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Ménière you bastard

Hart Brachen, site author in absentia:
Hart here riding life's trolley …

So as unbelievable as it was to see the Red Sox win not one but two World Series in the past 4 years, the medical-related events the past month in my own life are equally astonishing. Click on the "Author's Notes" link below for more detail.


Author's Notes

First let me say I feel weird once again turning the Soxaholix site into a personal diary. But it feels more right to do so than just going AWOL on you without an explanation.

So my wife was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon and then we went to the office of the infectious disease doctor to learn how to administer the IV antibiotics at home.

Meanwhile, earlier that morning, I'd had a couple brief bouts with a sudden onset of vertigo. Actually had one while I was typing out Friday's strip and had to grab hold of the desk to prevent myself from falling over.

However, I just chalked this up to an isolated anomaly and didn't think much more of it. I felt pretty much fine the rest of day, though "around the edges" of my head there was something not quite right, but it was minor, so didn't dwell on it.

Also on Friday, my wife's dad and stepmom came into to town to help out for the weekend. We spent Friday evening at home relaxing and talking about how great it was for my wife to be home and for everything to be proceeding so nicely at last.

On Friday night, or actually very early Saturday morning, I got up to go to the bathroom and crashed into a wall then fell down, completely unable to balance with the room just flipping around wildly in my eyes… I then began to vomit something awful.

This attack subsided and I was able to get back into bed, though if I tilted my head to the left, I heard a very loud whir/thump sound very much like the sound of getting a flat tire. And if I tilted my head to the right, it sounded like I was in a beehive.

Then, when I tried to get up around 7am the whole scene repeated. At this point my wife (who can barely walk herself) insisted that my father in law take me to the E.R.

I vomited a couple times on the way there and then that attack somewhat subsided, too.

Long story short, I was diagnosed with Meniere's Disease.

It's basically a problem with a fluid imbalance in the middle ear. There is no cure. It may come and go. You may only get it once and then never again. You may be stuck with it forever until you lose your hearing in the ear with the problem.

The doc gave me an Rx for some motion sickness meds and said that most people return to normal in 3 days.

The rest of Saturday I was inert. Just couldn't move w/o getting sick, dizzy etc. We were starting to get anxious thinking how can I take care of wife if I can't even walk, let alone drive.

By Sunday, though, I was doing much better. Just some dizziness if I moved to quickly up/down or side-to-side. My wife's dad and stepmom left, but if anything went wrong with me they would return.

This morning, thankfully, day 3, I feel completely normal. Though I'm paranoid as hell that it'll come back without warning.

I'm pretty sure the onset of this middle ear problem is due to diet and stress of the past month. While my wife was in the hospital my diet definitely changed. I ate way, way more fast food, and way more takeout than I ever have in my life. Also I had many times where I just skipped meals altogether for lack of appetite. On top of that, there were nights where I drank way more than I should of. And then there was the ongoing stress.

So there you have it. At least I haven't had Bob's gout. (Knock on wood.)


One day at a time,hb-we're all still here if you need anything

With all that you've been through I wouldn't be surprised to hear you're going through early menopause, mad cow or micropsia.

Take care of yourself and your wife first.

We will take care of ourselves, ala Ralph and Piggy.

You might want to avoid any weekend trips to Vegas HB. Lady luck is not on your side lately.

I would recommend a 2nd opinion on the Meniere's Disease diagnosis. Go to a highly regarded ENT. It's a chronic lifelong condition with no cure. You don't just get over it in a couple of days. I was diagnosed with it about 8 years ago. On 2nd and 3rd opinion it was decided that I just had allergy issues. I still have the ear pressure and buzzing issues at times, I've just learned to ignore it.

Also, Meniere's symptoms are sometimes brought on by a tumor. It's not common, but if they didn't do a brain scan in the ER you should definately get one done to rule out the possibility. Better safe than sorry...

Jeez, I'd rather get The Gout again than Meniere's.

I think you're right about the stress that's been put on your mind and body the past month.

Try to take it really easy, H.B.

Wow, hb. Thank goodness your inlaws were there.

Had the brain scan. No tumor.

And, yeah, it doesn't "just go away" but the acute "attacks" do.

At least that is what it says in the literature the doctor gave me.

Looking back I realize I've probably had minor versions of this for years.

There was a period last summer where I completely lost all hearing in the same ear... well, not entirely true as I didn't lose hearing -- it was more that any sound was drowned out by the whirring sound in my ear. It got bad enough that I said I was going to go to the doc, but never got around to it and eventually my ear went back to normal.

