I had my post-op on October 6th, so a while ago now. Oh wow, time flies. I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to update those of you that have been reading all of the surgery updates, school has been extremely time consuming (more on that later).
Dr K removed all of the packing from my ear. That felt weird, and not very pleasant. He said that everything looked good. It had fully healed (he did a pressure test)! I was told I could get water in my ear, though it probably wouldn’t hurt to avoid the deep end of pools for a little longer… which is fine because I don’t tend to dive down anyway. I could finally shower again!
Well, you may have noticed all that was past tense. Yup, it’s doing something again. It was fine for a little bit. I cleaned my ear later that night since it felt as though there was something there… there was a little bit of packing that had worked its way out, and some blood. I figured it was all just excess drainage that had been behind the packing. It kept up for a bit, but I figured it was because my ear is small. The drainage was a weird pinkish brown color, but I thought that was dried blood and scab mixed with ear wax. It kept up for a few days. Then, it switched to smelling kind of weird. I thought maybe it hadn’t drained fast so it was just a little blechy. It almost smelled like a bloody nose mixed with the smell of ear wax, almost. Then, it started to smell bad. Just bad. Rank, might be a better word. I thought maybe I just needed to wash it out well. I have a Debrox earwax removal kit, which comes with a little rubber ball (similar to the balls used to clean an infant’s nose) squirt thing. I rinsed it out really well, and a little bit of stuff did come out. So I rinsed it again later. However, once it dried out, it smelled again. I recognized the smell as the smell of decay, yuck. (I’ve had it happen after wearing a wrist brace for a few weeks and only taking it off to shower.) This was kind of strong. So I called the doctor about foul smelling ear drainage. I was told to restart the antibiotic ear drops, and continue for four days (eight doses), but if it didn’t clear up to call back and come in. Well, the office closed on Friday before I got a chance to call. I decided to do two more doses (so a total of five day’s worth) of the drops, since Friday there had been a lot of drainage on my cotton ball. I showered Saturday, early afternoon, and my ear didn’t smell after the shower. Stayed unsmelly Sunday too.
Once again, past tense. I woke up this morning, and my ear felt plugged. I cleaned it, and a ton of stuff came out… the same pinkish brown liquid that smelled foul. Dang it. So I cleaned it well, and then called the office again. I have an appointment for Wednesday afternoon, and no instructions for between now and then. Hopefully, nothing will be wrong. The sheer amount of drainage hints at a problem, at least to me. The smell is definitely not normal. I really hope it’s an easy fix. Like, really easy. I just want my ear back. This whole lump of ear stuff started in March… that was 7 months ago. ::fingers crossed::
My condition has been steady for a while, but hasn’t improved. I’ve been able to move around more, but I think it’s just because I’ve gotten used to the world spinning and the brain fog and exhaustion and I can push myself to function. I’ve also been having so many different symptoms: the headaches, stomach aches, shakiness, etc. Those things didn’t feel like POTS, but I have no idea.
During my follow-up with Dr. J, (which was actually with the NP), we decided to change up the meds. I wasn’t getting better, so things needed to change. We are backing me off the Bystolic (from 7.5mg to 2.5mg a day), taking me off the bupropion entirely (hopefully my depression doesn’t cause issues), and adding a medication I forgot the name of. The new medication’s on-label use is for heart failure, which is not what I have, thankfully. Apparently, heart failure comes with tachycardia. They’ve used this medication successfully for tachycardia, so they are hoping it will be successful for me too. Unfortunately, it will take a bit to build up in my system (like almost all meds), meaning I am all POTsie again. I don’t know how long this will last. When my heart rate drops, I could also get all dizzy as my body learns how to be normal… hopefully. I forgot how exhausted I get when this many things start changing around.
I have, however, started my own version of cardia rehab. I asked my doctor when I went in and she said it was a good idea and it sounds like I’m doing it just fine. Joleen agreed it sounded like I was doing it correctly. Right now, I’m using the recumbent bike at the rec center. I tried to go for 30 minutes at 120bpm (which is where my heart goes when I stand usually)… but I felt it was going to be too hard. Instead, I ended up doing 15 minutes at about 120bpm. This was at a very low resistance (I was at 2, and the bikes go up to about 100, I think). I’m going to stay on low resistance and 120bpm until I can easily ride for a full 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes is easy (hopefully that means I can do at least 45 minutes without working out), I’ll raise the resistance a bit to get my heart rate up. I’m going to move slowly though, since overdoing it can undo all the good. When I decide to go for a higher heart rate, I’m going to aim for 30 minutes at 125bpm. Hopefully, I can get up to being able to do 30 minutes close to my target cardio heart rate (about 160bpm). I imagine, however, I’ll notice a rather significant difference once I can do 30 min at 130bpm.
And, as it turns out, my sister-in-law is thinking of doing cardiac rehab stuff. Maybe after she gets established with it, I can get some advice. I won’t ask for quite a while though, especially since I haven’t really explained to my in-laws exactly what is going on and how bad it is.
