Wow, it’s August. Dude.
July pretty much did not exist for me, because a headache on Friday the 6th (which I attributed to overexertion in extreme heat) gave way to a migraine on Sunday the 8th (which I attributed to incoming thunder storms), which gave way to piercing pain in both ears by Tuesday the 10th.
This, the piercing pain, I attributed to not going to the doctor the previous Friday. (Also, “I should have listened to my Mom.“)
So, to summarize: I’ve been sick for a month, and we’re only just starting to put together the WHY. Initially they (being those in the medical profession) thought it was a sinus infection, but I didn’t really respond to 21 days of Augmentin 875 mg. The Urgent Care doctor sent me home with 10 days of antibiotics, my PCP added 5 days, an ENT added 7 more and told me my middle ears were “perfect,” then a second ENT (Dr. Pardo, my amazing thyroid doctor at Annapolis ENT) scoped my nose and declared me “infection free!”
“Infection free” is one of those phrases that should make you feel better. But my ears still felt underwater and I was still in pain, so, no… a victory dance I did not treat him with. He told me to schedule a CT scan of my sinuses and sent me home with a 5-day regimen of Prednisone.
By Day 2, I was starting to feel better. Hallelujah!
Finished up the steroids on Saturday (8/4). Then I took my compost pail to Mom & Dad’s and had a severe allergic reaction immediately after dumping & rinsing out the pail.
I was pretty miserable all day on Sunday, and likened how I felt to a slot machine of symptoms — every five min or so I’d be aware of a different (but equally worrying) symptom, such as itchy tongue, burning eyes, throat closing up, nausea, itchy eyes, hot spots in ears, etc. When my throat started closing up, I almost had Mom take me to the ER, but then it abated. I knew I had my CT scan scheduled for Monday morning so I just curled into a ball on my parents’ sofa until I felt I could drive home, and I waited.
Monday morning I drove to Annapolis, walked into my doctor’s office and said I would come back and wait after my CT scan and hope that they could work me in. Pardo’s physician’s assistant, Carrie Joneckis, fit me into her busy schedule and sympathized with how shaken I was by having that reaction. She reported that my CT scan came back “perfect,” immediately started me on a 12-day regimen of Prednisone, and gave me some tips for air travel with grumpy ears.
I’ve generally been in good health since moving to my townhouse and being in control of the cleanliness of my spaces, but I had started using a compost pail at home for kitchen scraps. Now that my CSA (community supported agriculture) is giving me lots of fruit, I’m finding that the decay in the pail is producing more mold and fermentation as opposed to what comes from just vegetable matter, coffee grinds and egg shells. In fact, because I empty my compost pail at my parents’ house in intervals of about 2-3 weeks, the past two times I’ve found that the mold and the smell is just overwhelming. Since I crack open the pail every morning to dump in items from breakfast preparation, that could explain the general rise in allergic symptoms over the past few months.
A mold allergy is probably too simple for a final answer: we had a mild winter + mild spring and crazy things are blooming/growing this year that usually gets killed off in the winter, so overall allergies are up everywhere (every doctor’s office confirmed this). The sum total of all of those reactions building up on top of one another was probably a source for all of the sinus pain/pressure I was feeling, and for my swollen Eustachian tubes.
I’ll be following up with Carrie after a bit of upcoming travel, and also with an allergist to inquire about allergy shots. Figuring out what’s really going on with your body when there are so many factors to consider is time-consuming and draining, especially when you feel like crap while you’re doing it. But discovering a lead that starts to help unravel the mystery of why I am the way I am is incredibly satisfying.