READY: Encouragement even when the Minotaur was roaring around me

Mary Ready

I’m not sure if this is Column #604 or #605. It depends if my readers noticed that last week’s entry was a reprinted one (Column #381) from a few years ago. I apologize for the repeat, but I have an excellent excuse.

I did not want to throw up on my computer.

When time came to compose my weekly article for The Log, I found myself deathly ill. No, it wasn’t anything as mundane as the flu or a rotten cold. I got to have something way more exotic than that.


That was the diagnosis of my favorite Doctor Mendoza at the Destin ER on Airport Road. The staff there always recognizes me as Frank and I accumulated frequent flyer miles there when he was so sick. And I do like a medical provider who tells me what’s wrong with me in simple terms: It seems the marbles in my head were rolling around and needed to be quieted down.

Similar to vestibular neuritis, it’s a disorder resulting from an inflammation of the inner ear and a form of unilateral vestibular dysfunction. It derives its name from the labyrinths that house the vestibular system, which senses changes in head position and informs the brain. Labyrinthitis can cause balance disorders, vertigo, vomiting, hearing loss, tinnitus, and brain confusion. It makes the room spin around as if you are on a Whirligig carnival ride with no off switch.

At one point I was fairly certain the Minotaur who dwells in the dark tunnels of his mythical labyrinth was roaring all around me and hunting me down for the kill.

I stayed in bed all week, keeping my body and head as still as possible, with a plastic bucket nearby and a prescription for vertigo and nausea. My watch, which is motion dependent, stopped running as it must have thought I had died.

So, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that during that week of extreme helplessness and discomfort, I received loving care, encouragement, prayer, and lots of wonderful sympathy from friends and family.

Since I first became ill at church, my sweet pastor’s wife noticed I was looking kind of green and gently helped me out towards the back door so I wouldn’t faint or worse in the pew. She waited with me while my son came and discretely took me away. Thank you, Susan.

My dear young friend, Stacy, watched my granddaughter while we went to the ER.

Church friends called to check on me throughout the week.

And on one of my worst, yucchy days, I received a Facebook message from a reader and his wife Dianne who wrote, “I enjoy your columns and read them every week and (am) personally touched … God Bless.”

The next day I received a letter from J. Blake in DeFuniak Springs, telling me how much she related to what I wrote, “from the heart,” as she had seen “some dark times” of her own. I was flattered that she referred to me as a “Steel Magnolia,” especially since that day I was feeling like wilted ragweed.

Now, folks, that’s good medicine. Better than any prescription at any price. 

Those who ministered to me during my week of loose marbles in the brain all share the same name, even though I’m missing exact identification from some of them.

So, call them all by the name BARNABAS.


Because they make me think of Barnabas in the Bible. The name means “son of encouragement.” but his real name was Joseph. Barnabas (Barney?) was a nickname his friends gave him because it was a statement of his character as a friend, encourager, and supporter of others. If not for his endorsement and faith, Saul (the Apostle Paul) would not have been accepted by the other disciples of Christ who had every reason not to trust him. What a testimony! That a man be known by his good deeds, kindness, and encouragement of those who needed lifting up.

I thank all my Barney friends and readers who’ve meant so much to me last week and over the years. Your encouragement is a medicine, an inspiration, and a reminder that I, too, need to be a better Barnabas to others.

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.