Saturday, March 28, 2009

Distractions are Good!

I had a very nice distraction today. It's very exciting but I have a few people I want to surprise with it so I it will be about six days (until I see my Sis in person) until I can give details. I'll have to post a few mystery clues. On a positive front, the ears were much better today. Not back to normal yet, and, as is the pattern, later in the day is when it gets worse. But the burning part has gone down and it's more the aching which I can deal with...but only for alittle longer...please? Thursday morning I woke with the sorest throat. Felt just like I was getting strep. Feared the ear thing had moved to my throat. I even set up so that things would be covered as best I could on Friday if I didn't make it in. Warned Melinda that I probably wouldn't be at Jubilee Reach volunteer stint on Friday morning. But when the alarm went off Friday the throat was not sore at all. Weird.

But enough about me. It's been nice having Andy at home. He hardly missed a beat with his wisdom teeth extraction. He had a great time with his friends, rebonding with Satchmo, helping around the house. He's also excited about the surprise I can't share with you yet. He is also excited to start his next semester and getting back to his radio show. He's starting his semester and then the end will be here and he and I will be taking off for Scotland. I need to get going on figuring out a general plan and a few places to stay, etc.
Well, I'm exhausted (it was a long day..wink...wink and I am starting to find my drive again) Hope I can calm down my excitement enough to sleep.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What I've Been Up To.....(no good)

Well, I’d say “I’m back” but that seems to jinx things. Let me just say that the reason I haven’t been blogging is that I am still trying to figure out the ear thing. The pain level is constantly around 6-8 on a scale of 10 so it makes it hard to get up the enthusiasm to write. I have had a few hours where the pain has gone to about a 3 but then it comes back up. The great thing about having a blog is that I found out some of you are good readers and worried about why you hadn’t heard from me and so have called. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, with a side of pain, that there are folks out there who worry about me when something is askew. Living alone in my cottage with that spiral staircase and the shower door that sticks shut, sometimes my mind goes to the place about “how long would I be stuck or immobilized before someone missed me and would come or send help.” “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Sometimes when I see those cheesy ads for the medical alert necklace for pretty old people I wonder if I should get one. But I have found out through this ear thing that I am more connected than I sometimes believe. Phew. I’ve been given the name of an ENT who is supposed to be really good and am making an appointment with her. What you haven’t known, because it isn’t in my blog, is that the day after I last posted the pain got so bad and I was so frustrated and starting to get worked up about the pain that my throat started closing up and so I drove myself to the ER near my house and checked myself in to have someone take a look. The ER doctor was very nice. But he couldn’t find anything. They ran a CAT Scan of my head. I am happy to say that the report noted that there are no unexpected empty places and the white matter looks normal. But unhappy that they couldn’t find anything wrong. So I was directed to see an ENT the next day. I didn’t really have a referral for one in particular and the straw I drew was this young boy who did exactly what my regular doctor did but prescribed something different. I’ve been on that now for about a week and still not better. So I will try the new doctor just as soon as I can get in. I am starting to wonder if I have some kind of nerve damage that is permanent, because I don’t think you can see nerve damage. In a word, it sucks.

On a good note, Andy has been home since last Friday on his spring break. After a weekend of hanging out with his friends, he got to have his wisdom teeth pulled and is in recovery process. The surgery went really well (not impacted, teeth came out whole, no stitches, only a few hours of bleeding, not much pain, no nausea). He is anxious to be able to drive again and get out of the house so he is not taking the heavy duty pain meds and seems to be OK without. He actually thanked me several times for taking care of him. He’s been very sweet, more communicative and enthusiastic than is oft the case, and even asks me (and really wants to know) how my day has been when I get home. And how my ears are doing. He did not learn this behavior from his father. I am hopeful for him.

Speaking of which, I have been thinking about the saying “a high pain tolerance.” I have been told that before by doctors over different things. And then I was thinking, duh. Anybody who knew me in my former life, as wife to my wasbund, is aware of my high pain tolerance. And I think kinda that that wasn’t necessarily a good thing, if you know what I mean. Well, I hope that I don’t end up having to learn to live with this ear pain thing. I have new empathy for folks who deal with constant pain. I am kind of getting used to it which doesn’t mean that it gets better. It’s just that my expectations to not have it are growing slimmer. I have tried so many medicines I’m sure my body doesn’t know what to expect. I’m disappointed that I am back to my no sleeping at night patterns. I blame it some on the steroids and prescription antihistamines. It’s weird to be relaxed from one medication but wired from another. I have discovered middle of the night Spike channel that shows various caught on video shows. Crooks, car crashes, plane crashes, car chases, people snapping psychotically, etc. Oh, and also, on another channel the “Real Wives of New York. This is what I watch in the middle of the night. I am not sure why. Probably because it gets my mind off the pain, which seems to get worse when I lie down. It feels like a dirty little secret to admit what I am watching. But the blog is about sharing dirty little secrets so now you know.

I sure hope to be able to write next about how the new doctor figured it right out. Made some simple adjustment and I am pain free. I would love to write that. Soon. Until then, I’ll write when I can and whine when I can’t. Thank you for all the good follow up.


