Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"You should have your head examined"

We've all heard this "hyperbolic and usually jocular expression of disagreement" cliché at some time or another. But this time I heard it from a real live doctor who wasn't joking.

I woke up the last morning of conference unable to hear out of my right ear. Weird, right? That feeling you get when you've gone swimming, only I hadn't. Gone swimming, I mean. There was a lovely pool at the place where we had conference but I'm not a big water person. I bought a new swimsuit before we moved to Argentina in 2008 and it still has the price tags on it.

But back to the story... I just figured the problem would dissipate as the day wore on but it didn't. And by the time we made it home 17-1/2 hours after leaving Piriapolis, I was not only tired, I was also suffering symptoms of vertigo. Not fun!

So the next morning (Sunday) we went to the equivalent of Urgent Care, where the doctor couldn't find anything visibly wrong with my ear, but he did, however, give me a shot of antihistamine which took me from plain old dizzy to dizzy, loopy and nauseated. REALLY not fun! And he suggested we see a specialist.

Easier said than done. Monday and Tuesday were national holidays and all the doctors (except in Urgent Care) took the time off. Then we had company (our area director and his wife) from Wednesday through Friday with lots going on... the men taking a survey trip to the northern part of the province, followed by a trip to Sta. Rosa.

So no specialist last week.

Initially we didn't think that was a bad thing because I was starting to improve. The hearing loss was still an issue but the vertigo was mild or non-existent most of the time. But Wednesday evening the vertigo hit again with a vengeance. *sigh* Ivan called and set up an appointment with the specialist for this week and the next few days the vertigo came and went, never too bad until Sunday when the vertigo with nausea kicked in just as I was finishing my Project 365 post. Sunday was not a good day.

I saw the ENT specialist yesterday evening. She followed the same procedure as Mr. Urgent Care Doctor and said I needed to have my head examined, since the problem is obviously inner ear and not visible with the only little scope she had on hand. Even though Carlos Paz is the equivalent to Kalamazoo, Michigan, in terms of size, it is not big enough by Argentine standards to have the facility and equipment to handle any kind of testing like I need to have done.

So first thing this morning we'll be setting up an appointment in Cordoba. Thankfully we're just over half an hour away so it's not a big deal. Hoping to get in today, maybe this evening.

[Edited to add: The clinic that the specialist recommended said their machine is broken, and even if it was fixed it would be late next week before they could get me in. The hospital we tried said we had to come in personally to set up an appointment, they don't do them over the phone. Another clinic has an opening on Thursday morning. The next place hung up on Ivan (this after he got a busy signal the first ten times he tried to call; maybe the lady was having fun hanging up on everyone who immediately tried calling back?). Yet another clinic said they could schedule me in on the 28th. Guess we're going with the appointment on Thursday!]

I've done a little internet research to see what kind of problem it might be. I emphasize "little" because I don't want to freak myself out with some weird diagnosis when it's likely something simple like fluid build-up or skin growing over the opening. I was surprised to learn that it's not uncommon to wake up and suddenly be unable to hear out of one ear. Who knew?!

The experience has given us a preview of what it will probably be like in another 20 years when we're old and can't hear well any more. Poor Ivan has heard, "What? I can't hear you!" a gazillion times in the past 10 days. LOL  He's had some mild hearing loss over the last few years and I've teased him about it. But the sweet man is not doing the same to me. He's been very patient and just raised his voice so I can hear.

The upside is that with the diminishment of sound, I was actually able to sleep during siesta yesterday! Usually the noises all around keep me from really being able to rest. Makes me wonder if I shouldn't invest in some ear plugs once I have my hearing back. Hmmmmm. 

Anyone ever had this happen to them before? I'd love to hear what your experience was like.


Mari said...

I've never had this, but my friend at work had it happen earlier this year. She was in the middle having some tests done, when her daughter told her to try something she heard from a 24 hour care center. It involved turning from one side to another which sounds crazy but it cleared it up for her right away. I'll check with her today and get back to you.

Kay said...

Sometimes that happens to me..minus the vertigo..and I just need my ear cleaned. A nurse puts a cleaning fluid in there and irrigates it and it unclogs. Just passing that along as food for thought. I hope you feel better soon. : )

skoots1mom said...

so sorry to hear you've been this uncomfortable...i've had vertigo and it is HORRIBLE. Praying now for your complete recovery and no ill effects...was there a large elevation change when you were on your trip? my dad had a friend who suffered these kinds of issues when they ascended too quickly into the philippine mountains, and it was horribly humid, and things closed up on him.
He didn't have any long-term effects once he got back to his normal and they gave him some antiinflammatory meds.
I went thrifting with my girl yesterday and had lots of fun talking about the apartment she and one of her room mates will be moving into fall semester...she's so excited.
Hope this finds your girl enjoying married life to the fullest :)
Rest and get better, sweet jubisista!

rita said...

Lo siento, Kim.
Espero que te sientas bien muy pronto, ya sea con ayuda médica o no.

maddie/cadesmimi said...

I hope and pray you get relief soon!

The Bug said...

I'll be eagerly waiting the news from Thursday...

Betty said...

Never had this before and hope they find a cure for it soon. It sure sounds complicated getting an appointment. Must be frustrating!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Oh my stars! This has been an ordeal for you!

I have never personally experienced this myself, but I fully anticipate having to get fitted for a hearing aid at some point in the future. My Great Grandmother, Grandmother and my mom and almost every woman on my side of the family have all had hearing issues in the older years!

I hope you get some resolution with as few complication in scheduling as possible!


Angie said...

Only two cases of hearing loss in my family. Dad had been using q-tips to clean his ear and actually had compacted the wax against the eardrum. They couldn't fully dissolve it so had to suction it out, which he said was excruciating. Don't think that could be it, because it can been seen when looking in the ear.

I too had hearing loss when in the mountains, followed by a plane ride. My inner ear had collapsed. I have to take a prescription decongestant when going to high elevations or flying to keep ear open. I had agonizing pressure and headaches though, not vertigo.

Will say a prayer. Hope it will be diagnosed and taken care of soon!

Oldfangled said...

Oh, so sorry about your ear problems. The siesta must have been nice, though.

JonMagic said...

Best part of your post? The last line :) I'd love to "hear" what your experience was like. lol

Remember I recommended ear plugs for sleeping awhile back? They help me tremendously! Nat would never get any sleep without them.