So what’s next?

I get in to see Doctor B, and he tells me that he needs to pull the tube out of my ear as it’s not working anymore.  It seems with me putting all of the cotton in my ear one of the fibers got wedged in the hole and closed the hole in the tube.  He said that he was going to pull it whether the tube was closed or not.  It took about 5 seconds to remove the tube, I was happy, because now I could take a shower without my ear plug, and I could still hear.  He gave me some other medicine and told me to come see him in about 3 weeks.

About 24 hours later the fluid stopped leaking from my ear!  I was more happy about that, than I was about being able to hear again.  But about 5 days later, I was back down to only being able to hear about 20% from my left ear again.

Should I see another ENT?  I started asking friends if they knew of any good ENT’s, two of them recommended Doctor B, even an ENT who I talked to recommended him. I went to a walk-in clinic and I asked them where I should go and they recommended Doctor B as well.  I guess maybe he was a good doctor after all.

My biggest concern was what was that fluid that kept leaking out of my ear?  I couldn’t even find anything online about what it was.  None of the doctors seemed to have a clue either.  It looked like baby oil, but it had no odor.  Every place I looked would just bring me in another circle, they all pointed back to some type of ear infection.  So give me some strong antibiotics and let’s cure this now.

Doc, when will my ear stop leaking?

5 days go by and my ear is still leaking clear fluid from it.  I’m supposed to go on a cruise leaving from Port Canaveral and going to St. Maarten, the Bahamas, and St. Thomas the next day, so I call the doctor to see when it should stop.  They were quite alarmed that it was still draining so they told me to come in that day.  I walked in and sat in the waiting room for like 5 minutes and they called me back, I just loved going to this doctors office!  The physician’s assistant looked at me first and said that he wanted to give me some ear drops and he thought it would clear up, it was just taking longer than expected, but he would wait for Doctor B to give his opinion.

Doctor B comes in and checks my ear out, it seems you can actually see inside the ear through the hole and he says it’s lookgin better, but he decided to give me some antibiotic and some ear drops.  He said to enjoy my cruise and come see him when I got back.

The medicine he gave me worked for about 24 hours and then my ear started leaking again, not all of the time, so maybe it was working.  I laughed about the medicine since the pills were $4 and the ear drops were $120 for a tiny little bottle.

While on the cruise, I started putting cotton balls in my left ear, otherwise I could be talking to somebody and this clear liquid would just start leaking out of my ear.  Most people just thought I was always playing with my ear, when really I was just trying to make sure it didn’t leak on my shirt.  Cotton Balls became my friend.

After a week on the cruise boat, and going through about 100 cotton balls, I called Doctor B to try and make an appointment.  They were at a conference or something, so it would be another week before I could get in, but they called me some more $4 pills and $120 ear drops in again, if I wanted to go pick them up.  I got the $4 pills and 2 bags of $1 cotton balls.

Finally a Real ENT

So my wife makes me an appointment with a real ENT, we will call him Doctor B.  I walked into his office and they didn’t try to sell me any vitamins, I filled out the forms and I was in one of the rooms 30 seconds after I turned them in.  A physician’s assistant walked in within a minute, I didn’t even have a chance to see what school the Doctor B graduated from.  So I go through my life story, we make fun of Doctor A, especially since they had never heard of Doctor A before.  And they give me some pressure test which basically told them I couldn’t hear in my left ear.  At least these people seemed like they had a little more high tech equipment.  The PA leaves and tells me that Doctor B will with me in less than a minute.  I laughed at that one.  I told him I would set my watch for an hour…

35 seconds later in walks in my dad’s long lost twin.  Doctor B looks like my dad, talks like him, and even has the weird sense of humor like him.  So after some more jokes about Doctor A wanting to schedule me for surgery for an ear tube and offering to give me a discount on botox while I am knocked out, Doctor B starting trying to figure out the real problem with my ear.  After about 20 tests and about 30 minutes of his time, he decides that I need to get a tube put in my ear, but I don’t need surgery, I just need to come back in a week and it would take 15 minutes and I would be awake the whole time.  I asked Doctor B if there was any medicine or antibiotics I could take instead of having the tube put in and his answer was that he only prescribed antibiotics when somebody was really sick, guess I was only sick in the head.  🙂  So I decide to go ahead and get a t-tube put in my ear, which would stay for about 2 years to help my ear fix itself.  I also got fitted for a ear plug, since I can’t get my ear wet for the next 2 years.

