what a huge pain in the... ear.

yes. pain in the ear. i have been far away from my computer, and truly far from most of civilized america over the course of the past week. mostly due to pain in my ear. my left ear to be exact.

the story is so very random [and quite long]. it still doesn't make much sense. we're still trying to figure out exactly what's wrong, and how to fix it. currently i'm basically deaf in one ear. and i'm taking 800 mg ibuprofen round the clock. and a muscle relaxer before bed at night. oh, yes. at nighttime all is well with the world.

until about 2:30 or 3 a.m., and then i wake up inside of something that feels sort of like a drunken stupor, but with pain in my ear. then i fumble around for my pills, pop one in, slosh water down my throat, and ever-so-carefully make my way to the kitchen freezer to pull out an ice pack. the ice pack and i make our way back to bed and try to get comfortable despite the pain in my ear, and the gentle pull of the muscle relaxer, trying at all costs to bring me back to sleep.

but here i am rushing straight to the right now, and skipping the beginning.

how do you get such a pain in the ear? you ask. well let me tell you.

i have no stinking clue.

monday [as in last monday] i woke up with a little bit of a sore throat. nothing big. nothing scary. nothing crazy. just a bit of a sore throat. i looked at it. i had peter look at it, and we both surmised that it was as i've stated above. nothing big, scary, or crazy.

but, since my dad and stepmom were coming into town later that day, peter thought it best for me to nap while keane was napping. he was working from home, so i should be able to get in a nice, solid chunk of sleep.

and i did.

but when i woke up my throat hurt a little less, and my ear was screaming.

i fed the baby, and made my way to the urgent care that's just up the street since the pain seemed to increase by the second.

now, based on my personal history, i think i have a pretty high pain tolerance, but it was all i could do to hold back tears while i waited to be called back and see the P.A. at urgent care.

i was sure beyond a shadow of anything that i had an ear infection. no, i had never had an ear infection, but surely this is the wretchedness one feels with an ear infection. in my head i was thinking -- give me my drugs, and i'll be on my way. i really really need to get rid of this pain.

and then she looked in my ear and said "well, it's not infected" she did a strep test on my throat just to be sure i didn't have strep [which neither of us thought that i did] and that was confirmed. no ear infection. no strep.

without saying so exactly she basically called me a wuss and sent me on my way with some ear drops to [supposedly] help with the pain, and some painkillers for my throat - which should also help with my ear.

i was in so much pain whilst awaiting my prescription that i started crying, and had to wipe away my tears with a one of keane's burp cloths that was in my purse. i'm pretty sure the entire pharmacy staff took pity on me. *sidenote*: i hate pity. hate it. i also hate crying in public. mostly because of the pity it invites, but in this particular instance i was in so much pain it didn't matter. i wasn't going to hold back the tears.

i stumbled up the steps to our house, still in tears, and into the arms of my husband. i took the painkillers, put in some drops, and waited for the pain to subside.

nothing happened.

honestly, the difference was so minimal that after a short little stint of waiting i had peter call the urgent care to see if there was anything else that could be done. long story short - she was a bit short with me, and said the only other thing we could do is to go to the emergency room.

by this point my jaw had also started to hurt [which i told her on the phone], along with the bone behind my ear, and down my neck. i tried to sleep for a while, and later, told my dad and stepmom what was going on. they recommended i call my dentist in the morning because a similar thing had happened to my stepmom, and she found out it was related to tmj. hers got better quickly once they got her a nightguard [like a heavy plastic mouthguard you wear at night to prevent teeth grinding, and other tooth problems from clenching your jaw]. but i already have one. [my jaw used to regularly pop while i was eating, sometimes when i was talking, etc.] and i wear it all the time. so, what was my deal?

well. fast forward to wednesday, which was the earliest my dentist could see me. he took a look at everything, asked me lots of questions, looked at how my nightguard fit, etc., etc. he's very thorough. then he told me what he thought was happening - he believed i had acute inflammation in my tmj joint on the left side. [tmj joint may be redundant, but i'm no dentist, so i'm going with it.] he gave me the prescriptions for the ibuprofen and the muscle relaxer, and said he thought it should all be cleared up within four or five days.

unfortunately, five days have come and gone, and i've had to dip into my leftover ibuprofen from my c-section. the next step is to see an oral surgeon. whom i can't see until next week.

and i'm left hoping that this is not my new normal. praying this is not my new reality.

but even if it is, i will not be beaten by it. i will not let this define who i am. God is still God. he is still on his throne. and i will still praise him, even if i can't hear my own words.

if you've made it this far in this saga,
will you say a prayer for me?



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