What day is it again? Is this a keyboard?
If you didn’t hear, SXSW didn’t go exactly as planned.
It started out alright… I arrived two Thursdays ago, with the ink from signing the papers to sell my half of my company fresh on my fingers. I ran into friends straight away at the airport, we shared a cab, we picked up our badges. I settled in to the hotel, grabbed my ritual sushi with Heather, and hung out at the Ginger Man. First night at SXSW, normal.
Friday, also started out normal. Except this ping in my ear. A ping that turned into an ache. And ache that turned into a fire. A fire that turned in an ICE PICK THAT WAS JABBING ME REPEATEDLY AND RELENTLESSLY ALL NIGHT.
Bryan had arrived by this time, and unfortunately, had to start what turned into AimeeCare.
We suffered through the night, with me breaking into what can only be described as labor panting from the pain – even though I have never actually been in labor (Declan was emergency c-section, which actually comes into play later, when I have great understanding of how I react to anesthesia).
So, yes, ER was top of the SXSW schedule for Saturday.
They immediately saw an outer ear infection, gave me antibacterial plus numbing drops, and sent me on my way. As I was leaving the hospital, ooze starting coming out of my ear. And when I say ooze, I mean it. It was like a faucet of blood had been turned on inside my ear and would not stop.
After one more night of ooze and labor pains, it was clear those piddily drops were no match for whatever was growing in my ear, so back to the ER we went.
This time they took me a little more seriously. (I think the ooze freaked them out too, honestly). They did a CT scan, and guess what! I had not just one ear infection, BUT THREE!
- Outer (Otitis Externa – swimmer’s ear)
- Middle (Otitis Media – what kids get)
- Mastoid (Mastoiditis – infection of honeycomb bone right behind ear)
There was a flurry of activity then, talk of the ear bones being delicate, easy to break, infection getting into my brain… but basically I was just so mothereffin glad they were hooking an IV up to me and sticking a needle into that IV with morphine in it to make the pain go away.
Not that I am a fan of morphine actually. It makes me nauseous and makes me hallucinate, as experienced during the emergency c-section of Declan’s birth. But they could have put anything, they could have put rhinoceros piss in my IV at the point, as long as it MADE. THE. PAIN. GO. AWAY.
And then life settled.
For five days, I was in that Austin hospital, trying to manage the infection, my blood sugars (remember, I am diabetic), the pain… I felt like I was in slow motion as a flurry of nurses buzzed around me, checking vitals and sticking me with needles.
They learned quick I don’t have many good veins, and my arms have the bruises to show for it.
Bryan had to go home on Monday, ending AimeeCare and starting DeclanCare, so for the most part I was on my own. Except for all the people still in Austin for SXSW. Watching the Foursquare check-ins here and there made me feel like some bizarre overlord, in that I could see where everyone was but couldn’t go there – like looking at Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map for five days. Without any beer.
The other thing to break up the boredom was hating the ENT they assigned me. Never in my life have I met a more arrogant man. And that’s saying a lot. Because I have met a lot of arrogant men. So imagine how thrilled I was when my favorite doctor swooped in and told me that he was going to perform emergency surgery on my ear. OK, thanks, bye! And walked out.
After the other doctors peeled me off the ceiling, explained the procedure, I conceded to it. I warned the doctors how badly I vomit from anesthesia, although I secretly hoped my ENT would get a little of the backsplash.
Basically they had to drain all the ooze I mentioned before, because of all that brain pressure I mentioned before, and since I kinda like my brain, I let them do it.
While he was in there, he placed a tube, just like they do with kids – which also would allow me to fly home.
Which I finally did on Friday, several days later than planned, after my friend Jeremy had to pack up my hotel room for me, including unmentionables (sign of a true friend), and I wobbled through two airports into Bryan’s arms who picked me up for the second time in three months because I was too ill to drive.
I know, I KNOW.
MANY people have said I should put traveling on hold for a while, but I don’t think travel is the problem.
LIFE is the problem.
Life has been so hard for me the past year. Some of which I have shared, some of which I have not. But NOW. Now is the time to turn it around.
It’s the start of Spring. It’s time for new beginnings.
I actually have some fighting still to go with these ear infections, but I am home, and have support, and have the time to do it.
Everything is gonna be just fine.