What’s the buzz?

“If you had come to see me in September . . .” the doctor trails off. Probably because he has already mentioned this bit about three times during the appointment. Hopefully not because I look like I’m going to cry. I open my eyes wide in attentiveness, willing the tears to stay put.

I’m wondering if I should have employed my “everybody lies” strategy when I described my symptoms to this ear, nose and throat specialist, but know that would have been stupid. Why bother making a second trip to the quick clinic and why bother accepting a referral to an ENT if I wasn’t going to come clean about my problem?

My problem is that my ear is still buzzing. I had experienced a slight improvement from the noise distortion after that first trip to the quick clinic in December. A quick power wash, er, irrigation of my ear had removed excess wax. Having endured wax removal as a kid, I knew that I’m just genetically predisposed to it.  My right ear and hearing seemed to improve. I just chalked up the residual hum to the damn head cold that I just couldn’t seem to shake.

Peter, however, noticed that I still wasn’t feeling 100% as I began my vacation during winter shutdown. I was asking him to repeat himself more frequently. He insisted that I go back to the doctor the day after Christmas.

So I did, even though the weather was horrible. The clinic is only two blocks from our house. It took longer to scrape the snow off the car than it did to drive there.  I ought to know because I went twice. When I arrived shortly after the clinic open, there wasn’t a spare seat in the waiting room and two people were waiting to check in (damn my manners-I held the door open for them!).

Having waited in the comfort of my own home, I returned that afternoon hoping the doctor would see an ear infection, prescribe an antibiotic and finally help me to clear up whatever was blocking my ear and causing that constant buzz.

That was not to be.

The doctor could find no sign of infection in my outer ear, nose or throat. I was referred to a specialist since the problem seemed to be with my inner ear.

That’s why I had to take the morning off work to drive over to the next town for my appointment. That’s why I gave an honest account of my ear troubles, including fessing up about when I first started having problems.


That’s why the doctor was now chastising me about delaying my care. Because he was explaining that my delay could result in the slight problem of an infection to turn into permanent damage to my inner ear. That if the infection had been treated right away, I probably would not have been experiencing the buzz in my ear.

The ENT was concerned because the only way to diagnose inner ear problems are through a hearing test. And the test results surprised him. He had been expecting some minor loss in the higher frequencies due to a possible infection. This is a problem that he has successfully treated with steroids in the past. Of course, most people haven’t waited four months for treatment . . .

However, he was surprised by the signficant loss in the lower frequencies. While he is still treating me with steroids, he said there is another possible cause: Meniere’s Disease.

The doctor didn’t have to tell me what that is. My mom has it. In fact, over break, she worried aloud that maybe that’s why I had.

“Oh, that’s not it,” I reassured her. “I’m not having those dizzy spells like you.”

And I thought I was being honest with the specialist when I said I wasn’t having dizziness. I mean, surely the light-headedness I felt a few times last week were just due to my head cold.


So, in addition to steroids, I now get to take a water pill every day and reduce the sodium in my diet. In two weeks’ time, we’ll see what, if any, effect this treatment has.

Hopefully, the truth will set me free. From this buzz.

What’s the buzz?
Tell me what’s a-happening.
Why should you want to know?
Don’t you mind about the future?
Don’t you try to think ahead?
Save tomorrow for tomorrow;
Think about today instead.

“What’s the Buzz?” from Jesus Christ Superstar

13 thoughts on “What’s the buzz?

  1. *hugs* I was just talking to a friend today about how she has to go to the hospital for some routine follow up x-rays at the hospital tomorrow but how much of a pain it is. But the reason why she is doing it is because for so many years she was looking after her elderly ill parents and one by one they passed away. She’s now made a promise to look after herself now…I was thinking that should be on my list because I’m guilty of delaying things or explaining things away. I guess I learn the hard way and I am going to try and change that. Take care.


  2. I sincerely hope all turns out well. If your hearing problems turn out to be permanent, take some reassurance in the fact that you are not alone. Explore your options, keep your head up. It’ll be hard, but you’ll be fine 🙂


  3. My dear, we all go through the “if you’d come in sooner.” Sometimes we could have and sometimes we should have, but you can’t beat yourself up about it now. We try to be optimistic and chalk it up to something minor; the one thing you have (HAVE) to take away from this is that you cannot put it off… I know what I’m telling you: I am plagued by anemia that, due to my laziness and shuffling of priorities, tends to land me on my not-insignificantly-sized rump, and -at the end of the day- the one who is worst affected by it is J.

    If it officially comes to Meniere’s, the commitment you have to make is important and lifelong…you cannot let go of being focused on taking care of yourself so that you can do what needs to be done with the rest of your existence. Remember: we are ALL getting older, and we will ALL feel the effects of it, but we can do something to help ourselves. It’s another challenge…another thing on the already-full plate, but YOU are VERY important, and even those of us who have yet to meet you know this. Take care of yourself, will ya????


      1. I did…I am suffering from a serious and rather fatal condition called aging. It seems that all that cavorting, frolicking and daredevil-ing I did in my youth has come back to (quite enthusiastically) bite me in the rump… All my other ailments can be reduced to a very essential element: perimenopause. It’s quite thrilling…

        I’ve had a family conference and warned everyone that if I think I’m dying of a heart attack in the middle of the night, I will start roaming around the house until I find a comfortable spot and there I will be found, watching Downton Abbey on Netflix until the hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, etc. abate.

        I don’t know if other women yearn for it all to be over…menopausally speaking, but I’m actually rooting for the whole “I’m fertile!!!!” thing to be over…

        So, yeah, lady…I’m taking care of myself so I can stand on the soap box… 🙂


          1. Hey, it beats the alternative…if I age, I get to see TGG and J grow. I might even get to see grandkids (though TGG is most definitely NOT in a hurry, thank goodness) and, judging by my female relatives’ track record for longevity, I might even get to see the grandkids with a full set of teeth so…

            No more “hope I die before I get old” for me…for one, too late; for another: I’m kinda rocking the gray hair… 🙂


  4. Hang in there. I hope everything clears up and you receive a good bill of health soon. I too have put off my own care, to the point that I ended up in the hospital for 10 days. I ignored some pain because I had made a commitment to watch my friends kids for a week and I wasn’t about to let her down. Well, right after she picked up the kids at the end of the week, I was taken to the hospital. When I woke up from surgery the next day I was told my appendix had been ruptured for a week to 10 days and I had peritonitis. The surgeon told me he didn’t know how I lived. Well I did, that was 19 years ago and the 8 inch scar down my tummy is a daily reminder to be grateful to be alive and try to take care of myself. I hope you use your energy to take care of yourself and not to beat yourself up. We moms of small kids can but everyone first, but remember, we have to be well to keep them well. All my best. 🙂


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