And I've had off/on minor dizzy spells (especially when riding an elevator) for a couple years as well, but always assumed it was just the result of my hypertension meds.

As long as I don't get the vertigo/can't walk/vomit thing again, or only get it once in awhile, no biggie.

But if not Meniere's that is even better. Maybe just some similar inner ear malfunction.

Like I said, if I feel fine, like I do today, then whatever.

Meanwhile, I await the gout.

To COD's point, sudden onset of vertigo has a somewhat broad differential diagnosis, but the positional quality makes me think of Benign Positional Vertigo (BPV), not Meniere's, although those of trained in emergency medicine always defer to the clinician who has actually seen the patient. The history of such rapid resolution makes me think much more of BPV, not Meniere's, but agree with COD, and ENT is your best bet for the proper diagnosis. In the ER, we are forced to play "worst case scenario"

Best to you and your wife.

It can definitely be the result of dietary considerations (or lack thereof). A high salt/alcohol diet (as you're describing) will lead to greater water retention and that will aggravate any sort of fluid problems, like Meniere's.

COD is also right though to mention a tumor. I know it's one of those "oh, a tumor? well, at least it isn't meniere's!" type diagnoses, but a tumor is a lot easier to diagnose and determine a prognosis than "oh, whenever, you'll just hit the floor and puke". If you haven't had an MRI, you should consider one to help rule out a tumor.

Finally, I'll say this, aside from the vertigo (somewhat treatable) and other symptoms, the eventual hearing loss may seem a tad frightening, but I have met many people who are fully or partially deaf. They are a great community and accept nearly anyone, even the hearing. It just takes learning a bit of sign language, which they're always forgiving about just because you show the effort to learn their language.

Hopefully as you see a specialist or two you'll get a complete understanding of what's up and maybe it's just the current conditions you're going through that put your body in extreme tilt and resulted in your symptoms, something that, once life is back to normal for you, won't raise itself as a problem again.

Yeah, I should go see a specialist. But I won't as long as I'm feeling OK now.

I'll mention it to my regular doc during my next 6mos checkup (for my hypertension) in May.

I like that Benign Positional Vertigo, sounds kinda kinky.

Could be a great pickup line:
"Hey, babe, what say me on you practice a little Benign Positional Vertigo, easy on the benign, if you know what I mean?"

I had the exact same thing happen Friday night, but it was the result of 13 double Scotches and some bad crank.

Take care of yourself and your wife...

You guys just hit a health rough patch, all will be well again shortly!

Personally, I think you were just disoriented watching the Sox play baseball in that crap-bowl they call the Coliseum.

Hehe. ;)

Sounds like you are cashing in some karma chips right now. Hope things improve for you.

Jesus H. Christ. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play? You hang in there h.b., and reach out to folks for help when you need it.

Sorry to hear of the rough weekend. I am going to make an attempt at your real name HB - I think your Christian name must be 'Job' given all that you are going through. You have been racking up some serious frequent flier mileage with the medical community over the last six weeks. I hope you and your wife can begin to turn the corner soon.

Keep the faith bro. Good things to come I promise.

huh. jeez louise, hb. keep at it.



Sorry to hear the bad news. Definitely be very careful - you don't want to end up like Nick Esasky (or was this just a test to see who remembered good old Nick?).

But seriously, as Nick found out, vertigo can be pretty life changing. Glad you are feeling better - and I hope that continues. What would we do without you every day?

I forgot about Esasky's vertigo issues!

So on that note, I'm going to make an appt with an ENT doc.

Keep the faith, h.b. I would suggest grabbing an umbrella during this shit storm but am afraid that'd only attract 1.21 gigawatts of fury.

Wow. Hang tough, hb.

I'm not really a doctor, I just play one on Soxaholix.

Yet again, good luck to you and your family.

Well...at least there's nowhere to go but up...it's like you just got crushed 19-8 by the Spankees to go down 0-3 in a 7 gane series...yup just like that...

Kaz and COD have it right. You need a consultation with an otolaryngologist (ENT). MRI needs to be without and with gadolinium contrast, and you need audiovestibular testing. Because we love you.

Wow hb - welcome to the crowd. I'm deaf in one ear and have hearing loss/ weakness in the other. I had a similar episode to yours last summer. My ENT rulled out Meniere's. Allergies, fluid imbalance in the inner ear, and the stress of being laid off/family issues was my diagnosis. It's so hard to pinpoint these things accurately. The hearing loss industry is well behind the vision folks in this regard. And I've been doing very well the last 7 or 8 months - no reoccurences.

