Always tweaking something!

Still gotta work

The only way I can snake a win out of last nights $580M Powerball drawing is by realizing I saved $4 by not buying a pair of tickets. That’s a far cry from the millions that will be split amongst the two winning tickets, but I can at least get to work in the morning and lament my lost opportunity. By the time I realized I was running out of time to even BUY tickets, I was 13 minutes late.

For fun, I drew up two sets of numbers. One based on family birthdays,, the other based loosely on units I served in in the Army (47th CSH, 423 Medical, 62 Med Group, etc) I hit on exactly 1 number – the 23 that came from my year with the 423 Med.

I’ve had the strangest year in terms of ear infections. 6 or so weeks ago, we got back from vacation and I headed straight to my doc. The antibiotic I was on did zippo for eradicating the infection I had. Got sent to an ENT for further diagnosis. She put me on a different antibiotic and also took a culture for good measure.

I returned to her in 10 days with the infection cleared up but I still had a feeling that my inner ear was full of goo. There was a slight pressure – like cotton balls – and the sensation that there was a tin can over my ear. She advised I maintain using ear drops for another 5 days. My infection was pretty bad and it’s possible the swelling hadn’t fully receded.

Five days passed – no real change. I gave it another week – things started to improve. After another week I wasn’t noticing about my left ear anymore – it finally cleared! Then a day or two before Thanksgiving, I could feel it start to crank up again. Called the ENT, got in the Wednesday before turkey day. Got to see the doc this time, not the PA. He looked at report on the culture done in October. They found Staphylococcus Aureus – pretty normal for an ear infection, and I was on the right antibiotic for that. They also found a single colony of Aspergillus Niger – black mold. Turns out that when the antibiotic laid waste to the Staph, it opened the door for the ear shrooms. The doc took a peek in my ear and said “yep – just what I thought, a fungal infection”.


Doc got a canula, splayed a towel and a kidney pan on my shoulder and got to work. He flushed my ear canal and vacuumed out a bunch of goo. He showed my the tip of his vacuum thingy at one point and it looked like he had a chunk of Brie dangling from the end. It’s surprising how much shit you can fit in that tiny little ear canal. Surprising and disgusting all at once.

So the doc continued with the hoovering until he was satisfied with the results. Then there was a peroxide flush, a bath in boric acid and a liberal application of a lotrimin solution (gynolotrimin for my ear?!?!?) The peroxide was noisy but painless. The boric acid was quiet but burned a bit. The lotrimin was quiet, cool and slightly soothing – a very nice change.

He gave me a prescription for more of the lovely lotrimin (not the gyno variety) and pronounced me fit to share a table at Thanksgiving dinner. He was certainly sympathetic to the plight I was in and really did all he could make things better.

I thanked him and made my way to the pharmacy. Got my drugs & headed home. Later that evening I gave myself a few drops of the lotrimin in my ear, laid down for a bit to let it soak in and all was right with the world.

Thursday, I finally got to putting in my first round of ear driops early afternoon. This was a different experience. At first the drops felt cool. Then things went a little sideways. It started to burn a bit, then it felt like it got to my inner ear (I have a small perforation in the eardrum on that side) and REALLY started burning. I got a bitter, metallic taste in my mouth, my left eye watered, the left side of my nose started seeping something and my ear hurt like hell. I flipped my head over to try and drain the lotrimin out, dabbed at it with a twisted up kleenex and finally, after about 10 minutes things settled down. I did NOT do my second dose for that day.

Friday, early afternoon, I tried the lotrimin again. Wouldn’t you know it reacted (or I reacted) just like Thursdays episode? That was enough of that shit. No more lotrimin for me. Seemed like the worst of the infection was gone and I wasn’t subjecting myself to any more of that nonsense. Plus, this time I actually read the little booklet that comes with your prescriptions. The burning is a noted side effect of the lotrimin and they advise that one stop using it and call your doc.

I called the doc, he was in surgery until Thursday (today). Since my ear wasn’t in acute pain and I really only seemed to be suffering from a “tin can over my ear” I took a Thursday appointment. Fungus is slow growing and therefore also somewhat difficult to kill so I clearly need to do something to treat the fungus. But I also want to get something done to restore the hearing in my left ear. I have NO high frequency response and the mid and low ranges are severely attenuated. That’s polite engineer speak for “I’m half fucking deaf in my left ear” and really? I have been since the beginning of October.

Personally, I’d like him to peel my ear back, hoover out the goop in my inner ear, then sew the ear back on. I’ve had this annoying sensation of a post nasal drip on my left side for weeks now and I can’t help but think it’s all related. Hope the doc & I can come to some sort of resolution this afternoon.

Oh – Dawn? Yes, I really do work about 20 feet underground. We’re in the basement of an industrial complex built in the 60’s & 70’s. Someplace I have a picture of the door into our lab that I took while standing at the entrance to our building. I’ll dig it up and show you. Talk about a great place for growing mushrooms!


2 responses

  1. Hmmm, you are the second guy I’ve heard of in the last week with some weird ear thing going on. I hope it does clear up – I understand it is very disconcerting.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

    • Brian

      It is, in a word, frustrating.  Probably evidenced by my language in that post, eh?  Doc says the fungal part looks good, but he gave me another dose of the lotrimin anyhow.  Took half an hour for the worst of the effects to subside.  Can still taste it.  He also verified a perforation in my ear drum which is the source of that burning sensation – ethyl-methyl deadly stuff getting to the tender inner portions of my ear via the hole.

      The cure?  Wait two weeks, see if the hearing improves.  Ear drum currently very this as a reaction to the infections.  Ought to thin back out and result in improved hearing.  If not?  New specialist next month.  Oh joy.  This getting old stuff is not for the weak!


      November 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm

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