Category Archives: Medical

My medical conditions.

Why so early in the morning?

I just got the call that I have to be at the hospital at 5:20am tomorrow.  I have a Stealth MRI scheduled for 6:30am.  And my surgery will be at 7:30am.  They said it is scheduled for 4 hours.

Tonight, I have to drink plenty of water, eat pretty bland food, take a shower with some surgical sponse, and that’s pretty much it.  Tomorrow all I can do is brush my teeth before going to the hospital.

The next time I post, hopefully I will no longer have a hole in my head.  🙂

Preparing for my surgery

I’ve been trying to get everything ready for my surgery.  I ordered a hospital table for my house.  I joined Netflix which is really so 1980’s.  I’ve been buying food for when I get home, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese (not easy mac), and jello.  I’ve been teaching everybody at the office what I do everyday and how to fix things if anything breaks.  Got my head shaved and even shaved off my goatee.

People ask me all of the time if I’m worried about my surgery.  I’m worried that I have two doctors who are arguing over which surgeries I should have.  I’m worried that I won’t get internet access in my hotel room.  I’m worried that I’ll be in a semi-private hospital room.  I’m worried that I’ll have some backwards question mark scar that is like 8 inches on my head.  I’m worried that they will put the 2×2 inch piece of my skull in upside down.  I’m not worried about the surgery, I’ll just be glad to have it over with, and hopefully I will be able to not have brain juice leaking from my ear.

Some random things I have been wondering about….  I wonder how many diamond tipped saw blades will they break while trying to cut through my skull, I do have a hard head.  I wonder if I say “Helllllo Nurse!”, if they will get the joke?  I wonder if my wife will pass out after my surgery, I’m betting she gets sick at least once.  I wonder how long my peeps will stay fresh that I get on Easter?  I wonder what will I do with myself, since I have to stay at home for a month, I’ve always wanted to take up a hobby, maybe underwater basket weaving.  And the most important one of all, when they tell me to start counting backwards from 10 once I have the gas mask on, i wonder how far will I get?

I have two more days before my surgery.  So many things to do, so little time!

Pre-Op Time

So I drive one block to the hospital, I’ve never been to a hospital in Tampa so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I parked my car, which was free!  I then went to admitting which had a sheet that I needed to verify of my personal information.  I think the only thing they had correct was my name and health insurance number.  I corrected all of the information and sat down for about 2 minutes when somebody called me and told me to follow them.  That was fast!

The lady brings me to a waiting room with about 40 people in it.  She says just wait and my name will be called.  They had free newspapers and I got to watch Carrot Top on TV for about 30 minutes.  Then they called me back to a little office, for me to verify my information again, then they asked me to go wait back outside in the waiting room.  Damn Carrot Top wasn’t on anymore, just Regis and that Electrolux lady.  Another 30 minutes goes by somebody walks out the door that says Endoscopy and they call my name.  Why do I need to go in there?  I walked in the back and it looks like the pre-op department had taken over the entire endoscopy department and they never took the sign down.

I meet with this nice guy who spends about 10 minutes telling me how great ENT C is and how if he were having the same surgery I was having that he would use my same doctor.  But while he is explaining everything he keeps putting stickers on every piece of paper.  He spent probably 10 minutes putting stickers on every piece of paper.  They took my blood, blood pressure, etc…  And then he said they would call me next Wednesday the day before my surgery to tell me when I needed to be at the hospital.

And then he said I could go.  But before I left I asked about getting a private room for my 2 days I was in a room and he said that he didn’t think it was possible, but when I came in that morning for the surgery I should ask first thing in the morning.  He said they only have a small number of private rooms.

Back to see ENT C

I made it back for my final visit to see ENT C before my surgery on April 1st.  This time my wife made it.

My appointment was at 8:40am and at 8:10 I was still at home about ready to walk out the door and my texted me that my appointment had been changed to 8:30.  Great, a 30 minute drive in 20 minutes.  ENT C’s office has done that too me three times now.

I walked in about 5 minutes late, and my wife had already checked me in and paid the bill for me.  Wonder if she will go take my hearing test for me.  🙂  They call me back for a hearing test, I kept warning the audiologist that I was going to get CSF fluid all over the headphones, but he wouldn’t listen.  Hopefully they were less than a few grand.  My hearing was about the same as it was during my first hearing test, so that was good.

