“Chapter 11: That Time I Got That Thing Stuck In My External Ear” (abr.), Sinusitis, and Hail On the Homefront
Tuesday September 30th 2014, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Denver, Family, Health (Not Cancer), Me, Myself, and Reid, Who Knows?

Heya, Blog Reader,

I have a sinus infection that I think is on the way out. I wasn’t given antibiotics or allowed to see my ENT. I guess I have mixed feelings about not getting antibiotics–I’ve had a lot since chemo and I know the hazards of taking too many. But they usually make me feel better. Instead, I got a nasal spray, and I guess that’s helped clear things up. So that’s fine. The ENT thing was stupid. Basically, I haven’t seen any of my ENTs–who I know by name and vice versa–recently enough to see them again without a referral, which I did not receive. University Hospital, you may have saved my life, your stupid bureaucracy is intolerable.

We had our house redone this summer on the inside and the outside and it was unbelievably stressful for me, and I wasn’t in charge of anything or dealing with misogynistic contractors like my mom had to everyday. I think the stress level of people in the house all day went:

1. Mom
2. Ferris (the dog)
3. Me

But just because I was third doesn’t mean I wasn’t stressed. I lost 25 pounds, which I’m happy about, but everyone around me tells me was stress weight and not a good way to lose weight. My body image issues probably deserve a blog of their own, but let’s just say I know it wasn’t a good way to lose the weight, but I’m not concerning myself with it too much.

As part of the renovation, we had a new roof put on the top of the house (where one would usually put a roof) and had the house painted and had bad wood boards replaced and it looked great!

Then we had a big hail storm. When I say big, I mean ping-pong sized hail with the density of golf balls. I guess those are kind of the same size, but the individual pieces of hail looked like ping-pong balls and felt like golf balls.

This was what our backyard looked like yesterday:

Hail Damage
There’s a giant blue spruce above that glass table that got hammered by hail. The glass table was surprisingly, happily, somehow not broken. But the roof and boards took a big beating and so I may lose some more weight.

Don’t worry, no hail made it into the East Room.

Phew, with all that out of the way, it’s time for another chapter from the beloved 2,034 page medical mystery novel Reid Levin: Medical Mystery – Volume 2:

“Chapter 11: That Time I Got That Thing Stuck In My External Ear” (abr.)

I noticed about two months ago that my right ear hurt any time I slept on it. It hurt to sleep on and then it kept hurting when I wasn’t sleeping on it. It also turned bright red. I took to sleeping on my left side, which I prefer anyway, but my right ear just kept hurting and glowing bright red. A little thingamajig started to form on my ear, which I immediately, in a total state of panic and illogic, assumed were a sac of spider eggs.

Before we go any further: allow me to state that there were not and have never been any spider eggs growing in my body. When I get weird bumps that start growing, I fear that a spider has laid her eggs in me because I had a substitute teacher in Fourth Grade tell me about a spider laying eggs to someone she knew. I think she made up a lot of stuff, or couldn’t tell the difference between awake time and asleep time. She told us all kinds of crazy stuff, like how she drove past this mystical car crash where everyone was on fire, then she thought better of it, so she turned around to help, but it was completely gone, like there had been no car crash in the first place. So the spider thing is completely irrational and I know that, and I usually play it off as a joke. Now you know the truth: I’m only kind of joking.

Teachers have a real effect on kid’s lives and I want to salute all those teachers who take this responsibility seriously and don’t just spend years fucking kids up because they think it would be funny. There have to be tons of people who get a teaching certificate just to mess up kids lives and we don’t even know it until kids go to the next grade and can’t do multiplication.

You can read more about this stuff in the unabridged version of this chapter, but, this being the abridged version, we gotta get back to my outer ear.

A thingamajig was growing on my ear and it was redder than the rest of my red ear. I went to the dermatologist who told me I had a corn on my ear cartilage, which was a genetic disease that only people over 80-years-of-age usually get. He gave me an antibiotic cream to put on it and told me to cut a hole in a pillow so as not to aggravate my cartilage when sleeping.

I started sleeping mostly on my left side, my previously mentioned prefered side, with my ear inside this hole I’d fashioned in one of those memory foam pillows. A few things happened:

1) My right ear started getting better.

2) My left ear started doing the whole turning red and painful thing.

3) I was scolded for sleeping on one side of my body by several of my doctors.

Eventually, both ears had some sort of bump on them. The one on the left responded quickly and appropriately to the antibiotic cream and I was able to sleep on the pillow with the hole in it on my left (prefered) side. The one on the right just had it out for me. It just wouldn’t go away or stop hurting if I slept on the hole pillow with it. It would go away for a while if I didn’t sleep on it for at least a week. If I slept on any normal kind of pillow, both ears got mad. So the hole pillow on my left (better) side became the obvious go-to.

For some reason, even though I was still putting antibiotic cream on it and not sleeping on it, the little thingamajig grew back on my right ear. Thus, I decided to return to the dermatologist.

Unfortunately, my dermatologist of 18 years wasn’t in. He’s definitely the doctor I’ve had the longest. That doesn’t mean I like him most, it just means he hasn’t messed me up. Which, in itself, is saying a lot. I’ve had a lot of doctors and, well, things happen.

Unfortunately, the thingamajig had to be removed from the cartilage of my right ear, which unfortunately meant that my ear would have to be cut into because that’s how you get to the cartilage, if you’re ever looking for it. The stand-in dermatologist told me I did not have a thingamajig, but rather chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis. I WAS CLOSE. She seemed nice enough and knowledgeable about getting rid of this thing so I let her get it out.

She proved to be a veteran at excising bits of ear tissue (pictured here working on a previous patient), but I still don’t like knives and needles near my face. They make me feel like I’m a pumpkin being carved for Halloween.

Oh wait, that wasn’t her. That was Mike Tyson biting off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear (possibly not for dermatological reasons). Ohohoho! Shame on me! But, in my defense, I do look like I had a bite taken out of my ear. It looks a lot like Mike Tyson or a tiny shark bit it off. It’s going to take several months to heal, which I can deal with. The interim-dermatologist made sure to tell me that she’d only seen chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis on the ears of people in their 80s.

I told her I needed people to stop telling me that.

End of Chapter 11 (abr.)


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