Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Voices in My Bed
By Dana Davis
My first experience with the paranormal started when I was about three years old and continued until I was almost seven. We lived in a rental house at the time and my bedroom was a converted garage. Every night when I went to bed, I would hear what sounded like a room full of adults talking. They started out distant and would grow louder within seconds, as though they were coming straight at me. While the voices were going on I always felt strange, like part of me was split or in two places at once. It scared me every time and I would hide under the covers until the voices disappeared and then go to sleep.
I never understood anything that was said because it was like being in a large cafeteria with everyone talking at once, but there were no utensil sounds, only voices. When I was about six, I would listen really hard and try to make out a single voice among the many but never could. I even spoke a couple of times to see if I could get a direct response but I never did.
These voices happened every night for three to four years and only lasted a few seconds. That’s how it always happened. I don’t know why, but I don’t think I ever told my parents about it. The voices stopped when we moved. I tried as a teenager and again as an adult to hear those voices at bedtime but I never heard them again. To this day, I don’t know whether I was having some sort of auditory hallucinations or actually experiencing something paranormal in that house.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Meniere's is an inner ear disorder that causes bouts of vertigo, dizziness, fluctuating hearing loss that becomes permanent, and tinnitus (ear noise or ringing in the ears). That's a standard explanation, anyway. Like old Rose said in Titanic, "The experience was quite different." Or something to that effect. So, here's a short version of my story.
Way back in the 90s in LA - yeah, I'm that old - I began to notice that doing turns in dance classes made me dizzy and sometimes nauseous. I ignored it, chalking it up to the fact that I just didn't dance as many hours a day as I had in the past. Then I began having slight ringing and fullness in my left ear. I went in for a hearing test but they said my hearing was normal. The doc did a water test, where she squirt warm water into my ear canal and made me almost puke right there in her office. The verdict - vertigo. Okay. She gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. I took one pill and hated being so tired from it so I stopped. I didn't have any other symptoms so I ignored the ear noise and went on my merry way.
Flash forward to 2002 and we were now living in Arizona. I came down with a bad case of a stomach virus that had me crawling to the bathroom and praying to the porcelain god every few minutes for several hours. The odd thing was that I had vertigo with it and I'd never had that in the past whenever I got a stomach virus. Hubby called the doc and I got a prescription for some heavy duty anti-puke meds, which stopped the vomiting. Thankfully! Then I slept for a day or so before feeling normal again. This happened again a few months later. Then again. After that third time, it didn't return. But my ear noise was worse and I started asking my husband to repeat things he said to me. He made a joke that I was losing my hearing. When it didn't go away, we got worried and made an appointment with an ENT (ear-nose-throat doc).
The hearing test came back normal. He asked if I'd recently had vertigo. Yes. He asked if my ears ever felt clogged with cotton. Yes. He tilted me backwards on the table and adjusted my head. No vertigo then. The next test was an MRI to rule out a brain tumor. Here's where I really began to panic. A brain tumor? You've got to be kidding? I can't have a brain tumor. I'm too young to die. I don't think I slept very well until we went in for the results. Negative. My brain looked fine. Whew! But what was happening? The next tests were some eye movement and other stuff but the worst was the water in the ear. Oh, no. I'd been through this before. I told him it caused vertigo but he said they had to do it and I couldn't take any meds beforehand. Great. So, if you guessed that I puked during this test, you'd be right. I felt miserable afterwards and hubby took me home for a long nap. I swore that no matter what, I'd never set foot in another ENT's office again.
Of course, I had to go back for the results. Now, you don't actually have tests for Meniere's. What they do is rule out everything else so that you're only left with that disease. The good news was that I wasn't going to die. The bad news was that Meniere's is a rare and incurable disease that can incapacitate and disable it's victims. Fabulous. I was informed that I had a mild case. A mild case? You've got to be kidding me? I really didn't want to know what having a serious case was like. I didn't want to be this kind of freak with a freaky disease. I wanted a cure. Denial stage? Yep.
With no cure and few treatments, I was pretty much on my own. Over the years, I've done internet research and experimented with various treatment options. I've found that sufficient sleep and lots of exercise works best for me. Trampoline, jumping, turning, riding a bike, swimming, anything that challenges my balance and inner ear helps. When I do sense an attack coming - I can usually tell now - I take Dramamine or it's equivalent to keep the vertigo under control. I still have to sleep a lot afterward, but I can't do anything about that. I'm now trying an herbal pill that is supposed to help reduce the tinnitus (ear noise). I will have to take it for up to 2 months to know if it works, but I figure I can't lose anything so I'm going for it. I use a sound machine in order to sleep at night. Otherwise what I call the cicadas in my head would drive me nuts and I'd never get any sleep.
I actually went into remission for nearly 3 years before I had another attack. This attack happened very recently. Even though they've gotten less severe over the years, I still fought really hard not to have another pity party. Is it difficult living with this disease? Heck, yeah. Will I end up totally deaf? There's always that possibility. But my hearing was above average to begin with so I have high hopes I won't. Even with the hearing loss I do have, I'm still in the normal range. After so many years, the disease tends to hit a burn-out stage. I hope that's where I'm headed. I'll have permanent inner ear damage, no getting away from that. But as long as that darn vertigo stays away so I can function and write my novels, I'll be very happy.
Some believe VanGogh had Meniere's and cut off his own ear trying to get rid of tinnitus. If that's true, I can certainly sympathize, but I'm not going to try that remedy. I'll just take it one day at a time, be thankful I'm able to work from home, and embrace my freakiness.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
As you may know, hubby and I were in Egypt about three months ago. We met some wonderful people during our visit and I blogged about the trip. With the internet shut down over there right now, we haven't been able to find out how our guides and drivers and their families are doing. I have to say that the protests don't surprise me because of what we heard when we were there, but I'm disgusted by all the criminals taking advantage of the situation and sacking and looting ancient treasures and businesses. Even King Tut's Exhibit at the Egyptian Antiquities Museum didn't escape damage. Luckily, those pieces can be repaired. I'm sure the same can't be said for other artifacts. We feel extremely lucky that we took our Egypt trip when we did. Who knows how long it will be before normal travel will resume in this troubled country. Cameras are strictly forbidden inside the museum, so I don't have any of photos from there to share with you, but I've included a few from around Egypt that I didn't put into previous blogs.
Enjoy and please keep the Egyptian people in your thoughts.
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