Me and the wife go back to one of the rooms and wait for ENT C.  I started picking on her, because we weren’t in the room 5 seconds and her phone rings and there are signs on every way, NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED!  But she got off the phone before ENT C comes in.  As usual he doesn’t say too much, bables a little about doing the transmastiod and the middle fossa, while Neurosurgeon A only wanted to do the middle fossa.  I asked the most important question, which was how much of my hair would they be cutting off and he said that they would shave the entire left side of my head.  Guess that means I’ll go get a mohawk or something before my surgery.

The fun part of the meeting with the doctor was when my wife asked him if there was going to be a plastic surgeon there to make sure the wound would be put back together nicely so that I won’t have a bad scar.  He looked at her like that little girl from the Ally Bank commerical, and then just said NO!  He said they would just put some staples in my head and my hair would cover up the scar once my hair grew back.  Then both of them looked like that little girl in the commerical, both of them just looked stunned.  I can tell this surgery is going to go well.

The only bad thing is that ENT C that it is possible that I won’t be able to hear on my left side after the surgery is some things are in too bad of shape.  Hopefully that won’t happen.

ENT C called in the nurse for me to go over the time of the surgery and to get me prepared to go to the hospital which is just next door for my pre-op.  She told me my surgery was scheduled for 7:30 on April 1st and that they weren’t sure if I needed to check in the day of the surgery or the day of the surgery.  She said that my great insurance company had approved me for 3 nights in the hosptial.  She said I would be in ICU the first night and then be in a room the other two nights.  24 hours, with no email or phone?

Did I mention they said I can’t take my ADD medicine either?  Imagine somebody who is talking a million words a minute, but my mouth can’t keep up with my brain, so I forget what I’m talking about.  I wonder if they can fix that while they are operating on me.

Back to see Neurosurgeon A

On Wednesday I had to go see Neurosurgeon A again, so that he could look at my MRI and make sure everything still looked good.  The receptionist who had called me last week wasn’t there, hopefully she still has a job.

Having your MRI and CT Scan on CD is so much better than having the films.  Absolutly amazing with what you can do with it on the computer compared to the films.

The doctor looked and the scans and he said they looked pretty good.  He said you could definitely see the area where the problem was, but he didn’t specifically see where the csf leak was happening.

He then told me that he had talked to ENT C about what the plans were and that my surgery would be on April 1st.  Wow, that was a shocker!  And that he and ENT C had a difference in opinion on which surgeries should be done.

Neurosurgeon A, wants to do the middle fossa approach and then use titanium mesh to fix the problem area.  ENT C, still wants to use the transmastiod approach to harvest bone and to attempt to fix the problem from below, but he assumes that we would need to go in from middle fossa as well.  Two surgeries at the same time vs one surgery?  Which one would allow me to get back on my feet faster?  The doctor said I would still not be dancing for at least a month or so.

Tomorrow I meet with ENT C again for the last time before my surgery.  And I go to my pre-op.  It’s amazing that the hospital called me about 10 times today to ask me questions.  So I’m not sure what I will be doing tomorrow.

When is My Surgery Scheduled?

On Thursday morning I needed to make an appointment with Neurosurgeon A again so he could look at my MRI and CT Scans. I called the receptionist, who tells me that the first available appointment was April 14th. I was in the office yesterday and it’s going to take another month to see the doctor? I was about to ask for her to give me a reference to another doctor when she said, oh, I see your surgery is scheduled for April 1st, so I’ll have to get you in before then. My what is scheduled for April 1st? She said, the doctor did talk to you about your surgery being on April 1st, right? I said no! And she said oh, that’s the day I see on the schedule. How about you come in next Wednesday so we can start the pre-op.

WTF? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I finally have something. But a receptionist telling me on accident when my surgery will happen.

“And sir, can you act surprised when the doctor tells you that your surgery will be on April 1st?” Sure I will!


Time For An MRI.