 

For those of you not familiar with a ear tube, it’s a piece of metal or plastic that is inserted into your ear, to basically let air insert your ear to keep it dry inside and if there is any buildup of fluid it can leak from the hole in the tube.  The one I was having put in is in the shape of a T, like one of the ones in the picture below.

The day I am supposed to get my T-Tube in comes around and my wife decides that she is going to come with me, I go into Doctor B’s office and they tell me that my insurance won’t pay for the T-Tube and I have to pay the $12.95 myself, you’re kidding right?  $12.95?  I really hate insurance companies, but that’s another story.  So they bring me back, and they bring me to where they have the Ear Microscope, which for some stupid reason is in the kitchen.  So here I am in this big chair waiting to have a tube put in my ear and people are walking in making coffee and grabbing breakfast.  Is this legal?  Where’s that HIPPA guy when you need him!  Well, they give me these numbing drops which never seem to do anything, maybe my ear is too big or something.  But the doctor comes in and says it’s time to start, but first he warms a bagel in the microwave and then decides to finally start inserting the tube.  Remember I can only hear about 20% out of my left ear right now and he is telling me what is about to happen, and I can’t hear a word he is saying.  Finally I do hear him ask the nurse for a scalpel, I’m thinking to myself how is he going to get a scalpel in my ear?  Well, it seems a scalpel for an ear is pretty small, when makes an incision in my ear, I don’t feel pain, I just feel about a gallon of water shooting out of my ear, glad the doctor was wearing glasses.  Then spent about 5 minutes sucking all of the fluid out of my ear, but I could HEAR!  It hurt a little, but I didn’t care because I could hear!

He then puts in the ear tube and tells me I could sit up, which was awesome, since I could actually hear him tell me to sit up.  When I get up I looked and I think my wife is about to pass out from all of the stuff they pulled out of my ear.  But I could hear and I was going to enjoy the rest of the week and prepare for my family cruise over the Thanksgiving holidays.

What did you say?

This will be the beginning of me trying to explain my medical problems to my family and the rest of the world.  Don’t laugh, but it’s amazing how many times I have had  to try to explain this situation.

The only time I watch TV is when I am laying in bed.  And back in August of 2009, I started to notice that when I was laying in bed on my right side, I was having issues hearing the TV.  But if I was laying on my back or my left side I could hear the TV without any problems.  So I went ahead and made an appointment with an ENT that my wife and son had used in the past.

When I was young, I had many ear problems, tubes in each ear multiple times, but that all went away on my 8th birthday, when I had my tonsils and adenoids, what a wonderful 8th birthday!  But at least most of my problems with my ears stopped after the surgery.

So I go to my appointment with the ENT who I will call Doctor A.  This is one of those doctors, who realized that he didn’t want to deal with runny noses and colds all of the time, but not until after he was already an ENT.  On Thursday he sees his ENT patients and every other day of the week, he wants to be a plastic surgeon.  He does, hair removal, brow lifting, runs a snoring clinic, does botox, and somewhere in there he is an ENT, you know the typical doctor who is trying to make every penny that he can, since he probably isn’t very good at any of them.

So after I get into the office lobby for Doctor A and they try to sell me $500 worth of vitamins, I finally get to see the doctor.  I give him my whole history, he then looks in both of my ears and then gives me this hearing test with some musical instrument.  He tells me that I can’t hear out of my left ear.  Really?  Glad I hadn’t paid him my co-pay yet!  He tells me that I need to go get a hearing test and he wants to schedule me for surgery to put a tube in my ear.  Now don’t get me wrong, but this guy must think I’m nuts, I think I want a second opinion on this one!

A few weeks go by and I have to go to a conference in New York, my hearing seemed to be about the same before I left.  When I get to New York, it felt like my left ear never popped.  It was kind of weird, whenever somebody would talk to me on my left side, I couldn’t even hear a word they were saying.  I had to make sure I was looking at everybody before they talked to me so I could understand what they were saying.  I was in New York for 5 days and it was miserable.  My ear never popped and I had a cold, so I assumed the problem was just that I had a cold.

Once I got back home, I went to a walk-in clinic who gave me some   and told me that if my cold and ear didn’t clear up that I should go see another ENT.  I love Z-Pak’s, but for some reason, my ear which did get a little better, didn’t get much better.

Time to make an appointment with a real ENT.