Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sigh of Relief

Sweetie has a new ENT. Cue huge sigh of relief.

Now, why would a new ENT cause such a reaction? That is a story. One of those "in sickness and in health" stories.

Not long after we got married, he began to have some symptoms of an ear infection in his left ear. At first, he was just put on an antibiotic by a GP. The symptoms didn't get better, and my dad sent him to an ENT.

This particular ENT had been in the business since he was a doc in WWII, and took one look and said, "Severe mastoid infection due to the fact that you used to swim in rivers and creeks all of the time. The whole mastoid bone in there is involved, you need surgery or it will break through and get into the brain and kill you." This ENT's uncle had pioneered the surgery, and this ENT had performed it on Lyndon Johnson when he needed it.

What we didn't know at the time was that after the surgery, you have to have the ear debrided every couple of months for the rest of your life.

Two years later, Sweetie became one of the only people ever on the planet to get the same thing in the other ear.

So now he has two ears that need to be seen every two months forever. And the clincher is that younger doctors are not usually trained in hand debridement. They use either water or suction, unless they seek out training in this subspecialty.

You can't use water in the ear after this kind of surgery. As part of the surgery the whole ear canal is reamed out and opened up, and water gets in there extremely easily, gets into areas where it makes you dizzy, then unconscious. If he ever goes under water again, he could drown. And ear infections caused by water in his ear from a shower or rain can kill him if not caught in time.

Even a sinus infection has to be aggressively treated or it can get into the middle ear and kill him.

Once, when his doctor was ill, he went to a local doctor who tried to use water. He ended up with a massive fungal infection that could have killed him, and almost did as the doc didn't see it when he went back. His own doctor came back and caught it just in time.

Another time he went to a doctor who tried to use suction. He completely missed an infection that was there, and damaged the delicate skin that is left on the ear canal.

Over the years, his ENT moved. So visiting every 2 months meant an out of town trip, meals, gas, etc.

It had become very inconvenient.

Also, the doctor wasn't getting any younger. He was now over 90, still practicing, but recently has decided to slow down and teach. He won't be seeing patients any more after this June.

Sweetie sat down with the phone book recently and called the first ENT practice in the phone book to see if there was a doc there who could do hand debriding of a modified radical mastoidectomy. The Good Lord must have been smiling on him that day, because he had called the only practice in the city that has one doctor who does it.

She is gentle. She doesn't hurt him. She understands his concerns. She encouraged him to continue putting cotton in his ears every time he showers and every time it rains. She told him he was spot on reaming his ear out after every exposure to water with 91% rubbing alcohol, and doing it twice a week whether there had been water exposure or not. She told him to keep using the acetic acid solution once a week as well. She is young, smart, and funny.

Thus a sigh of relief. No need to drive out of town and make a production out of getting his ears cleaned. We can wish Dr. B a happy retirement and not worry.

Today is

Act of Self Determination Day -- Cocos (Keeling) Islands

ASPCA Day/Humane Day -- anniversary of founding in 1866

Cimarron Territory Celebration and World Cow Chip–throwing® Championship Contest -- Beaver, OK, US (through the 21st)

Commodore Perry Day

Dust the Ceiling Fan Day -- before it gets hot and you have to turn it on and find out you forgot how dusty it gets up there the hard way

Feast of Bau -- Ancient Babylonian Calendar (
mother of Ea[Earth]; date approximate, around the same time of year the Romans honored Cybele)

Feast of the Rivers and Seas -- Ancient Sumerian Calendar (date approximate, around the same time of year the Romans honored Cybele)

Festival of the Megalesia ends/Birthday of Cybele -- Ancient Roman Calendar

Founder's Day -- Salvation Army

Frances Perkins Day -- US (birthday of the first woman appointed to a Presidential Cabinet position)

Golfer's Day -- anniversary of founding of the Professional Golfers' Association of America in 1916

International Be Kind To Lawyers Day

National Cinnamon Crescent Day

National Library Workers Day

National Siblings Day

St. Michael de Sanctis' Day (Patron of cancer patients)

Birthdays Today:

Haley Joel Osment, 1988
Mandy Moore, 1984
Ryan Merriman, 1983
Liz McClarnon, 1981
Shemekia Copeland, 1979
Steven Seagal, 1952
John Madden, 1936
Omar Sharif, 1932
Max Von Sydow, 1929
Chuck Connors, 1921
Harry Morgan, 1915
Joseph Pulitzer, 1847
James Bowie, 1796
Commodore Matthew Perry, 1794
Cybele, Roman goddess (traditional, year unknown)

Today in History:

Halley's Comet and Earth experienced their closest approach to one another when their separating distance equaled 0.0342 AU (3.2 million miles), 837
the lama Deshin Shekpa visits the Ming Dynasty capital at Nanjing. He is awarded with the title Great Treasure Prince of Dharma, 1407
The Charter of the Virginia Company of London is established by royal charter by James I of England with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America, 1606
The first law regulating copyright is issued in Great Britain, 1710
The Mount Tambora volcano in Indonesia begins its peak eruption period that lasts until July 15, 1815
The 10,500 inhabitants of the Greek town Messolonghi start leaving the town after a year's siege by Turkish forces. Very few of them survive, 1826
The NY "Tribune" begins publishing under editor Horace Greeley, 1841
The safety pin is patented by Walter Hunt of NYC, who sells the rights for only $100, 1849
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is founded in New York City by Henry Bergh, 1866
The first Arbor Day is celebrated in Nebraska, 1874
The Titanic leaves Southampton, England, 1912
Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata is ambushed and shot dead by government forces in Morelos, 1919
Warner Brothers debuts the first 3-D movie, "House of Wax," 1953
Adolf Eichmann is put on trial as a war criminal in Israel, 1961
In an attempt to thaw relations with the United States, the People's Republic of China hosts the U.S. table tennis team for a week long visit, 1971
A 7.0 earthquake kills 1/5 of population of Iranian province of Fars, 1972
H J Heinz, Van Camp Seafood & Bumble Bee Seafood say they would not buy tuna caught in nets that also trap dolphins, 1989
A rare tropical storm develops in the Southern Hemisphere near Angola; the first to be documented by satellites, 1991
President of Fiji Ratu Josefa Iloilo announces he will suspend the constitution and assume all governance in the country, creating a constitutional crisis, 2009


  1. Oh that is a big relief, I'm sure. It sounds like nasty business.

    and as a sister to and mother to people who struggle with ear-stuffs----I GET THIS :)

  3. What an ordeal. I'm so glad it's working out for him, and so much more convienient with the new doctor.

  4. Yes, Hilary, it is.

    Carla, i hope your sister and the Tornado stay well in the ear department.

    It was an ordeal, Stephen, we're glad it's over.

  5. Good gravy, I've not heard of that before, but your angels must have been in a great mood to get you someone right off the bat like that. Normally, that's a hunt, in this area anywho...


  6. If only we humans could get along so well.

  7. My goodness, what a situation. I never dreamed such a thing was necessary after any ear operation. Would this operation be be done these days or is it an old fashioned op?

    In any case, it sounds a total chore having to get it seen to every 2 months, and I can well understand the relief you must all feel now! I am very glad indeed that you have found a good ENT within easy reach.


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