So I wish you a good visit with your ENT, rest, warm weather, a good April for the SOX... (I hope I'm 4 for 4 here)

PS Alicia Molik - professional tennis player from Australia - also has these issues.

I have an appt with the otolaryngologist next Thursday.

In addition to ENT stuff, the guy is also a facial reconstructive surgeon. Maybe I'll get some botox and some chin waddle work while I'm there.

Jesus, can we please abandon this pity party and get on to some baseball?

Come on, hb, just kidding.

Who loves ya, baby!!??
I fucking dare you not to feel a little better after just 30 seconds of this:


Kaz & COD don't know what they're talking about. I say we sue this Meniere guy. I'll sit second chair w/ SDU - we'll make millions.

All hte best HB and the family. Stay strong and lay off the big mac scotch combo meal.

I had an ear issue recently. Nothing as severe as it sounds like you're going through, but evidently I had a eustachian tube bacterial infection. The result was that normal drainage from behind the ear drum wasn't able to funnel into the sinuses as normal and it cause some serious pressure and swelling of the ear. I had lost my hearing in one ear for a while and it took a round of amoxycillin to free everything up again. The tinnitus and deafness was unsettling but it sounds like I got off easier than you. I hope it's as easy to clear up though.

I am in Amsterdam right now, hb, and am sure I could pick you up a little something here that could help ease any pain or nausea. Just say the word!

Hang in there... karma does eventually right itself, or so has been my experience.

Looking forward to the season "resuming." After the last couple of days, I think we could all use some real action. :)

Wow, I sympathize. And empathize--I was diagnosed with Meniere's fifteen years ago. I had (and have) tinnitus, sudden onset vertigo, the whole thing. And it was a misdiagnosis, although since there's no cure for Meneire's or what I have, it didn't matter much. (Okay, I could eat more salt when they decided I didn't have Meniere's, which was nice...)

Stress, in my case, is the big thing. Just take care of yourself, and the attacks will hopefully be few and far between.

What can I say? It's opening day, and everyone should be optimistic.

After listening to Gary Thorne in Toyoko and Joe Morgan last night, I wish I was deaf. Bring on RemDawg and Orsillo!

Speaking of opening day, my Gameday Audio login and password were renewed automatically. If anyone still has the login e-mail and password in their mailbox from last year's free handout, it will work again this year. You're welcome.

Otherwise, e-mail me if you want to hear the games online.

Shit, HB, what a fucken nightmare.

As someone entirely unqualified to do so, I would like to concur with the medical opinion expressed above especially the stuff about diet and stress which will often manifest themselves once the major crisis is apparently over. The body seems just to shut down.

Also, I'm with Sonoma who wants to sue this Meniere prick. It will make a nice break from the wobbers, wapists an pickpockets I've been dealing with lately.

Stay strong - as you can see, we are all with you, albeit in cyber land.

Kaz - you naughty monopoly breaking boy!

Baseball just wants to be free, man. You know? The man can't keep it locked up like a songbird, man! You just gotta let it fly...free...fly...

Yeah, man, you know?

Wow, man, try telling that to Tickets Now!

sdu, are those Orthodox Wapists, or just the secular ones?

Hey HB,

My wife had some really bad vertigo a couple years ago- ended up coming back every fall for 3 years. It could have been Menierre's- they're still not really sure. She finally went over her doctor and went to Mass Eye and Ear. They sent her straight and there have been no problems since. Hope you and the Mrs. can both heal up and get back on the field soon!

HunterStars wrote: "My wife had some really bad vertigo a couple years ago- ended up coming back every fall for 3 years."

Oh, come on now. That's just too easy.

Only in the "fall"? You don't say...


hey ar'nt you spose to get the 10th player award,the keys to the shiney new ford and a free agent contract with atlanta before getting vertigo??
hope your on the mend soon hb. i just couldnt resist the nick esasky reference. i mean how often do you get that gift ;)

Jeezy creezy! Can you at least *try* to take it easy? Good thing on going to the ENT doc. I agree with above comments - sounds more like BPV than Meniere's but it's best to see the dudes that specialize in things above the neck.

Here's to keeping you and your wife off the DL for the rest of the season!

Damn, Brachen. You sure know how to have a good time. What are you planning for an encore -- African river blindness?

