This is the full extent of my vocabulary for the past three days. I have a rip roaring ear infection. I don't believe I've had one since I was a kid. Thank goodness not, because the only thing that hurts worse, my friends, is labor. No epidural for this kind of pain, either. I have been eight kinds of miserable these last few days. It started on Wednesday, after the Bean (finally) got his 6 month (!) shots. Coincidentally (or not) he was also diagnosed with an ear infection. That evening, I heard a rubbing noise in my right ear, followed by an immediate sensation of fullness that did not resolve. I took and antihistamine and a decongestant and woke up the next morning at 4 am with severe pain. As I lay in bed, trying not to move, lest the fluid crackle and make my ear hurt even worse than it already did, the pager went off signaling the arrival of a labor patient. Grudgingly I got up and showered, finding my movement extremely limited. I couldn't even bend over to wrap up my hair in a towel without twinging my ear so badly it wrought a stream of curses.
I arrived on labor and delivery, caught a very fast baby about 10 minutes later, and started to move slowly through my hospital rounds. I stopped a kindly family med doctor, whom I begged to check my ear. (You see, I must relate that ears completely squick me out. The fluid, the hair cells, the little bones that *articulate*, the membrane...ick, ew, and gross. Funny, I know, coming from a specialist in one of the arguably more gross professions around. To each their own.) I was just *convinced* some wandering spider had laid eggs in my ear and they were getting ready to hatch. My colleague allayed my fears, but told me that, indeed, my ear was "cherry red" with fluid bulging behind the TM. Great. I got an Aug.mentin script called in, finished rounds, and did a post-partum tubal on my morning delivery patient. Then I headed to the office, where I proceeded to throw a minor hissy fit because I had 21 patients scheduled in roughly 3 hours (of which there were at least 3 new patients, 3 problem patients, and an I&D of a perineal abscess on the list). My hissy fit was for naught, however, as about 10 patients later, I was called to attend another delivery. I happily canceled the rest of the day and rushed back to the hospital.
As I sat waiting, my ear pain kept escalating, throbbing, and ringing. The nurse caring for my labor patient was forever messing with the electronic charting and not helping the patient (a primip) to push in any significant way. The baby kept deceling and the nurse kept ignoring the strip and focusing on the computer, and my ear kept twinging. I did the best that I could to encourage the patient. Her family stood stock-still, lined up against the farthest wall of the labor room, and her nurse hadn't even turned on the baby warmer. At last, in just a hour of pushing (would have been less, had my nurse been more patient focused and less documentation focused) I delivered the baby through a triple nuchal cord and placed her on her momma's belly. Then, I handed her a sterile towel to start drying the baby, since the nurse was still ignoring us both in favor of the computer. Thankfully the baby pinked right up and no resuscitation was needed. I finished sewing the lacerations, and held my ear and moaned all the way home.
Flash forward 'till today, I have had over 48 hours of antibiotics, have been living on m.otrin and sud.afed, and I still don't feel any better. The whole right side of my head is clogged, my ear feels full of fluid that shifts and crackles, and oh, the pain is still there. No real fever, just hovering around 100.0, and I still have to hold my head perfectly still or pay the consequences. Now I'm googling Mastoid.itis and generally being a hypochondriac about the whole thing. Oh yes, and I am also on call. I can only pray that the call gods are kind to my suffering soul.
In other news, I updated my CV and sent it out to a few "backup plan" opportunities. Mr. Whoo says my health is suffering because of the lifestyle I have been living the last 3 years. Maybe he is right, because I feel 100 years old right about now. Hope you all are having a wonderful, spring-like weekend, wherever you are. I'm going to hold a hot pack to my ear and whine about it some more.