Friday, November 4, 2011

I have a tube in my ear

As most of you know {because of my non stop complaining} I have had an ear infection since June.  I have taken several rounds of antibiotics, and steroids.  I have tried ear drops, decongestants and antihistamines. I had a hearing test showing minor hearing loss.  It has been a long and annoying battle with no relief.  I have not really been in a terrible amount of pain,but it is mostly annoying.  Sounds are magnified.   A task as simple as putting away silverware is super annoying.  When things rattle and clang together it is brutal.  I hear scratchy static at times.  I also have experienced terrible clicking noises.  None of these things are fun at all.  I felt like no one understood my issue, even the doctor.  The doctor does understand and she says she treats people all the time for the same issue I have.  Apparently I have a bit of fluid trapped in my inner ear.  It will not drain, so a tube needs to be placed in my ear to aid in the drainage.

Yesterday I went into the doctors office to have a tube placed in my left ear and below is the play by play of my day.  I must first start with this:  I am a scaredy cat.  I worry and stress out about the silliest things.  I was scared to death to get this tube.  

I had two choices:

A.) I could go to a surgery center.  At the surgery center they would put me to sleep like they do small children and place the tube into my ear.  This would would cost $700. I have met my deductible this year, so that is my 20%.


B.)  I could go into the office where I am seen every time I see my doctor.  This would cost me $47.47.

I chose B.

I figured it couldn't hurt too bad.  The doctor was going to numb my ear, so that should be good right?

My appointment was at 2:45 and I was planning to arrive 15 mintes early.  I live about 30 minutes from my Ear Nose and Throat doctors office.  I was in the Jeep driving to my appointment when the nurse called and told me my doctor was stuck in the operating room with an emergency.  She asked if I could reschedule to Monday.  My heart sank.  As much as I was dreading the procedure I just wanted it to be over so I could start healing.  I have plans on Monday so I said there was no way that was possible.  I was really upset and the receptionist could tell so she placed me on hold.  She came back on the line and asked if I could be there at 4:15.  I said yes and hung up!  Thank goodness I didn't have to wait another day.

When I arrived at the office the nurses got me right in and I signed consent forms.  When Dr. M came into the room she asked me if I was ready.  Was I ready? No but yes.  Then she promptly got started.  She told me she wasn't going to numb my ear with a needle.  Instead she would use gauze and numbing cream.  I was relieved about not feeling a needle in my ear, but scared the numbing cream wouldn't be enough.  She began sticking gauze way down deep into my ear canal.  I wasn't sure she would ever get all that gauze out.  She packed my ear and the numbing cream started to quickly do it's job.  I could barely hear out of my left ear and I new it was getting numb.  She left me sitting in the very uncomfortable chair for about 15 minutes.  I was nervous and uncomfortable.  I was heytelling, tweeting and texting like a mad woman.  It was a nice distraction and help to keep my mind from worrying.

When Dr. M came back into the room I instantly started to sweat.  I was so scared of being in pain.  I barely remember what came next.  I remember her telling me I'd feel a ton of pressure and I remember being thankful I couldn't see what she was doing.  She used a loud suction tube and I felt her insert something into my ear canal.  I wasn't really in pain...YET.  When she placed the tube in it's final spot deep down in my inner ear I was hurting so bad.  I prayed it would be over soon, while also being thankful I wasn't facing something worse than an ear ache.  It seemed like it took forever for her to finish and once she did one single tear rolled down my beet red, hot cheek.  It was brutal and I hated it.  It hurt, but more than anything it was uncomfortable.  It was so annoying and almost like a form of torture.  I  was so squirmy.  I asked her if I was the worst patient ever and she said no.  I don't remember a time my hands were ever so sweaty.  I may have said a bad word at one point during the procedure.  When Dr. M was done she was so nice.  I was a bit dizzy and she talked to me about what she had done and what to expect next.  She told me I had very sensitive hearing and that is why I felt so much pressure and pain during the procedure.  My sensitive hearing is also why I have been going crazy dealing with this ear infection.  She gave me antibiotic ear drops and I have to use them 2 times a day for 5 days.  

