More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About My Ear

I really hoped that I would be all better by now. It’s been almost a month for Pete’s sake. But, no, here I am limping along, with what has to be the worst ear infection in the history of the world.

A lot of people can’t believe all that is going on in my ear.

Trust me, neither can I.

I’ll try to spare you the REALLY disgusting stuff, but in a nutshell, I have a severe case of mastoiditis. The “mastoid process” is a honeycomb bone behind your ear that provides ventilation for your ear. Go ahead, feel it – you didn’t even realize it was there, I know. (I didn’t either.)

When you get a massive ear infections elsewhere in your ear, like I did in Austin, this bone fills up with fluid and becomes pretty dangerous. In fact, before antibiotics, mastoiditis was the leading cause of death in children. Now, of course, it is really rare, sooooooo OF COURSE that is what I have – and have horrendously bad. One that forced one surgery already and may require more.

The big concern initially, and why I was running all over town for CT scans, is that the mastoid is fragile and can break. And when bones break that close to your brain, there is concern for… well, your BRAIN.

My worst case scenario at one point was that I had fractured my skull, ruptured my brain, and that it was dripping into my ear.


But I still have a “rip-roaring infection,” to quote my doctor.

And the longer it stays in my mastoid, the more complications can arise.

The other problem is that, while in Austin, my eardrum burst and I have a gaping hole in my ear. While that hole allows me to fly because there are no pressurization problems, if the hole doesn’t heal (unlikely) that alone make require another (separate) surgery down the road. Although, the good news is, my ENT *did* see teansey weansy healing cells in there, so, basically, my eardrum is the “Little Engine That Could” at this point.

Elsewhere, I am slowly, very slowly, improving. My hearing is SLOWLY improving. The pain is SLOWLY improving. The drainage is SLOWING improving.

This is why we have been in a holding pattern. My doctor is trying to be conservative, and see what the big-gun antibiotics can do. Of course, they have an uphill battle to fight against my diabetes, which makes everything slower to heal. Thus all those SLOWLYs before.

I go back next week and we see.


If I have not improved to his liking…


This article has 19 comments

  1. Stacey

    Yeah, that was a little more than I wanted to know 😉 Seriously, that’s a tad scary. Here’s to hoping the antibiotics work and that nothing drastic has to be done. I wish you well because you’re one of my new favorite people!


  2. Amy @ Living Locurto

    I feel your pain! I burst my ear drum in highschool water skiing and it never healed… So of course lots of problems with that and several surgeries throughout adulthood that didn’t repair a thing. There is so much damage now that when I get a cold, it’s a painful ear infection each time and I’m a dizzy mess.

    I hope you start to feel better soon and don’t have to have surgery. That’s not fun. Will be thinking about you!

  3. kali

    I hope everything gets better on its own and you don’t have to have another surgery! Will keep sending healing thoughts.

  4. Rachel

    I hope things go as well as possible in the near future with this mess.

    Healing with diabetes – ugh, yeah. While my scars healed nicely, my blood sugars didn’t for quite some time after surgeries last year. Sigh.

  5. LynneBW

    Thanks for not including pics. Your words were quite descriptive. Praying fervently for your ear to heal and that you won’t require another surgery. God bless.

  6. Sizzle

    I loved being on the bus with you and you saying something like, “Don’t mind my ear draining.” UH OKAY!


    I’m so aware that I hug to the left.

  7. Brandi

    I know what you are going through.

    No, seriously.

    Ive had all of this. I still have a hole in my eardrum after a failed surgery (skin graft didnt take). Ive had 6 sets of tubes. Ive been drained and vacuumed out. Ive felt like my brain was going to explode from my skull. I have dealt with this ongoing process since birth due to my abnormally small inner ears.


    You CAN heal. Keep water out of that ear. Drain it and clean it out according to the schedule they give you. Avoid mucus building food and beverage. Know which meds are working and which are not.

    It gets easier. It becomes manageable and after a while, it goes away. Well, besides the hole.

    Just stay strong and be patient.

  8. Shannon

    Diabetes is such a bitch when it comes to healing. It’s not enough that it fucks with your life normally but then when other things go wrong it makes them worse, last longer, and take longer to get better. I hate that! No one thought to mention to me that I should take that into account after my c-sections, but looking back now I think, geez, I should have given myself a break. It could easily have taken me twice as long as non-diabetic to heal. Hope your ear defies the diabetes and gets back to normal faster than anticipated!

  9. Kim Hosey

    Ugh; that sounds horrendous. Wish I could do more than send sympathy and feel-better vibes. Take care of yourself and take it easy.

  10. Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas

    I’ve been keeping track of this saga for awhile and, I feel horrible on your behalf. Also, it scares the beejezus out of me, as I have fluid in my left ear that I’m guessing showed up after a sinus infection a few months ago. I’m fine as long as I don’t roll over in bed or put my head in a certain way. Yes, I know I should have it checked out, but your experience gives me the heebeejeebees.

  11. Jenny @ Crash Test Mommy

    Definitely not more than I wanted to know, I am fascinated by this stuff. It’s the former OR nurse in me.

    But, good grief, Aimee….so, so sorry you’re dealing with this. Forming a cheering section for your teansey weansy healing cells.

  12. tara

    i had to skip over a few parts because eeew but i was kinda reading through my fingers anyway. i hope you’re well on your way to a full recovery.

  13. Bethany

    Oh wow, Aimee. Here’s positive thoughts for your little ear that could! Wow. Heal quickly!

  14. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Thanks for all your awesome support. You guys rock. xoxox

  15. kristin

    oh god woman!!!!
    heal little engine heal. you can do it.


  16. Edie Mindell

    Hi. Reading your story actually scared me a bit. I had minor ear infections before and they were healed now, but still it scares me what you’re going through right now. I hope you heal a lot better now.:-) Diabetes really sucks when it comes to the healing process of our body. Be strong.:-)

  17. Chelsea

    Yikes Aimee! You poor poor thing! You are such a trooper though. Man oh man! Sending good thoughts your way! XO

  18. Sage

    Here’s another partner with a hole in the eardrum. Had a fungus about 5 years ago that ate through my ear drum because I was misdiagnosed as having a bacterial infection. By the time I got in to see a real ENT, it had eaten through. Then after clearing it up, he did surgery and to no avail because the hole is at the tip of the eardrum. Since then, ongoing problems with allergies, etc. A couple of months ago, started having severe burning and itching. First doctor said allergies, here’s a cortisone shot. Finally another ENT said combo, fungus and bacteria. Gave me a spray powder for the fungus, he said it worked for the ear, but the bacteria is in the canals under the ear and I have a discharge every night. I’ve been on 750 mg of cipro for three weeks and it’s still not healed. I am not a diabetic but it sure is taking a long time to get results. Someone said I’m lucky to have hole in my ED so the pressure doesn’t build, but I would love to have this thing go away.
    Good luck with yours, I’ll be cking in.

  19. Sage

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