Here's the synopsis:
- On Monday, I felt something pop in my left ear and I was left with vertigo, nausea and ear pain. After missing work to go see the doctor, I was diagnosed with a middle ear infection. I was given ear drops and told to contact them if things got worse over the course of the next 10 days. I returned to work on Tuesday.
- On Tuesday, I don't know if I was distracted by my ear pain or not, but I somehow managed to butterfly the tip on my left pinky finger on a deli slicer at work. One ER visit later, I had six stitches in the tip of my finger. That night, I had horrible nightmares and ended up waking up choking on my own bile. I spent the next half hour vomiting and dry-heaving as I tried desperately to clear the bile from my back of my throat.
- Wednesday I had off. I spent the day out-of-sorts as I struggled to cope with the intensity of the previous night.
- Thursday started off well. I returned to work again and made it through the whole day without incident. After coming home from work, the pain in my ear started getting worse. I started to get a ringing in my ear and experienced mild loss of hearing as well. I resolved to call the doc the following morning.
- When I woke up Friday morning, the pain and hearing loss was progressing rapidly. The pain radiated out from my ear and down my neck. I took the earliest appointment that my docs offered. That afternoon, I was seen by the docs and they became very concerned when they looked in my ear and saw that it was a mass of blisters and pus. They were concerned with the spreading of pain that the infection may have spread to the mastoid bone in my head. They sent me out for an emergency CAT scan and it fortunately came back negative. I avoided hospitalization but had steroids and antibiotics added to the ear drops. Later that night, the pain continued to grow worse to the point of being unmanageable. My wife had to take me to the ER where they evaluated my situation and put me on IV antibiotics and pain-killers in an attempt to get ahead of the infection. They succeeded and sent me home around three in the morning with heavy pain meds and stronger antibiotics. When I got home I was still so wound up from the adrenalin response to my pain that I wasn't really able to get to bed until my daughter woke up and cuddled me into submission.
- When I woke up a few hours later around 8:30, I went to fill my scrips I had gotten from the ER. The pain meds they had given me were wearing off and I had to go to work to fill the scrips at the pharmacy. By this point, my patience and control of my anger and PTSD was wearing really thin. I got home, took a scheduled dose of pain meds and faded into oblivion for about two hours until I felt multiple pops in my ear and pus started running out of my ear. Fearful of the pus causing a secondary infection, I cleared as much of the pus out of my ear as I could by using swabs to wick it out without sticking them in my ear canal. The relief of pressure was significant and I could hear a little better. I was still in a substantial amount of pain, but I felt like I was finally starting to turn the corner. I was so out of it on pain-killers and my wife was exhausted. I quickly called my parents and asked if they could keep an eye on Caley so that my wife could get desperately needed rest and so that I could convalesce without having to try to keep an eye on a rambunctious two year old.
As you can see, it's been a long week. While I am proud that I have been able to keep a lid on the anger (barely), it has been substantially more difficult to keep the catastrophic thinking and anxiety at bay over the course of this week - especially when I thought about my job security. At some point a company is going to decide they've had enough and I live in an at-will employment state. I kept on thinking, with how unreliable I have been because of health issues over the past year, they would be justified in letting me go. While that outcome is improbable, the catastrophic thinking was pushing to convince me that I was going to lose my job.
Sooo,,,Now that I have turned the corner with my health issues and finally feel like I am on the road to recovery, I now have to contend with the emotional/PTSD fallout from everything I went through this past week. The anxiety and adrenalin are still going strong and it is hard to keep a lid on them and not freak out. But I am still here, somehow.
I can't even imagine how hard this past week has been on my wife, She just can't seem to catch a break and enjoy a little bit of stability, what with the PTSD and the random health issues. It makes me feel incredibly guilty. While I know that the physical issues are completely out of my control, it doesn't change how guilty I feel that she had to experience that emotional distress, take care of me and our two year old, and work to bring in money to keep us financially stable. Seeing her that distraught and still fighting made my heart clench in my chest. She just never gives up. She fights until she literally can't stand up anymore. It's disturbing to think of where I might be right now if it wasn't for the amazing fortitude of my wife and the strength of her love for me. It's why I will always be dedicated to her, working as hard as I can to see her happy and fulfilled, despite my problems.
Tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday. All I keep thinking about is how we need tomorrow to be uneventful and restful, for both our sakes. So, here's to hoping.