Monday, May 20, 2019

Preparing to Travel

Ralph, our friend and I are leaving for Ireland 🇮🇪 on Friday. We’ll be gone 11 days. We are trying to prepare for a long trip with carryons only. That is one small suitcase and a personal item (like a purse). Fortunately we can wash, so we won’t have to pack the entire wardrobe.

My packing list.

  1.  Medication (Unfortunately, I need meds to breathe and a few others that help me cope with migraines & autoimmune.) plus I will be bringing cold, allergy & sinus pills. Hopefully, I won’t need them, but I am just getting over sinusitis. I put my medication in a gallon bag, so I can get to them easily.
  2. Small first aid kit.
  3. Toiletries. (All liquids must fit in a quart sized bag.) So I have a bar soap, (I love Neutrogena), travel shampoo & conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, face lotion with sunscreen, tide (needs to go in this bag too, as does sunscreen if you bring it.) I have hand sanitizer in it too. Brush
  4. Clothes: 2-3 pairs of jeans and 7 tops, a sweater or hoodie, rain jacket/windbreaker, puffer jacket, underwear (I always bring extra.)
  5. Umbrella (It rains most days in Ireland.)
  6. Extra pair of shoes. I’ll be wearing my hiking shoes. 
  7. All travel documents, passports and debit card. We’ll be getting Euros too.
  8. Chapstick
  9. Phone and chargers with adapters for European outlets. (I am still trying to decide if I should bring my iPad. 
  10. Since it’s a long flight we’ll be bring breakfast burritos/bowl for me, snacks and I chew something to keep my ear from popping during takeoff & landing.)

I feel like I am forgetting to tell you something. The carryon luggage has to be less than 15 pounds. So things like my medication will be with me under the seat. We’re getting excited. If you want to follow our journey, we’ll be filming for our YouTube channel... The Ralph and Rita Show. Dublin, Northern Ireland, Drogheda, Kenmare are just a few of our stops. 

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Monday, May 6, 2019

Juggling sinus, allergies and colds with Meniere’s

It started with a tickling in the back of my throat on Friday night while at a local ball game. The wind that cooled things off was probably carrying pollen and dust. It didn’t register with me at the time. I just knew that I’d probably would have a sore throat soon.

Indeed I awakened with a sore throat. Add in the pressure in my ears and louder tinnitus and my balance was shot. After going back and forth in my own head, I sucked it up and joined friends at a comedy show, which one of them got for my birthday. It was an enjoyable night. Beginning with drinks in a bar with live music. 

Sunday arrived and even after sleeping in, I still was not feeling better. Still we went to a late breakfast, followed by mass where my friends daughter had her First Communion and then dinner. We were home in time to watch Game of Thrones and A Discovery of Witches. I was wiped out, managing to sleep all night.

I still am off balance and sick to boot. I would like to get some things accomplished today, but I am sitting in my chair hoping that the spins don’t begin. Some not quite a full rotation have been hitting. I am dizzy, which is not the same as vertigo. I think if I allowed the panic to consume me I’d have full blown vertigo, but I am mindful of the panic signs and start to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth if it starts. 

This disease changes the rules on me constantly and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for attacks. Too much salt makes my tinnitus worse, but doesn’t necessarily cause a vertigo attack. Colds, sinus and flu affects my balance and my ears, but doesn’t necessarily cause vertigo. All these things used to affect vertigo, but not anymore. 

I sit here in my recliner with my dog on my head, hoping that an attack isn’t imminent. I can smile, because despite this disease I love my life. 

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Spoilers or Guesses

I am sitting here, because I don’t feel well today... I have been thinking about this. 

My newsfeed is filled up with people not wanting spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Though I am not going to see it until Saturday, I can tell you that The Avengers will win. They lost in the last movie (Avengers: Infinity War) and I haven’t heard plans for a third... So they win. Somehow, someway The Avengers will win. 

So aside from telling a line by line plot of the movie, why are people worried about spoilers? We know that the original Avengers survived and we know Captain Marvel and Ant Man will play a part in the movie. 

