Friday, 2 December 2011

Not alone

Statistics show  4% of the population suffer from a condition which causes problems when trying to make a cup of coffee, drinking a glass of wine, putting lipstick on, picking up a spoonful of soup, or using a knife and fork. This condition is known as Essential Tremor.

Since my childhood I had been unfortunate as I became ill with Viral Meningitis.  There was little known about the illness at that time.  In the years to follow I noticed a slight tremor in my hands.  I was told it was an after effect of the meningitis and that I should not talk about it to anyone or I might be put away.
I experienced my first real encounter with the disease when I was invited out to dinner with friends whom I had not known long. In the middle of the meal my hands started shaking and the food on my fork disappeared. At first the scenario was dismissed until I tried to take a sip from my glass.  My hands started shaking again and to control it, I tried to grip the glass between my teeth in the hope I would be able to stop it spilling.  There was complete silence across the table.  I have never forgotten that night so long ago, yet as if it happened yesterday. 

My doctor informed me that it was called a Benign Essential Tremor. I was also told it was an aging illness common in the elderly, I was unfortunate that I had acquired it at my age. I asked if I could have a second opinion and he arranged  an appointment with a neuro-surgeon in  Edinburgh.  After various tests, they confirmed that I had a Benign Essential Tremor.  At that point there was only one treatment available and that was Beta Blockers. I explained that I had tried the Beta Blocker and the side effect cut off my circulation. They advised me to try a 'nip of whisky'  Every cloud has a silver lining - I suppose!
Over the years I acquired access to a website which described the disease symptoms.  For those of you who have not heard of it. It is a neurological movement disorder, it is slow and progressive. The condition can affect you as a child or as an adult. It causes havoc with simple everyday routine. It may be mild with some people but is noticeable in the hands and upper limbs but can also cause problems to other parts of the body too.  I found it comforting to find out that I was not mad and I’m also not alone. 

I am glad to see that they have finally removed the word 'Benign' from the name of the condition is now known simply as 'Essential Tremor'. They felt that the word 'benign' took away the significance of the condition which can be very debilitating and can disrupt people's lives in a major way. Finally this condition is getting some recognition.

Have you suffered from Meningitis? Or do you know someone with similar symptoms as Essential Tremors? Feel free to send me you thoughts on the above. If you would like to comment about the above blog "Not Alone" please leave a comment in the box below or email me. I will try to reply to all your queries. Thank you for reading my blog. 

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