Just so you have a frame of reference, you need to know I am lying in bed right now writing this on my SpaceBook. It is Friday night, 18:05 and I’m lying in bed on my laptop. You’re probably out painting the town, tearing it up, getting some trim, drinking some Cold Ones, and I’m lying here in bed. On my computer. On a Friday night. Have I emphasized that enough yet? Well allow me to pour a little salt in the wound. Even though it’s just after 1800 hours – six for you non-military types – my evening is already set in stone. There won’t be a break. I’ll be doing the same thing in two hours, and in six hours. My night is ruined.
Last night my red-haired wife and I were sitting out on the back patio just enjoying the cool summer breeze and a couple of Ones that were – at least to the best of my recollection – pretty Cold. When all of a sudden, from out of the corner of the backyard, I spotted something terrible and sinister. And before I could gather my senses and react appropriately (which would be to grab my Browning from the deep-conceal holster in the small of my back and put two in dead center mass), it was on me. I’ve never been attacked and overcome with such rapid efficiency or tactical precision in my life. My defenses were useless.
By the time I realized what had happened, I couldn’t breathe. My nose was dripping, my sinuses felt like someone had filled them with concrete, and my eyes were watering. Step hadn’t even seen it hit me. But I had been attacked by the Level Orange Air Pollution. It wreaked havoc on my allergies and my histamines were scrambling trying to formulate an assault plan. I started sneezing, wheezing and coughing, trying to snort back the concrete in my sinuses so I could at least spit it out. I leaned forward in my chair and let my nose just drip, drip, drip on the bricks. I know, it’s not the most attractive thing you’ve ever read. But at least you didn’t have to see it.
After about thirty minutes of this, and I had taken a sinus pill with an expectorant, I had to go to bed. I hopped in the shower and let scalding water pound me in the face, breathing its heady, steamy fumes to try and loosen up my sinuses. I also performed a nasal irrigation. I do have some amount of dignity left, so I’ll spare you the details on what that’s all about. But suffice it to say, I put saline in, and not all of it came out. I went to bed with saltwater in my sinuses. So when I woke up at 0100 this morning, my eustation tubes were screaming. The pressure on the insides of my eardrums was incredible, and the pain was almost more than I could tolerate.
I have a pretty good tolerance for pain, and – seeing as how I live with it every day, this dull aching reminder that I’m alive and that I’m a man – it’s usually easy for me to sweep it under the rug and forget about it. In most cases, at least, that holds true. But this was bright, hot, stabbing pain, like someone was beating my eustation tubes with firey torches and pummeling my eardrums with poison-tipped spears. Not like the britney spears you hear about, but more like the demarcus ones. I can’t describe it any better than that. Every time I would hiccup or swallow, it would feel like they were bursting. That’s another thing: I couldn’t equalize. I’m a certified diver, and have never had any problem equalizing ear pressure at depth. But you know how when your ears pop, you can usually swallow or yawn and they unpop? Yeah. Well mine just simply and absolutely wouldn’t. No matter what I did, they would not unpop. screw that kind of pain. When something so tiny and fragile in your head is in pain it’s worse than sawing your freakin’ leg off.
So anyway, I’m sitting there on the edge of my bed at one in the morning, trying to decide what to do. The clinics I work for would be open at 0800, but that was seven hours away. And I couldn’t get back to sleep because of the pain. I didn’t think I could last another seven hours. If I could just hold out ’til eight o’clock, I could check-in on the web and roll up to the Frisco West clinic, be on the doctor’s table by 0815 and have a pocket full of pills by nine. Plus if they hooked up that SoulVac to my nose and sucked all the concrete out of my sinuses, I might even have walked out of there whistling, and not even needed a scrip.
Well, as I said, I couldn’t hold out, because just sitting there was causing an intolerable amount of pain. So I got dressed and drove in to the emergency room. Now let me tell you how bad I hate going to the hospital: I hate going to the hospital. Especially the emergency room. I got in there, checked in, then sat in the empty waiting room for about thirty minutes before they finally put me in a room. Where they then proceeded to forget I existed. I lay my head on the pillow at around 0145 or so, and was awakened about an hour later by a male nurse who told me the doctor would be in to see me in a few minutes. When I woke up again some of the pressure was gone, but I was still alone in the room. And it was 0500. I decided that since I had been able to sleep, some of the fluid had probably run out my ear, and screw this, I’m not sitting around here any longer. So I walked out. I’d just go to the clinic when it opened.
Well I went on into work around eleven, then called a clinic, they put me on the list and I went in to see a real doctor. One who would actually see me. Well, he told me I was going to be okay. There was apparently no permanent damage to my eardrums and the fluid would eventually make its way out. But he went ahead and gave me a shot of cortisone steroid to expedite the process. And of course, I had a reaction to it. One in seven million people have a reaction to cortisone. It’s a natural chemical your body makes to help defend against pain and infection. People just don’t react to it. Well, I do.
So I started getting hives popping up on my abdomen, and started getting dizzy and incoherent. So they gave me another injection on my other hip. This time of Benadryl. Eighty miligrams. Which is like a shot full of barbs. So skip forward about six hours – here I sit in bed, about to fall asleep again. No matter how much I sleep I can’t defeat this drowsiness. I’m under a thick fog of lethargy and incoherence. I’m surprised I’m able to write at all. But I can barely keep my eyes open. Usually when you’re sleepy, you sleep and you feel better. Well the more I sleep, the sleepier I seem to get. I can’t shake it. I know it will wear off by the morning time, but for now, another day (and night) has passed in which I did not get to celebrate our anniversary and take my red-haired wife out for drinks, dinner, dancing and – well, whatever else goes with that list that starts with a D. Oh well, maybe tomorrow night. Hope your weekend was better than mine.
F allergies. F hay fever. (Unless you’re Byronic – Hay Hay!) F sinuses. And F emergency rooms and their forgetful staffs. I need to go live in a bubble.