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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Nine Demons Stabbing Each Other With Fifty Knives on Fire

If you work 21 days straight, and you feel a little bit off, have a tinge of ear pain and think you might be coming down with a sinus infection, go to the doctor. "Hoping it goes away" isn't the horse you want to bet on, just so you know. By Saturday, that's seven days ago today, it felt like my right ear was replaced by a vat of cement inside of which nine demons were stabbing each other with fifty knives on fire.

I knew it was going to be bad when I woke up last Friday with ear pain. Never slept again, too much pain. I went to the ER, because in 2009 I got an earache so bad that I was admitted to the hospital for three days. Lesson learned. But the ER doctor glanced into my hot, swollen ear with a scope for approximately half a nanosecond, determined that it's an outer ear infection and prescribed...wait for it...drops. And ibuprofen. She stood there with too much mascara flaking off her lashes, wielding the authority to do everything possible to make sure the one-eared person in front of her can hear next week, then didn't.

Not only have I come to the ER with a pain so severe that it woke me up, and kept me up for two days, and not only did I just explain about the 2009 hospital fiasco, but my. Ear. Is. Swollen. Shut. How in the motherhumping name of Zeus' butthole are drops supposed to even get in? And ibuprofen? What would she suggest for putting out a forest fire, a good strong stream of fireman pee?

I needed her to repeat herself not only because at that point I could barely hear at all, but because "drops" was pretty far down the list of what I expected her to say, right above bloodletting with leeches and a ceremonial dance to appease the goddess Panacea.

I squinted through several gasp-inducing twinges of pain before carefully explaining to the doc that I fully expected her to say that I need an IV right away for antibiotics and painkillers, and they'd monitor my vital signs to make sure the infection isn't spreading. I may have said the word "stat" at some point.

She did a little eyebrow-knitting, head-shaking thing and said "for an earache?" or something equally dismissive. She did at least agree to a prescription for Percoset and that 800mg ibuprofen they give you, but she stuck with her antibiotic drops over oral antibiotics. I felt like I was mediating a dispute, with "blinding pain caused by raging infection" and this doctor facing off from opposite sides of the table.

Sunday was a blur. I may have been delirious.

First thing Monday morning, Joe called Dr. Stern's office for me. I was still mostly deaf from this thing so phone conversing was right out. I wouldn't be able to hear a full-on raging Cinco de Mayo party if it was going on directly across the street. I know because I didn't hear a full-on raging Cinco de Mayo party that was going on directly across the street.

Of course the wonderful, amazing, superheroic Dr. Stern said to come right in. When he examined my ear, he confirmed the infection and said I needed to go downstairs to the ER right away and get an IV for antibiotics and painkillers, and they'd monitor my vital signs to make sure the infection isn't spreading.

I may have said the word "FUCK!" before I told him about Saturday and the "drops" doctor. "I will call down there," was one of the things Dr. Stern said. He said a lot of other things too. Based on the attention I got from the ER this time, I'm making the assumption that in the local medical community, Dr. Stern is not to be fucked with. I. Love. That. Man.

But before sending me down to the ER, he placed a "wick" in my ear, which felt like he placed a "giant fucking plank of plywood" in my ear. I breathed through it. Meaning I clutched the arms of the chair and writhed and hissed like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.

So, after the IV mammoth dose of strong antibiotics, I came home with prescriptions for more Percoset and two different oral antibiotics. I've been back to Dr. Stern three times for follow-ups. The third time he removed the wick and told me it looks "like a million bucks" inside my ear. I told him it only feels like about eight grand, but I'd take his word for it. He says that NOW I can use those drops, three times a day to help the rest of the healing.

He advised me that next time I should "pull a nutty" in the ER to get them to do what I wanted, which would have been the exact right thing  Maybe I'll try that next time.