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An ear troll by any other name…

Yesterday I headed down to St. Paul’s Hospital, the hospital where I was born, for an appointment with a specialist.  I’ve been having issues with what I’ve dubbed “the ear troll” for months now, since the beginning of July.  Well, some rather surprising news was revealed; it turns out it’s not an ear issue at all.  I have Temporomandibular Jaw/Joint Disorder (aka TMJ or TMJD).

TMJ can mimic things like Eustachian Tube Disorder, which I was told by a family physician was the problem, because the jaw joint is actually located right next to the ear canal.  In fact, if you put your finger in your ear and open your mouth you’ll feel the joint moving.  That joint is what’s been causing all the ear aches, head aches, popping noises, dizziness, disorientation, and other associated problems.  It’s nice to have an answer, but I’ll admit…  I was hoping for a quick fix, and there is no quick fix for TMJ.

Dr. Shoman has put me on a liquid diet for a week, to allow my jaw some time to heal.  And wow!  It’s been almost a day and a half and I’m finding it rather difficult to adapt to.  With most things only containing 100 – 200 calories, meals have to be every couple of hours or you get real weak, real fast.  You can only drink so much thick liquid at a time, so you really are limited to small amounts.  I find if I get busy or involved in something I’ll end up shaky and faint.  So I’m having to be very conscious of my intake and my timing.  I’m very much a chew-and-enjoy-your-food kinda gal, so this drink it down thing is definitely not me.  I have a feeling that before the week is out I’ll have gotten to the point where I’m willing to lick dip off a ham stick just for the taste of real food – to be honest I seriously considered it last night.  LOL  And the idea of all those yummy crisp veggies just sitting in the fridge waiting for me?  They are darn difficult to resist.  This diet has been kicking my ass so far, but I’m determined to have it licked (pun intended) by the end of this.

After my jaw has been rested, we’ll decide the next step from there.  Chances are my treatment will involve consultation with two or three specialists including Dr. Shoman (who’s an ear, nose, and throat guy), and oral surgeon, a dentist, and possibly my family doctor as well.  We may also end up enlisting the help of a physical therapist at some point, but we’ll get there.  Spring is my deadline.  I’ll be fit and well adjusted again by Spring.  Just in time to get back on the show circuit.  Momma is missing her dog shows in a REAL big way.  LOL

Hunting down the ear troll. :)

Today I started a third antibiotic…  one that is actually used to prevent malaria of all things.   For a couple hours after taking a dose I’m on the floor in the fetal position, sick as all get out, but that’s better than being sick all the time as I was on the previous prescription.  LOL  And as of this evening, my one ear is popping and snapping more frequently than rice krispies in milk.  It’s really strong, really painful, and my ear is leaking as it goes…  but in between all of the “static” I’m actually getting small snippits of clearer sound.  So I’m very hopeful.  It feels good to actually hear things again, even if it is just in 1/4 second bursts.  😉

I’m envisioning a strong female warrior, clad in viking armor, hunting down and and slicing off bit after bit of that nasty ear troll.  So it’s getting pretty raucous in there, which accounts for all the pain and clamour, as well as the fluids…  But she’s hunting it down, and soon enough?  This will all be over.  LMAO

I am sooo looking forward to getting back to my work, I really do have the best clients in the world.  Everyone has been so patient as I’ve been dealing with this infection.  I’m hopeful that this is a small bit of light at the end of this very long nasty tunnel.  I’ll keep you all posted!  🙂

Yes, I’m still sick with this blasted ear infection.

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when the treatment makes you more sick than what you’re treating, but that’s the way it goes at times.  So, let’s see.  Time to backtrack.

Last night (sunday, july 15th) I started a new antibiotic.

Thursday (july 12th) I went back to the mediclinic and was diagnosed with a perforated eardrum due to infection.  I was told to give the current antibiotic a couple more days, before trying another that was prescribed at that time.

Monday (july 9th) I was diagnosed with an infection in both ears and prescribed an antibiotic, which I began taking.

Sunday (july 8th) I was unable to sleep as the pain had escalated and had become excruciating.

Thursday (july 5th) I had a slight earache that I attributed to an oncoming cold.

Yep.  That about sums it up.

So from a slight earache, to being in bed on a second set of antibiotics who’s side effects are so bad that it’s worse than what it’s treating.  Seriously!  The NORMAL side effects for this particular medication are:  vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, headaches, and “changes in taste” (which translates to a really foul taste in the mouth starting about 1/2 hour after taking a pill and for a few hours thereafter)…  All that in addition to the pain in my ears, the dizziness, the feeling of being underwater, the difficulty hearing, ringing of the ears, and the thunderous effect of pretty much any sound echoing through my head.

Yikes!

