Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pain, suffering, and a new friend....

It all started Sunday morning. I woke up, and my jaw was sore on the left side at the hinge point. I just assumed I slept with my mouth in some strange position, and that caused it. However, there was more.

I took a shower, and as I was washing my face I noticed a tenderness just in front of my left ear. It was fairly painful when touched. That's when I knew what I was in for; and ear infection.

For a little back history, I've been pretty susceptible to ear infections since I had a really bad one when I was 18. Since then I try to be diligent about keeping my ear free of moisture. I swab with Q-tips after every shower and whenever I feel a tickle in my ear. I always have Q-tips close by, both at home & at the office.

Normally, I get a bit of a precursor in the form of slight pain when swabbing my ear (it's always the left one by the way). When that happens, I take a cold/sinus pill & try to lay on my left side as much as possible the rest of the day. That will avert a full-blown infection about 90% of the time. However, there was none of that this time. Friday & Saturday I felt fine. Sunday I woke up in pain. Of course I had to wait until Monday to make a doctor's appointment since the offices aren't open on Sunday. Well, by Monday things got much worse.

When I looked in the mirror Monday morning I could see the entire side of my face in front of my left ear was swollen. There was pain even when not being touched, and pain when chewing or yawning. I went on into work, took Alleve for pain (which had no affect), made the appointment as soon as the office opened, and tried to work the rest of the day. That didn't go so well. By the time I left for my appointment at 3pm, the pain was constant & throbbing. I also could no longer hear out of the ear at all.

I saw the doctor, and he was worried. He said it was so swollen inside that he couldn't see into the ear canal. He consulted with a Ear, Nose, & Throat guy (ENT) who told him to give me antibiotics, & drops. He also wanted to see me the next day (today). Luckily, the doctor introduced me to my newest & bestest friend, Vicodin.

Though there's still some pain after taking the Vicodin, it's not nearly like without it. I was able to sleep pretty well... until it wore off about 2am. I woke up in a whole new level of pain. Of course it took about 30 minutes for the Vicodin to kick in, but at least I was able to get back to sleep.

I went to ENT, and he also said there was too much swelling to see anything. He also didn't think the drops I had were making it inside the ear. So he put a wick in my ear and gave me stronger drops & stronger antibiotics. He also made a follow-up for Friday. He said the swelling should be down enough by then to allow him to make a diagnosis.

Now I think it's time to converse with my new friend again. ;}

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