Traveling with Meniere’s Disease
By: Becky Mullinax
August 29, 2017
My story begins many years ago when I first noticed that I suffered from travel sickness whenever I rode in a car. This became so debilitating for me that I could only drive, rather than ride in, vehicles. In late 2013 my symptoms became more severe, and I noticed that something odd was happening with my hearing. After many visits to ENT’s, MRI scans, motion tests, allergy tests and hearing tests I was given the diagnosis- Meniere’s disease.
When the ENT delivered the news to me, time slowed down and I could not grasp what he said. I was thinking that this couldn’t be happening to me. I had to witness my aunt deteriorate from this disease for years, and now that would become my fate.
For those of you who are unaware, Meniere’s disease is a relatively rare condition that causes spontaneous vertigo and may result in spontaneous hearing loss. I have lost 40% or more of my hearing; I have a fear of turning my head too fast, any rapid eye movement, watching very vivid and bright screens and waking up with a severe case of vertigo.
Now, why am I writing about this? I want anyone with this disease to know that you can still travel, only with limitations. My particular limitations are that I can’t fly for longer than 2 hours due to the pressure on my ears, and long road trips must be taken in stages. I can no longer go to a movie theater due to the noise and vivid colors, ride any of my favorite roller coasters, experience loud and bright attractions, boat rides, riding passenger in a car, listening to music, etc.
How can I travel never knowing when vertigo will strike? I get prescription patches from my doctor and they have become a lifesaver for me, even with the side effects I have from them. I always apply one patch behind my ear a day before I travel and then every third day I remove it and apply a new one. When I fly, I also use special ear plugs that help release the pressure from my ears during the flights. My experience with this disease has helped me learn my limitations, and how to live with this disease as well as the dietary restrictions I have to reduce the chance of a vertigo attack.
This is very difficult for me. My favorite places to be are either on a cruise anywhere or seeing Mickey at Walt Disney World! My disease has turned me into quite the people watcher; my joy is watching other people express excitement over their vacations.
Currently, my bucket list includes a cruise to Alaska, Hawaii, a trip to Disneyland and Jamaica. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to experience these due to the distance, but I still am capable of dreaming.
If you would like more information about traveling with Meinere’s, please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to talk with you.