Lend me your ear

On the plus side, my hand is definitely better since the cortisteroid shot. There are still some problems with the bottom of my wrist, but the thumb problems are much better. What a relief! On the downside, I managed to get one doozy of an ear infection.

It’s my own stupid fault. Like the saying goes, “never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear”. Oh, man, heed that warning, people! I’ve practiced bad ear hygiene. Baaaad, very baaaad. Let this be a lesson to you all.

I have itchy ears, and from time to time get the silly idea that washing them in the shower will help. It never does, but hope springs eternal. The problem is, my poor ears were scratched up inside and irritated. But clincher was washing them with soap in the shower last week and rinsing them with the gentle trickle from the showerhead. This, after previous Q-tipping and scratching, which removed the protective wax in there and scratched up the surface of my ear canal, was a bad thing. Evidently I didn’t get all the water out, so there it sat in my outer ear and grew a lovely bacterial soup.

Dang. I would not wish this pain on my worst enemy. Truly.

Saturday morning I woke at 9am and knew I had to see the doctor. Boy, I’m glad I didn’t wait until Monday! He prescribed Cipro eardrops and sent me on my way. At the time I saw him, it was painful, but not terrible, and the swelling was minimal.

Well, by Saturday afternoon, it was much worse and I was a blubbering idiot from the pain. I called the answering service and told them I needed something for the pain and I was concerned the drops weren’t going to be enough.

Fortunately, the doctor called back soon and phoned in two days’ worth of Cipro tablets along with a couple days’ worth of Darvocet. Last night, my face was swollen and the lymph nodes in front and below my infected ear were huge and painful. The net effect was half of my face was normal, while the other looked like Luke Wilson’s jawline.

Howie brought pizza home for dinner, thinking it would be a treat, but I couldn’t stand to open my mouth wide enough to eat it, and it hurt to chew anything. For me to forego pizza, folks, is unheard of. I love my pieeee. All last night, I slept in two hour increments, just about to the minute. With Cipro, you have to drink a lot of water…And you know what that means!

Today, the outer swelling has gone down a little, but still hurts terribly if I let the Darvocet wear off before taking more; if I take one every four hours, it keeps the pain down to a dull roar. Thank God for painkillers when you really need them.

I’m concerned, though. The ear’s so swollen that the leftovers from yesterday’s eardrops are not draining back out, nor are new ones getting down into my ear like they need to. There’s so much pressure in there! I only have 2 days’ worth of Cipro tablets, so it looks like I need to see my family doctor tomorrow. I’m going to ask her about putting a wick in there to facilitate the drops getting in where they need to go. As the evening wears on, even with the Darvocet, I’m having intermittent stabbing pains in this ear that just about send me through the ceiling.

Oh, my. Whine. Gripe. Low Pain Tolerance Poster Child here.

On a lighter note, the doctor I saw Saturday is a photographer. He saw my camera bag and asked if I had a digital camera in there. I told him I did and got it out to show him. The lens cap was jammed onto the UV filter somehow and I’d been unable to free it. He got his handy pocket knife out and fixed it for me.

He had trouble getting a blood pressure reading on me. The conversation went like this:

“I’m having trouble getting a blood pressure reading on you.”

I deadpanned, “Oh, well, I’m dead.”

Straight-faced, he replied, “Yes. I can see that. This is very bad for you and for me.”

“Your practice is in a decline.”

I really like this doctor. He’s not my regular one, but I see him when my doc is unavailable. My mother-in-law said that, when she was getting her yearly exam done, he had trouble with the stirrups on the table. He knocked on the wall and called for the nurse to bring a screwdriver. There was a pause, and he said, “That really doesn’t sound to good, does it?”.


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