Hear me Out
Nothing in my life situation has changed. My interactions with my housemates are normal, my schedule is as normal as it ever is... yet, I have the nagging feeling of intense loneliness pulling at me, sucking me down to the depths with everything it has.
I've lost my hearing.
On Thursday, September 8th, my left ear drum presumably ruptured. I attempted to call local doctors trying to find someone who was taking on new clients to no avail. If you move to a city where 1,000 people move to every day, you will have the hardest time trying to find a doctor who can take on anyone new as 1,000 other people are doing the same thing.
By Friday the 9th, both ears were giving me the worst pain, felt inflamed inside and out, and were leaking bile and blood - disgusting, I KNOW.
I walked myself to the ER mentally blinded by pain. Apparently, I looked like hell as the gal checking me in was in the biggest rush to get me back to be seen by the doctor. She jumped me to the head of the line at the ER and got a nurse to take me back before we had finished the check in process.
I'd like to take a moment to thank the nice people at the ER. The nurse gave me a warm blanket while I waited on the bed thing. I felt comforted by this.
Folks, my ears were in such bad shape, the ER doctor couldn't see inside them to tell how bad the ruptures were. I was prescribed drops and pain pills to get me through the weekend and given a referral for an ENT specialist to follow up with me at the beginning of the next week.
Life tip: Don't go to the ER alone if you can help it. I don't think I could help it, well, I might have, but I wasn't thinking well enough due to pain and such, so alone I went. Solo ER trips feel like the depths of loneliness and no one is there to comfort you but that warm blanket. I panicked a lot while sitting there and probably wouldn't have as much had someone gone with me.
That Tuesday, I went to the ENT to get a better diagnostic of my ear drums.
The ENT still could not see inside my ears. After much discussion, a tiny vacuum in my ear and some painful scraping of my inner ears, the doctor declared that she couldn't do anything unless she could see inside. The drops given to me by the ER were not reaching the parts of my ears that actually needed the drops. The solution to this? Inserting something called a wick into my ears to guide the drops all the way in. Wicks are these tube-like things and I really wish I asked to see them before she put them in. I can feel them, but that is not the same.
Sweet mother of pearl, I was NOT prepared for the placement of said wicks in my ears. To be fair, the ENT did give me a pain warning saying it would sting and hurt.
She did not tell me just HOW MUCH it would sting and hurt.
Folks, that was the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. I've gotten a tattoo, I've broken my tailbone, I've cracked a rib, I've been hurt by humans, I've choked on a chip - nothing, NOTHING could have prepared me for the pain I would feel getting these put in.
I cried from pain as she shoved the first one in. I would have screamed from the pain, but I think I was in too much shock from how much this was hurting me. I was NOT prepared.
After she put the first in, I realized I HAVE TWO EARS. It would have to happen a second time.
I begged for a break while I cried silently and mentally prepared myself for round two.
She put the second tube in and I was blinded from pain, and then I felt a new sensation...
"Wait, I can't hear anymore. Is this just because my ears are shocked from the pain?"
It had to be a shock reaction, I was sure of it. My ears were echoing the pain over and over and over and over to me.
"No. The wicks have blocked your hearing and it will be like this until I remove them in a week. You will get used to it after a few days"
I cried again at that point. The pain was so much to deal with, and now? Now I've lost what little hearing I had left. I was terrified, disoriented and in the worst pain. I couldn't hear her talking to me very well. The air in the room was no more, I could see her hands typing, but couldn't hear the familiar click of keys.
If you plug both you ears with your fingers, you know how suddenly your voice is blasting in your head when you talk or sing? Now, take how this feels and shove your head a few feet underwater. This is how I feel 24/7. If I am talking, my voice inside my skull drowns out literally everything else. If I am chewing, this also drowns out anything else. I can hear myself breath and I swear at times I can hear my heart beating.
I can't hear the everyday, normal movements of those around me. I can't hear people breath, I can't hear them type, I can't hear pots and pans and bumping and slamming. I can't hear footsteps, the front door of my home opening and closing. If someone comes up behind me, I have no way of knowing. Unless I can see someone, see the light change or feel vibrations from their movements, I won't know someone is near by.
I've found myself facing someone who is in the room with me, even if we are not talking to each other, just so I can glance up occasionally and see that they are still there. It might be a little too close for comfort for some of them, but I have to know people are still around.
Friends, by the time the wicks are removed, I will have gone 10 days with little to no hearing.
It's disorienting! I walk around the city a lot here, and without hearing, you miss a lot. Bus cues for your stop, people talking to you on the streets etc.
It's incredibly lonely as everything feels pulled into my head. My thoughts feel more intensified as I can't hear much else but the things swimming around inside my brain. Nothing is competing with the thoughts and voices in my head. They overwhelm me.
I miss music. I miss hearing the people around me being human: breathing, typing, talking, humming, singing. I miss knowing someone is behind me, I miss birds singing, dogs barking. I miss knowing how loud I am talking, I miss the voices of those I live with. I miss podcasts. I miss the voices of the city, honking, yelling, air blowing, cars moving.
I await the removal of these tubes tomorrow morning. I'm excited and maybe 15% worried.
There is the chance that the removal of these tubes will be as painful as the inserting of them was... but I don't know for sure.
I'll let you all know...