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After visiting Neurosurgeon A, I went back to the office and called the same place where I had CT Scan #2 to make an appointment for my MRI. I expected that it would take about 2 weeks because it took that long to get approved to get a CT Scan. But the lady at the other end of the phone asked if I could be there in 30 minutes, as they had an opening today. I couldn’t make it then so I went later in the day, but it seems my favorite health insurance company allows unlimited MRI’s, but you have to get in-house doctor approval for a CT Scan. Another one of those things that doesn’t make sense to me.

I have to get a MRI with contrast and without contrast, nobody tells me what that is before I got to the radiology clinic. Again, this place is awesome, I’m in the back within 5 minutes. I also requested to have my CT Scan and MRI put on a CD, which they said no problem. So instead of walking around with 2 foot by 2 foot x-rays, I can have everything on a CD. Wow, technology.

The radiologist tells me the test will take about 45 minutes and do I mind listening to a light rock station on the head phones. I don’t know of any local stations, so I just said some random one that I heard of at some point and it seems it’s the local death metal station. It seems she has to listen to the same station. 🙂

I’m stuck in this tube with my arms up against the wall listening to death metal, glad I’m not claustrophobic. After about 30 minutes she pulls me out and puts something in my arm, burns like hell, and then she says she only has to take 4 more pictures. 15 minutes later, she finally pulls me out and I was looking forward to her taking whatever it was she put in my arm out and it seems I didn’t have anything in my arm, just a bandaid.

I got my CD of my MRI and CT Scan and headed home. I knew what I was going to be doing when I got home.

It’s Neurosurgeon A’s turn?

Yesterday, I finally made it in to see the neurosurgeon, we will hopefully only call him the only one, but I’ll call him Neurosurgeon A, since with my luck he won’t be the last.  The office I went into was in the middle of BFE, with big holes in the parking lot a typical 1960’s single story office building/suite.  I’m the only person in the waiting room which was pretty cool, I was taking my time filling out the paperwork, because I was waiting for my wife to show up.  I called the doctors office the day before and asked if they had any way for me to fill out the paperwork ahead of time and the lady politely said they were still in the 1990’s and they didn’t even have a website yet.  I filled out the 4 pages of paperwork and was proofreading my work since my wife was running a little late, when the doctor called me back and I still had my paperwork in my hands.  I like this guy!

We walk back to Neurosurgeon A’s office, which I was pretty impressed with.  He had a new 42″ vizio monitor for his computer, which we geek’d out about for about 5 minutes.  My dual 30″ montiors suck now!  I start explaining the whole history of everything, I should have sent him to this blog before the appointment.  5 minutes into my history my wife comes in, looking all sickly, she had just come from a walk-in clinic.  We continue going over the history of my ear problems and he just gets up and says let’s go to the exam room and take off your shoes.  I have an ear problem, not a foot problem, glad I had clipped my toe nails.  He did some random tests, he looked into my eyes with some strange machine and then played with my feet for a bit.  Then we went back to his office.

Then he started to look at my CT Scans, but he didn’t want the films I had, somehow he had access to them on the computer.  He can pull up my CT Scans, but doesn’t have a website?  He does end up using some of the films as well, because it was taking so long on his dial up modem he must have been using.  But he immediately found the same problem that ENT/Doctor C had found, that I had a problem in my temporal bone area and that he saw the same problem on both sides.  He did say that I wouldn’t need to have surgery on my right side unless it started having problems as well.

The doctor starts to explain some of the different parts of the surgery that I would have and actually used a skull to show me where they would fix everything.  I liked this guy, he took the time and actually explained things, we got to ask questions and he answered them.  I was pretty impressed.

He asked if I had an MRI recently and I said that I hadn’t, but he wanted me to go get one so he could check to see if I had any brain damage.  I know I have brain damage, I’ve been dropped on my head many times, hit with frying pans, fallen out of cabs, and have drank way too much many times.  But really brain damage?  It seems that the area where I need to have repaired there is a little piece of the bone missing and they think that part of my brain over time has sunk into this little hole.  And when they fix the hole they need to push the brain back up where it belongs, which may cause some problems.  Time for some pictures since I have my CT Scans now.

As you can see from the picture above, I’m missing an entire bone.

After my wife gets a little freaked out, the doctor tells me to get an MRI and then call them back to get another appointment.  Hopefully this time it doesn’t take 18 days to get in to see him again.

