Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hearing is NOT overrated.

Remember this post about the fact that I have elf ears, and then later I determined that I had elephant ears? Funny, it was almost exactly one year ago.

Well apparently only the outside of my ears are big.

Let me back up...

I have a cold right now. I've had it for a week or so. Coughing, headache, sinus-y issues. Nothing I can't handle. Until Saturday, Halloween.

My ear plugged up. And I mean REALLY plugged up. I'm sure anyone who saw me walking around must have thought I was on a self-prescribed jaw exercise regime -- or that I was trying to catch flies. I kept opening my mouth and pulling on my earlobe trying to unplug my ear.

It never unplugged and sound was diminishing.

Sunday morning I felt completely deaf in my right ear and started to have visions of me wearing a hearing aid and learning ASL.

Plus I still had this nasty cold where I lost my voice and had a dry cough every 90 seconds.

My mother-in-law was educated in the medical field and instructed me to go see an Ear Nose and Throat doctor right away before I permanently lost my hearing.

I took her advice and called first thing Monday morning. Of the 3 that were covered by my insurance and in my close-ish vicinity, the soonest I could get in was today, Tuesday morning at 9:30am. Thanks, Rachey, for watching my girls.

The ENT started looking around in there and decided to flush my ear to clean it. He used an ice-pick and hammer and it made me cry out in pain! So he switched to a toothpick and just kept jabbing away. He finally used a needle to scrape and finish the job.

Okay, so these are not the technical medical terminology for the instruments, but that's what it FELT like. Seriously, I had tears running down my cheeks it hurt so bad.

Apparently I have teeny-tiny ear canals.

The good doc said he has never seen such tiny ear canals on an adult before and had to use pediatric instruments! Looking at the degree on the wall, he's been doing this for 13 years. In 13 years I'm the first adult patient needing kid tools? I must be really special. Specially deformed.

Turns out I also have (and I quote) a shelf in my ear that blocks part of the canal. I'm having a hard time even visualizing that. A shelf? Are there books on it?

So with the combo of having wee ear canals, a shelf and mucus flowing through my sinuses from this cold, my ear was easily plugged up and blocked with lovely (disgusting) debris. Utter deafness.

I can't begin to tell you how bad it hurt to remove it. The water flush felt okay, if not super loud and a lot like a tidal wave in my head, but the scraping literally made me cry like a girl. And gave me a headache.

I'm on prescription ear drops to help my ear heal from all the scraping and avoid infection. Though my ear hurts a bit, I CAN HEAR! In fact, when I started talking to the doctor in the operating room---okay, doctor's office---I sounded funny even to myself because I could hear my voice from both ears! And there was no muffely sound accompanied by it. Fabulous!

Don't stick a Q-tip in your ear by the way.
And if you have miniture ear canals, I'll be seeing you at the ENT for the recommended twice yearly flushing. We can get coffee afterwards.


Jenny said...

Wow! I didn't know you had that deformity. I'm glad you are better.

Tiffany said...

Jenny, since you are twins you mighyt ahve it too. Might wanna get it checked:) Julie, glad you can hear again and I hope your ear heals quickly.

Amy Huertas said...

I have had that done a couple times too and it is not fun! Glad you are feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Your description brought up so many memories, and not good ones, I must say. When I went to my annual physical at my ped's, she would hold a ticking clock a few feet behind me and move toward me until I could hear it. Then she would tell me she was surprised I could hear at all and start the torture procedures you just described. Now I have Carl clean out my ears with his otoscope from med school days and a hairpin shaped into a curette. It is a bit dangerous, but it works and is convenient. Still hurts. I'm glad you didn't have fluid behind your eardrum and have it rupture. MomB

Kismet said...

I came home tonight and poured straight Hydrogen Peroxide in my ear.



christa jean said...

Oooh, ouch! I'm cringing just thinking about what you had to endure!
I don't have teeny ear canals, but I do have sensitive ears... or maybe I just think I do ;-D
I have bad memories of a little friend shoving a Q-tip into my ear when I was little and now if anything gets CLOSE to coming near my ear canal, I run.

I don't think you have large ears, Jules, but I do think you have nice ears for wearing large, funky earrings!

Anonymous said...

I know it hurt....but am cracking up with your description of it all. My kids are asking me, "Mom, what's so funny?" Oh, it's just Mrs. Penn.


Molly W. said...

oh Julie I'm so sorry!! that sounds miserable! But I am glad you can hear. :)