Sunday, 7 August 2011

Ear won't pop

I'm currently experiencing a very odd medical condition. Whilst I'm not typically one to broadcast all my embarrassing ailments; I feel this is suitably odd/not embarrassing enough to worry about people knowing. Additionally, in my Googling for people with the same problem, there seems to be a fair few out there, but with no real suitable conclusion to the problem, so if nothing else, I'd like to raise my hand in the air and shout me too! Shouting because I probably won't hear myself doing so.

The problem you ask? Well as the title hints at, my ear won't pop. I was on a plane home 8 days ago (returning from a week in the Algarve, Portugal) and during the flight, my ears were constantly requiring popping. For anyone interested, I favour the fairly standard popping technique, of holding my nose and attempting to blow my nose, resulting in some pressure relief via the ears. My right ear was responding to this as normal, but my left ear just didn't seem to want to give. And a week and a bit on, it still hasn't.

The amazing thing is that I've realised that in so much of casual conversation, with strangers mostly (think hairdressers and the likes), your ability to hear the other person is really not that important. Seriously, I think with a smile, a nod, and the odd "yeah?", "wow", "right, yeah" you can bluff through pretty much most small talk situations. That is until someone looks at you dead on and says ".... well?" and your response has to be "Ummm, yeah, sorry, I didn't hear you, and to be honest I didn't hear much of what you just said, and to be really honest, if I ask you to repeat it wouldn't be because I care about what you're saying, it would only be in the pretence of being polite, which, by now, you probably don't care about as I've clearly shown you my cards. However, in order to keep up the societal pretence that we care about each other and the mind-numbingly trivial things strangers talk about... what are you asking?". Payment for the haircut it seemed. Who'd have thought?

To this day, my ear still hasn't popped. It is most disturbing and has a range of symptoms which follow. The least of which is the fact that I can't properly hear out of my left ear which is just uncomfortable. Then there are a few others which have come and go, including constant pressure, a constant ringing sounds, dizziness, headaches and the fact that I keep trying to pop my ear and generally rubbing it in a vain attempt to find some relief. This has the net result of making me look like an idiot, which is, of course, the most serious of all the associated problems.

Against my biologically ingrained sense of never asking for help (I am a man after all) I did decide to go to the doctors. I really was hoping for antibiotics, since, let's face it, it pretty much is the solution for most problems when the doctor isn't exactly sure what's wrong. I'm no medical professional by any means, but I have watched every episode of both Scrubs and House - sometimes several times - making me pretty much an honorary doctor. Needless to say, antibiotics or failing that, a lumbar puncture are the only tools I have in my arsenal.

But no. Sadly, no pills. Instead I was told that having me ear syringed might help. It also might not help it was added. Regardless of whether it would relieve the pressure in my ear or not, it seemed that was the only medical recommendation I could get.

My appointment to get that done is tomorrow, so I'll swing back here then and update what happened, and if it helps. I am going to remain optimistic, and show confidence in my doctor, and say I reckon it will help fix things.

And I really hope it does. I do look like an idiot playing with my ear all the time. Asking people at work to stand to the right of my desk when speaking to me also becomes old.

But having a genuine reason not to engage in small talk with strangers? Makes it almost worthwhile. I am tempted to carry on the charade of being hard-of-hearing after I'm better. Might even get the occasional free haircut.

UPDATE:
I had my appointment today and ...... still no fix! The nurse took a look at my ear and said "hmm, your ear looks a bit weird! I'm going to get the doctor to take a look". 1 hour later, and the doctor (same one as before) said "Yes, Craig, looks like you have an ear infection. I'll prescribe some antibiotics."

So antibiotics and a smug feeling. Good day.