Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mother of the Ear

 I am recently on the mend from an extremely painful and complicated ear infection. Whenever I used to hear of that illness, I just thought of a sore ear, fixed up with antibiotics within a day or two. But I can say first hand, I would not wish that kind of pain on anyone, no matter how much I hated them. I had the good fortune of having both an outer and middle ear infection and I would rather be in labor than have that happen again. It felt like my ear turned into Satan's asshole or something.

I think I got the Swimmer's Ear from when I went into a hot tub and pool. I had gotten a pedicure that day and my foot was cut, so I was afraid of going into the water for fear my foot would get infected. I believe I was told "Your foot's not going to get infected, don't worry".

Flash forward two days later and my ear hurt. I knew I should go in right away before it got too bad, but it was Memorial Day so only an urgent care type place was open. I was in and out within an hour and given antibiotics. By late evening, I felt as if the outside of my ear and cheek were swelling, so I asked Brad if he thought it felt swollen. He looked at it and said "Yep, uh, it's swollen alright".  The pain was getting worse and so was the swelling. I decided to call the on call nurse, who suggested I go to the ER.

There I sat at the ER, feeling like a tremendous asshole for being there. I didn't have a temp, but the pain was pretty awful. I began shaking and sweating profusely but was very cold. I put my hood up and started bouncing my legs. Everyone who was in the waiting room had glanced at me a few times. They probably thought I was going through detox or withdrawals, looking for pain meds.

Was eventually seen by the doctor who told me it wasn't the worse thing he's ever seen. Gave me a script for ear drops and sent me on my way. By that time my temp rose almost 4 degrees. I asked if anything could happen that would indicate my ear was getting worse and I should return. "Nope", he said.

So I went back home, took the drops and tried to sleep. By morning, nothing was better and I had zero energy. Luckily, I called my mom and sounded pitiful enough that she came over and watched the girls for me while I slept.

The next day was pretty much the same, but my dad came over to help. By this time, it had been over 48 hours that I had been on the meds and drops with no relief. I couldn't find a position to sleep, sit, turn my head or stand that didn't result in horrible pain. I tried everything I could think of: warm, wet washcloth, heated rice pack, tilting my head to one side, tilting it to the other side, blowdrying it. I even cut up a piece of garlic and placed in in the outer part of my ear, as one hippie told me to do. I had no luck whatsoever and I was starting to smell like Fazoli's. So I call the on call nurse back again. She asked me some questions and told me to go to the ER ASAP as she wanted to make sure I didn't have Meningitis. Her exact words. I went to the ER, waited and was seen by a nurse. She stated that my ear had completely closed and I probably had some bacteria in there that couldn't be destroyed by the meds I was on (from that goddamned hot tub!!). They were going to put me on IV antibiotics and do some blood work. A male nurse came in and told me they wanted to do a CT scan too. Aye Paco. Luckily, the male nurse had taken his time prepping my arm for the IV (I had told him the last 2 times I had an IV put in, I had either passed out and/or thrown up. Plus, the bed I was in didn't have rails) and the head nurse lady came in and told me I could go straight to the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Dr., with no IV. Whew.

The ENT was a very nice, young man. He reiterated that my ear was completely closed and he couldn't see my eardrum at all, so he didn't know what kind of shape it was in. By this time, I was completely deaf in the left ear. He told me he had to put some wicks in the ear to open it up. He warned me that there was going to be pressure, but I told him it couldn't be as bad as what I had been going through. I was dead fucking wrong. He placed two wicks in my ear. I mean, he shoved two wicks, which are like stiff cotton ear tampons, into an ear hole that WASN'T OPEN. I screamed and tried to roll away. I got through it by saying the pain was temporary and he would take them out in a few minutes. "See you Friday!!". I looked at him like he just kicked a puppy. It was Wednesday and no way would I be able to have these devil sticks all up in my unopened ear. He told me not to worry, the wicks would open my ear up and allow the drops to do their jobs. And he would give me pain meds. Pain meds make me vomit.

I couldn't eat and could barely sleep for the next few days. I went back on Friday to a new ENT who looked like this guy...
I had been feeling a little bit better until New ENT ripped the enlarged ear tampons out of me. He said two things 1) "It looks like new skin grew around the wicks and when I took them out, I ripped that new skin. It may bleed". and 2)"Well, your ear isn't the most open thing in America". With as painful as the removal was, I was two shakes of a kitten's whisker away from telling him his mother was the most open thing in America, but I feared he would put in a jumbo super plus ear tampon the next time. He made an appointment with me for the following week and told me if the ear wasn't healed by then, "then something's really wrong with your ear". I took that as him telling me I should google the shit out of this problem and scare myself senseless by thinking I have some weird brain infection.
Flash forward to the following Tuesday. I was feeling better, could eat more than mashed taters and pudding and didn't need pain meds. I still couldn't hear out of the ear and it was doing some pretty gross things still (I'll spare you those deets) but I was optimistic. There wasn't any dramatic unveiling of a condition that would be applicable to "Mystery Diagnosis". He looked in, said it looked like it healed, used a little vacuum which felt like a little snake's tongue flickering my ear drum and told me everything was fine. I wanted him to tell me it was the biggest, most healthy looking hole he's ever seen, but I thought things might get weird. Although I couldn't hear, he said it was likely due to the trauma of the wicks being shoved and ripped out and it will go back to normal soon. Which it mostly did.
Moral of the story? Always trust your own body, even moms get sick and need extra help and if someone tells you a hole on your body isn't the most open thing in America, it's not always a compliment. 

No comments:

Post a Comment