Posted on Oct 3, 2016 in Blog |

autumninnewcastlecloudsThis past weekend, I was planning to take a girlfriend to our cabin for a weekend of wildness: you know, going braless, reading, writing, and doing needlepoint. I figured if we really got restless, we could roast marshmallows in the fire pit and take the dogs for a long stroll. Friday morning, my car was completely packed, ready to go.

Except, my ear had kept me up the previous two nights with pain. I was on antibiotics for an ear infection. My LLMD saw it on Wednesday, prescribed the meds, told me if I didn’t feel better Thursday, to call in for another scrip, which I did.

At 5 am Friday, I was in tears. Then, my eardrum ruptured, which usually actually feels better because the pressure is released. I felt better for about two hours and then the pain returned.

I was determined to get away from the weekend. So I went to a local “doc in a box”. He took a look, even gave me a photo of the inside of my ear. He suggested we clean it out first, which he emphasized would be painful. I suggested we not. I wanted to get on the road. I had enough ear infections as a child to know what that pain would be and I wanted none of it. Can you tell I was still in a bit of denial about the severity of this issue?

The doc let me go, told me to return on Monday, and he gave me a prescription for OXYCODONE. Hmmm . . . that’s when a little red flag went up that maybe I was in for a bit more pain than I anticipated.

Jeff, looking incredulously at me, asked, “And what happens when you hit 3000 feet on the mountain on the way to the cabin?” Hmm . . . I hadn’t thought about that.

I texted the photo of my eardrum to my LLMD, who then responded, “I’ve texted Dr. W. Call his office and they will see you now.” Dr. W is our favorite ENT physician. He added, “Abundance of caution is indicated presently,” another red flag.

A little voice inside said, “Have Jeff take you b/c you are not going to like this procedure.” Jeff drove, and then, in the doctor’s office, as I sobbed, he held me and comforted me while all the nasty stuff was removed. Evidently, it was a nasty infection filled with bacteria and fungus with lot of swelling.

That's the inside of my ear - ewwwwww.

That’s the inside of my ear – ewwwwww.

Jeff also managed to throw in a couple of horrible jokes in an effort to make me laugh. He did his best to break the tension for me. At one point, someone was suggested i.v. antibiotics since the regular meds didn’t seem to be working. There was “concern” of how aggressive to get. I burst into tears when this discussion arose not because of the IV, but rather, how with chronically ill patients, it never seems to be simple.

The doc filled my ear canal with an anti-fungal steroidal cream and I return this week for a progress check.

On the way home, Jeff asked me if I stll planned to go to the cabin. Actually, he said, “You can’t possibly be thinking of still going to the cabin . . . “

Sharon's MAD FACE/

Sharon’s MAD FACE/

Rebelliously, I retorted, “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

I came home and slept three hours, exhausted from the pain and angst.

No, I didn’t go to the cabin. I stayed home, slept, rested, and got a few things done around the house.

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO CHRONIC ILLNESS?
1. Pain – when I am in pain, I am focused on the pain. I don’t clearly hear what others around me are saying. I brought Jeff with me to help me get through a rough appointment. The doctor gave important instructions, none of which I heard while we were in there. I’m grateful I had Jeff in there to be my ears, eyes, and brain. Take someone to your monthly LLMD appointment. It’s such a physically and emotional exhausting appointment, you need someone else to clearly hear what is said.
2. Listen to your gut – When a little voice inside is telling you something, you probably need to listen. There is no way I could have driven myself home from that procedure at the ENT.
3. Humor – I still believe humor is key in diffusing the emotional intensity of a situation, and to help add a bit of perspective to the situation. When I was so wrapped around the axel with pain, Jeff helped me chuckle and let go of the pain just until it was manageable again.
4. REST – Rest is key to healing, whether it’s an acute or chronic infection. If I don’t rest, I won’t heal.
5. Expectations – Yet, another time, I have had to cancel my plans due to my illness. With the car packed, I thought I could still “manage” the issue. I think I was more upset with the fact that I had to cancel a trip I had long been looking forward to rather than being disappointed about being sick (again).
6. Acceptance – Acceptance is so key in the healing process. Once I accepted I was sick and what I needed to do to heal, the healing could actually begin. I slept in late, letting my body do whatever it needed to do to heal. I didn’t go out and about, running errands. I just stayed home and healed, doing little things like the laundry, and cleaning out my needlepoint stash.

There is something to learn from every experience. When I am trying to squash that little voice of reason in my head, or the loud voice of reason beside me (Jeffrey), I probably need to re-evaluate my goals.

I didn’t get away this weekend. But I also did not cause further harm to my body. I rested. I got a few house chores completed that would have been waiting for me upon my return. I didn’t cause my hubby too much extra concern or worry. If I had gone to the cabin, he would have been basket-case with worry. And my ear infection is healing. And, really, healing is the most important thing we can do. If we aren’t healing, we aren’t moving forward.