Life threw me a curve this week.
A splash in the shower over the weekend with a direct shot of shower water into the ear has paid unexpected dividends.
Or maybe it's just the warm, humid conditions in the valley... or the lack of air-conditioning... or mowing when it's humid and sweating...
The point is, by Sunday, my ears were "tickling" and by Monday night, a small earache in the left one gave me an idea of what was to come.
By Monday night, I was in pain, with throbbing, distracting ear pain while trying to finish my shift. But a wise co-worker suggested a warm, moist compress to help ease the pain.
Thank goodness, she was right. I was much improved by the time the night ended, and I went home confident that the episode was over.
Not so. Tuesday morning I woke up with no hearing in the left ear at all.
One quick trip to the doctor's office and I was diagnosed with an infection of the ear canal. Ear drops and an aggressive antibiotic were supposed to attack this from both inside and out. The doctor suggested I take the day off to treat the ear and heal.
Through the course of the day, I periodically dripped drops into the ear, and felt like I was underwater. Shortly, I'd be asleep, as I'd be laying on the "good" ear. There were no distracting noises to keep me awake!
After this awkward sleep/drip/pain cycle ran it's course for the day, I figured I'd be better for Wednesday.
I woke with no hearing again in my left ear. And this time, it didn't return, no matter how many drips I put in the ear.
The theory is that the ear canal has swollen shut, and while the antibiotic and other medicine has reduced the throbbing and swelling associated, I'm wondering if some earwax has repositioned itself to block off my swollen ear shut.
What a pity that I can't get in there and dig around... but the doctor says this is the worst thing to do. He swears that we should not used Q-tips in the ear, as they only "dam up" the wax and lead to this type of problem.
HE recommends a solution of water and hydrogen-peroxide to rinse the ear canal instead... but I shudder at the thought of putting any more chemicals in my ear than I need.
Whatever the cause of my current hearing loss, I'm in a strangely handicapped mode today:
Things we take for granted:
Finding coins falling by hearing their bounce and ring.
Judging our speed in a car we're driving by the road noise.
Adjusting our speaking volume to others. Overcoming background noise, fans, TVs, and conversations at the wrong level!
Chewing a good firm bite!
Hearing the TV without turning it up over top of the fan noise.
Recognizing when someone is speaking to us while reading intently.
Hearing loss is nothing to joke about. If you have a concern, see a doctor. And get your hearing tested regularly. It's too valuable to take for granted that you'll always have it!