Not Just an Ear Infection…

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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  1. Colleen
    October 30, 2022 / 5:03 pm

    And there is that favorite quilt covering you up! Hope that drainage clears up!

  2. Kim
    October 30, 2022 / 5:16 pm

    Adult ear infections are no joke! I missed a week a work once from an ear infection. I had swimmers ear and a middle ear infection at the same time and the stuff dripping out my ear like that. At times it hurt so bad I was in tears from the pain.

  3. October 30, 2022 / 5:46 pm

    Oh, dear hopefully it is just a fluke and not what they are saying. Your family certainly has its challenges and weird things happening. Maybe its just Halloween. Here is hoping.

  4. Kim from TN
    October 30, 2022 / 7:29 pm

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this. I hope your pain is controlled with the new meds. Get well soon

  5. Mary
    October 30, 2022 / 8:34 pm

    I certainly hope it isn’t a cholesteatoma! My husband had surgery for this several years ago after he had lost hearing in that ear. The bones were all destroyed and they replaced them with artificial bones. He had begun to regain a small amount of his hearing, but then it got worse again. The cholesteatoma is back. Surgery again is in his future, but due to heart issues it has been delayed. Not a fun surgery!

  6. Colleen
    October 31, 2022 / 1:25 pm

    OMG! What next?? You poor thing 🙁 I’ll get an occasional ear ache if I don’t get all the water out of my ear from taking a shower and then go outside where the slightest breeze can set it off. Can’t imagine the pain you’ve had, though.

    You’re so fortunate to have such a close family (in more ways than one) to support you and your family. Hang in there. No matter what comes along, you’ll get through it. Blessings 🙂

  7. Susan the Farm Quilter
    October 31, 2022 / 2:55 pm

    Regardless of the ENTs diagnosis, I just pray it is something that they can make go away forever!! Persistent pain that high and the constant drainage steal your enjoyment of life and with your littles, you need to be able to enjoy them!!

  8. Deb E
    October 31, 2022 / 3:36 pm

    I’ve never heard of that either! I’m so sorry that you’re in so much pain, and am praying that surgery will NOT be required to get you back on the road to recovery. Take care!

  9. reader from Texas
    October 31, 2022 / 3:40 pm

    Ear infections of any kind are the worst….. Hang in there… 30 + years ago I had a bad ear infection and it ruptured the oval window and I lost all equilibrium. It was a horrible time with the pain, dizziness and a 3 and 5 year old at home. I did have surgery and have been fine ever since. I still hate getting ear infections, but I trust that all will be well. If my ear problems could get fixed so long ago, I am sure they will know what to do for you and this ‘episode’ will be a memory soon. Prayers for healing, trust and relief.

  10. Carmen Montmarquet
    October 31, 2022 / 10:37 pm

    I hope they figure out what it is exactly and it can be treated fast! You have the best family and they will help you though this! I pray for a speedy recovery for you!

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