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The New Year is here! And, thankfully, the start of something appears to coincide with the end of something, namely a painful ear infection. After my success in not getting stuck out in the snow (as described in my first post) I woke up the next morning to find myself feeling the onset of flu symptoms. Not nice, especially just before Christmas, but hey ho, such is life. Worse was to come though.

The next night I woke up with a pain in my ear. As an ex-soldier I like to think I can tolerate a bit of pain, but this started to lean towards the excruciating. Paracetamol deadening it ever so slightly, but not enough to allow me back to sleep. So as soon as the corner shop opened off I went to get industrial strength painkillers, wincing, not only in pain but because it was still about minus eight degrees C. Those painkillers didn’t have much affect either.

I’m not a run to the doctor kind of person, in fact, apart from a health check a couple of years back, the last time I sought medical attention was in Iraq with the army back in 2005. This time it was no problem to persuade me to see a doctor, and an emergency appointment was made.  Anti-biotics were prescribed and more painkillers were advised.

I’ve never been on anti-biotics as far as I remember but happily popped the pills and waited for them to work. They didn’t. The pain got worse. It felt like  a sharp toothed bug was eating away at my inner ear whilst simultaneously a ping pong ball was being inflated inside my head. Then the next day I realised I was leaking. Blood and puss was running out of my left ear. A doctor friend (thanks Tris) advised that my ear drum had split due to the pressure behind it. Over the next few days the pain became unbearable. The idea of work was unthinkable. All Christmas plans were off. I couldn’t drive. Talking was a struggle. Sleep was fractured and restless. All I could think about was the next opportunity to take pain-killers and cause an ever so slight numbing of the pain.

In case you think I’m just being a bit soft, let me tell you I’ve had broken bones and torn ligaments in the past. This was worse, a similar level of pain over a longer period. Eventually, on Boxing Day, with the supply of seemingly ineffective anti-biotics almost exhausted, we realised further medical help had to be sought. We made a hurried visit to the out of hours emergency clinic (we took a cab, me driving was out of the question and Monique doesn’t drive) where different drugs were prescribed , along with some nuclear pain-killers.

And, thank God, thank God, thank God, they seem to have been working. The pain hasn’t entirely gone, I’m deaf in my left ear (we’ve been told that’s temporary) and I’m inclined to get tired quickly, but now, at last, things are on the up.

Now of course hanging over all this is the dominant thing in our lives right now; Monique is pregnant. This is the kind of thing that I’m sure haunts all dads to be; what if something outside of my control happens? What if it means I can’t look after my wife and child? All we can do pray and try our absolute hardest to mitigate the risks as best as possible.

And thank God this ear infection happened now, not in a months time.

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