While sitting with Rick at a local burger joint the afternoon of Monday last, I briefly mentioned the unusual pain I was feeling in one of my ears, pain that regularly worked its way around the ear and across that whole side of my head. Because it wasn’t terribly overwhelming, I ignored it. Besides, it had been around for several days already and hadn’t killed me yet.
As the week moved forward, the pain became increasingly hostile and unbearable. Having had strep before, I knew it wasn’t the same kind of pain associated with that ailment. I’ve also suffered pressure aches and knew that wasn’t it either. By the end of the week, however, it was getting worse. Moving my head caused the pain to increase dramatically and my ear had started popping on a regular basis.
Irrespective of the cause, by yesterday morning I was in agony and made my way to the doctor for some help. The situation was made worse by the increasing dizziness I was experiencing (okay, by that I mean more than normal since I know someone out there will readily point out that I’m always dizzy… oh, wait; did I mean ditsy?)
Poking and prodding and tests behind us, I sat in the examining room waiting for my prognosis. In walks the doctor with a bit of a smile on his face, his white coat flowing behind him like a cheap superhero costume. I waited for the news.
“You’ll be happy to know you’re not dying,” he said as he mounted some x-rays for us to look at.
“Well, that’s certainly good news, but it doesn’t really help me much under the circumstances,” I replied with dry sarcasm.
He chuckled. “No, I suppose it doesn’t.” A swift gesture of his hand met the light switch near the x-rays and the wall lit up obediently. Not being a doctor, I stared blankly at the interesting yet not forthcoming results of the radiography.
“You have a sinus infection.” He used his pen as a pointer to draw my attention to some fuzzy section of the x-ray.
“Hell, that could be anything.”
“Yes, it could be empty space in your case, but it’s not. It’s an infection. And it’s spread into your inner ear on that side.” He gestured to the side of my head where the problematic ear still beckoned with a thrumming, annoying pain, and then he matched that indication by pointing to another section of the x-rays that showed another fuzzy white patch.
“You have an inner ear infection. It looks like your allergies flared up and caused a sinus infection, and that spread into your ear.”
The involuntary look of concern and irritation on my face made him chuckle again.
“Don’t worry. It’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s very minor. I think we caught it before it turned into something worse.”
“What do I do about it?”
“Antibiotics and some anti-inflammatories to help with the pain and swelling.”
I was very thankful to hear that part. Regardless of the cause, I really needed something for the pain. “But what about the dizziness?” I queried.
“That won’t clear up until the infection goes away. The fluid in your ear is affecting your equilibrium as it moves around. Once it drains, that pressure will be released and you’ll be back to normal. Or, I suppose in your case, back to abnormal.”
“Thanks on both counts, Doc. I think.”
“You still have allergy medication, don’t you?”
“Yes. You know that stuff never works on me, but I still have some.”
“Good. Take it as your normally would.” He turned off the x-ray lights and pulled the films off the wall. After placing them on the counter, he picked up a small bag he’d carried in with him.
“I’ve put the antibiotics and pain medication in here for you.” He handed the sack to me while he picked up a small piece of paper also on the counter. “Here are the instructions. You’ll want to take one antibiotic—that’s these pills,” he said as he pulled them out of the sack for me to see. “Take one of those each morning and evening for the next ten days. For pain, you can take an anti-inflammatory—that’s these—every six to eight hours as needed. They’re going to make you drowsy, so I strongly suggest you stay put at home for the next few days until we make some progress with clearing this up. The drugs on top of the infection will make it a bit difficult to get around.”
“So I should plan on being even more dysfunctional than I already am?”
“Yes, and you didn’t think that was possible, did you?”
“Why do I keep coming back here?”
“You like the abuse.”
We both laughed a bit, I thanked him for his help, and then I made my way to the front counter to settle my balance before heading home.
I arrived at my crib and took my pills like a good boy. Then I napped—a lot. When I awoke this morning, I couldn’t claim I felt significantly better despite hoping that would be the case so I could sneak out of town this weekend. I’d planned to go to Paris with Rick to visit our friends and see their new house. Travel didn’t sound good at all, though, and I climbed back into bed and went to sleep after taking my medication.
Rick called a bit later to see how I was feeling and if I was well enough to go with him. I declined.
Suffice it to say I will be spending the weekend at home doing as little as possible. Moving around causes a lot of pain and not a little disorientation and dizziness, so being at home seems the best way to stay out of trouble.