As I noted the other day, I spent all Saturday morning fixing a problem with our submission form. I then went shopping for some party supplies, and then spent the rest of the day dealing with my ear.
I've been sleeping with earplugs for years, and--probably as a result--every six months or so my ears start to feel a little clogged, so I use this "ear irrigator" bulb I got at a drugstore to wash them out. Every couple of years, they get really clogged and I need to get a doctor to wash them out, using a professional doctor ear irrigation tool.
I used the home irrigator bulb last Wednesday. Thursday, the skin all around the outer entrance to my ear canal was a little painful to the touch.
Friday it was worse, but I had made plans to work at Mary Anne and Kevin's place, so I ignored it rather than going in to see a doctor. I figured that it would get better on its own; on the rare occasions when I do go see a doctor about anything, they almost always say "Leave it alone and it'll get better on its own."
Saturday morning the ear was a lot worse. What made me finally decide to seek medical attention was that chewing had become painful.
So after I fixed the SH submission form and went shopping, I went off to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation's urgent care center. I'd been there a couple of times before, and knew to expect multi-hour waits.
I think I waited for about two hours; then the nurse called my name, and took my blood pressure and pulse and info, and then sent me back to the waiting room because all their rooms were full.
After another 45 minutes or so, a doctor looked at my ear. She said there was an infection, and wrote me a prescription for antibiotic ear drops and an oral antibiotic, and told me to go to a particular 24-hour Walgreens because it was after 6 on a Saturday by this point. She also told me that if the ear got worse on Sunday, I should come back, because if the ear canal swelled up until it closed, then the antibiotic couldn't get through. Then she repeated it for emphasis: it was important that if things got worse, I come back on Sunday, not even waiting 'til Monday.
I drove to the recommended Walgreens, and waited something like 45-60 minutes for the prescription to be filled (after the counter guy estimated 20 minutes).
Saturday night I should have done the house cleanup that I hadn't had time to do all day, but I was too stressed and tired. I think I got started on some of it, but I forget.
Sunday morning, the ear was worse.
It was not a lot worse, but it was a little worse. I woke up around 6, feeling like the pain had spread further out from my ear. Eventually took some Advil and went back to sleep, but when I woke up again, it still hurt. Chewing was really painful. I waffled for a long time about what to do. But the urgent care center website was showing a half-hour wait, so I finally decided it was worth the time to go in.
I waited about 45 minutes to be seen by a nurse, and then I sat in the examination room for another 45 minutes before the doctor showed up. He took a 10-second look in my ear and said the canal wasn't blocked. Then he said (approximately) "You've only been taking the antibiotics for less than 24 hours? Then you should just wait. Give it time."
I wish the first doctor had told me that.
(I should note that, as far as I know, I've never taken antibiotics before. I know about them, but I don't have any clear sense of how long to expect them to take to start having a noticeable effect.)
Anyway. All told, the Sunday morning visit probably only took two hours. But it was two hours I could ill afford that day. We did eventually get the house clean and more or less ready before most of the party guests arrived that evening, but it was a long day. (More about the party another time.)
Monday morning, I wasn't feeling much better, and I'd developed a stuffed-up nose as well. I decided to attend my morning meeting at work, and got as far as about 20 yards from the building where the meeting was, and then I started coughing. And I thought to myself: "I'm sick. Why am I here?" And I turned around and went home.
The nose and cough cleared up later in the day, but this morning my ear isn't noticeably better. This is all giving me a lot of sympathy for kids who get ear infections. No fun.
To add to the difficulty, the doctor said I shouldn't wear earplugs during this period. So this morning the loud trucks at 6-something a.m. woke me up, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. I finally turned up the white noise generator to loud enough to drown out the trucks, and managed to doze a little longer, but eventually gave up.
Just a couple months ago, I was thinking how nice it was that, despite a fair bit of stress and traveling, I hadn't gotten significantly sick in a long time. After the past three weeks of being some form of unhealthy most of the time, I'm ready to be done. But the antibiotics have another week left to go.
Whine, grumble, complain. More on other topics soon, I hope.