Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting Sicker (Again)

Yes, again! I know!!! After my visit to the Minute Clinic Sunday, I was feeling much better Monday and Tuesday, which was awesome. Wednesday was a bit of a step back, but that's not uncommon with antibiotics. Then this morning, in just 4 hours, and including *after* taking medicine and giving it time to work, I was rapidly getting considerably worse. The sniffles were back, the head congestion was back, I'd started coughing again, it was getting harder to breathe, and my ear was hurting worse than ever. I knew by 10 AM that it was time to go back to the doctor.

I called to ask if she had anything available that day. "Oh, I think I just gave out her last appointment for today. What symptoms are you having?" I gave her the 30 second version of the story. "Hmm. You know she doesn't see patients on Fridays." I know, but I can't wait until Monday; I'll have bronchitis by then. "I can make you an appointment for one of the other doctors." Grumble, grumble. I guess beggars can't be choosers. "She can probably squeeze you in if you can be here by 11:30?" Yes, I can absolutely be there by 11:30! Working from home does have its perks. :-)

I actually didn't even wait that long. She was frowning as she came in; apparently she could hear me coughing from 2 rooms away. They cleared the wax from my right ear, and yes, it is definitely infected. She also confirmed my suspicions that I have developed ulcers all over my soft palate in the back of my throat, making it painful to swallow. Naturally, the antibiotic the Minute Clinic had given me is well known for *not* working on my ear infections (and likely caused the ulcers as well), so she changed me to something else. She also told me to increase the Mucinex dose I was taking (basically from regular to max strength). Will do.

Just to be safe, she checked my left ear to see if it was also getting infected. "Hmm. Have you had any pain in this ear or done anything to it?" Noooo, why? "You have a perforated eardrum." I have a what?!! "You have a hole in your eardrum. A big one. Perforations are usually like a pinprick, maybe the size of a pencil lead. Yours is taking up a quarter to a third of your eardrum, 3-4 mm." Oooookay, shouldn't I remember something like that happening? I thought those were supposed to be painful. "Usually, yes. Have you done anything involving pressure changes lately? Jumped in a lake? Had a blow to the head?" Um, no! "Had pressure issues on an airplane?" I flew just after Labor Day, but that was a month ago, and I didn't really have any issues. "And this ear hasn't hurt since you've been sick?" No, not at all! "They didn't mention it at the Minute Clinic?" No one said anything. It's only my right ear that has been bothering me with pain or pressure. You know, the infected one. My left ear has been fine! "I'm going to have one of the doctors come in and take a look." She's actually the PA (physician's assistant), but I've been seeing her since before Luke was born, and I adore her. This is only the 3rd or 4th time she's gone to get one of the doctors in all the years I've been seeing her. Scary!

Dr. B took a look and his eyebrows went up. "That's a big hole. Are you sure you didn't just miss it before now?" Look, buddy, you're new here, less than 2 years at the practice. I've been seeing H for nearly a decade! She's looked in my ears at least twice a year in that time, sometimes several more times than that, since this is not my first ear infection (or even my second; probably my 4th or 5th since I've been with her). If it was there before, especially if it is as large as you say, she would have noticed! After some deliberation, they decided to send me to an ENT. Normally, even with a hole that size, if we could pinpoint a cause or circumstance for it, she would have just sent me home to see if it would heal itself in a few weeks. But, with absolutely no idea when or how it got there, and given the size of the rupture, they wanted a specialist to take a look and make sure there isn't some oddball serious cause for it that they aren't aware of. They also wanted an expert to make the call on whether or not it needs to be surgically patched. Great, more doctors, and now possible surgery. And all on the ear that *wasn't* hurting!! Sheesh. I just can't win!

They're supposed to call me tomorrow with my appointment, which I'm pretty sure translates to: it usually takes a few weeks to get in to see this ENT, but you need to be seen sooner than that, so we'll call them and make sure they see you sometime next week, but you'll have to take whatever they have open. I've only been at my new job for 5-6 weeks, and I now have a second doctor appointment and possible surgery (would just be a single day outpatient thing, but still!). I'm sure my boss is going to love this. ::rolls eyes:: Actually, he is very understanding (so far), I just hate having to do this so soon during my tenure.

Currently feeling: wishing I could be sick and get over it like normal people

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