Thursday, September 3, 2009

Take One!

My poor father! He's experiencing something so horrific and something so supernatural, that it could possibly be a good story line for the classic series, "Alfred Hitchcock presents". Anyone who knows my father well, would say that ironically this is the type of disease he would develop, because of its psychosomatic characteristics, and horrifying symptoms. Let me just say, my father loves ANYTHING that is science-fiction. Alfred Hitchcock is one of his all time classic favorites, followed by Star Trek, Twilight Zone, and The Planet of the Apes. My father has never been ill, since I can remember. He occasionally catches a cold, and sometimes suffers from headaches. Lately, he's been suffering from migraine headaches more often than usual. He refuses to see a doctor for anything. So this is out of the norm for our family to experience.

He is thought to be suffering from Meniere's disease. Meniere's disease is an abnormality of the inner ear, characterized by episodes of dizziness, tinnitus and progressive hearing loss (usually unilateral), to say the least. Dizziness can be tolerated, in my opinion. Tinnitus, I too experience at times, when I'm dehydrated or stressed, or maybe even sleep deprived. It's a high pitch ringing or roaring sound that suddenly occurs in one of my ears, as a subtle reminder to get some sleep or else, is what I've assumed. Now, if I can only train my brain to repeat those words, rather than sound the alarm, we would be in such harmony with each other.

Dizziness, tinnitus, and hearing loss, are a few symptoms that occur from this disease. The most dramatic and distressing symptom of them all is called, vertigo. vertigo is an illusion of movement; a sensation as if the external world were revolving around an individual or as if the individual were revolving in space. The person who is affected shows loss of normal equilibrium, for which the room begins to spin very fast, and they lose control of their ability to maneuver accurately. In some cases, they tend to walk sideways, that's if, they are able to get up and balance themselves. You're basically non-functional on one side, usually the side in which the ear is affected.

I can't comprehend the extent of fear that one develops when experiencing vertigo! But it sounds absolutely terrifying! Unless you're one of those freaks who thrives for an adrenaline rush, who are always looking for the ultimate ride of their lives. Or, on the other hand, someone who enjoys getting wasted followed by hurling in the toilet all night long.

To make matters MUCH worse, because the disease could be caused by a viral infection in the ear it can relapse simply by poor diet and stress. What's more stressful than knowing that it may trigger at any moment under stressful conditions? No chance in winning that particular challenge! "I'm not sure if I should fly?" "I really shouldn't have that second glass of wine." "I can't have a cup of coffee to wake my ass up?!" Do you feel my stress? And for the tip of the ice burg, I've read that it's hereditary! That's just FREAKIN' great! I'm stressed now.

My assumption is that if I'm experiencing ringing in my ears (tinnitus), then I must have it. It just hasn't occurred yet. I hope for my husbands sake that it never does! So I'm taking precautions right now! I'm taking control of my destiny! As of today, I quit drinking coffee, and
maybe alcohol. I'll exercise regularly, even if it's just a brisk walk in the park. A proper diet and regular exercise can help reduce fluid retention, and reduce the fluid that builds up in the affected ear, which is thought to cause vertigo in Meniere's disease. The accumulation of excessive fluid can rupture the membranes. This results in mixing of the fluids, one rich in sodium and the other rich in potassium. The mixture of these fluids is thought to bring on vertigo. I will never step into my favorite clothing store, coincidentally called "VERTIGO", and feel the same again!

They also say, by keeping your emotional stress level down, may help to keep it under control. Did I hear someone say Valium? And for exercise, all I need is to add a double jogging stroller to my AWESOME collection of strollers, so I can add more bulk and two babies into my daily routine. Oh, I also forgot to mention that eliminating salt intake is primary. I guess no more pickles, OR CHEESE. Yes, I fell off the wagon more than twice since I've became vegan a year ago. Nobody's perfect.

In the meantime, We all are hoping and praying that this will pass very soon, and that my father can fully recover from this crazy, supernatural, thought to be Meniere's disease. So that my children can play with their WONDERFUL "Papi" who they love very very much.

Take Two!
Take two!
After writing this post, we discovered several days later that it was not Meniere's disease, after all. It was, unfortunately, a stroke that my father suffered from, which was caused by a brain aneurysm. I debated whether or not to publish this post, but I thought that Meniere's disease is so rare and strange that some people would want to know a little something about it. And I also wanted to inform people about the importance of getting your health checked when reaching certain milestones during your lifetime. As I said to myself, "Why go through labor pains during delivery, when I can experience it PAIN FREE!", which is not quite how it happened. Just as well as, why play guessing games with your symptoms when there is modern technology and experts that we can trust and rely on, for the most part, and who deal with these kind of cases on a daily basis. Who could ultimately save your life! After all, there is always a second opinion.

I just need to be thankful that my father suffered a minor stroke (cause by a genetically abnormal blood vessel), and that he has his strength to recuperate quickly and will continue to push forward. His mind is still very strong, and I feel confident that he will conquer this with ease and have very little or no symptoms at all. This was just a 'freak' incident that has happened to him, because the tests that they ran on him on that dreadful day came back looking perfect! They showed no signs of high blood pressure and his cholesterol level looked great! Thanks to his vegetarian diet! I guess that's why they sent him home confirming that it may have been a pinched nerve. Again, I keep telling myself, that no one is perfect. "It's just pure bad luck," is what the radiologist said. I still wonder about those migraine headaches he's been complaining about. That doesn't matter anymore. The important thing to remember here, is that life can have unexpected twists and turns. For whatever reason why these things happen will remain a mystery, and what we need to focus on now are the positive and wonderful things in life. We need to continue to push through the difficult and challenging times that may lie ahead, and continue to live our lives the best way we know how, to push forward and stay positive.

I'm glad my father still has his sense of humor, it will be beneficial for a speedy recovery. The incidents that led to my fathers unfortunate stroke is a whole other story. He is more than willing to share it with us at a later time. I must say, the photographs that he shot leading to the stroke is funny enough to share by itself.