This past week and a half has been very crazy and abnormal for me. Starting with last week, Wednesday (my birthday), I woke up with a terrible head cold. Not how I want to spend my birthday right? The next day I woke up and was positive I had been hit by an airplane. I couldn’t swallow any water, and my ear had a horrible pounding. Thinking I had an ear infection or possibly strep throat I immediately made a doctor appointment and thankfully got in that day. Now, when I was a kid, I had APD (auditory processing disorder), so I constantly had ear infection after ear infection and eventually had surgery to insert tubes in my ears. From then on, I’ve had some gnarly scar tissue in my ear drum. Anyway, so a common head cold is my worst nightmare. All the fluid from my head gets stuck in my ear canal because my scar tissue swells up and blocks it, causing agonizing pressure. Sounds fun, right? While leaving my appointment, I was prescribed Musinex Decongestant and a steroid nasal spray. I was very consistent with my prescription because I was miserable and felt unbalanced.
From Thursday to Tuesday I tried everything to remove the fluid from my ears. I sat in a steamed bathroom, I jumped up and down with my head tilted, I laid on a hot washcloth, I used my finger as a suction cup to pull pressure out, I held my breath and blew out my nose, NOTHING WORKED! I made an appointment to see a specialist on Tuesday—the ear, nose, and throat doctor. I thought I would go in and have fluid drained from my ear. Oh boy, I was wrong. The doctor looked inside my ear and said “well, it looks like you have little to no fluid.” WHAT?! How could I not hear? I did a pressurized test in both ears and the scan for my right ear was a very high and steep triangle; the left ear scan came back a little bunny hill. Although this is not my exact result, the picture below is very similar to what my pressurized test concluded to.
He sent me over to another building called Wyoming Auditory and Hearing, across town to have an auditory screening. Of course, I had no appointment, so after 45 minutes of reading the same brochures about hearing aids in the waiting room they managed to squeeze me in between appointments. I sat in a little box (kind of like a telephone booth), with some big head phones on while the specialist ran auditory tests. I used to do these when I was a kid, so I knew the drill. Raise your right hand if you can hear a beep, raise your left hand if you can hear the word “hot dog”. After 30 minutes of sitting in the telephone booth he handed me a copy of my dialysis to send over to my ENT doctor. When I went back to my first doctor, he went over the results with me. It turns out that my nerve is slightly unattached to my ear drum, making it so that vibrations aren’t getting enough airflow to make the correct or full motion to make a sound—which is why I can’t hear out of my left ear. Apparently, I got it from a virus (I have no clue how), so few medicines are anti-viral. I take 6 pills a day to reduce inflammation and to produce airflow. This is called Sensorineural hearing loss, and patients who wait over a week to be diagnosed have a 40% chance of having permanent hearing loss. I have a follow-up appointment next week in April, and worst case scenario I must have an incision in my eardrum.
Overall, I haven’t been feeling so hot the past 10 days. I’ve been praying for some progress and I’ve had little “pops” in my ear, so that gives me some hope that there is a little amount of airflow. I’ve been avoiding loud sounds and vibrations, such as the car window down and wind. This process has really put me in a frustrating position with my job and with my everyday routines, along with the medicine that causes dizziness and pigheadedness. Although I did not complete 1-2 hours of labor for my ILP, I have been reading and writing down ideas for my plans with my ILP. I’m excited to recover from this and to continue with my ILP process! Hope everyone has a great week with this warm weather coming!
Picture CC: Medscape