Second visit to Doctor C

I went ahead and tricked the receptionist at Doctor C’s office and told them the report would be there by Wednesday, so I asked if I could get an appointment on Wednesday, and they agreed.  I had no idea when the report would be there and didn’t really care at this point.  I had done enough research that I was there to see Doctor C to schedule my surgery.

This time I walk in the office and that damn frosted window was closed again, but this time even though they have 4 signs that say “please don’t knock”, I knock anyway.  “I’m sorry there isn’t a pen out here for me to sign in”, I had dropped it on the floor 30 seconds before I knocked on the window.  She let me sign in and took my information right then.  Everybody in the waiting room laughed.  But none of them laughed when I was called back about a minute later while they were all sitting out there probably waiting for 4-5 hours like I had the time before.

Why is it that you go to a doctors office with 20 rooms and you get the same room twice in a row?  Will I have to wait in here for an hour like before?  This time I was prepared though, I brought my laptop!  Doctor C came in within 5 minutes and spent probably 30 minutes looking at my CT Scans.  They were much better than the first set, but I still didn’t see anything that look wrong to me.  He immediately saw the problem and said that as he expected I had a defect in the top of my temporal bone, not just on my left side, but on my right side as well.  He didn’t see a reason to operate on the right side as it wasn’t causing any problems.  But the left side we definitely needed to fix.  And then he started talking in that dictaphone again, about scheduling me for surgery.  How about we just schedule it now and get it over with.  What surgeries will I have?  He said I would need a transmastoid approach and a middle fossa and he would possibly only have to do one of them if he could fix the problem the first time.  But both surgeries would need to be done if he couldn’t fix the leak with the first one.  From the babble I got it sounded to me that the transmastoid approach had a 20% chance of fixing the problem, this is the surgery they will do first.  The middle fossa is more invasive, but only has an 80% chance by itself.  So you start with the 20% one and see if you can fix it, and if not then a few minute later you start the other one.  Combined both have a 98% success rate.

Where do I sign up?  I already have my days picked out, a week after this, and a week before this, and I can still go to Milan, Italy at the end of April!  Then they tell me I can’t schedule my surgery until I go meet with the neurosurgeon.  I have to have a neurosurgeon present because the middle fossa takes a big chunk of my skull out to do the surgery.  See below:

I wonder if they can put a TV in that spot?  🙂  They are supposed to fix the leak and then put the piece they removed back in and then use some elmer’s glue and glue it back in place.  They call this “near-brain” surgery.

How long can it take to get in to see a neurosurgeon?  18 days.  From when I walked out of Doctor C’s office, it will take 18 days before I can go see a neurosurgeon and have them say, sure I can be at your surgery, just in case they need me.  Then I find out Doctor C only does surgery on Thursday’s, guess I’m not gonna make it to Milan this time.  🙁

My second CT Scan

I walk into this radiology clinic to get my second CT scan, and it’s already about a million times better than my first one.  They have multiple TV’s, free bottled water, but no free Shell cards, but I was still very impressed.  They called me back in about 5 minutes, I explained the problem, the radiologist looked shocked that I was walking around.  It seems most people have surgery pretty quickly after they find out, not like me going all over the world.

I run through all of the tests and he tells me that the films won’t be ready until tomorrow, because there are so many my doctor has requested.  I asked about the report when it would be ready and he said that it wouldn’t be ready for 5-10 business days.  What?  Come on, Doctor C won’t let me see him until I get that report.  So I tried to bribe him!  What would it take to get it earlier?  He told me that he doesn’t even write up the reports, it’s all outsourced to other doctors to read the scans, and then they don’t even write up the reports they are done by another outside firm.  Nothing like my health care dollars hard at work.

I called Doctor C’s office on my way out and I said that I would have my scans in the morning and they asked when I would have my report and I said they didn’t tell me, they said they would call me to make an appointment once they received the report.

What’s my diagnosis?