What we don’t know is if they can resurrect any of the others that Thanos dusted out of existence. We have clues that Doctor Strange who was in possession of the time infinity stone, may be back. Well, because he possessed the stone at some point, so it’s possible that he will be out to assist. He said something to the effect that this was the only way.

So, I say that we know one thing... The Avengers win this time. They lost last time and it’s not in human nature to do nothing, especially if you’re a hero. Or maybe I’m wrong and they lose again. 

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Downside of Meniere’s.

Last night we went to see Weezer. I rested all day, because my head was wonky. Yes, wonky is a technical term. It means my head was fuzzy, my ears were louder and my balance was off. My balance is usually off, but it was more so. I felt okay when we went to the concert. I didn’t bring my cane, but Ralph was with me. Believe me I held on tight. Since my husband doesn’t like holding hands, I consider it a win.

I may have felt drunk, but I am proud to say I remained upright. I wish I could say the same for the people in front of me. One girl almost fell twice going to her seat. I whispered to Ralph that she was worse than me. The difference being she was drunk and still drinking even before The Pixies took the stage. She left during the intermission between The Pixies and Weezer.

Here’s the downside of Meniere’s... My hearing dropped out during The Pixies performance causing everyone to sound like Chipmunks. This has happened to me before, but usually when I’ve been drinking. This distortion of sound was untimely. Before my hearing distorted my hyperacusis was bad enough to pull out my earplugs. Which I removed during the intermission. I didn’t need them for Weezer.

I made it to the restroom and back with only a little tilting. I am aware I probably appeared drunk to any casual observer. Someone said something to me as I stood in line, but I couldn’t hear her. She looked sympathetic, but probably thought I was drunk. Such is the life of Ménière’s.

The group with the drunk girl, minus her and her partner, returned. The guy sitting in front of me took a tumble  landing in the seats in front of him. Yes, he was drunk. I think what saved him from tumbling into the section below us was the fact that his leg got caught in between the seats. A Good Samaritan came down from the stands behind us and managed to lift the guy up and sit him back down. The guy sat in the same position for a few songs. I think he was scared to move, I can’t blame him. His girlfriend gave him back his drink. Probably good that she carried it.

This is my biggest fear when I go to venues like that. I am afraid of falling. Watching two non-meniere’s, albeit drunk, related people falling, hits home that shit happens and I should just enjoy myself. I am careful and hold onto things as I maneuver around.

I was able to enjoy the concert and could recognize the songs, even though it still sounded like chipmunks were singing. My hearing returned briefly for Rivers Cuomo’s solo. Then it went out again. Despite my hearing and the unplanned excitement, I loved Weezer. They are awesome.

I almost forgot... I wish people would have respect and leave their pot at home. I know it helps many people, but it gives me a migraine. YES, even secondhand smoke. Fortunately, I had my sumatriptan with me and it stopped the attack. Where are the drug sniffing dogs for concerts and such? Pot may be legal in Las Vegas, but not in public! Rant over!

My hearing is back to normal, even my tinnitus has quieted. I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Monday, April 8, 2019

Social Media

It is Lent and many of my friends have given up Social Media until Easter. I have not and probably won’t until everyone stops using them.

Why? My main reason is that it keeps me connected to family and friends. If you are my Facebook friend then you either don’t have Facebook or aren’t important to me. I say that a bit tongue in cheek, because many of my friends on Facebook, I have never met. Yet I have followed their lives and feel as close to them as if they are a member of my family.

Also, I connected with my husband through Facebook. We knew each other as kids, so when I joined Facebook I friended people that I remembered. About 6 months after my second husband died, I dreamed about Ralph kissing me. I messaged him through messenger. He told me to go back to sleep if I wanted to know how it ended. This made me laugh and I knew that we belonged together, even if it did take him a bit longer to realize it. We have been married two years this past February.