Follow up: I have an appointment with the recommended specialist next Wednesday. Oh boy. Another week of this sh*t. I would have made a stink but since I've had this for five weeks or so now what's one more week of hedoublehokeysticks? At least I won't have to go to the follow up appointment with the young boy who didn't seem interested in what I thought he should know. So far, nobody seems concerned that I was in Sudan and may have picked something up there. Nobody thinks it's worth checking out to see if this is a reaction to a prescription I started the same time the pain kicked in. Nobody seems to be concerned that I was up and down on little planes and big planes. Nobody seems to think there's any connection to getting this right after I had been through a rough, very hot experience. Hope the new doc will at least give me the courtesy of hearing everything and consider this a good mystery to solve. Not give me some two week prescription and send me on my way.

Thank you. Venting is good...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Holding my Breath

sssshhhh. I'm holding my breath. This morning I woke up absent ear pain. Last night I continued with the old antibiotic since I haven't been able to pick up the new stuff yet. I added to that a cocktail of Claratin-D, Soma (muscle relaxant), Ambian SR and (and this might be the trick) a handfull of antacids. I tell you, I slept very soundly. In fact right through my alarm and I am feeling a little drug hangover. But I have been up for almost two hours now and the burning is not present. A little discomfort is creeping back in, and it might get to the burning again but now that I have had even a few moments without the burn I have hope that it's something that I can eventually get rid of completely. Yesterday I broke down and looked up the symptoms on the internet. I don't usually like to do that because mostly you read horror stories and all symptoms lead to cancer...but I did see a few folks that tied ear burning to GERD (acid reflux or heartburn). I am not sure I was suffering from ears were hurting too much to notice pain anywhere else. But I'm going to try keeping up with antacids today and see if I can keep the ear pain at bay. Weird connection, but that's worth a try.

Sooo, writing about aches and pains and heartburn and doctors appointments, well it makes me feel like a granny. I don't want to feel like a granny, yet. It is a reminder to me how blessed I've been all my life with good health and not having health issues to deal with, and with more empathy for those who are dealing with health and pain issues. It can be pretty consuming. God bless those in the health care field who have to deal with these mysterious maladies and patients in pain.

Speaking of patients in pain: Andy comes home for spring break on Friday. Next Tuesday he's got an appointment to get all four wisdom teeth pulled. He's a much better dental patient than I but this will probably not be his best spring break on record. Let's hope not.

Back to work and the antacids.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hell Fire

Dr. I don’t care if you can’t SEE anything wrong in my ear. There is something wrong with my ear. It is on FIRE. Deep inside. And the fire won’t be doused. Do you know how hard it is to focus on anything else when there is a friggin’ fire inside your ear? In both ears?

Now we are trying a third kind of antibiotic. And if that doesn't work then she wants to do a CAT scan of my sinus area and maybe refer me to an Ear Nose Throat doc. I would like my ears surgically removed. Not really. But I just want the fire to stop. WTH is going on?

Monday, March 16, 2009


This weekend I became reacquainted with my bed. I mean really reacquainted. We are such close friends now I am finding myself having trouble tearing apart from it to start the work week. Last weeks dealing with docs and pain and drugs and exhaustion had me driven firmly to bed by 7:30 Friday night. Satchmo was sweetly tucked away with Mary and the girls for the weekend, as they had been begging for a reunion since they last had him during my trip. So really, any motivation to get dressed to walk him to the end of the block to do his business was not there. I had a good supply of Smartfood Popcorn, peanut M&Ms (in Easter shades of pastel), and a new container of Sabra roasted garlic hummus. These foods important to coat my stomach for the barrage of antibiotics, steroids, decongestants, muscle relaxers, painkillers, ice packs and other methodologies for dealing with this nearly debilitating ear pain. Since I had no dog to let out, my only trips downstairs during my long hibernation was to get another cold icepack and cold water to wash the drugs and junk food down. I did manage to throw on some sweats Saturday afternoon to make it to the chiropractor where my ears were tugged and neck stretched to try to pop those tubes open. As stealthily as I crept in there, I crept back home and to bed where I iced and waited for those tubes to clear. About an hour after the appointment the right ear miraculously opened up, only to be slowly filled back up within minutes.

I then continued my drug and junk food fed hibernation for another twenty six hours until I had to shower and dress to pick up Judy and Anne to see the last performance of "Rubble Women" in the David Smith Warehouse. This fitting play about women in Berlin, who, after the war were conscripted to rebuild the City from the tons of rubble left from the bombs was an excellent diversion from bed. Then I retreated back to my bed, and with sadness realized that we would soon be parted because I have to leave it for work in the morning.

It's been an odd time in bed. The combination of steroids that keep me awake, and muscle relaxers that keep me limp have put me in a retrospective, mysterious mood. I have not given a shat about the piling up laundry and the Christmas decorations that STILL are not stored away. I have had no dog in my care to give me guilt about not getting him out and exercised. I did not look at one single memo or email from work that I told myself on Friday that I would. I had thought about going to church Sunday morning, but in good timing, I looked out my window to see big snowflakes coming down and realized that I was not inspired enough to get up and deal with that. Besides, there was something about having to shower and dress and be among people that just didn't fit. I needed my retreat. Now it is Monday morning and I am seriously considering the career of an agoraphobic. I am not sure I am ready to go back in the world: to answer the phones; answer the e-mails; order a coffee; figure out what to wear; jump in the shower. It all seems so overwhelming. There is still lots of work to be done here in my bed. In fact I just checked my work calendar...can I get away with just one more day in bed? It's all so tempting. The clock has now ticked to 7:30. Obviously I am going to be late. I should be setting a good example for those who work for me. But I am really in love with this bed thing. I am lying here, willing my body to get up, but the body does not respond. If I take one more day in bed then will it make breaking the spell just that much harder the next day? Even though I am dealing with an infirmity it is so much more relaxing than dealing with the non-stop stressful demands that assault me from the minute I enter my office until well after I leave at night. I think that's what I am just not ready to take on at the moment. Or for the next moment. Or the one after that. It's looking like a late start or none at all. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm Back

I hope I am posting before my blog readers give up entirely. It took me until yesterday to turn the corner on my recovery. I am still having ear pain issues, despite a thorough check and clean out by the Doc, but mentally I am feeling like I can resume life again. My trip recovery was compounded by some hefty difficult deadlines on work projects and I was putting in some very, very long days. I think now I can start to find some humor in life again, which is much better to write about than a self pity party.
This last weekend I got to help Lola celebrate her entry into the 50's. I rode with Andrea and Jim down to the Klug compound, near Brush Prairie. The party was in the "Man Cave," a wonderful converted barn on the property. The party was complete with catered food, a generous bartender and a DJ that played great dancing music. Lola has always been an incredible dancer, and it looks like turning 50 is not going to slow her down. There must have been close to a hundred people there. Some I haven't seen since her 40th birthday. It's strange but out of all those people there I felt like the only single. If I wasn't, there at least were less than a handful. Dancing didn't require a partner and Jim and Jerry were also nice to dance with me. But, like the trip to Sudan, it's strange (and maybe a little uncomfortable) to be around so many married people, or strange to be around so few singles. And that's my own issue: people were very friendly. It's just something that I have become keenly aware of. It feels a little like being a loser :( I know that the statistics say that there are lots of single people out there, maybe even more than married, but, depending on who you hang out with, the experience can be lopsided.

Andy was home for the weekend but I only got to see him for a bit on Saturday before I took off for Lola's. He is in a happy place at school right now: classes going well; getting involved in the campus radio station; making new friends. One of the sayings that has rung true for me is "A mother can only be as happy as her saddest child." So it's nice for me that he is currently in a good place.

Now that I am coming back to reality I need to address the house. For an economic measure I discontinued the housekeeping service, and my energy level has been so low that I have only found enough energy to crawl into bed when I get home. Let's just say that the house is not fit for company. My bedroom looks like it did when I was in High School! Piles of clothes everywhere. The kitchen isn't too bad. Only because I haven't tried to cook anything. But there are stacks of paper work and I still haven't put away everything from the trip. I need to start chipping away at it. I'll try to squeeze in some writing and posting in between. Thanks for hanging in there with me.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ears Looking at You, Kid

My ears are killing me. Now I know why little children and babies get so miserable with ear infections. One ear feels better, one worse. I'm hoping it is just an infection that will clear up with the antibiotics instead of little critters picked up from the river water in Sudan (we had to bathe in untreated water straight from the river...I did NOT swim in it!). I can't stand the thought of bugs in my ears. I remember seeing on the Learning Channel a program on ER cases and this girl comes in screaming "they're eating my brain" and tearing at her ear. They had a heck of a hard time getting her to sit still long enough to look in her ear. There they found a bug that had made itself at home in her ear canal. It was enough to drive her insane. I realize for me that would be a pretty short trip these days! Judy, bless her heart, left chicken soup and fruit at my door yesterday with get well wishes. Made my heart go all soft, really. Just as I was getting ready for bed last night the electricity went out. I found my head flashlight from my trip and made my way with that. Gave me flashbacks of Sudan, kinda. Only without the heat (it got cold without the furnace) or mosquito netting or trip in the dark to the outhouse. Still, the forehead lamp brought back some memories. Seems the trip was long ago now. Sigh... Back to work.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Well, I'm here to say that a trip like the one to Sudan takes it's toll. I'm afraid my longer recovery time may be related to aging. Perhaps I needed more time to get back on my feet before diving into work. Or conditions were harsher than I realize. A loss of thirteen pounds in two weeks, when I wasn't specifically focused on losing weight is an indicator of how harsh conditions were. Come to think of it, I did not see any fat Sudanese! Not that I'm complaining about that side affect. But it's come at a cost. I haven't had the energy to blog or do much else for that matter. And now I am fighting double ear infections. I'm taking the heavy duty antibiotics the doc gave me in case I caught anything over there so hopefully they will clear up pronto. My reserves were definately used up so I'm following up with my doc to get back to a better place.

Hey, shout out to Kate! I just saw your messages. I'm glad you are following and enjoying the blog. I hope to be back to some good writing soon. And Sis, thanks for your encouraging messages too. Hope to visit soon.