Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Do you know the episode of the X Files with the poor guy who was in the wrong place during a secret government experiment and had to keep moving west?

Where the guy was willing to carjack Mulder to keep going, but met his untimely demise when they reached the coast and his head popped in a shower of blood before Scully could rupture his eardrum with an icepick to relieve the pressure? That's about how I feel right now.

My ear started hurting Thursday night. It wasn't so bad then, as much a sensation of pressure as actual pain, accompanied by a bit of hearing loss. Friday it continued to be a source of irritation, but it wasn't worth missing school. Saturday morning the pain was a bit worse, but I still hoped my body's defenses could handle it. I'd read that most ear infections resolve themselves on their own just as quickly without antibiotics, and, besides, I needed to hit the road and the only place I could have obtained treatment before heading out would have been the emergency room. I figured I could wait it out. I tried to dull the pain with ibuprofen and keep going.

Sunday night my ear hurt badly enough that I couldn't sleep and it was oozing pus. I try to avoid doctors and had only been once in the past five years for anything besides a routine checkup, but I reluctantly concluded that I needed to get medical attention. First thing Monday morning, I was dressed, fed, and ready to head to a walk in clinic and wait outside for it to open. Then my mom woke up and insisted on spending forever looking online to see if the clinic was in my insurance network (It wasn't, but with a $1,500 annual deductible that's almost irrelevant), trying to talk me into letting her call various doctors for an appointment, half of whom weren't in my network either, and ultimately driving me to the clinic.

24 hours, a $90 doctor visit and $30.88 worth of azithromyocin tablets and benzocaine ear drops, several doses of OTC analgesics, and countless warm compresses later and my ear still hurts about as much. As expected, I have a nice case of otis media, plus probably a bout of strep throat that the doctor didn't bother to test for since she was prescribing antibiotics anyway. All those pamphlets I read as a little kid waiting at the doctor's that promised that as I matured the angle of my Eustachian tubes would get better and I wouldn't have to deal with this anymore were lies, lies I tell you! I'm feeling a bit whiny and self pitying as I hope that the combination of antibiotics and my own white blood cells works its magic soon.


Anonymous said...

Lies, all lies about the eustachian tubes. Mine are just as twisty and narrow and useless as they ever were. However, the last time I had a bout with otitis media (not infected, just full of fluid) the last doctor I saw (after fruitless visits earlier) tried a physical manipulation that did the trick. It took a few hours, but the pressure she put on the side of my face helped open the tubes enough for my ears to start draining. My guess is a D.O. is more likely to know about that than an M.D., but it's a useful trick to know.
Darn eustachian tubes. Very annoying.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

I stubbed my toe this afternoon, but that kind of pales in comparison.