Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ménière’s Part 3: Adrift

Four days after that May 2006 episode, I was able to get an appointment with the ear, nose, and throat specialist I’d been seeing for several years. Sitting in his office, I described what had happened. He motioned for me to talk faster.
            I speeded up my recital, trying to explain how scared I was that what had happened would not go away.
            His response then, as now, seemed cavalier to me. “Just live with it,” he said.
            “For how long?”
            “The rest of your life.”
            I stammered my terror. “You mean this isn’t going away? It’ll keep happening?”
            He nodded and then smiled. That smile perplexed me. I found myself wondering all sorts of things. Did he find all this amusing? Was he delighted that a patient now understood the complexity of his work? Was he choosing not to deal with my concerns because he had no answers? Had he ever experienced anything like this?
            Once again, I tried to articulate the terror within—the fear that this strange vertigo would entrap me one day and I’d never return to the real world. How could I live that way?
            “Others have,” he said. “You will too.”
            I drove home on Highway 36. Never, ever, should that specialist have allowed me to drive that car. He should have asked if someone was driving me. I fault him for this.
            I could have injured or killed myself and others if I had experienced that different kind of vertigo on the way home. I just didn’t think yet of the implications of what had happened four days before. It fact, it took me several weeks before I realized that I shouldn’t be on the highway at all.
            After that, I drove only the few blocks to the grocery store once a week. I always drove in the morning because that time of day I felt most normal. Later I discovered that I shouldn’t even have done that. I was an accident waiting to happen.
            I never saw that specialist again.           

You are probably wondering what in the heck happened that May night. I wondered too. So on Tuesday my post will detail what I’ve learned about this disease and the vocabulary I’ve developed to describe and explain it to others.
            On Thursday, I’ll return to the cats with a story about Eliza Doolittle.
            I’ll complete the week with a story that happened in the seventh grade at St. Mary’s Grade School.
            In the weeks following, I’ll post additional stories about Ménière’s. Just skip right on by them if they hold no interest for you. The next posting after a Ménière’s one will always be about something different.


  1. I can't believe this doctor! He needs to be fired . . . or burned at the stake! What an awful experience, to attempt to get help where help should be found, and instead find a total lack of sensitivity, not to mention the worst "bedside manner" I've ever heard of.

    How awful for you to be living with this disease.

  2. Sandi has hit the nail on the head! The man ought to have been severely disciplined by the Medical Council.

  3. Sadly, so many specialists seem to lack in bedside manner...well, all doctors, for that matter. They don't spend a lot of time in school learning compassion or psychology or tact. A big problem, especially in a country where they can go into the medical profession strictly for the money, if they so choose. No "calling" involved. And as a specialist they make even more money.

    I certainly hope you found a nicer doctor! I knew I should have gone back and read all your posts. Time is not on my side. Thanks for the links. :)