Well folks, I was hoping my ear infection post would be just that – an ear infection. Things seem to have escalated.
Yesterday (Saturday) I woke up feeling pretty good. I had planned on going with my friend Regan and her family down to a new makeup store about 45 minutes away. It was great to see them and catch up but MAN, all of a sudden on the way home, my ear was SO PAINFUL. I was already on as much medication as I could take (Tylenol and Ibuprofen) and it wasn’t time for a re-dose. If you read yesterday’s post, I’ve been struggling with a painful ear infection and had to have a tube placed in the office on Friday. You can read that here: An Ear Infection…
This entire time, my ear is just pouring out fluid, this may be gross but I just wanted to demonstrate how persistent this is – it’s not like a typical ear drum rupture seen in kids – green and thick. This is like water. It started out pink but now has turned orange/yellow and bloody. If I don’t have something in my ear to catch the liquid, it just drips down my neck and into my hair.
They dropped me off at home, I rushed over to my mom’s in tears and said, “I have to go to the ER now.” At this point my pain was a 9/10, I was shaking. We quickly arranged care for the boys (thanks Kelli and Sofie!) and we took off to the ER where I used to work.
My best friend Gabe (hey girl) was working and many of my old favorite coworkers were working as well. It was so nice to see familiar faces. They gave me a pretty strong pain medication and sent me for a CT scan.
I’ve already been on antibiotics for 3 days at that point and I was getting WORSE – not better. The drainage was non stop, I have to tape gauze and cotton to my ear. This is an important symptom that will come up later. I really can’t hear at all out of that ear. The tube they placed in the office on Friday was supposed to fix all of this but it hadn’t improved anything.
The CT scan came back and while nothing is confirmed right now, there are some awfully suspicious findings. In summary, it appears I may have something called a cholesteatoma. I’ve been in the medical field (most of my time in the ER setting) for almost 11 years now and I’ve NEVER heard of this before. By definition, a cholesteatoma is an abnormal collection of skin cells deep inside the ear. If left untreated, it can damage the delicate structures inside the ear that are essential for hearing and balance. It can become invasive and destructive.
Two of the main symptoms of cholesteatoma are watery persistent ear drainage and hearing loss. I have both. I can’t stress how annoying and gross it is to constantly have gunk dripping out of the ear.
None of this is an emergency so I was sent home from the ER with stronger pain meds and a new antibiotic. I’ll see ENT tomorrow morning to get a second opinion and a plan for treatment which usually involves at least one surgery if not more.
None of this is confirmed yet, I hope that it’s all resolved by tomorrow morning when I wake up and the CT was read incorrectly but I just wanted to give an update. I’ll know more tomorrow. In the meantime, my pain is under control and the boys are behaving so I can relax today. Craig was home for about 2 hours this morning and he will be home by 6:30 tonight – the only time we get to see him anymore is on Sundays for about that much time. Harvest is getting LONG.
I’m so so so thankful for my mom who took me yesterday, helped manage the boys and let me hang out at her house an dose while I was still on pain medications. Rosie and Izzy and Anders were very comforting.
I’ll let you know what I find out. Fingers crossed it’s all a big misunderstanding and that I don’t need surgery!
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