I’m going to give this antibiotic 48 hours, and if we don’t see a noticeable improvement in the symptoms from the ear infection?  Well, it will be back to the mediclinic for me.  And all this while I’m supposed to be preparing for my daughters fifth birthday – and that’s the part that bothers me most.  I am so stressed that I won’t be well by then.  Her party is this Saturday.  I haven’t sewn her dress, or crafted the party favours.  I haven’t made the decorations or the pinata.  Time is winding down, and I simply must be better.  I can deal with being sick…  as someone with Fibromyalgia and it’s counterparts (TMJ and IBS), I’m used to chronic pain and illness.  But the idea that I might not be well enough to finish her party preparations or to even be present in a real way for her birthday?  It’s a little too much to consider.

So while I joked about the “ear troll” when this all first started happening, now?  Now I’m genuinely concerned.  My baby girl is going to be FIVE, and I simply have to be better to celebrate with her.

A cornball view of spirituality and a patch of dirt.

There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within.  Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials.  So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.

One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw.  And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful.  It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth.  My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool?  I can’t imagine the work it would have been.  With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.

There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw…  nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch.  Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump.  But the next step?  It makes it all worth the effort!

Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath?  It’s pure heaven.  Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does.  Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.

I’m not a gardener.  I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days.  But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth.  If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected?  There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil.  To create with it something amazing.

A bit cornball?  Maybe.  But that’s me.

The Dichotomy of Humanity

I have come to the conclusion that there are basically two types of people.  There are those who, given a small bit of power, take it and in turn give power to others trusting that we are all deserving of respect and given the opportunity will prove just that.  Then, there are those who, given a small bit of power, keep it to themselves assuming that people will do the worst and cannot possibly handle any responsibility looking upon the rest of us with a wary heart and distrust.

It has been my experience that people expect from one another, basically whatever they themselves are.  So a person who is a gossip, assumes people are always talking about them and naturally distrusts what others say.  And a person who believes in giving, assumes that others are basically good and will do the same if given the chance.  We see in others, our own reflection.

These two things, coupled together, can lead a good person who believes in sharing power to get bit from time to time by people of the other sort.  And, this could potentially lead to a good person becoming bitter, and losing that hope, losing that faith in humanity they once held dear.  I can only hope that I won’t be bitten that many times.

I’ve been bit, a great number of times…  but still, I have to believe that given the opportunity that people will choose to do good, and that ALL people are deserving of respect – regardless of age or station.  It’s just who I am.  So please forgive me as I pout, and cry a little off in the corner.  I’ve recently been bitten, and it hurts like hell.  However, with a little care and a little nurturing I’m sure this wound (like most others) will heal.  It will likely leave a scar, but I’ll move forward still believing in people.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…

OWWWW!

I fell this evening… and to be honest, even typing this is causing severe discomfort.  BIG bruises and a lot of pain – and, of course, my right arm and hand got the worst of it (as I tried to catch myself).  So while the automatic reaching out with my good arm may have saved my head and face, it means everything I normally do during the evening is now causing more pain than it’s worth.

Yeowwwww….

Okay.  That’s it.  This hurts too much.  Will give details when it’s not so painful.  LOL

Hands Across the Water

It is Poverty Awareness Week here in Saskatoon, and one of my favourite annual events is Hands Across the Water.  Unfortunately, due to my pain level, I wasn’t able to participate this year.  I have to admit, it broke my heart a little.

Hands Across the Water brings people from across the city together.  We all gather at one end of the Broadway Bridge, and in silence, make our way onto the bridge – holding hands.  The goal is to make a chain from one side of the bridge to the other.  We hadn’t made it the last two years…  but I’m hopeful that the people who gathered today were able to make it across.

As some of you know, I’ve suffered from FMS for the last decade.  It’s typically diagnosed in women who are between 40 and 60, but I was diagnosed in my early twenties.  Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that effects the muscles and soft tissue.  I’ve gotten used to the daily pain, and cope quite well.  You’d be surprised what can become “normal”.  😉  I don’t like to dwell on the negative, so don’t focus on what the pain has taken away from me, rather I choose to look at the opportunities I’ve had because of it.

Earlier this year I found myself in the emergency room because of debilitating back pain.  We don’t know the cause yet, only that it doesn’t seem to be going away.  I hate taking medication, and always try to wean myself off of prescriptions as soon as I’m able…  unfortunately it’s looking like I’ll need a higher dose before that happens as I’m finding I’m having breakthrough pain more and more often these days.

It hurts my heart a great deal when I end up missing events like Hands Across the Water.  My city, my community, is so important to me.  And awareness events, and political activism are how I demonstrate my commitment.  Poverty, equality, human rights…  these things need our attention, our focus.  And I feel badly that my pain has kept me from being as active this month as I’d have liked.

I am also sorry that I didn’t feel ready to share this before now.  Even as I type this blog post I’m wary about sharing it.  Chronic pain, and Invisible Disabilities, are not well understood…  and those of us who deal with them on a daily basis often feel a lot of guilt associated with each.  They take us from things that deserve our focus, and despite our best efforts, they take over completely from time to time.

So.  I hope you’ll understand.  And I hope you’ll forgive my absence tonight.  I was with you all in spirit.

temporary relief in a blue bottle

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