I’ve had to battle swimmer’s ear my entire life.
I remember many trips to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, NH when I was a kid. My family camped at Westward Shores on Lake Ossipee and I spent a LOT of time in the water. Like clockwork, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with ear pain, and off we’d go to get some drops.
Usually, a few days of the drops without going in the water was enough to clear up the problem.
And as I’ve gotten older and spend less of my time in the water, I rarely get a case of swimmer’s ear anymore.
But this past weekend, right after the End of Summer Bash at Feature’s in Holmen, I started to feel that familiar pain yet again. But this time, it got MUCH worse.
As I mentioned, I’ve had this problem my entire life, so I have some ear drops in the house in case I have another episode. But these seemed to have little to no effect on my predicament. So, off to the Emergency room I went at about 1am on Sunday night.
The nice thing is that there’s literally nobody in the ER at that time of night…so I was able to get in & get out rather quickly. According the ER doc on duty, the ear canal was so swollen that they gave me a shot of toradol to help ease the inflammation, then they stuck a wick in my ear to keep the canal open to help the drops work their way deeper into the ear. But for some reason, after administering the drops, the nurse took the wick out. Usually they leave it in and then the ENT doc takes it out a few days later.
Well, onto Monday and I knew something wasn’t right. My whole right side of my face was swollen and tender, I had a massive headache for two straight days and my neck muscles were tight and sore. I had a slight fever and I could tell there wasn’t any movement going on in the ear. Usually, after a day or two of the drops, you can sorta feel things moving, the occasional “POP” and some light drainage. But I was getting none of that.
So, back in to the ER I went.
This time around, I got another wick put in the ear canal and left in, plus a new round of drops and a prescription for some Cipro. But, one day later, nothing had improved. In fact, the pain was worse, the ringing in my ear was worse, and I was definitely starting to lose my grip on reality. By far the worse case of swimmer’s ear I’ve ever had.
So, yesterday, I was able to get in touch with the nurse in Otolaryngology(try saying that shit without sounding it out first) and got in to see the Doc. He and his nurse cleaned out the ear as best they could, took the old wick out, put THREE wicks in to help keep the canal open and sent me on my way.
The pain has subsided a bit, but I still have trouble talking and chewing. The swelling is affecting my jaw and hopefully, when I go back in later this morning, he’ll be able to take them all out and I’ll be able to hear again.
Whatever you do, DON’T get swimmer’s ear.