I had a follow up appointment yesterday morning to the surgery I had in March. The last time I saw the doctor, months ago, the surgery was a success, I was healing fine and it was up in the air if I would be able to get a hearing aid to make up for hearing loss in my left ear. My ear drum was barely moving at the time, so it was not transmitting much sound to my brain. The doctor said he wanted to recheck it at the end of the year and if my ear starts popping again, that’s a good sign that the drum is moving. I have good hearing days and bad hearing days but I was encouraged by the fact that my ear was popping once a month. I went into my appointment yesterday with the expectation of discussing a hearing aid – is my ear ready for it? is he going to refer me to an audiologist to test the drum’s movement? or will I just have to live with my hearing as it is (which is an outcome I was prepared for and could live with)?
I was not prepared for what he said after examining me. The cholesteatoma has not come back. However, I still have negative pressure in my middle ear. This negative pressure is what sucked my ear drum into my middle ear last year. During surgery, my doctor removed cartilage from my external ear and used that as reinforcement when reattaching my ear drum to prevent it being sucked back in, and it is still working. Since the negative pressure cannot suck the ear drum in, it is sucking the fluid out of all the surrounding tissue in my middle ear. The middle ear is filling with this fluid, causing the bad hearing days and some pain. Then occasionally, my ear drum will pop, releasing the fluid and allowing me to hear better for a bit. But the negative pressure just starts sucking liquid out of the tissue and it starts all over again.
He wants to put a tube in my ear drum. Creating a permanent opening through the ear drum will eliminate the negative pressure. Any fluid that is in there will drain out and the middle ear will be unsuccessful in sucking anything else. The procedure to put in a tube can be done in his office. It’s a 30 minute appointment – 25 minutes of which is spent numbing the ear drum and then 5 minutes to put it in. He says there is no recovering time; I’ll go back to whatever I was doing and if there is any pain, regular headache medicine will take care of it. The tube can and will fall out but he can put another one back in. After a few years of coming back into the office for replacement tubes, I can have another hospital surgery to install a permanent tube. Once the (temp) tube is in, I can pursue a hearing aid, but a hearing aid will not help me now.
This isn’t earth shattering news, by any means. It’s just that I went into this appointment expecting to discuss the next step, only to find out that the last step still didn’t solve my main problem – years of hearing loss – and I need more procedures. I had to spend yesterday processing this and readjusting my focus. The hubs is positive about the doctor’s plan. I’d like to be, too, but I’m done with curveballs right now. I’m not going to do anything until next year.
I should have known things weren’t going along the path I thought, or wanted them, to. I’ve been having problems again with my memory this past month. I messed up 3 things and then the embarrassment of messing those things up caused me to pile more stress on myself.
- I’ve been in a Bunco group for 2 years now, and my favorite lady in the group always hosts in November. She puts on a full Thanksgiving spread! I didn’t go last year because a couple of days before, I’d received my cholesteatoma diagnosis from the ENT and he referred me to a neurosurgeon to remove it. It was a lot to process and I wasn’t ready to talk about it. Plus, being around a crowd of people was painful to my ear. So I stayed home. She asked me at this October’s Bunco get together if I was coming to her house this year and I promised I would. I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Well, I was sitting at home one night and got a text from one of the other Bunco ladies, asking if I was alright. I thought that was strange and replied, that I was, asking her why she was worried. She replied that Bunco had started half an hour before and I hadn’t shown up yet! I was mortified that I’d forgotten! I couldn’t go then, though. I hadn’t even showered that day and the hostesses house was a half an hour away.
- Two weeks ago, a friend offered to let me me borrow something. I told her that I had this ear appointment the following Tuesday and I’d pick it up after the appointment. Last week, I got a message from her that she put it on the front stoop for me because she had an appointment and I had not shown up for it yet. I freaked out, thinking that I missed my doctor’s appointment that day. Nope! The appointment was the following week and I told her the wrong day.
- B is in a 4-H Club this school year and really likes it. Since day one, he had been looking forward to one particular activity starting and constantly bugs me with, “When is it starting? When is it starting?! WHEN IS IT STARTING?!?!” After last month’s 4-H meeting, I entered the first meeting of this activity he has been awaiting into our calendar. B was so excited, counting down the days and then the hours until this activity. He could barely contain his excitement this past Saturday as we drove over to the host’s house. When we arrived, I got a sinking feeling because there were no other cars. Where are all the other attendees? As we walked up to the front door, I repeated in my head, “Please don’t tell me I messed up AGAIN!” But when the family came to the front door with confused looks at seeing us there, it was confirmed. B handled the disappointment well on the outside. I think he was trying to make me feel better because I was so embarrassed!
I hate that this shit is starting again! But now that I am aware of it, I just need to be more careful and very deliberate. I need to confirm things with people and not assume that I have my info straight in my head or even on my calendar!