ears and eyes and mouth and nose

Health, or ability, in this case is a strange thing.  You never really appreciate it is there until it's not.  I suppose this is the case with most things, but somehow it seems all the more so with health.  You take it for granted.  It is.  It always has been.  And mostly, you think, it always will be.  And then, quite unexpectedly, it disappears and all of a sudden your left with a gaping hole where once something was, which you never really even noticed before, but  now it is not.   
For the last two weeks I've been partially deaf in my left ear.  Moderately-severe according to Google.  My Ear, Nose and Throat doctor didn't tell me this, but I saw my audiogram and then googled what it meant.  I have become the patient I used to despise - googling for answers that, for whatever reason, my doctor chose not to answer.  But I digress.  What I thought was a fairly normal, albeit severe, middle ear infection ended up leaving a mark on my inner ear (the bit that does the hearing). I knew that something was wrong, but it was only confirmed on Monday when I had my first audiogram.  Essentially I had lost the ability to hear high frequency tones in my left ear. 
But what did this actually mean?  Most obviously, and ironically, it meant that everything low pitched sounded louder as my brain registered low tones and not high.  I found walking along the street an overwhelming experience - too much noise and the traffic sounded different - I was no longer able to hear the tell-tale clatter of trams passing, car engines sounded like a deafening rumble.  I would look at people having a conversation on the street and only hear half their words.  At home I couldn't hear the water boiling on the stove.  When having a conversation I would purposely stand to the left of the group so that my right ear (the good ear) could do the listening.  I struggled to hear conversations when there was any background music. 
So on Monday I embarked on a salvage attempt.  A daily anaesthetic infusion which aims to 'quieten' the sympathetic nervous system and allow the inner ear time to heal.  Every day this week I have woken up and wondered if my ear has healed.  I've listened for the water boiling on the stove, analysed the sound of the traffic on my way to work.  I have been grateful that it is "just" my hearing, and not my balance, or my sight.  I have pondered what it would be like to live like this, forever.  I have, on occasion, wished, that everyone could experience this loss to know what it is to hear.  Really hear.  I have also paid attention to my other senses - my eyes, touch, taste and been grateful that they are there without knowing what it is to loose them.

Yesterday, I thought I heard the trams and I smiled. 
Today, this morning, I had another audiogram.  The ringing in my ear remains, but my hearing has improved, neigh, it is almost normal again.  

My health is back and I couldn't be happier.

Have a lovely weekend. ox

All images from www.weheartit.com - 1. Guilhemabarf  2. Brock Lefferts 3. JeanBroc 4.Sophie


Jess said...

It is very interesting for me reading this because a huge part of my communication disorders paper focused around hearing. I really hope things keep improving and the tinnitus clears up completely for you. Have a good weekend x

Colleen said...

Wow, that sounds like a scary ordeal. I'm so glad that it was fixable and that things are back to normal for you.

Diana Mieczan said...

Oh when I was reading this I was so hoping that in the end you will be fine...and Im so glad that everything is going back to normal...I had a few scary stuff like that happen to me before too and I always make sure to be so thankful for the health I have and try to maintain it as it is:) I am so happy you can hear well again...I know that it was scary!
Happy Friday, darling :)

jorth said...

Oh no, you poor thing. Whenever my husband feels an ear infection coming on he pours vinegar into his ear... he swears by it, but I'm not sure I would recommend such advice (and guess where he found it - Google!)

Hope it's all back to 100% soon, dear girl.

ALFIE said...

we take so many little things for granted. it's scary and humbling when we loose something---even for a time.

i am so glad you're well again. your story will help me remember to be thankful for health and wellness :)

Silver Strands said...

Wow Clare. All time best post.
Mind if I share it?
And your photography is amazing. So glad you're doing well now.
lots of love to you.

High Heeled Life said...

Clare, what an amazing post! It is so true we never give much thought to health - when we have always had it. I went a year 1/2 without being able to touch my face with my right hand (or use of my right hand for that matter) and today after surgery I have some use - but no where close to its "normal" use.

I'm happy you are healing - and wish you a full recovery!!!! You are very inspiring - I found you via my visit to Silver Strands. I'm goingto become a follower of yours and hope you pop by for a visit and can find some inspiration and follow me too! www.attitudeIVlife.blogspot.com - cheers, HHL

Jane said...

hi bear,
i'm dealing with life one handed at the moment - quite different from one-eared, but part of health one takes for granted! who would have thought one tiny joint in my left hand could cause so much pain and inconvenience.
i'm already looking forward to when i can do my hair again - something i can't get used to doing with 1 hand.

Elizabeth said...

So glad you wrote this...so that we could know a sliver of what it was like and so that you can always remember. Happy you're better.

Stella said...

Wow, that's so intense! I'm glad you're on the mend... I've been having bouts of mild vertigo lately and this post has convinced me to go and have it checked out... Dooom.

406 Olivia said...

Found you via Denalee at Silver Strands...what beautiful pictures and a poignant post. I am so happy to hear (!) your hearing has returned.