Alas! I Has Allergies

Tuesday, March 26, 2013
On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling fine.  Peachy keen, in fact.  However, as the morning went along, I began to experience an increasing pressure in my ear followed shortly after by a noticeable decrease in my ability to hear.  The right, fine and dandy; the left, what? I can't hear you.  Overall, I wasn't too concerned as I figured it was probably some wax build up that I had accidently jammed in there with a Qtip (shhhh! don't tell my doctor!).  A quick search of the Google and I came across this this article on how to unclog a clogged ear.  I had already tried chewing gum and sucking on candy, and I had held my nose and tried to blow, both of which work great on an airplane but did nothing to alleviate my symptoms.  I whipped up some mineral oil and water, poured it in my ear, and laid down to wait.  Ten minutes later, I rolled over, let my ear drain (don't worry, nothing gross came out) and ... nothing.  No relief.  Just an oil soaked ear, shoulder, shirt, and towel.  I repeated, thinking maybe I didn't leave it in long enough.  Nope, nada.

By this time, I started to experience slight vertigo which, in turn, made me feel slightly ill to my stomach.  At first, it was nothing to become concerned over but as it worsened and I felt more and more like I was going to be sick, I started remembering the only ear infection I'd ever had.  Very similar symptoms and I ended up in the emergency room because I couldn't sit up without throwing up.  I didn't want to repeat that experience so I decided to call Health Link.  I spoke to a lovely nurse who seemed as confused as I was about what was wrong.  The only thing she could tell me after twenty minutes was that I needed to see a doctor.  So... off I went.  If it was during the week, I would have tried to get in to see my own doctor or one of his colleagues but since it was the weekend, I didn't have a lot of choice.

I should preface the next part by saying I have a lot of respect and appreciation for doctors that work in drop in/walk in medical clinics and medicentres. They're overworked, underappreciated and try to help as many people as possible.  Now that that is out of the way... There were only three people in the waiting room of the clinic I went to; obviously a good sign for me - I picked the right clinic, right?  Uh, not so much.  While in the exam room, I noticed the walls were dirty, the stool the doctor uses was caked in dried snow / mud, and overall the place felt a bit on the nasty side.  Then the doctor came in; at least I assume it was the doctor - no name tag, no introduction, nothing.  He didn't ask me any questions about my medical history, nothing about any medications I was currently taking, and no probing questions to get to the bottom of what was wrong. He also didn't listen when I first said that I was experiencing dizziness and nausea.  He checked my ears, pulled them in all directions, tapped my sinuses, felt my throat glands and then prescribed me a nasal spray with no explanation other than "its probably your sinuses". 

As we walked back to the front desk to sign the prescription, I wanted to confirm that the vertigo and nausea were due to the pressure imbalance in my ears.  "You're experiencing dizziness and nausea?".  Silence.  Back in the room we go where he checks my blood pressure (high by this point) and my breathing.  Everything's kosher so he restates that its likely my sinuses and sends me off.  No idea of how long to take the prescription for, no cause for the "sinus" problem, or how its affecting my hearing.  Le sigh.  I spent the rest of the day blowing my nose (the spray makes my sinuses drain apparently) and the dizziness getting worse.  The loss of hearing also increased and the pressure did too.  I told Mom if I wasn't feeling better by Monday, I was going to see my doctor.

Needless to say, I wasn't.  A little better, sure but still bad enough that it warranted a visit.  For the first time I think I anaged to get in to see me doctor right away.  I told him about the visit to the medical clinic and admitted I didn't necessarily think the diagnoses was wrong but that the visit made me uncomfortable.  A doctor that prescribes drugs with no background questions and no real explanation.  My doctor, the fabulous Dr. H (don't hassle the Hoff!), rechecked my ears, my blood pressure, checked the glands, etc. The diagnoses? Its my sinuses. 

I was expecting the same diagnoses but it was reassuring.  He went on to explain that its likely seasonal allergies to something like snow mold (we had a lot of melting recently before another giant dump of snow).  Then, he pulled out a diagram of the ear canal and explained how the eardrum works, why a clogged eustachian tube (which connects the ear to the sinuses) would cause the pressure and the vertigo, and why it is due to ... my sinuses.  I was in the medical clinic office for five minutes.  I was in my doctor's office for ten.  If that first doctor had spent a mere five more minutes asking a couple of questions and offering me an explanation, I would have felt a lot better.

Anyways, lucky me.  I'm now one of the multitudes of people out there with seasonal allergies.  My annual check up is in two weeks so I'm going to ask my doctor if he can send me for an allergy test to see just what I might be allergic to so I can try and be prepared more next year.  The nasal spray seems to be working slowly but surely - Dr. H indicated my symptoms could last three or four days, or three or four weeks - the dizziness is almost gone and the pressure is coming and going.  The hearing is slower to improve but I have no doubt that its nothing too serious and I'm relieved. 


Heather said...

Sorry to hear it!

I use a lot of Claritin during the spring and summer.

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