Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Initial ENT Appointment - Acoustic Neuroma Part 2

On Wednesday, 11/28/2012, Jade and I made our way to our friend's ENT office. Though Jade is in Kindergarten, it is only part-time.  Thankfully she is a great little companion...even to appointments like these.

Tim had kindly put us down for 1:00 PM...I always like those "first after lunch" time slots. Usually no wait, right? Ha! Not always.

They pulled me back pretty quickly to do a hearing test with the audiologist. That was a crazy experience. As I sat there, with Jade actually IN the booth with me, I couldn't help to think back to the countless times I sat in a similar booth with each of my girls.  Both of them having chronic ear infections as itty bitties, I had held them on my lap many a time at their pediatric ENT in Coppell. Only this time it was me. And there weren't any little rubber duckies spinning and lighting up in the corner.  Just a test of different pitches and then a word test.  The word test was hard! It was during that section on my left ear that I knew something was wrong.

I can't even remember the audiologist's exact words. Something to the effect that I definitely had a measurable hearing loss on my left side. In my mind it didn't register though. Not being aware of the different types of hearing loss, I was thinking temporary...due to fluid or allergies or something else that posed no real harm. But then I remembered she had said there was no evidence of fluid in an earlier test. Hmm. But me, always wanting to lean towards thinking there is nothing wrong, smiled at Jade and walked back to the waiting room, really not worried at all.

And then we waited. I felt so bad for Dr. Thomason.  Patients were arriving much faster than they were being called back. Oh the stress of knowing your waiting room is filled to the brim while needing to give undivided attention to the patient at hand. Doctors can keep their paychecks! I am just fine with folding towels and planning meals that hopefully the hubby and kids will both like! ;) Anyways, I guess his "first after lunch" case was something serious and took over an hour for just that one patient. 

Jade and I didn't know what was going on. After a couple of hours of waiting and having already called in a favor to get Lily picked up from school, I decided I should reschedule to a day when Tim wasn't trying to work me in.  As we approached the front desk though they assured me they now had a room ready for me.  Hmm, I thought. To me the "room" was just a smaller waiting room without the TV, but with the addition of so many things that Jade would find interesting to explore. I think they felt bad because I was a personal friend of the doc, but I assured them I was not all...and that I should probably just reschedule. All I could think of was getting back across town, retrieving Lily from my sweet "go-to friend", homework routine, dinner and then Lily's basketball practice that night. And then the nurse called my name...

So, back we went! Tim appeared immediately (score!) and apologized about the crazy wait explaining that his first case was unexpectedly complicated.  He asked me what was going on and I started telling him about the moisture and itchiness in my ears. He told me what it was (I can't even remember) and also mentioned some drops he would prescribe to help. Then I told him about the humming in my left ear.  His countenance changed a bit and just then the nurse handed him my hearing test. As he reviewed it, I knew this was a game changer. He seemed concerned and mentioned needing an MRI..."just to rule some things out". That is when I learned my hearing loss was most likely permanent. What?!? I tried to keep myself together...mainly for the little blue eyed blond that was also taking all of this in. I didn't really succeed though.  Not a crazy ugly cry but definitely a few tears of confusion.

There was some hope though when he realized it had just been the week before that I had noticed the humming. Apparently if a patient presents with a hearing loss as recent as two weeks they can try to recover the hearing with a hefty (in my opinion!) course of steroids.  Let me just tell you...I despise steroids. More on that later though.

So Jade and I walked out...with a prescription being sent to my pharmacy and an order for an MRI to be done the next week. We also walked out with Tim's assurance that most likely it was nothing to be overly concerned about.  He mentioned that these MRIs come back negative 95% of the time.  Pretty good odds I thought. Tim also wisely asked that I follow up with his partner the next week...I am guessing for a completely objective opinion.

As we were making our way back across town, my first call was to my personal RN and the smartest woman I know, my mother. She assured me further...kind of surprised about the steroids and MRI...told me it was probably just their routine course of take them and go ahead with the MRI...surely it wouldn't show anything!  I love that woman...she is always able to calm me down as she puts things in perspective.

Part 3 coming soon...and for any fellow acoustic neuroma peeps out there, Part 1 can be found here.

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