I was partially deaf over last weekend. In fact, it got so bad that I had to go to the ENT specialist first thing on Monday morning. I couldn’t hear in my right ear because the ear canal had swelled shut . It hurt so much my jaw constantly ached, I had a headache and a slight fever. I ended up having a tiny sponge jammed into my ear for 3 days with ear drops being administered every few hours. From the ear swab the doctor took, he determined that I had, not 1 strain of bacterial infection, but 2 strains, with one of them being a very heavy infection.
And it’s my fault it got so serious.
The initial infection happened around 3 weeks ago. I had used ear drops and medication and eventually after 2 to 3 days, the swelling went down and I could hear again. So I decided not to see the specialist. I thought everything was under control because it did not hurt any longer. Even though my ear still itched and felt slightly wet, I thought it would fix itself if I continued using the ear drops.
Turns out the ear drops were the wrong solution to the problem. They were the wrong kind of drops for the kind of infection I had. I would have found that out earlier and saved myself a lot of pain if I had persisted in finding a complete solution. Instead, I dragged my feet about going back to the specialist.
And I think a lot of us do that in our lives.
We have problems and often struggle to find the right solution. So we deploy band aids as a temporary fix. Unfortunately, we sometimes decide the band aid is ok and stop looking for solutions. After all, the band aid is quite comfortable and it’s stopped the bleeding. This doesn’t solve the problem in the long term. As long as the right solution is not implemented, eventually the problem will fester and explode.
From this episode, I realised a few things:
1) I dreaded going back to my previous ENT because he is very fierce. I had been recommended to see him when I had my first ear infection in Dec 2011. That infection happened because a tiny piece of hair had fallen into my ear during a haircut and gotten stuck. Subsequently when I went to see him last year, he insisted that my ear infection was due to the fact I am digging my ears with cotton swabs, even when I have not. This made me drag my feet about going to see him this time because I didn’t want to get nagged at again.
2) My previous ENT had never suggested doing an ear swab. Even when it was very clear that my ear was infected, he always treated it with antibiotics and ear drops. The new ENT I saw on Monday immediately ordered an ear swab so he could check what bacteria it is and how to treat it. I should have sought a second opinion sooner.
3) The new ENT is actually cheaper than the previous one. So going for the more expensive option may not always be the better option.
I’m glad i decided to look for a better solution to my problem instead of going back to the same ENT who had not solved my problem completely. I am due back to the new ENT in 2 weeks for a follow up ear swab to confirm that my ear infection is completely cleared. In the meantime, I am glad the swelling has gone down. I can hear clearly again and am no longer in pain.