If you get checked out by an ENT guy, please make sure he tests you for RSNUAV. Even some of the best specialists tend to miss it, cuz they don't know what they're looking for. RSNUAV, of course, is the acronym for Red Sox Nation Unaccustomed Altitude Vertigo. It comes from the Red Sox recent ascension to literally dizzying heights in the standings. You guyz aren't used to it, so RSNUAV has reached almost epidemic proportions in New England.

Once you guys come slumming with us Yankee fans in the nether regions of the standings, I promise you'll feel MUCH better.

Seriously, sounds like it's just a nasty low-grade inner ear infection. Meniere schmeniere. Those are chronic almost by definition. Probably a minor complication from your flu bug a few weeks ago compounded by stress -- though I can't imagine what in your life has been stressful recently. You will have it the rest of your life, but its symptoms are generally occasional at worst. If it's really annoying you, they can insert a surgical pin filled with time release antibiotics into your inner ear, but that's rarely necessary (hey, they don't call me Mr. Excitement for nothing).

I had that when I was 14. I had just recovered from a nasty flu bug, and I was welding in my school's shop class and just keeled right over, welding torch in hand. It greatly enhanced my already rampant popularity, as you can well imagine. But aside from a brief dizzy spell every couple years that feels like a rubber band suddenly snapped inside my head and sends me lurching forward in my chair, grabbing the edge of my desk and making strange noises (nice visual, huh?), it doesn't affect me much.

Although, come to think of it, I may have been a Red Sox fan before it hit.


The good news is that your wife is home and recovering and this latest phase of your Biblical scourges isn't serious. You gonna do locusts next?

All the best to you and your wife Brach. Take as much time as you need as my RSN addiction is in hibernation. The remaining snow on the ground here in UT has put a damper on all things baseball.

Get well

hmm hey Kaz, I had MLB audio last season but it hasn't renewed itself. Is that SOP? I recall agreeing so something like that but I can't even get to the login screen on mlb.com to try. I think the university IT squad did something to make it load painfully sloooooooowwwwwwww.

hb-take care...please.

HB... wow.
Karma owes you and your wife a huge favor considering how much joy this site has given me since the early days.

I'm sure it'll come around. I had tinnitus for years, and then, one day, for no apparent reason, it just... went away.

Hope this happens for you.

Jen, my Gameday was renewed automatically and the e-mail address I used to login had e-mails sent to it telling me as much. One that said "if you don't do anything, we'll charge you" and the next said "here's your receipt".

If you didn't get those e-mails, maybe they discarded your credit card info? I dunno. If they don't give you a new year or charge you, etc, feel free to e-mail.

Alan Shepard had Meniere's, you're in good company.

Wish you and your wife the best. Maybe a baseball season will help bring you two "to normal"? (I know something that surely would but NOT going to mention it!)

This medical stuff - always seems to come in bunches and then just snowball, doesn't it?
I've been through the mill the last few years with my wife and my son.
I could write a freaking book........
Isn't it a lot easier to pass off and dismiss your own problems than those of the ones you love? Do take care of yourself, though. If nothing else, she needs you to be healthy for her.
Stay strong, things return to normal eventually.
And it's US Opening Day for the Sox, so things have GOT to get better!
BTW - Stripe - great post :)
RSNUAV - I love it! Of course you know this disease will be conquered within the next couple of years as we in RSN become VERY accustomed to the high altitude!

Anyone catch the end of the Cubs game yesterday? Our old friend Gagne gave up a no-outs, three-run shot in the 9th to Fukudome. Picked up right where he left off with the Sox. Cubs lost the game in the 10th, Gagne got the win, and his ERA now sits at a nice 27.00

Pad your desk, cowboy up, and get back to work!

Seriously, take it easy, and plenty of well wishes. We can patch the lineup and muddle through April/May, but will hope to have your wit and allusions back full time come September/October.

Good health to you and Mrs. HB.

hang in there, hb! (and mrs.)

Dear HB,

Please get better! It's terrible that someone who brings so much joy to others can have so much go wrong all at once. I'm gonna have to give karma a swift kick in the pants to right this, immediately! The best to you and Mrs. HB.

take care man, and get better soon.
take a break from soxaholix for as long as you need.
best wishes,

I'm working to operate my very own website yet I believe its as well standard and I would like to concentrate much more on smaller tips. Becoming all items to all most people is not really all that its crumbled as much as be.

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