Still I might’ve been able to give up Facebook, until last year... what changed last year? I found a support group on Facebook for Meniere’s. This group understands what I am going through unlike anyone else. You really have to live it to understand that I put on a good front. Even on days I feel great, I still have balance issues. This group gets me and many have my warped sense of humor.

Still some people are okay without Social Media and that is good for them. Socializing the old fashioned way is probably the best thing for all of us. I do some of it myself. But there are days when I am unable to “people” for one reason or another and Facebook keeps me connected. I am not saying you should give up living for social media, there should be a balance. Though chronically ill people can connect through it.

Unfortunately, there are people who like to be negative and troll others to belittle them. I am not talking about healthy discussions, because hearing from both sides of issues is important. I am taking about the name callers and the holier than thou who won’t even entertain a polite discussion without saying you are going to hell. These people should leave social media. Bullying should not be tolerated. There are all kinds of bullying and sometimes a person doesn’t have to be mentioned to bully them.

So, I applaud those who leave social media behind even for Lent. If you are happier without it, then by all means don’t come back. If you are happier without it ask yourself why? We’re you being bullied? Do you have more time for the ones who really matter? Do you have more time to read, take a walk, create something? If so, maybe social media isn’t for you!

As for me, I will keep Facebook until there is a way to keep in touch with my many friends and family from all over the world. I have been trying out an alternative venue called MeWe.. Join me there while they work out the kinks.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. Read or write a poem each day. My friend, Elizabeth Christy, is giving poetry prompts. Though I used her prompt, I wrote a vignette. If you want to try your hand at it the prompt is to set your story in a waiting room and use these words: stroke, empty, rain, mother, space, above, laugh.  P.S. Thanks Elizabeth for getting me going!

A Moment in Time

At the stroke of five o’clock in one of the salon chairs mother glanced at her watch wondering, I am sure, if she would get home in time to cook dinner before her hubby got home from work. Nearby her daughter sat patiently waiting for the stylist to dry her already new haircut. I waited in anticipation of my own shampoo, cut and style, while I debated if I should add a color to it.

Outside the rain kept tempo with my heartbeat or maybe my heart beat to the sound of the rain. This space was almost empty now, whereas earlier it had been teaming with life. The stylists seemed to be on a mission to get everyone out the door by six. 

A stylist glanced my way and then to the clock above my head. She sighed rather loudly. I know I’d arrived without an appointment, but the sign said “Walk-ins Welcome”. I wondered if I should leave or wait to get my shaggy mess tamed? At last the mother and daughter stood at the counter to pay. They looked beautiful with their new doos. I took one last glance at the scene and slipped out the door into the rain, knowing that the stylists were too tired to make me beautiful too. I gave a little laugh as I thought, “They’d have to be fresh in order to pull that trick off.”

Rita L Smith


I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Find Reasons to Laugh & Smile

It’s really easy to sink into despair when you are ill, especially when it’s chronic. But there are good days too. On the bad days it helps me to laugh. Laughter is one of the best medicines I know. Sometimes I laugh at myself. Like one time my speed laces tripped me when they caught my lace from the opposite shoe. I went down face first. I could have laughed, but it was kind of funny, since I couldn’t get up because my feet were then behind me.

I laugh at memes, my pets, movies (Even when no one else does, because my sense of humor is warped). I laugh with my husband and my support group. Sometimes laughter is the only thing that gets me through the bad days. It certainly beats crying. Don’t get me wrong... In the middle of a vertigo attack, I cry, because I forget how bad it is and I don’t know when they will end, but after that, I try to find something to make me laugh. My pets, the tv, or whatever I can find on Facebook.

I am thankful for laughter. It’s funny because I have no sense of humor... well, maybe I do, but as I said it’s warped. Smiling and laughing are essential if you want to enjoy life. I do try to enjoy life. I try not to let my natural grumpiness out. When I get grumpy, my brother says, “I laugh in the face of your grumpiness.” Who can stay grumpy when you hear that and picture my late nephew, Mikey, laughing at my dad.

Anyway, find what makes you smile and laugh. I married someone who does that for me. I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita