Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Silence (Living With Cogan's Syndrome)

March 7th—9th:

Vomiting was awful; pain in both ears—pretty bad as well; however, the worst experience of this whole ordeal has to have been waking up on Wednesday morning.

I opened my eyes and looked at the clock: 7:15am. I stretched out my body and began to remove the covers. I wasn’t quite ready to get up, so I lay there, watching as Sarah was moving about the room, getting ready for work.

“Hi, baby,” I said. My whole body tensed; teeth clenched—something was wrong.

“Hi, sweetie,” she replied, not really looking directly at me as she was busy picking out an outfit.

“Sarah…” I released that one special word that means everything to me, holding back tears.

Sarah looked at me and knew something was up. She rushed over to the bed, and got in. She lay right next to me, and looked into my eyes.

 “What’s wrong, Max?”

“I can’t hear anything,” I cried, my face distorted as the tears let loose. “I can’t hear anything out of either ear. I can’t hear my own voice!” I lost it. This was the scariest moment of the past two months; quite possibly, ever. I let out what Sarah would describe as a mix between whimpering and a horrible shrieking sound. She told me it was the saddest sight she’d ever seen. What’s going on? God, why is this happening? I can’t take this anymore. Will I be deaf forever? Sarah held me tight.

“What am I gonna do? I can’t go to work. I can’t have conversations with people. What am I supposed to do?” She kissed my forehead and probably tried to calm me down with a series of soothing words, but I can’t really be sure.

I had been on some new antibiotics since my last visit with Santa. Sarah had called his office, asking about the Avelox prescription that I was on. Apparently, it was supposed to be a 10 day prescription, but I only had five pills. They sent in a new order to our local Stop and Shop pharmacy and I started taking it on the fifth of March. Well, it looks like it didn’t work. Surprise, surprise.

Once I had calmed down a bit, I assured Sarah that I would be fine at home by myself. She needed to go
into work, and I could tell she was agonizing over it.

“Don’t worry, baby,” I said, “I’ll just do some reading and writing. I’ll be fine.”

“Okay. I hate this. Call me if you need anything,” she stressed.

“How about I text you,” I smiled halfheartedly.

We embraced and she was off. I immediately turned on the computer and immersed myself in activities that would distract me from my current ailment. I wrote articles for thescifichristian.com; I read a couple hundred pages in a fantasy novel by Andy Remic; I emailed and browsed Facebook for longer than I desired. I didn’t want to think about my hearing loss. I hated that it was happening and I decided it would be better just to disregard it entirely.

By the time Sarah returned home that evening, I could hear her out of my right ear just slightly.

Yesterday, Sarah worked from home, and she called Linda to ask her about the prescription. Linda was unavailable so Sarah had to leave a message. Later in the evening, Linda finally returned Sarah’s call. She explained to Sarah that considering the fact I had been on Avelox for over 72 hours, if it was going to work, it should have already. She said that I need to get back to the ENT and having some more tests done.

“I’m not going back there,” I told Sarah when she explained this to me. “That man has done absolutely nothing for me.”

“I completely agree with you,” she said, as I stared at her lips, doing my best to read them.

“I think it’s time for a second opinion. Preferably from someone who is far from retirement age and not well past it,” Sarah laughed as I said this; I couldn’t help but crack a smile as well.

“Well, why don’t we research other ENTs in Manchester or nearby?”

And so we did. It didn’t take us long, either. Dr. Feldman was just ten minutes down the road and he had fantastic reviews online. Out of curiosity, we decided to look up some reviews on Santa Claus. His were less than stellar, and we also discovered that he had a sanction placed against him for mis-prescribing and over-prescribing medication on multiple accounts. I wish we had done our research ahead of time.

Sarah called Dr. Feldman’s office today. This ended up being somewhat of a miracle obtaining an appointment with him. The receptionist explained to Sarah that there were no available appointments for two weeks. She was put on hold, asked to hang on while the receptionist spoke in muffled conversation with someone else, put on hold again. Sarah was getting frustrated. It was in that moment that she thought that maybe they would find an opening. Sarah prayed, “God, please let there be an opening.” A moment later, the receptionist returned and said, “Due to the nature of your husband’s appointment (hearing loss), we can fit him in on Monday.” Thank you, God!  

Just three days. Please God, help me get through the weekend.


  1. Max, it seems like in the midst of your angst and devastation in going through this, there is a thread of hope that God is with you and helping you go through this. Getting the appointment so quickly and being led to this very caring and competent dr. and staff was a godsend!! Thanks for sharing your story!! Love you!