Everybody is asking me what is my diagnosis at this point.  I wasn’t even sure, because I couldn’t remember much besides a csf something or another.  I can’t find anything on the internet so I just called the doctors office and I said I’m X and I was in to see the doctor yesterday, can you tell me what my diagnosis was and what surgeries he was talking about doing to me?  She said that it was a CSF Otorrhea, now that made sense because I remember him saying it was a cerebrospinal fluid leak.  Cerebrospinal fluid, is the stuff that your brain floats in.  Wikipedia explains it much better than I ever would.

I have been joking at our office that the stuff leaking out of my ear was brain juice, actually, I was somewhat right.  This is when I really started learning more about the surgeries that I might need to have.  And the internet is so crazy, one of the websites said that from one of the surgeries I would be out of work for about 7 days, one said it was an out patient surgery, and another said I would be in the hospital for up to a week.  The bad part is if you really do a lot of research most of the good articles are behind some username/password protected site that is for doctors only.

The problem with having a CSF leak is that the odds of getting meningitis is between 25 and 50%.  And around 10% in the first week of a CSF leak.  I’ve been having a CSF leak for probably more than 6 months now.  I guess I have been VERY lucky.

What causes CSF leaks, normally it’s from some type of head or spine trauma.  But I didn’t have any type of trauma to my head that I remembered.  Hopefully the CT Scan will tell me where the problem is.

Nice to meet you Doctor C.

I’ve been out of the office for 10 days, I’m back for about 4 hours in the office and I need to go to my first doctors visit with Doctor C.  I had been doing some research on this guy and he seems to be an expert on ear surgeries.  I get there at 12:45 for my 1:15 appointment, I already had my paperwork filled out, so I sign in, and sit down.  About 30 minutes later, the lady behind the frosted window finally opens the window and looks at the first name on the list and then closes the window, I was the 5th name on the list.  Then about 15 minutes later, she opened the window again and looked at the next name and then scratched them off the list.  Then about 15 minutes later, she opened the window and wanted to make sure everybody had signed in, I walked up and said I’ve been here for an hour already, and you haven’t taken my paperwork, yet.  She tells me, I haven’t called your name yet, I will take it then.  Why do doctors do this?  Is my time not valuable?  Am I not the reason you can afford really tacky waiting room furniture?

Finally about 5 minutes later, I am called by the lady behind the window.  I hand in my paperwork and then they put this full size laminated piece of paper on a string around my neck and I’m told to go sit back down.  The placard has my name, birth date, phone number, and the problem I currently have, which says “Not Known”.  It seems when I finally get to the back they will take my picture and just in case I fall asleep in the waiting room and they can’t wake me up.

So I sit and wait….  I’ve been at the office for two hours, and then I hear my name called, I walk in the back pretty pissed off right now and they tell me I need to get a hearing test.  Interesting, I think I had one of those when I was in middle school.  I think the audiologist, may have been hearing impaired, because she always looked at me when she talked to me.  Or maybe she is just used to people who don’t have tubes in their ears.

The hearing test wasn’t as bad as I thought, they didn’t give me a piece of paper with the results on it or even tell me the results, but later I got a real snail mail letter with the results, which said I had 96% understanding in my right ear and 96% understanding in my left ear.  But they did tell me to go sit back in the lobby and my name would be called in a few minutes.  Not the lobby!

It’s now 3:45, and I’m stuck in the lobby again.  15 minutes goes by and I get called back.  They finally take my picture and I can get this billboard off of my neck.  They want to know why my blood pressure is so high, I told them, I had been waiting for 3 hours already, so I was ready to go.  They then tell me that they had called and left a message at my house the night before and told me that my appointment would need to be changed to 8am.  But since I came in at my original time they were trying to “fit me in”.  I check my voicemails at home about once a week, and all the message said was we would like to reschedule you, could you please call us.

I’m brought to one of the rooms, it’s 4:15, I’m bored.  I read all of the brochures in the room, flipped through a modern bride magazine, should I just leave?  At 5:15, Doctor C finally walks in the door!  I go over all of the history with my ear, I try to make a joke about Doctor A wanting to give me botox while I was knocked out, and he didn’t even laugh.  He then starts to look at my CT Scans and he gets about half way through them and he says these are the poorest quality scans he has seen in years and told me that I would need to get new ones and he recommended I complain to my insurance company about getting a refund for the original ones.

