My Left Ear

I had 2 doctors appointments today closer to the “big city”. One was at 9:15am and the other at 12:15pm. To avoid having to leave my house at o’dark:thirty to get through rush hour traffic to the 1st appointment on time, B and I spent the night at my parents’ house last night. They live closer to “big city” than we do. B and I did not mind; we both love spending time with my folks. My dad was actually out of town, spending time with his mom in New England for her birthday and keeping an eye on her since she just got out of the hospital. BTW, yesterday was her 94th birthday. :o) So B and I hung with my mom. She is B’s Nana and lives up to the name completely! As difficult as it is for me to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut about what he gets away with and does in her house, I do it. Every child deserves a Nana and Papa, and Ben understands that their rules are their rules in their house and my rules are my rules in my house, and never the twain shall meet! But usually, I drop him off and have no idea what goes on in their house. Since I stayed, too, I could not BELIEVE what goes on in that house! Where were these people when they were MY parents?!

Mom put B to bed last night while I took a bath in her MAMMOTH tub. I had not taken a bath in YEARS!!! I actually took with me a wine glass full of ice water and….A BOOK! The grandmother clock that chimes every 15 minutes told me that I was in there for at least 45 minutes. Ahhhh. I really needed that bath. I visit my parents frequently, but it’s usually for a meal and visit as a family or to drop B off so the hubs and I can get some alone time. I need to start stopping by my parents’ for some “me” pampering! After my bath, it was so nice to sit up and talk to mom.

So, onto the reason for my doctors appointments – my left ear. From June 2009 – December 2009 I had my 1st “ear infection”. The “infection” was just like me – go big or go home. That’s why it lasted 7 months long, was immune to the 1st 2 rounds of antibiotics and cost me 70% of the hearing in the left ear. When the Spring of 2010 came around and we saw warmer weather, the pain and bleeding stopped, and I slowly gained back 30% of the hearing in that ear.

When the weather started to turn colder in October 2010, my left ear started to bother me again. After 6 weeks, the bother became pain and started to bleed. By mid-December, I decided to go back to the doctor, was diagnosed with another “ear infection” and put on a pretty strong antibiotic for 10 days. On day 8 of the antibiotics, December 22nd, I called mt doctor back b/c neither the pain nor the bleeding had subsided at all. He referred me to an ENT and made me an appointment the next day.

When the ENT looked into my ear, he said he needed to suck out all the “puss and blood” in my ear in order to see what was going on. So he inserted a microscope and a vacuum. The amount of LOUD NOISE caused by the vacuum in my ear actually made me feel better – if something sounds loud in that ear, maybe my hearing isn’t that bad! After several minutes of suction, the ENT says, “Hmmm. That’s…interesting.” Seriously?! Did his Mama never teach him that if does not have anything nice (or in this case, positive/constructive) to say, don’t say anything at all?! He finishes up and settles in for a talk. He tells me that what he thought was puss and blood in my ear canal was actually skin, he thinks. For some reason, extra skin/cells/growth/a tumor is growing in the tube that goes off of the outer ear tube up to the bones in the middle ear. In addition to that, I have a hole in my ear drum, which is causing negative pressure in my outer ear canal. This negative pressure is causing this extra “skin”, as well as part of my ear drum, to be sucked up into this tube. That was all that the ENT could see through the microscope in my outer ear canal. So, he told me to pop my ears at least 20 times/day and schedule a hearing test and CT scan to get a better look at that tube. He needs to know what is actually up there, how big it is and what is causing the hearing loss – either there is something blocking sounds from getting through or the growth is actually destroying the bones in my inner ear, causing permanent hearing loss.

At first, I did not want to pop my ears b/c it hurt! But the more I did it, the less it hurt and the more I could hear. I figured that had to be a good sign that no permanent damage has been done to my ear. The hearing test this morning showed great improvements to my hearing since the last test at the end of 2009. The main things I have problems hearing are the pitches of vowels and men’s voices. I have been upset with the hubs for several weeks, accusing him of whispering to me frequently just to annoy me since he KNEW I had hearing loss! Turns out he was speaking normally and I just could not hear his pitches. (I called him after that appointment and apologized.)

My 2nd appointment was at 12:15pm, the CT scan. I had to be at work in a different county at 1:30pm, but I had confidence that a company who scheduled an appointment during the normal lunch hour actually had employees who WORKED through the lunch hour and I’d be out of there in a timely manner. I should have known my expectations were set WAY too high when I had to hold the door for the Domino’s Pizza delivery guy walking in behind me with a stack of 7 pizzas and a bag of 4 two liters of soda. I arrived 15 minutes before my appointment time. After filling out the requisite paperwork, I was immediately whisked back to the next level of waiting room, where I sat and read my book for a half an hour. Then I was moved to level 3 of waiting and read for another 45 minutes. Finally, at 1:17pm, a man smelling suspiciously of pepperoni and mozzarella called me into the CT Scan room. He was friendly, efficient, explained everything that was to happen and managed to get scans with me on my stomach and my back and have me in my car, backing out of my parking space, by 1:27pm!

I am NOT a speeder. I make a rule of going a maximum of 0-5 miles over the speed limit. But I FLEW the 30 miles to work and arrived 30 minutes late, hungry and having to pee. I run threw the door and find ALL of my co-workers standing around and chatting. “Why are y’all still here?” I asked. I thought they would have picked up there assignments and headed out long before I arrived. “Oh, we’re in no rush,” one said. :o/ I should have stopped at a drive-thru for lunch after all, I thought, as I headed for the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom, everyone else was gone, I grabbed my assignment, the keys to my designated car and headed out to pick up my kids.

Now begins the waiting game. The pepperoni/mozzarella-smelling technician told me that my ENT would have all results within 24-36 hours. Unfortunately, the ENT’s next available appointment to discuss said results, and what needs to be done next, was not available until 1/31. So, we shall see…


  1. Julia says:

    Man….sorry to hear about the ear issues! That would totally suck. I was so frustrated with my ear infection that last less than a month, can't imagine dealing with it for as long as you did! Please share the details as to what is going on as soon as you find out.


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