When I finally left the office I felt like I was in a daze.  I was uncomfortable and a touch groggy.  I was talking weird because when I moved my jaw I could feel it in my ear.  It was weird when I yawned or sneezed.  I couldn't wait to get home and rest.  At one point in the evening it felt like the right side of my tongue was numb.  How weird is that?  Maybe some of the numbing cream moved down my sinuses??  I dunno.  I'm sure that makes me sound like a fruit cake. haha!

So here we are today, Friday night.  I have been trying to write this blog post all day long. Today has been a dozy.  I feel pretty yucky.  My ear is still throbby {I just made that word up} at times.  I still can't hear very well and my ear is sore.  I almost feel like I am getting a cold.  I feel like I am under water. I am convinced my ear is still numb. It is a strange feeling.  I'm sure I will get better and I know the pain will fade.  I just hope and pray this fixes my problem.  I want a normal ear again.  I wasn't expecting an instant fix so I am trying to be patient. 

No one in our family of four has ever had an ear infection.  I feel for children that have to have tubes.  It is a very common procedure but afterwards pain medicine is not prescribed.  I don't think the pain is bad enough for pain medicine, but I think it would hurt a child worse than it hurts me.  I hope parents take it easy on kids for a day or two after surgery.  I would also recommend a constant flow of Tylenol or Advil.  I have missed a few doses and that isn't good.  So, off I go to get a dose and get in bed. 

Night Night!


ashleigh said...

that sounds miserable..but i hope you feel better and i hope it takes care of it all!
i had tubes in my ear when i was little..but i obviously dont remember anything except having to wear ear plugs in the shower and to go swimming...and they hurt because they are so fitted.
i hope you feel better girly!

Anonymous said...

You Poor thing!!!! Hopefully it will feel "normal" again soon. My Audrey has had ear tubes twice, not for ear infections but for fluid getting trapped. I think kids don't share their pain like adults do; she never really complained after the procedures, in fact I remember her telling me "This was the best day ever" after her first procedure ( Maybe that was the drugs talking :) Get better!

Kodi said...

Oh Angie! Just reading this gave me a tummy ache so I can't imagine how stressful that must have been for you! And it makes me feel so sorry for my little guys who have been fighting ear infections for several weeks.

Red Stethoscope said...

I know that I'm a med. student, so I'm supposed to be tougher about these things, but my stomach was churning when you were describing this! Last year, my new ENT thought that it would be "fun" to hook up the little camera to his otoscope, so that I could see everything that he was doing on a flat screen TV in front of me. I almost threw up.

I don't know how long tubal pain is supposed to last, but I wanted to tell you that you're not a fruitcake for thinking the numbing spread. The anesthetic DEFINITELY could have traveled further than you think and you can also get referred pain. Referred pain is when multiple nerves that synapse on the same spot on the spinal cord feel pain. So, if a nerve in my leg and one in my ear (not a real example) are synapsing on the same spot, if I have an ear infection, I'd be able to feel it in my leg, because my brain is getting signals from the spot in my spinal cord where both of them are.

You might also be feeling like you have a cold, because all of that lovely bacteria-filled fluid that's been trapped was finally released. Keep up with your antibiotics and Advil and drink a TON of fluids. Everyone (myself included) always forgets about drinking extra fluids, but fluids really are the miracle cure in helping your body to flush out evil bacteria.

Feel better soon!

Traci said...

I feel so bad for you! I can't imagine how bad the pain was. I know you're glad it's finally done & hopefully releif is in sight.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

Girl I so hope this gives you some relief. You have been dealing with this for far too long :(

Laura@The Oily Cupboard said...

ok i don't like you feeling like that....i too would have been swearing..i mean sweating .....i hate the unknown....

so is it normal feeling yet?