* The ENT office was huge and cushy and efficient, and ran on-time. The very nice ENT, Dr. JewishName,** first came in to meet me and have a cursory look into both ears/tap around on my face and head. He pronounced my GP to have "dropped the ball" and Bad Ear's eardrum to be "not as awful as I'd expected," and sent me for an immediate hearing/audiology workup. My hearing in Bad Ear is diminished, but I didn't TOTALLY bomb the hearing part of the test. The sucky-puff thingy to check eardrum flexibility showed a diminished range of movement on Bad Ear's side, but apparently only to the degree that's to be expected in a recently-ruptured eardrum, not to the point that it's not moving because it's stretched tightly outward with fluid or infection. It's just stiff and creaky like everything else on my body right now. "You should have come and seen me a month ago," said the nice ENT. "I would have been a hero. I could've relieved all of your discomfort and speeded your healing by popping a tube in that sucker," said the ENT indignantly, while pinching and manhandling the area around the former pustule (it drained en route to the appointment, apparently, and is still a little sore but Dr. JewishName felt no tract or swelling of the underlying tissues and said to just keep using hot compresses and topical stuff on it unless I spike a temp/grow a horn). "Open and close your mouth a couple of times, please...ohhhh. Yep. I think this is coming from your temporomandibular joint. Are you under any extraordinary stress?"
* Dr. JewishName then took me to a "procedure room" and had me lie down. He crawled Bad Ear with a microscope, then torqued my head and neck around some thoughtfully. "How's THAT?" he asked, digging the tip of his thumb into my head directly in front of my tragus. "GAHHHH!" I yelled. "Uh huh. Yep. There's nothing I can do for this. I treat it sometimes with steroids, but if those haven't helped and you haven't developed a fever it's most likely not autoimmune or infectious, and I'm going to say it's PROBABLY musculoskeletal, which is usually stress-related. You're going to have to see an oral surgeon about this. All I can do is give you some pain relief you can safely take before a potential surgery...NSAIDs...mishegas!"
* So, you know, the appointment wasn't a waste of time. I both showed up and walked away with a plan to see a specialist who should hopefully FIX ME, yes, but at least now I have something to take at night when I am not working or driving or doing homework or kicking the garden's ass.
* I am VERY IMPRESSED that I cleared the residual resistant bugs from Bad Ear with nothing but my native immune system, Ciprodex drops, regular neti pot rinses and everything-the-innernet-said-to-try-that-didn't-sound-dangerous. GO, ME! It's nice to feel like I had something to do with that what with all of the positive dietary and lifestyle changes I've been working on making. Over all this is FABULOUS NEWS, not only in that I went into this appointment with all of my pills, my mouthguard, and a spare pair of panties in my purse (because I was so sure I'd end up either in Club Med for IV antibiotics or having surgery) and was able to then leave the office and meet my kids coming off the schoolbus and hug my husband, but also in that MY IMMUNE SYSTEM DID ITS JOB FOR A CHANGE!
* I am less excited by the news that this is most likely a result of chronic known issues, and there's no five-minute fix to the discomfort to be had, but oh well. I have an appointment April third with the oral surgeon Dr. JewishName recommends, and in the meantime I am doing all I can to keep my stress levels down.
* The fact that Hotter adjusted the "new" fridge shortly after I replaced as much of the spoiled food as I could afford to and froze it all solid (exploding a glass water kefir bottle and all of the eggs in the process)...well, shit happens. We'll figure something out.
* The way Pfeffer escaped from her hutch and climbed onto and devoured much of what was on my seedling and cutting propagation table...well, I can't kick her ass over it but SERIOUSLY OMG IT WAS LIKE FLUFFY WHITE GODZILLA. Still. Calm blue oceans. Noooo stressss...
* One more day of steroid tapering. Zen. Thoughts.
* And how are all of YOU?
** I don't know what it makes me that I was so relieved when I found out the ENT I would be seeing had a very Jewish last name. I felt like one of the little old ladies from my granny's Jewish Old Folks' Home who would reportedly roll into the ER and screech "GET ME A JEW!" But I found it immensely reassuring, and did the equivalent of throwing Ashkenazic gang signs by putting part of my oral history into Yiddish, and at that point the doctor did slow down and seem to become even more compassionate and attentive so GO TEAM ABRAHAM!