That Time I Lost A Week Of My Life

Oh! Hello!

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!

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.

This article has 33 comments

  1. Amanda

    When the body conspires to conquer your brain, it’s best to heed the call. Wishing you plentiful shoots of new hope.

  2. CecilyK


    I’m so sorry. That sucks, but I’m so glad you’re feeling better.

  3. DaniGirl

    Oh my god, Aimee — what a story! Good for you for having at least a semblance of a sense of humour in hindsight. My ears are aching just thinking about your experience.

  4. Rachel

    Ugh, what bad luck you’ve had traveling.

    Stress does a number on anyone, but especially those of us with diabetes or other chronic illness.

    (For hopefully not-future reference, Zofran is magical on the post-anesthesia nausea.)

  5. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Thanks all!

    And Rachel – they did a great job managing my nausea. They may have given me that – and they put a patch behind my ear. Bunch of things.

  6. zipper

    wow, aimee – get well!!!

  7. sue

    You, my dear, have been through enough! Here’s hoping all settles out now for awhile and you have some calm!

  8. mayberry

    Ahhh, this brings back fond memories of how BlogHer’08 was overtaken by my kid’s appendectomy.

    So glad you are home and healing!

  9. monstergirlee

    Whoa, I’ve been following your troubles on Twitter, and felt so helpless, all I could send is good wishes.
    I’m glad you made it home safely where your boys will be taking good care of you.
    Here to a healthy rest of the year – At least!

  10. Magpie

    Oy. What an ordeal. Glad you’re home.

  11. Susan

    Oh Aimee! Get better and take care. Spring is a fresh, bright start. I hope things will smooth out for you. Thinking about you.

  12. Sue at nobaddays

    Oy! What horribleness! I declare this the year of taking good care of yourself and taking it easy. Seriously. And big hugs.

  13. Sizzle

    I followed your ear saga via Twitter and was wincing in sympathy pain. I am so glad you are home, on the mend, and ready for Spring in all meanings of the word.


    I am glad you are home. I was following the situation as it unfolded on twitter. Arrogance and surgery are good things to go together.

  15. Anonymous

    best wishes aimee! – m

  16. Mary-Frances Main

    Oh honey! You have been through HELL! Here’s to a kick ass next 6 months!!

  17. Julie {Angry Julie Monday}

    I’m soo glad that you are back home now. I felt so bad for you when I saw all of your tweets and Facebook messages. I hope you start to feel better real soon!

  18. Kali

    I am so glad you are home on on the road to recovery! I, too, watched this unfold on twitter and hoped everything would work out.

    Keep feeling better!

  19. Jeremy Tanner

    I’m sorry your SXSW didn’t go as planned. Glad you finally made it back home. Our best stories don’t come easily, we have to earn them.


  20. Missy

    Wowsers! So glad you are back home recovering! That sounds like a crazy wild week for sure! Sending you good vibes for a speedy recovery!

  21. Bethany

    AImee! Oh my goodness!! That is too much, too, too much, you poor thing. be well. You rock.

  22. Laura Scarborough

    here’s to a well-deserved, wonderful new beginning for you that Spring represents! So glad that you are home, MUCH healthier and healing.

  23. Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas

    Wow. I watched everything unfolding on Twitter and wished I could have done something to help. Thank god you’re home safe and sound.

  24. Caleb Gardner

    Holy crap – I didn’t realize it was this bad. You were faking it pretty good on Friday night if you were already feeling it that badly.

    Sorry to hear your SXSW was so dramatic!

  25. chloebear

    Glad your home – now rest!!

  26. Average Jane

    That’s terrible! So glad you’re feeling better now.

    By the way, my sister used to be a pharmaceutical sales rep and I remember her telling me that all ENTs are a-holes. Apparently it comes with the specialty.

  27. Chelsea

    Aimee, I have been following your ear story on twitter…hearing the whole story is crazy!! So glad you are okay, wow what an experience! Yikes. Hope you are feeling better..

  28. thebludge

    Dear lawd, woman!
    I hope that you are all taken care of!

  29. Sweepstaker

    That must be terrible. What happened to your ear now? I hope you’re feeling better and it’s nice to read your blog.

  30. Schmutzie

    I am so glad that you’re okay! And that you’re moving into a different phase of your life so your body can heal from prolonged stress. Take care, hon.

  31. kristin

    holy shit woman. so glad you are home and in good care now. but what i really want to know is did you spew on the guy? i hope so, sounds like he deserved it.

  32. Kathy

    Wow—just wow! It’s actually pretty dangerous stuff you just went through. Hoping that you continue to recover well

  33. Kyria

    Wow! I am reading this a little late, but am glad you are better. What an ordeal! I used to get swimmers ear really badly as a kid, but luckily have not lately! Do they know what brought it on?

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