“For the past ten days I’ve been suffering through an ear infection. Both ears. Until just a few days ago they were both completely closed. For the most part, I’ve been deaf.
“The only things I’ve heard for the past ten days have been the sound of my pounding heart, and the kind of high-pitched brain feedback you might get after spending an evening standing beside the speakers at a particularly loud punk concert.
“At night, I’ve been waking up every thirty minutes in a panic, I’d have to run outside and take deep breaths of the cold air to calm down. My blood pressure has been extremely high, 154/100 last Thursday and 152/98 this past Monday. During the day I’d lose my balance when I was walking, when I sat at the computer or watched TV I’d get nauseous.”
‘Spending two weeks listening to my heart beating left me nearly insane’, Me, Feb. 08, 2012.
I’ve had an ear infection for almost three weeks now. I’ve been mostly deaf in both ears, except for a loud, high pitched feedback-like sound, and the pounding beat of my heart. Last Wednesday I thought I was getting better. It’s possible I was. But on Saturday night everything went to shit.
I was at a seminar hosted by a local art gallery on the experiences of an elderly woman’s life with depression, and eventual diagnosis of ‘Bipolar Two’. Her talk was interesting mostly because the crowd of fifty-five people were women all over the age of 65, and most had lived their lives with untreated and undiagnosed depression.
When the speaker started her presentation I could hear her fairly clearly with my left ear. Two hours later, when her talk was over, I was sitting on the edge of my chair, and leaning so far forward I was almost kissing the neck of the woman in front of me. Any healing that had occurred in my ears over the previous days was gone.
That night, with my girlfriend and our two-year old son staying with me in my apartment, I woke up just after 2am feeling like I was hyperventilating and claustrophobic. I rushed outside onto the deck of my second storey apartment, and stood there for five minutes, in my boxers, breathing in the cold air and trying to calm down.
Roughly an hour later I woke up convinced I was having a heart attack. There was a heavy pressure on my chest, I could barely breathe, my left arm was numb and there was a sharp tingling in my shoulder area.
I frantically woke my girlfriend who, panicking, followed me into the living room asking what was wrong. She held me for a few minutes as I tried to catch my breath. Just holding me, rubbing my neck and face, seemed to make things better.
I managed, over the rest of the night, to catch sleep in twenty-minute intervals.
My mother agreed to take me to the ER on Sunday morning. The first thing the triage nurse does is take your blood pressure. Mine was 176/110, which is up from 156/100 last week, both of which are miles above the mostly normal I was at just before Christmas.
The ER doctor, my fourth in 2.5 weeks, told me the infection was now as bad in my left ear as it had been, and still was, in my right.
On January 28th, I was prescribed 500mgs of Teva-Amoxicillin, three times a day. But apparently, as an antibiotic, that shit’s about as effective as milk.
On February 1st, and again on the 9th, I was prescribed Ratio-Amoxicillin & Clavulanic Acid at 500mgs and 125mgs, three times a day, and Rhinocort Aqua spray at 64mcg once a day in each nostril. This is the stuff I got a little better on, then a lot worse on.
This past Sunday, February 12th, the ER doctor told me to increase the spray to twice a day, and put me on 500mg of Ratio-Cefuroxime, twice a day — the pharmacy was out of his first choice, which I can’t remember the name of.
The pharmacist told me things should start to clear up in two days. She was really cute, and overly optimistic. I’ve taken four doses of the new antibiotic and, as far as I can tell, nothing has changed from Sunday morning.
I did manage to get two hours of continuous sleep last night (Sunday), but I think that was entirely based on the pharmacists optimism. Or that she really seemed to be flirting with me. I spent most of today (Monday) in bed or sitting on the couch watching TV with the sound turned up to 100.
My girlfriend came over during “Young & The Restless”. She pounded on my door for a good five minutes before walking in, I heard nothing… but that could have been the TV’s fault.
I can hear people when they’re practically yelling at me. It’s like being in a crowded bar. Which I thought was the perfect analogy.
But then, late tonight, I saw an image of a man falling into a pool and a POV shot of him looking back up through the water at the people on the platform, and I realized what I’ve been feeling, especially at night, is a lot like drowning.
I see my family doctor, finally, on Wednesday morning. Something good better happen soon because, fuck, I can only drown for so long.
The videos are the first and second episodes of the first season of “The Maxx”, my favourite animated series ever, and based on the comic book “The Maxx”, published by Image Comics from 1993 until 1998. If you live in the United States, you can watch full episodes at MTV.com. If you live elsewhere, MTV hates you and wishes you would just fucking die already.
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