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29 October 2010

A Perfect Storm of Ailments

It's been a rough two days. I woke up yesterday in severe pain. My inner ear was killing me! The pain was so bad that it woke me up out of a sound sleep. If you've ever had inner ear pain, you know what I'm talking about. The only thing comparable to inner ear pain is lower back back. (Of course, I'm sure labor pains are pretty bad too, but I would know nothing about that.) I called in to work and then made an appointment at the doctor's as quickly as possible.

The doctor couldn't get me in until 11:30, so I slept a bit more. On and off because the pain was still really intense. When I got to the doctor's office, it didn't take them long to determine the cause of my pain. As it turns out, I have a trifecta of problems going on in my ear.

First, I have a touch of TMJ. TMJ is often misdiagnosed as an ear infection because the problem joint is so closely related to the inner ear. Since I didn't have any inflammation or discharge in my inner ear (from what they could see), they concluded that it was TMJ.

Second, my malformed Eustachian tubes lead to constant congestion (I thought it was normal to always have a stuffy nose!) which is building pressure behind my eardrum. I've known that my left side Eustachian tube was a bit jacked up, but I would really like to avoid the surgery needed to repair it.

Third, due to all of the scarring and damage in my ear from when I was a kid, I have chronically impacted ear wax which only adds to my discomfort. They wanted to flush my ear, but there was no way that was going to happen! The last time I had that done, I almost threw up and passed out.

After all that thrilling news, I left the doctor with quite a few prescriptions in hand: some nasal steroids for my jacked-up Eustachian tubes, some pain killers for my ear pain, and ear drops to help break up the wax. All that coupled with the muscle relaxers and pain killers from my accident a few weeks ago, and I've got quite a little personal pharmacy going on. Thankfully I'm not taking them all at once.

The ear pain dissipated last night but returned with a vengeance this morning around 10am. I powered through work since I've already missed enough time this trimester but took a pain pill as soon as I got home. I've been fading in and out of consciousness since about 4pm, and I'm seriously contemplating just going to bed. But I'm hesitant to until I can take another pain pill before bed. Is that bad?

On the bright side, all this junk has left me with zero appetite. That's gotta be good for my diet, right?
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