Thankfully, my fibro has mostly stopped flaring again. The weather is changing, so it might flare back up soon, but the part from the surgery is done. Being all POTsie also makes my nerves all tingly, so I can feel every inch of my clothing. I have, however, been noticing that my hands and feet seem to be increasingly less sensitive. Not sure if that’s a fibro thing, a POTs thing, something else we haven’t discovered yet, or just my brain deciding it doesn’t want to keep hurting and me not knowing what that feels like. I guess we’ll see. Hopefully my cardiac rehab will also help the fibro.
I’ve been doing well with my classes.
I can’t stand my anthro teacher, she’s been less than professional. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to word my objections calmly so that it will be productive and listened to by the department head. We also have left osteology behind, and have started forensic stuff. We watched a video, and it had real dead bodies that were found. It was a documentary, actually, following around the medical examiners in Arizona. The video was about the illegal immigration fatalities in the Sonoran Desert. The amount of deaths is heartbreaking. The video, however, was not something I could watch again. There were real dead bodies. Some of them were shown far closer than I wanted to see. They also had to remove the hands of a dead body to rehydrate them to get prints, and they showed the hands. Not okay. Not okay at all. That was a rough class.
Geography, however, has been fascinating. I love my teacher; he is very good at his job. I’m also learning SO MUCH about places I knew almost nothing about. The world is an interesting place, and so different based on point of view. I hate politics, but usually because it is absolutely impossible to learn about them in an even remotely objective way. This class, however, has been able to provide me with as close to an objective view as can be provided. I’ve also been learning about so many different kinds of cultures and ways of life, I find it so interesting! Geography has not had much “this is here, this is there” type of thing, and I still can’t tell you where a lot of places are 😛 It’s been a study of populations and how they relate to geography, as well as weather and how geography and people impact it.
So far I’ve gotten high scores on everything in both classes (except for the hw I didn’t turn in yesterday for geo, but he doesn’t have a late policy so I can do it while I study for the midterm). I have my geo midterm on Thursday, and I have my anthro midterm the next Tuesday. We’ll see how those go, but I’m not too terribly worried. I’m really not concerned with anthro because we haven’t really covered anything new (to me) in class… and our lectures are WAY behind where we are supposed to be in the books according to the syllabus. Geography is just a lot of material, so I need to review.
The furnace died. Just in time for Colorado to finally decide to start cooling off. Well, it still would run, technically. However, the inspector noticed that the heat exchanger had a hairline crack in it. Cracked heat exchangers can lead to deadly carbon monoxide leaks. With the kitties, and how low they are to the ground (carbon monoxide is heavier than atmosphere and stays low), I was really not okay with the potential for the leak. The furnace is also original to the house (1984) so it was going to need replacing soon anyway. The new one (is from Rheem, in case you’re interested, through Home Depot) is much more efficient and should lead to lower utility bills. We couldn’t afford to spring for the air conditioning at the same time, unfortunately, but the furnace is compatible for the addition of a/c later.
My car may have died. It was having a weird transmission related issue, or so we thought. The transmission light was blinking, and the car would not accelerate AT ALL if it was in D4 or D3. We were essentially having to drive it like a manual transmission, shifting into 2nd when stopped and then shifting up as necessary. We took it in, because that is a weird and annoying issue (and it was causing other issues) and their diagnostic determined it was a fuse for the transmission and related systems. After we got it back it ran fine a few times and flipped out again. Dan and I figured out how to get the codes, and then we asked the shop about them. Now, it may be an electrical problem. We’re taking it to a dealership tomorrow morning to find out. Dan’s car freaked us out too, since the other day it started weird. But it only did it once so we think something (like a leaf) got under the hood somewhere it wasn’t supposed to. But, after the scare, we’re definitely actually looking for a car. If my car costs more than about $800 to fix, it probably won’t be worth it. If another repair for Dan’s surfaces that is over $1000, then it’s just not worth it to us (we’ve put a lot of money into it already). We have to have at least ONE car. We really need two with all the appointments I have, and my classes, and Dan has applied for grad school so he’ll need to be getting to his classes from work. Right now, I have either been driving Dan to work, then doing all my things, then picking him up. It’s getting exhausting for me, especially on school days. Plus, we’re driving to California for Thanksgiving, so knowing 100% that we’ll have a functional car would be good…
Life is hectic, obviously. And life is expensive. Hopefully, however, I can actually start keeping up on this blog. I’ve done a better job at giving myself time for painting.
More posts from the Great Ear Saga: The Great Ear Saga of 2015, Bawling Bean, Stay on the Drops, Cutting in Time for School, The PreOp Highlights, Class, Surgery, Life, Anxiety, Dan’s Post-Surgery Update, Quick Ear Update, PostOp Physical Therapy, My Post-Surgery Update, Pain Killers, Exhaustion, Life