|A lovely flower from a grateful client|
Over the weekend I felt GREAT. As in 100% normal. As in I was a perfectly capable and well human being. As in I could HEAR. This is also remarkable as I was in the midst of working (last week I logged 65 hours in seven days; three night shifts and two day shifts). No tinnitus or dizziness or head fog.
Work was busy and I had a surgery to perform (a GDV on a dog). I made an effort to appreciate the experience. If this disease continues (especially if it worsens) I'll no longer be able to perform surgery.
Fast forward to Tuesday, my first day off work. The tinnitus in my left ear returned (why does it always come back when I have days off?).
Then yesterday. Yesterday Middle and I went to get allergy shots (I've been getting them for five years so this is nothing new). After shots we went to pick Little up from dance class. We were nearly there when my tinnitus increased. Not only did it increase but I had it in both ears. This seems to be my warning sign that a vertigo attack is impending.
I spent a good 30 seconds trying to convince myself I was imagining the tinnitus; that it was simply a sound my car was making. Then I spent another 30 seconds inwardly chanting I will not have an attack, I will not have an attack. Then I had an attack.
Fortunately we were nearly there. I was able to pull over in the dance parking lot. The actual vertigo portion was relatively short-lived (maybe 45 seconds). Middle went in to get Little and I sat in the car waiting to see what was going to happen next. My head was foggy, I was a little off balance but felt okay so long as I didn't quickly turn my head from side to side. I was able to drive home.
The upside? No real nausea and no vomiting. Seriously. This is a very good thing.
Now, as I type, I feel slightly off balance (even though I'm sitting in a chair). I again feel as if I'm on a boat -- swaying slightly back and forth. Not like I'm going to fall over, just slightly off balance.
So here are the dilemmas (and there are a multitude of them).
- Do I keep driving? For now, for me, the answer is yes. I seem to have fair warning before and impending attack and should be able to pull over. Of course if I'm feeling particularly off balance then I won't drive. If I start having drop attacks then driving might be out.
- Do I allow other people's children in my car? On a good day, a day without tinnitus, yes. When my ear is ringing - no. It's just not a good idea.
- Should I get a cell phone? Yes. I probably should. There may be a time in the future when I need someone to come pick me up.
- Was this caused by my allergy shots? Who the heck knows. Certainly the tinnitus preceded the injections but they could have pushed things over the edge. Allergy shots are recommended for people with meniere's as it is thought to reduce overall body inflammation.
- How is this going to affect my ability to work? Thus far I've had one mild vertigo episode at work. I was able to lay down and it passed. If these episodes become more frequent and more severe they will be a problem. If I'm having tinnitus and have to go into surgery I may have to have someone on call. Someone to come in should things go south. This doesn't make me feel particularly capable.
- Can we save enough money to get us by should these attacks get worse? Good question. We certainly don't have that three months pay set aside (the amount of time until disability would kick in).
- At what point would my disability insurance consider me disabled? Now I am working and functioning. But has this been sheer luck? My attacks have happened mostly during my off hours.
- How much is work, and my schedule, affecting this disease? I don't know. I'm sure a lack of sleep does not help.
- How long would it take and how difficult would it be to file a disability claim? I have no idea. I'm not ready to file a claim just yet but am wondering and worrying about the future.
- When do I notify my disability insurance about an impending problem? Again I have no idea.
And there you have it. More questions than answers.
Tomorrow I have another doctor's appointment at the ENT. This time with the meniere's specialist. Truth-be-told I feel silly going. There is not much they can do. I'm capable of reading up on this disease on my own. But, again, I want documentation should things get worse.
For now I'll just appreciate things as they are. Appreciate my ability to work. Appreciate driving. Appreciate walking. And it looks like that cell phone I've been wanting but haven't quite been able to justify is also in my future. I'm going to have fun with that too.