Then he starts dictating in some 1970’s cassette recorder and he tells me that I may need to have either a mastoidectomy or a middle fossa, and of course I had no idea what he was talking about.  And he didn’t even give me much of a chance to ask questions.  He just said he would send me a letter explaining everything and to get the new CT Scans and then we could determine what to do.  Unless I just wanted to have surgery tomorrow and get everything over with.  I think I’ll wait.

It takes 20 days to get an appointment at the Doctor C recommended CT Scan location, because I had to go to the Superbowl and then I had to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.  But that’s a story for another day.

Another tube in my ear?

3 weeks goes by and I’m back to see Doctor B again.  I can hear about 20% out of my left ear, it still feels like my ear just needs to pop and it won’t pop.  Doctor B decides that he wants to put another T-Tube in my ear, but he tells me this one would be much better, I knew it had to be since his front desk charged me $19 for the tube since my insurance didn’t cover this one either.  This time he just told me to walk back with him to the kitchen and within 5 minutes I had a new fancy T-Tube in my ear, and I could hear again.  Which is worse, being able to hear, or a leaking ear…

This time they didn’t prescribe me any medicine and told me to come back in one week.  But my ear started leaking again after about 24 hours, so we were back to square one.   I go to see Doctor B a week later as he asked and he told me he was going to give me a antibiotic shot, I’m thinking hopefully in my arm, not in my ass.  But he puts the injection, in my ear and shoots it in through the hole in my tube.  That was the worst thing I have ever had happen to me, I still cringe everytime I think about it.  If a ENT is ever thinking about giving you a shot inside your ear, just run!

I’m told to come back again in a week, but the injection actually seemed to help for about 4 days.  I was pretty impressed, but Doctor B wasn’t impressed at all.  I’ve been going through all of this because Doctor B is thinking that I have some type of infection in my mastiod process in the picture below it’s the part that looks like a sponge.

After doing a lot of research, I assumed that I might have mastoiditis and that all I needed was a bunch of different antibiotics.  Some places online mentioned a possibly needing a mastoidectomy which isn’t even documented in Wikipedia, because it seems to be pretty rare, but fill be up with antibiotics and I’m sure the problem will go away.  As I walk in to see Doctor B this time and tell him I’m having the same problem, he tells me that I will need to get a CT scan to see if I will need to have a mastoidectomy or just need some killer antibiotics, I showed him on my blackberry some good antibiotics that some other doctors were using for mastoiditis.  But he wasn’t listening.  You ever look at a doctor and he really has no idea what the problem is you are having?  This was like the third time I had seen this look from Doctor B.  He told me based on the results of my CT scan, he would either put me on some high does antibiotics or give me a referral to see a surgeon to have a mastoidectomy.

I tell his staff that I’m leaving to go to Las Vegas in 3 days and then I’ll be gone for 10 days, because I’ll also be heading to Santa Monica after Las Vegas, and I wanted to get the CT scan done before I left.  Did I mention that health insurance companies are idiots?  Back to my story, so I go to this place that will see me the next day to get a CT Scan.  I knew there was going to be a problem, because when I walked in they gave me a $10 Shell card for coming into their office to get a CT scan, hopefully they charged my health insurance company like $5k fot that gift card.  I had a CT scan before, I don’t really remember it very well, but the scan seemed fine, the radiologist seemed to do a good job and had the scans and radiologist report for me in about 45 minutes.  Cool, pictures of my skull.

So I run back to see Doctor B to show him my CT Scans and have him try to explain to me the report from the radiologist.  He looks at the CT Scans, in the hall, while I’m in one of the rooms and I hear them talking about there aren’t sure what the problem is.  They were looking at them for about 15 minutes and then they come back in and read the report, which says I have a sinus infection and fluid in my mastoid.  Huh?  I could have told you that 6 months ago.

So Doctor B, tapped out!  He gave up!  I felt bad for him, he recommended that I go to a ENT surgeon and see if he could do anything.  But at least I got to keep the tube in my ear, it was still leaking, but I could hear.  And my flight to go to Las Vegas and Santa Monica was leaving in less than 24 hours, so I needed to make an appointment with Doctor C.  Luckily, I was able to get an appointment the day after I get back.

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.