Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nothing Is Easy (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)

(For all posts, aside from my name, Sarah's, and those that whom I've been given approval, all other names will be fictional)

February 18th – 28th:

It has surely been a long week since I met with that strange doctor in New Paltz. I'm starting to really get frustrated with being sick. I feel like it will never end, and that no one has a clue as to what is wrong with me. I just want to get better. I just want to have a normal day. I keep wondering why this is all happening. I know that God has a plan, but it hasn't been easy and I haven't figured out what it is yet.

Shortly after our visit with my parents, I lost hearing in my right ear and I was not feeling any better after being on Amoxicillin for a few days. Something needed to be done. Sarah called our doctor's office and made another appointment with Linda, whom we had seen regarding my eye problems—which haven't fully recovered by the way. From what she could tell, it was an ear infection and she gave me a five day medication called Z-Pack. I was also prescribed Tylenol with Codeine for the pain that would not cease. This, I had hoped, would clear things up for me. Obviously, with the luck I've been having, my hope would not ring true.

Yesterday was February 27th. I went to back to work and it was a strenuous day to say the least. The Z-Pack had not worked. I tried to do as much as I could with the kids, but it was too difficult to gather that much energy for the tasks I was so accustomed to doing. I was dizzy, so I moved at a slow pace throughout the day, my ear was in pain and I still couldn't hear a thing out of it.

I was outside on the playground with the kids, sunglasses on to shield my sensitive eyes, making sure to point my left side to the teacher's aide, Sally, so that I could hear her if I needed to. There were other classrooms outside as well. Aware that the teacher/child ratio would be fine, I asked Sally if I could go make a call to my doctor.

“Go right ahead,” she said. Sally and the head teacher, Cindy have been so kind through all of this. Having worked with them for the past two and half years, we have developed a friendship and I know that they really care for me, almost as if they were my moms.

I went inside, stood in the hallway near one of the classrooms, and made the call. The receptionist answered, giving her name and the name of the practice.

“Hi. This is Max Pfeffer. I'd like to speak with Linda, if it is at all possible.”

“One moment, please,” she said as she put me on hold.

As I was waiting for Linda to answer, I looked out the large glass windows at the playground. I watched as the children ran along the play scape, chasing after one another. I wished that I could have been out there with them, being the one to chase them around the playground, growling at them like some sort of zombie with my arms outstretched. That's what I always do. I love watching their smiling faces as they scream and run away from me in pure excitement. Why can't I do that?Why can't I be that fun teacher right now?

Hi, Max. What's up?” Linda asked.

Hi, Linda. Well, the Z-Pack didn't work. I still have all of my symptoms. Is there anything else I can try?” I asked in desperation.

Hmm,” she thought for a moment, “This is strange. I don't think it is swimmer's ear, but I'm going to prescribe you ear drops just in case. In the meantime, I think you should make an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor.”

Alright, thank you.”

You're welcome. Bye.”

Bye,” I said and hung up.

I breathed in deep and let out a large sigh of frustration. Nothing is easy, I thought.

This morning I had an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor. I was praying to God that this specialist would be able to figure out what was wrong with me. The nurse called me into a patient room and took my weight and height down. She then told me that the doctor would be in shortly. A few minutes later, a large, older man with rosy red cheeks (whom Sarah told me later was actually 77 years old) walked into the room and closed the door.

Hi,” I said with a smile; he reminded me a bit of Santa Claus, with his jolly demeanor. He responded with a sort of guttural grunt or laugh—I still haven't quite figured it out—and a slight smirk.

What happened?” Santa asked nonchalantly, in an almost inaudible tone—not only because I couldn't hear out of my right ear, but because he had a very low, raspy voice.

I explained everything to him. From the eye issues and the Prednisone drops, to the ear issues and all the medication I had taken up to that point. As I explained he nodded and continued to grunt. He sat down on a stool next to the chair I was sitting in and looked in my ears.

More grunts.

Follow me,” Santa said when he was finished and he stood up and walked out the door.

I followed him into another room where he had me sit in a chair across from a computer screen. He left without a word—probably to bring gifts to other good boys and girls—and the nurse who had brought me in entered.

I'm going to do Tympanometry hearing test,” she said.

Okay,” I shrugged. Whatever the heck that is.

She placed colored caps on the ends of two long wires that were connected to a machine that almost looked like a typewriter, without the keys. She then put one wire into my left ear and the other wire into my right. I heard some beeping noises, mostly in my left ear as she turned the machine on. When it was finished, she took out the wires from my ears, brought the results of the test up on the computer screen and printed it out. She then had me follow her into a waiting room.

About ten minutes later, Santa came back, carefree as ever, with the test results and said that he wanted me follow him into another room. I followed along like an obedient little elf, until we entered a room with a large microscope. He had me sit in a leather chair and reclined it all the way back so that I was laying down. He took a closer look into my ears with the microscope and then said, “It looks like you still have some redness in there. It's going to have to get better on its own.” WHAT!?!?!

The only gift Santa gave me today was a nose spray called Nasonex, in order to, as he put it, “clear up some of that pressure.”

Okay. Ear drops and Nasonex. These better work.

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