Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tis but a scratch

Yesterday I got the results of the MRI I had last week to see if there were any obvious causes for the low frequency hearing loss in my left ear. This kind of hearing loss can be caused by small tumors pressing on the auditory nerve (or whatever that nerve is called) but in my case, there are no tumors. So that’s good but still begs the question of why I have this loss.

My ENT pointed out that I had a small cyst sort of in the middle of my skull, but that the radiologist didn’t think it was alarming. Still, the ENT wanted to take a look. So bam, he squirted numbing stuff up both nostrils and then scoped my nose. It was as yucky as it sounds and not at all what I thought would happen yesterday. He thinks the cyst is left over from having my adenoids removed, probably a bit of scar tissue wrapped around a bit of mucus gland that's slowly grown over time. I didn't know I had it, it doesn't seem to impact me in any way so as far as I'm concerned it can just stay there.

He also pointed out that I had a lot of swelling in one of my sinuses on the left side, and asked me how frequently I got sinus infections. “I’ve never had one in my life,” I replied. Not so, he said, that kind of swelling was indicative of a sinus infection, and probably a pretty bad one. Hmmm.

On the drive home I realized I didn’t really know the symptoms of sinus infections beyond a fever and Technicolor snot—I rarely get a fever and it’s usually associated with a stomach virus, and I never get weird colored snot. So I turned to Dr. Google to find out what the symptoms actually were. I didn’t even click on any links, I didn’t have to:

Of the items on that list, I experience the first four symptoms plus a bad cough at least five or six times a year. In fact, I just went through a fairly bad round of those symptoms last week. I get the sort of face melting headache with extreme pressure, the kind where even my teeth hurt, and a snotted up head that makes loud whistling noises when I blow my nose (when Kent’s around, he will look at me and say “I heard that” after my sinuses whistle), and some dizziness when I move around or shift my position.

What all this means is (a) yes, I do get sinus infections and probably pretty often and more important (b) I need to quit normalizing and not paying attention to what my body is saying. And (Kent will love this) I need to readjust my notion of when I might need to see the doctor. All my life, I've believed that I either need to be actively puking and/or have the runs OR be running a fever of at least 100. Looks like I need to reconsider that framework.

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