I devoured the helpless melon. Once I was finished we laughed about it while I looked around for something else to eat and turned the lime rind inside out to get the last bit of juicy stuff. Fortunately, we have lots of fruit and veggies around, so hopefully I won’t end up 200 pounds after all this.
You know, there’s still another half melon in the fridge, so I gotta’ go!