As I get um….older….it seems a new ailment is always popping up and causing me trouble. For some reason every time I decide something is bothering me enough to finally go to the doctor about it, I am told that he/she cannot see any reason for what ails me. Aka – there is nothing wrong with me, it’s all in my head. This time it was in my head, my ear/jaw to be exact. For two weeks I suffered with what I thought was ear pain. First it started out as an annoying… twinge (for lack of a better word) in my ear that I thought may be the result of wax build-up, as my ears have the tendency to over-produce wax. So I had my husband pour peroxide in them. That didn’t work. After a day or two of trying to flush out my ears while standing in the shower, I went to the store and purchased an ear-wax removal kit. By this time, the pain had grown significantly worse and radiated from my throat and up through my head. So I took a day off from work. I spent my morning with ear drops soaking in my ears – well what I could get into them anyway. It seems the bottle of solution I purchased had expired before it was supposed to and would barely come out of the bottle. But I managed to squeeze some out into my ear and sat in an uncomfortably abnormal fashion while letting the stuff do its trick. After that, I used the little bulb syringe that came in the kit to flush water into my ear to help clear any wax out. I could hear better after that, but the pain did not let up. Instead it seemed to grow sharper.
Moving on to the fourth solution, I went to the express clinic at the grocery store. I arrived at 12:20. As I waited for the “patient” in front of me to figure out how to sign in on the computer, the nurse came out to help her and asked me if I needed to be seen. I said yes. She informed me that she had a patient before this woman, then this woman, and then she was going to lunch. She asked me to return at 1:40. I had some grocery shopping to do, so I figured I would attempt to do just that. By the time I purchased all the groceries I needed, it was only 1:00. Nope – I decided I wasn’t going to wait and I went home. So much for the “express” clinic.
The next day I returned to work and decided to go to the employee clinic. I went in, believing I probably had an ear infection. The nurse checked my ears, nose, throat – the usual check – and told me that my ears were fine. Fine? Why did it hurt so badly? She suggested that I had a blockage in my Eustachian tube, which would have been brought on by my sinuses. I had no sinus issues, and hadn’t had any recently. Then she said it may have been brought on by allergies. I have no allergies either. She recommended a decongestant and said if it didn’t get better, then I should go see my family doctor. Again – so much for Express!
So I attempted taking a nasal decongestant for a week. It wasn’t improving. I finally made an appointment to see my doctor. Again, the routine check of the ears, nose and throat were done. Dozens of questions were asked. The diagnosis? There wasn’t anything wrong with my ears. Could be this, could be that, yada yada yada, continue the decongestant, here are some ear drops for the pain, and we will refer you to an ENT specialist. Good grief. I received my referral, and attempted to make an appointment. The “specialist” cannot see me for another month. I thought, if I have to deal with this pain for a month, I’m going to kill myself (not really – but you get the point). I was also told that if the ear drops didn’t work, then the pain wasn’t really from my ear. Great. So I tried the ear drops. They didn’t seem to be working. Sure the pain in my actual ear diminished, but it just felt as if it relocated – mostly to my temple and jaw.
So I did that thing that can sometimes be annoying, I mentioned the lack of care I was getting on facebook. Of course this prompted my mom to question me as to what was wrong. I briefly explained. Well, I should have posted something two weeks ago. Both my mom and a friend of mine suggested I check out TMJ Disorder symptoms. Aha! These fine folks were onto something! I quickly called my dentist and was referred to a more specialized dentist – with a website. Now I think all businesses with informative websites are awesome. His website did not let me down. Even before my appointment, I knew I was on the right track when I watched a video he had posted about TMJ Disorder and the symptoms. If you are curious, check it out here.
Today I finally got in to the dentist to have my jaw looked at, and what do you know – I definitely have classic TMJ symptoms. With the ear pain, the throat pain, the headaches, I would never in a million years have guessed it would have been a dental issue, but thanks to the ease of a Facebook posting and a little insight from some medical geniuses – ok not geniuses, but those who have “been there, done that” before me – am finally getting the relief I so desperately need, and apparently, it’s just in time, as I am in a reversible stage. 🙂