Two years ago, I was in Austin – like many people are right now, for SXSW.
Except I was in the hospital, with a massive life-threatening ear infection and the doctors were deciding if I needed surgery of not.
When I say the words “life-threatening” in connection with an ear infection, people often laugh. I know, I would too… if I had not almost died several times over nine months after invasive strep-A took up residence in my mastoid bone.
Thursday night at SXSW is oddly clear in my memory; I was hanging at Ginger Man. I remember who I talked to that night, I remember having lunch with friends the next day, and then – I remember my ear hurting. By Saturday, I told Bryan we were going to the ER. After that, everything is a blur of needles and morphine.
I know I had surgery in a strange city while a few friends packed up my hotel for me. I know my husband had to find a new flight out of the smallest airport with the biggest traffic in March. Plus imagine this weirdness: watching SXSW on Twitter and Foursquare from your hospital bed five blocks away – while totally high as a kite.
When I got home, I saw the best ear guy in Denver. And he immediately sent me back to the hospital, because – ready? He thought the infection had cracked my skull and my brain was now leaking into my ear. I swear he said those exact words. Right before I passed out in his office.
The good news is, my skull was fine, but the infection was raging. There was talk of a picc line for months, otherwise known as my own personal declaration of how old and sick I was. After much begging, the doctor agreed to let me try the big gun antibiotics… so I proceeded to sit on my ass for the rest of the summer, trying to avoid them taking out my mastoid bone in its entirety.
I got rid of that damn infection. Finally.
Although I still couldn’t hear.
My eardrum was 90% gone, so back to surgery I went. This time – ready? – they removed my whole ear and reconstructed my eardrum from the back.
This photo is from about a month after surgery, and I gotta say there is a reason my doc is the best ear guy in Denver – right? I don’t have any tattoos but I do have one bad-ass looking scar.
The second surgery was harder. Instead of just sitting on my ass, I slept. For months. I started to wake up around Christmas, and about this time last year, I started moving again.
So, here we are a year past that, and I won’t bore you the details, but my diabetes is FINALLY getting back under control. I am FINALLY starting to bend over without my entire spine cracking. When I rub my scar, it feels good instead of scary.
So, while I am sad I am not at SXSW with everyone else, I am just glad to be here.