Friends, Romans, Countrymen, (Anybody!) Lend Me Your Ears

26 03 2010

For me, a cold is usually all about the nose.  I may start with a sort throat for a day, and I may briefly get a cough on the way out, but mostly I have nasal congestion, a very runny nose, and the need for LOTS of tissues.

This symptom has two things going for it.  The first is gravity.  Have you ever awakened in the morning with a cold, and when you got up your nose miraculously cleared?  It’s as if “going vertical” caused all the gunk to sink to some preferable lower level, and your day is looking better already!

And the gravity thing works well in conjunction with your second option: nose blowing.  You’ve pretty much got a direct line to the source of the problem, and thanks to the wonders of air pressure, you can work wonders to clear things up, though you may have to repeat the process over and over and over.

But last December I got an infection characterized not by nasal symptoms but by congestion in my lungs.  The only weapon in my arsenal was a good, hearty cough.  Not as effective as blowing your nose, because

  1. You’re working against gravity, not with it, and
  2. You’ve got a lot more distance to cover.

But it was something.

Now for over a month I’ve had an ear infection–no pain, just fluid in my ear that blocks my hearing and makes my tinnitus worse than usual.  Unfortunately, there’s no equivalent to nose blowing or coughing.  The only relief comes when I lay on my side and let gravity s-l-o-w-l-y drain the fluid to somewhere that provides some return to normalcy.  But you can’t spend your whole day lying down.

I’ve been through two rounds of antibiotics and one round of steroids and I have an appointment with the ear guy next week.  And in the meantime I alternate between feeling like I”m going to explode with aggravation,  feeling just depressed and defeated, and feeling hopeful that relief will come soon.

Plus I spend a lot of time repositioning myself so I can hear people with my good ear.

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