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Coming to you from Memphis

July 21, 2011

This is going to be one of those blogs where I tell you what I’ve been up to the past few days. I thought it was due time for one, don’t you? Otherwise, I’ll have you thinking all I do is spend time on Pinterest. Oh wait, I do.

So, why am I in Memphis? Well…

After getting sick again starting back in March I decided to get a steroid-antibacterial cocktail injected into my the eardrum of my affected ear. That would be my left ear, although my disease is slowly becoming bilateral so my right ear is being affected now but nowhere close as severe. For example, the results of one of the tests I went through Wednesday afternoon showed that I have 100% hearing (so, no hearing loss) in my right ear, which is normal for people under 65 yrs old, but only 68% hearing in my left ear. This time last year, during my previous appointment in Memphis, the hearing in my left ear was 83%. According to the experts, that is a big change. And it’s not good. At first look, it doesn’t seem like a huge deal, I still have over 1/2 of my hearing in my left ear but the only way I can explain it is this: When they tested the pressure in my ears yesterday they first put a hardcore ear plug in my right ear and so I couldn’t really hear much beside white noise and then they put the hardcore ear plug in my left ear. And my hearing stayed the same. Normally, you’d be able to hear everything until they had both ear plugs in my ears, and only then would it be white noise. There are a lot of sounds we are not consciously aware of, but all the same, we can hear them. Unless you have substantial hearing loss.

But never mind the hearing loss. I still have full hearing in my right ear; even though I have to have a lot of things repeated to me, it doesn’t effect me really. The full feeling in my ears, caused by the extreme swelling of the endolymphatic sac, is mostly just annoying but can be really painful. But still, I function just fine. The vertigo, however, is another story. The two types of vertigo a Meniere’s patient can experience are rotational and what’s called “drop attacks”. “Attacks of rotational vertigo can be severe, incapacitating, and unpredictable and can last anywhere from minutes to hours,but generally no longer than 24 hours. For some sufferers however, prolonged attacks can occur, lasting from several days to several weeks, often causing the sufferer to be severely incapacitated. (Meniere’s disease, Wikipedia)” “Some sufferers experience what are informally known as “drop attacks”—a sudden, severe attack of dizziness or vertigo that causes the sufferer, if not seated, to fall without warning.Drop attacks are likely to occur later in the disease, but can occur at any time.Patients may also experience the feeling of being pushed or pulled. Some patients may find it impossible to get up for some time, until the attack passes or medication takes effect. (Meniere’s disease, Wikipedia)” I experience both and yea, when I have an attack, I can’t function. Some of you have been with me when I’ve had an attack so you know what I’m talking about.

So back to March, I missed one clinical (that I made up later) and missed several lectures due to vertigo. I was told that I can’t miss that much next semester (which starts in less than a month). Basically, if I keep getting sick I can’t continue on with the program. No one had to tell me how much it sucked getting sick that often. Trust me. Dr. Paul Shea had talked to me about the perfusion procedure a year ago but at the time my insurance didn’t cover the procedure. Also, I wasn’t having attacks as often. But now, my insurance will pay most AND it’s needed. It was time.

The procedure includes three days, one injection each morning (don’t worry, I’m put under IV sedation) that takes only 5 minutes, and requires me to lie down with my left ear facing up for 2 hours. This is to allow the solution to soak into the surrounding tissue. And since I haven’t had an exam in over a year, I had to have another prior to the procedure. I called last Wednesday and fortunately, they had an opening this week. My exam was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and I would start the procedure right after. Well, that was the plan anyhow…to be continued.


  1. Tamela says:

    Man, I am glad you can be sedated. I don’t think I could handle a shot to the ear while being awake. I am such a big baby when it comes to that stuff. Thank goodness for sedation dentistry or my wisdom teeth would still be in. No shots to the mouth for me!