Ear Infection

Image by clappstar via Flickr

Ear infections were the bane of my early childhood. I vividly remember having my ear drum lanced when I was about 4 years old. Easily one of the most painful medical procedures ever and remember, I’ve given birth and had my tonsils out as an adult – among other things, so I have a vast base for comparison.

Ear aches are common for me again because of the whole sinus issues thing. I had hoped the recent allergy testing would prove revelatory and provide a basis for relief.

No such luck.

I am allergic to nothing though I am having histamine over-reactions. Blood is off somewhere being micro-analyzed but the allergist doesn’t hold out much hope of finding a concrete cause because my irritants are man-made/chemical in nature.

“Well,” Rob said, ” at least we know that earth isn’t rejecting you. You are rejecting the earth.”

Only the man dominated parts of it.

The last couple of nights, as I also battle a mutant cold, my eyes have puffed like and itched and I couldn’t figure out why until it occurred to me that the blanket we’d brought up from the living room for extra warmth smelled like Rob’s mother.

The perfume was the culprit and the offending blanket is now in the wash.

But it’s frustrating not knowing what will trigger a reaction and I am tired of taking allergy medicine daily when the reality is that I don’t come into contact with triggers daily.

An allergic reaction to sawdust right before the holiday laid the foundation for sinus issues which triggered my ear trouble and set me up for a hard fall with this cold I now have – courtesy, we believe, of the soon to be FIL.

Years of allergic reactions have damaged my Eustachian tubes until the weenies clamp closed at the slightest provocation.

Going to the doctor in the old days of my American life meant antibiotics and a swift return to the land of the tolerably living, but in the Canadian wilds, I am told to use OTC’s and suck it up, which – unsurprisingly takes longer and about half the time lands me back in the doctor’s office with a “take to my bed” kind of infection.

What to do? What indeed.

Personally, I loathe taking Rx drugs because I am the kind of person for whom side-effects are a given. And though life is flexible enough that I can take to my bed – bed is boring.

Home remedies only take a person so far but so far so good in my case. Without a fever (and I pretty much have to be consumed with disease to run a fever at any rate), I can expect little action from the medical profession.

Yoga starts up again tonight. It might be a seated posture class. Just saying.

An image from 1300s (A.D.) England depicting a...

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Back in yore, rotten teeth killed people. Enamel cracked or was eaten away by food debris and lack of sufficient (or any) dental hygiene. Germs seeped into the root canal because dogs aren’t the only of God’s creatures with festering saliva, and infection blossomed.

Left alone long enough, pus oozes along the pathways hither and yon and before a person could scream for the local witch woman or butcher, sepsis and death.

Archeologists are forever digging up our bony ancestors who succumbed to the dreaded toothache. Many a mummy met his end for lack of root canal.

Last week, I could have been on track to become a freak statistic because people in the “modern” world do still die of the occasional tooth abscess gone horribly wrong.

Fortunately, I have Rob.

After messing about for close to two weeks with an infection that defied doctors, my own and in the ER, I noticed that my lower jaw hurt and suspected that a cavity filled at the end of July could have gone bad.

A call to the emergency number at the dentist’s practice on Sunday evening was less than helpful. Perhaps I am mistaken about the whole “dental emergency” thing, but I was expecting something other than “go to the ER and call us on Tuesday morning to schedule an appointment.”

Tuesday morning I was told that I could be squeezed in on Thursday afternoon for a 30 minute consult.

This was after I disclosed my saga and symptoms, which alarmed the receptionist enough to go to the cubicles herself and let the dentist know what was going on and ask for guidance.

His great wisdom? Sounds like a root canal was needed. Can’t do anything until the infection settles a bit. Stay on the antibiotics and come in next week. Tuesday. In the afternoon.

“Call my dentist,” Rob said. “I know it’s going to be awkward because you switched to someone new but she will probably see you today.”

I did switch to someone new. I wanted a better hygienist. The gentleman I was assigned to has huge fingers and is a very nervous fellow. My first experience with him was … painful … and though he improved, I dreaded going in.

And Dee did nothing but whine and wince.

So a friend suggested another practice and the hygienist was awesome and the Dentist does good check-up.

He sucks at cavities though. I had two done at the end of July. Horrific and then I ended up with the whole abscess thing …

“I’m not up for awkward at the moment, ” I told Rob.

But visions of dead mummies plagued me more than saving face did, so I called and I was worked in immediately – no questions.

She was concerned about the infection, the pain, the possibility that the infection was gaining strength. Changed my antibiotic. Actually found a pain med I could take without miserable side-effects and gave up some of her lunch hour to work me in the next day for a root canal.

The other guy had said that root canals can’t be performed until the antibiotics start to work.

Not true. Don’t ever buy that.

I spent about two hours on Wednesday in root canal mode. The worst thing about it is keeping your mouth open for so long that the jaw cramps. But the pain wasn’t bad. I’ve had two root canals now and never time did I suffer.

My opinion about suffering? Either the dentist isn’t skilled or you’ve had the misfortune of having a massive infection that simply couldn’t be effectively anesthetized. It happens.

Most of the time, the tooth drained. It was quite … ookie … that’s a professional medical term by the way.

The infection is still being subdued. I don’t feel great, but I am not hurting down my neck, across my chest and the pains in my ribs are mostly gone.

It was just the icing on several weeks worth of medical reckonings. My thyroid appears to be failing and I had two more eye swelling experiences, so the new doctor is sending me all over the greater Edmonton area to be tested for this and that.

“You can’t die until I am grown up,” Dee informed me last week as I tucked her in for the night.

“You can’t die at all,” Rob said later, “because that little girl simply couldn’t survive it.”

He didn’t have to add that it would suck a lot for him too.

I’m not dying, but I have been neglectful of some things that I would have jumped all over if I were back in the States and seeing my much missed Dr. C. I am simply going to have to bring the Canadian way of medicine into harmony with my own personal needs. How, I haven’t quite figured out, but I was told once that I am a force of nature, so Hurricane Annie will have to put her thinking cap on.