There’s been some hints on twitter in terms of what’s been going on with me physically lately but I’ve not explicitly talked about it so as I’ve unexpected found myself with a day off, and home at 3 am on a sunday morning instead of at work let me explain.
What started a few weeks ago as a constant noise in the ear developed into fierce pain, dizziness, swelling in the ear, trouble keeping balance, and nausea to the point where I did something I hadn’t done in decades, went to the doctor. He was so shocked to see me show up in the office (no appointment) complaining of sickness on my own he actually found time to see me without much of a wait.
He initially diagnosed an ear infection which seemed to make sense, prescribed a course of antibiotics & told me to rest a few days saying if you’re not much better in under 48 hours to come back. As I wasn’t & DaWife wouldn’t let me wait a 3rd day she took me down and they hit me with IV antibiotics in the hopes of getting ahead of things.
We left the Doctor’s office & hit a local restaurant because I hadn’t eaten in two days when I noticed the straw felt wrong in my mouth, one side of my face had spontaneously collapsed, I looked with Popeye without the pipe, my wife fearing an allergic reaction (I have no history of allergies to anything short of liberalism) rushed me back where I became a sight of popular attraction curiosity among the staff and medical students who immediately arranged for me to be admitted to St. Vincent’s hospital in Worcester at once.
I hadn’t been admitted to a hospital in over 30 years and the only room they had was in the ICU. After a giving me a set of physical tests and examining me it turns out I have something that my own Leominster based Doctor had read about but never seen, Ramsey Hunt Syndrome.
It’s a form of shingles, based on the Chicken Pox virus (although the Russian based doctor at St. V’s made a cultural faux pas when explaining, saying I had herpes. That’s technically correct as the Chicken Pox virus is of that family but it provided a comic moment when I answered loudly “I have WHAT?!“. The wife and sons still regret that they were behind me & did not have camera phones at the ready).
My Doc missed it because until the Bell’s Palsy in the face is the classic sign of it. It’s viral so antibiotics are totally ineffective so I was put on some new anti-viral drugs (side effect of dizziness which added to my already unsteady footing) and a steroid anti-inflammatory for the ear inflammation (which apparently when your on it has interesting psychological effects so my own doc ordered a follow up to wean me from it before hey made me more wired than I already am). To a guy who doesn’t take aspirin it was weird to be on lots of meds
So I spent a week out of work in bed contagious and when I went back I was careful my boss & my co-workers kept a close eye & was given the OK to leave if wasn’t up to it. All my free time has been spent resting or online. I didn’t realize how bad I actually looked till Friday when I went out to a breakfast haunt I normally frequent and everyone was staring, they thought I had a stroke because of my walk and face.
The Doc checked on me Friday I’ve been slowly regaining control of the facial muscles on the right side of my face, I can whistle again, my balance is much improved and as of this writing I can with great effort close my right eye while leaving my left eye open (when I can blink alternatively at normal speed I’ll know I have it all back). If you haven’t seen me in some time you’ll instantly notice is wrong by my eye but the improvement seems steady.
On the down side I’m still getting the occasional stabbing pain in my right ear, but it only lasts a few seconds, the ringing in the ear has continued unabated (it’s particularly loud in settings like Eucharistic Adoration where there is no other background noise) and as I said I don’t have complete facial control. Doc said he expects these to go away but it could be six days, six weeks, six months or never, but there is nothing here that I can’t deal with after all it could have been much worse.
On the financial side our post Obamacare insurance is really bad so I’m worried about what the very short admission at St. V’s will cost & I’m out a week’s pay & hadn’t accused much if any sick time.
The most frustrating thing about it all is timing during the golden time of the most interesting primary season there has ever been I’ve been effectively grounded. It’s one thing to take a 15 minute drive to work late at night when there is no traffic, it’s another to drive to NH to cover primary events in my condition. Fortunately online other than my always horrible grammar none of the symptoms are apparently and my mind is no more diminished than my liberal friends always thought it was.
However if you’re wondering why I haven’t been on the ground lately up North as you might have expected, now you know.
The good news is that while my face has not fully recovered, web traffic has. January 2016 marks the 4th straight month of recovery and the doldrums of 2014 & early 2015 seem completely behind.
The bad news is DaTipjar has not recovered to 2013 levels yet. With a $62 a day avg goal as of Jan 30th we’re reached where I hoped we’d be January 7th, just over 25%.
Given where the economy is rather than where the MSM pretends it is and that it is January both are understandable and to those who have kicked in (particularly subscribers), thanks much.
If however you have not & are both able and inclined I’d really appreciate it if you’d help us either close January strong or start February stronger by hitting DaTipJar.
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