Monday, May 7, 2012

Pain, Pain, Go Away (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)


February 17th, 2012:

I love visiting New Paltz, New York. The town in which I spent 23 years of my life holds a very special place in my heart. Perhaps it's that my parents still live there, and I get to see them when visiting; maybe it's the joy of spending time with my friends; or it could be the fact that it is a fun, artsy college town filled with locally-owned shops and a beautiful mountain range overlooking the heart of Main Street—that's a pretty fine aspect. There are a plethora of reasons why I enjoy going back to New Paltz, and that is just what Sarah and I did today. Unfortunately, it hasn't been the most pleasant trip thus far.

My right ear has really been bothering me the past few days, but we had planned this weekend trip and I didn't want to miss it. This was probably not the best idea, because for the first couple of hours at my parent's house, all I wanted to do was lay on the couch, holding my ear, as if the soft touch of my right hand would soothe the pain. Uggghhh, I thought, and I thought it some more.

My parents told me that I should go to the walk-in clinic to get my ear checked out. My mother told me that the doctor we used when I was a child opened the clinic with his son and that they are top-notch professionals.

“If I can start taking something to get rid of the pain, I will be happy,” I told my family, still curled up on the couch.

Sarah drove me to the clinic, helped me inside—the dizziness was still in effect—and filled out the paperwork for me. The doctor—not a father or a son, but rather a middle-aged woman with glasses and close-cropped hair—brought me into a room and had me sit on the patient bed. She stared at me for a moment, leaned back against a table, and continued to stare.

“Should I tell you what's been going on?” I asked, slightly confused.

She nodded.

“Okay, I'll start from the beginning.”

I told her about my experience earlier in the week of vomiting up a year's worth of bodily storage. I gave it a moment before continuing, searching for some sort of acknowledgment that she was aware of my existence: a nod; a disgusted face; a laugh; a tear. Nothing. She continued to hold a blank face that would leave me nervous even after the appointment. I explained how the next couple of days I had experienced Vertigo, doing everything I could to not collapse every time I got up, and pain in my right ear that continued to worsen. She approached me from the right and looked into my ear.

“Yep. It looks like you've got some sort of chronic ear infection going on,” she said, making her way to my left ear. “It looks like you've got a little bit in the left ear too. The right ear is nastier.”

“Really?”

“Yep,”she said as she made her way back to the table she had been leaning on before and leaned on it again, arms folded, “I'll prescribe you some Amoxicillin. That should clear up that nasty redness in there.”

“Okay,” I said, “Thank you.”
She nodded her head and left the room before I did. Odd.

Sarah and I picked up my prescription from Stop and Shop in New Paltz and I took my first dose immediately. I wasn't taking any chances. I wanted the rest of the weekend to be enjoyable.  

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