I have been having a hard time keeping up lately, and I would like to explain why. I started this blog for my business, and I have been trying to keep it from being too personal. That has been difficult. I don’t want it to be about me and my life but about my art, but I suppose there’s no way of drawing a line between the two. I also didn’t want it to be boring!
The past couple of months have been really challenging for me, so I have had a hard time keeping up with my on-line life. I tripped and fell the first week of June (days before the Castle in the Meadow ZNE event) on a step in my house and cracked a rib. I was taking strong painkillers that just made me sleepy, plus I couldn’t move (or breathe) too easily, so creating and marathon training were off the table for a while, except for the Castle in the Meadow, of course. Then, once I felt somewhat mobile once again, I woke-up three weeks later with most of my hearing gone in my left ear.
I didn’t worry too much about it until that evening, when I learned that it is considered a medical emergency. Off to the emergency room again. They couldn’t see anything that was causing it, so an appointment with an ENT was made for 3 days later. 2 days later I was back in the ER with a stunning headache and vertigo. They said it was not related to my ear, so more painkillers and anti-vertigo meds.
The next day I had a hearing test and then saw the ENT. I had lost all low-tone hearing in my left ear, which means no speech recognition. I could still hear high-pitched sounds, which included running water and my shrieking 4 year-old. It was so strange. You don’t think about how sounds are combinations of lots of different tones until you can only hear the piercing ones! Anyway, the ENT couldn’t find anything either, so she gave me steroids and a vasodialator and set me up with an MRI 2 weeks later.
We had planned a trip up to my parents’ fabulous lake house for the Fourth of July, so my brother (who was visiting us during all this and definately helped save my sanity by helping with the kids, etc) drove me and the munchkins up so I could stumble around (trying not to fall on my ribs again) and try to sleep through the piles of pills I was taking. Let me tell you, I HATE to rely on others and play invalid, but I was really grateful to be able to sleep and rest so much. In the meantime, I learned that it can be a great benefit in a Victorian cottage with little noise insulation to be able to sleep on one side and not hear a sound! I also remembered some subtler hearing/balance problems I’d been having even before I fell, I just didn’t put it together right away. We figure that that is what caused my fall in the first place.
OK, so I had the MRI last Thursday, and I was desperately hoping that the results would be available quickly, as my hubby and I were leaving early Sat with another couple to surprise a high school friend for her 40th in DC. The ENT suspected a growth/lesion/tumor, so of course I wanted to know ASAP if brain surgery would be in my future! Luckily, early Fri a.m. she called with the news that the MRI was all clear. I did ask for a copy of some of the images after the MRI, so I wasn’t surprised, as I knew what she was looking for looked like.
Tuesday I had another hearing test scheduled, and a follow-up with the ENT the next day. The hearing test was administered by another wonderful Audiologist who spent a lot of time explaining everything to me about the first test and then this one, as I had been too overwhelmed the first time to even ask questions. It was the same tests as previously, and before I was finished I was fighting tears and panic, as it seemed to me to even worse to me. The audiologist was on the other side of a tinted window, and I saw her leave the room and then return with a man and show him the results.
She came back in the room and said that the tests showed a sharp decline from 3 weeks previously and the head of Neurotologic division wanted me to stick around they’d squeeze me in instead of coming back the next day. Of course I was sobbing at this point. I realize that losing hearing in one ear is not the worst thing that can happen to me, but any change like that is a shock. Plus, of course it freaked me out also that this doctor wanted to see me immediately.
It really was almost immediately, and the nurse, Physician’s Assistant and Doctor couldn’t have been nicer, more patient, and explained everything to me and answered all the questions I could come-up with at the time. They believe that it is mostly caused by a virus or an autoimmune disease. The chances of recovering my hearing in the left ear aren’t great, but I was sent home with a form for lots of lab work and another prescription for a course of steroids- much longer and much stronger than previously.
I had the blood drawn yesterday morning and started the steroids, and I have been a bundle of energy since. Nervous energy, not giddy energy, but at least I can try to begin catching-up from the beginning of June. I figured I might not need Benedryl to sleep on the first night, but I should have taken it. At 1:00 this morning I had a panic attack about the possibility of losing the hearing in my right ear, too. The tests show it pretty much in the normal range, but there was a small decrease in that ear, too. I didn’t want to wake my husband up to watch me cry and try not to hyperventilate, so I went in the guest room and tried to read and calm down. I finally fell asleep and was back up 4 hours later.
So, here I am. I am a bit uncomfortable sharing all this as I don’t want to sound like a whiner. I am just really distracted and overwhelmed. I am off to take my morning prednisone and use the energy it gives me to clean my studio and try to get back into the creative groove after more than 6 weeks off. Hopefully I have some things to photograph and show.
The above picture is of a bathroom cabinet that my mom and I altered a number of years ago. I can’t take much credit, as it was all her idea and I just did some of the painting of the cabinet. It is in my parents’ summer house. It really just occurred to me during this last visit that it was a piece of altered art.
Thanks for “listening” and have a great day.