I didn’t write my usual blog posts this week, so you get a break. I’m going to write about what happened to me recently instead. It’s been a pretty terrible couple of weeks for me. Life has been fine. I have a robotic mop now, which has changed everything for me, and I bought a really good bottle of tequila for half price. The weather is warming up finally, and this interminable and frigid winter seems to finally be finishing up. Today it’s like fifty degrees and it feels like I’m on the beach. Oh if only I was on the beach. I would give quite a lot to lay on the beach in Nice today. I have been missing the south of France with a passion lately.
But my gorgeous yellow bathing suit, rosé, and the rocky beaches of the Mediterranean don’t have anything at all to do with this. It has to do with something absurd that happened to me that statistically shouldn’t have happened. It’s about a newfound disability that has absolutely nothing to do with the incurable neurological disorder that I developed a few years ago, Multiple Sclerosis.
I am not going to bitch and moan and whine for the entire post, but I’m going to weep for a moment because I’m deaf. Like full on Helen Keller in one of my ears. Get ready for a tale of woe.
I recently switched positions at my job and I have been sneezed on, exposed to the elements, and spit at. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I was almost immediately sick, and the malady has lasted and lasted. I have missed so much work that I’m embarrassed. I popped Sudafed and DayQuil like they were breath mints. I saw two different doctors who said it was a virus that caused me to have so much fluid in my sinuses that I gained what felt like ten pounds. I couldn’t stop blowing my nose. My teeth ached. I couldn’t hear a damn thing out of one ear, which was incredibly annoying and disorienting. I had rounds of antiviral medication and steroids and antibiotics, and eventually I felt better, but there was lingering hearing loss. I have never experienced this before, but I was fairly confident it was just some fluid behind my ears and that it would clear up. The doctors all said that it would. But it hadn’t.
So today I went to an ENT to have them investigate what was ailing me. My hearing test was an unpleasant reminder of the day I went to the eye doctor with a weird visual issue that led me to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My eyes were healthy but something was certainly amiss. Like then, my ears were perfectly normal, and as soon as the nurse told me this, the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. The ENT asked if I had recently had an MRI because hearing loss of this type is sometimes caused by a brain tumor. He looked alarmed when I started cackling. When I went to that fateful eye exam, the optometrist thought it was likely that my optic neuritis came from a brain tumor. Fake brain tumors and me seem to be a recurring theme. I’m thankful for that, truly, but it would be so much nicer to chop out a disease than let it run rampant for the rest of my life, a life that could reasonably, if science continues to evolve, last at least another eighty years.
If my ears were fine, perfectly healthy, and there were no obvious issues, the reasoning behind my sudden impairment was likely neurological. The doctor confirmed it about fifteen minutes later. I have some kind of abnormal nerve damage that has given me significant and profound hearing loss in my left ear. A virus of some kind decided to attack my auditory nerve! There is only a 33% chance that I will recover my hearing. It’s much more likely that this will be permanent or I will go completely deaf in that ear. Isn’t that dumb?
Multiple Sclerosis is the most stupid thing that has ever happened in the history of the world. I have a round of steroids to pop, so hopefully they help me gain some of my hearing back. But I was still disconcerted that I should have such a rare symptom — it affects next to nobody with Multiple Sclerosis — so I had an appointment with my neurologist. After chatting with Dr. Hughes, he determined that it wasn’t anything to do with my disease, for which I was very thankful, but for which I am very annoyed. What is the point of having a very exclusive disease that barely bothers me if I still have to suffer from a rogue virus gone wild?
I will remain hopeful, as I’m always hopeful. But reader, I have to admit just how damned mad I am. Nothing in life makes sense and nothing in life is fair, but this just seems to push the boundaries of what is just. I’m a decent person. I do what I’m told, I give to charity, I give endlessly of my time. And yet my life has become one medical annoyance after another!
It’s going to be so annoying going to concerts with only one ear. I’ll have to sit in certain areas of my rooms at work to hear properly. I am very disoriented. I have grave concern for my future career as an educator — will I have to present every lesson from the right?
Once in a while, I get a glimmer of hope that I’m hearing something, but it’s apparently just my right ear compensating for the other. Maybe in time I won’t notice anymore?
And I have one more thing to get off my chest. The chances of recovery from Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, what I am diagnosed with, are slim for my condition. If you start a round of steroids within seventy-hours, you have a good chance. I wasn’t diagnosed for about THREE weeks after the symptom started, so I suppose I should be thankful I have any hearing at all. I’m not all that thankful, though. All I have is an endless ringing in my ear and the feeling of always being a bit wrong.
And to add further insult to this injury, a hearing aid won’t even help. And to add further insults, the steroids that I am on do not agree with me. They make me look like a tomato and I swell up like the same fruit. I’m so annoyed. And I’m deaf. And life is lame. At least I have my looks. For the moment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