I have a terrible time flying because of eustachian tube dysfunction. I have trouble with this when I'm standing on solid ground, much less in the air on a plane. I can tell you when the plane I'm in is descending LONG before most people can feel it because my ears suddenly feel like someone is jamming ice picks into them.
No really. Ice picks.
Once on the ground again it takes anywhere from several hours to 6 weeks for my hearing to return to normal, during which time my ears hurt constantly. It is not fun. And yes, I'm whining.
Last spring, just one week before I went to Serbia and Bulgaria, it occurred to me I was going to be on 8 flights in a matter of 2 weeks. I knew I was going to be absolutely miserable if I didn't do something! I went into my ENT. Having explained the problem over the phone he scheduled me for the end of the day so he could put tubes in my ears right there in the office. They do that with grown ups. LOL No need to knock out big people who can sit still while their ear drum is sliced open an a small appliance stuck through it.
The doctor numbed me up in various places with sprays, and stuck cameras in several orifices, and told me what I already knew. My eustachian tubes were closed. Clearly I needed tubes, but there was a problem. Because I have Menieres disease, using novocain on my ear drums would also affect my inner ear, causing me to have a Meneires episode, rendering me unable to stand up, much less drive home! I would need to have it done under general anesthesia just like the kids do. And by the way, did I know my septum was severely deviated?
"What are you doing tomorrow morning? If you can get someone to drive you home, I can squeeze you into my surgery schedule tomorrow morning."
And so, I had the tubes put in, and a week later, when my first of many flights touched ground and I was pain free, I was ready to sign up to be a flight attendant. Flying was suddenly FUN!!! Over the next 9 months I was on 16 flights without a single problem.
So, about two weeks ago I started having a lot of ear pain and I just knew my tubes had fallen out. Lets see...how many flights will I be taking over the next several months? TOO MANY TO COUNT! There is back and forth to Philly many times, plus a couple other trips that are in the works that require several flights each. Today I went into my ENT again who confirmed that my tubes were indeed out, and he put me under the microscope to get them out of my ears. (Axel was pretty intrigued watching this process! I'm pretty sure he was glad it wasn't him for once. LOL) We discussed my upcoming flights. He said right now my eustachian tubes look good, so I might just be ok. If I have problems with the flights this week I can call and schedule surgery over the phone and he'll get me in as soon as possible, hopefully before I have to fly again.
Then I told him about the bedroom problems. The one where Dean says, "What is WRONG with you? You're snoring so loud I can't sleep at all." Funny, because he was always been the snorer. Funny. I haven't heard him snore in ages. I wondered what he'd secretly done to solve the problem? It never occurred to me I wasn't hearing him because I was snoring myself! Perhaps my own snoring is causing such severe sleep deprivation that would account for the fact I'm asleep before I close my eyes sometimes.
My doctor responded with "I can't believe you haven't had more problems before now. Your septum is severely deviated. You're not moving any air AT ALL on that side."
Well, I HAVE been having problems with my breathing for years. I just didn't bother to do anything about it. That was before I understood the secret benefits of a nose job. LOL I've had previous sleep studies with NO snoring at all, nor any apnea episodes, but I'll need to have another one done.
The doctor gave me some spray that, when used in the office, seemed to help me breath better for...oh... about 15 minutes. I'm to try that for a couple of weeks and if there are still complaints from Dean I can go back and see about a more permanent fix.
For now, if Axel ends up in a shared hospital room, and I have to sleep in there with him, I'm apologizing in advance to the other people in the room. And the nurses. And anyone else I might have forgotten about.