“Well,” said the audiologist. “Ménière’s Disease will not kill you, but it will suck. Elderly MD patients tend to have a higher prevalence of Tumarkin attacks (when a person falls to the ground with no warning). Phrased as ‘drop attacks,’ they seem to come out of the blue and do not affect everyone. Ménière’s Disease victims usually exhibit faster development of hearing loss and vertigo spells in your age bracket. However, you’ll remain awake during the attack and will not lose consciousness. You will experience neither a heart attack nor stroke, but everything will be a bitch.”

“Is there an end-stage? If so, what’s that like?”

The audiologist paused for a moment, “The last stage of Ménière’s Disease presents significant hearing loss as the vertigo subsides. It’s common to experience discomfort. As hearing becomes extremely difficult, your balance will get worse. and you’ll experience permanent hearing loss.

Silence filled the room.

“For now, there are some medications we can use to assist. In addition, simple lifestyle changes, balance exercises, and reducing stress will help short term. But Ménière’s is a progressive disease. There is no cure.”

Ménière’s diagnosis made leaving the clinic more difficult. This diagnosis hit harder. Doctors have arsenals loaded with weapons against infirmities of the body, but eventually, everyone gets to a point where the cure becomes impossible. I’ve often told my physicians, ‘I know death is coming. Help me die in dignity.’ Therein lay the truth; everyone knows I’m going to die. It’s just a matter of when not if. Like many sitting behind their desk right now, I silently “self-medicate” to keep fighting at peak performance. Pills hide the pain from 8 partial ligament tears in my left knee, with 6 in my right. I was partially paralyzed from a spinal injury nearly forty years ago; had bone chips removed from the spine; experience severe arthritis; had two concussions; one eardrum tear; suffered a silent heart attack; cracked several ribs; fractured a wrist; separated a shoulder; have cervical stenosis; lumbar osteoarthritis; a cervical spinal tumor, anemia, Parkinson’s and Ménière’s Disease.

My body is tired, and I’m tired. Eventually, technology loses – the body wins. Pain has devoured my body, my mind, and my soul. I am tired of the pain. Many of us dying don’t win sporting events, receive Olympic Gold Medals, receive crowns from beauty contests, or Dance with Stars. Those of us dying tend to become repulsive. I have become a consortium of body aches that can barely stand straight from a kneeling position. I am cold and want to roll back under the covers. I want to hide. And here’s my rub. There are many pointers about the end, but few about how to ‘live’ it.

How can I live through this? How can I feel like I ‘live’ the best human life despite dying? Can I break life into weeks or months? At my stage, a year seems Like a dream. Therefore, what is most important? What matters? Can I live life while acknowledging its pain? Do I have value? However, I’m unlikely to answer the above questions without remaining proactive in my health.

Over the years, I’ve never labeled anything a personal ‘nemesis.’ Likewise, I don’t believe God sent diseases as a punishment or for the ‘glory of God.’ I always figured He had better things to do. All of this is ‘life.’ It’s just Parkinson’s. It’s just a tumor. It’s just Ménière’s Disease. That’s what diseases do: They fuck with you. So, I never presented a ‘woe is me’ philosophy. Therefore tomorrow, I will arise and try to find a way to be of value.