The Fatigue Factor

Hello all! I hope you’ve had a symptom free week!

We all have different triggers for our Ménière’s, some are fairly easy to control, others we have a harder time dealing with. We’ll spend time on all of them, however today we’re going to look at fatigue. For me post-attack (my code for vertigo that results in physical illness) fatigue is always worse that fatigue that exists along with normal symptoms such as the tinnitus or throbbing ear fullness. However, let’s take a look at our day-to-day, non-attack fatigue first.

My wife and I decided to have kids fairly late in life, so we’re sitting in our forties with a toddler and an infant. Both children are absolutely wonderful, except of course when it is 2 am, the toddler decides to move into bed with us, and the infant starts feeling some teething pain. Factor in a stop at the bathroom at some point in the night (regardless of if you are on a diuretic or not) and that is less than an optimal sleep cycle.

I can pretty much tell from the moment the alarm goes off if lack of sleep is going to cause a problem that day. Since one of the recommendations for Ménière’s symptom relief is to lay off the caffeine, the old large cup of strong coffee is no longer an option for less than optimal sleep. My wife has done yeomen’s work with the kids on week days, since theoretically at least, we can sleep later on weekends. I am not sure what would happen if she was not redirecting the three year old back into his bed, and soothing the infant when her teeth act up.

To cope with the issues of light, we have installed blackout shades in the bedroom which help immensely. I turned the alarm clock away from the bed to avoid having that light, and essentially the phone goes face down so it does not light up at random points in the night. All that remains is a small red dot on the TV that does not seem to impact sleep.

Shifting bedtime backward works well especially if I am feeling overtired, however is not always an option as work, plus commute will occasionally land me home close to 8 p.m. which leaves little time for eating dinner, relaxing or spending time with the kids before we are back to bed to start all over again.

Speaking of the commute, if you have a commute factored into your day, this will certainly add to the mental strain increasing fatigue. Prior to my diagnosis I was working nearly three hours from home, driving in mostly bad New York City traffic. While I did change jobs to get closer to home, it shaved off an hour from the commute, and seems to help to a degree, sitting in traffic does add to fatigue no matter what. Aside from playing some light music in the car, making sure that I have some decaffeinated tea with me, there is not much else that can be done in this regards, except for to keep looking for a position closer to home.

Post-attack fatigue is a bear to deal with as your body readjusts. However I find that I am not exactly able to sleep off post-attack fatigue either. While my vitamins do have a nice amount of B-12, they do not seem to provide any assistance in getting me going the two days following a bad attack.

How do you cope with the fatigue factor? Let us know in the comments how you deal with fatigue and what you have done to get a better sleep.  

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