ENT: Ear Nose Throat

i had my second appointment with Dr. Beard at the Credit Valley Hospital today at 920 AM. he is an ENT specialist and my family doctor had arranged an appointment with him to get my sinuses checked and see if there can be another solution for my allergies other than Claritin. last time i saw him was on december 9th last year and he gave me a prescription for a nasal spray called Flunisolide. i had to use it twice daily in the morning and at night before going to bed. i don’t really know if it is better than Flonase since during winter my allergies are virtually nonexistant. summer/spring is when the allergy season starts and i start suffering.

the doctor injected some solution into my nostrils (oww oww) and then nasally probed me with some weird piped instrument that was pushed into my nostril far more than i ever though possible. apparently the nasal cavity is huge and the doctor needs to take a good look inside to see whats going on in there. the inspection seemed to last for an eternity and was a bit painful but not as much as it would’ve been without the solution that has numbed everything in there. in any case, i found out that my nose really is unusual. i sort of already knew that but this was official confirmation from a specialist.

the nasal cavity has three turbinates on each side. these turbinate are big folds that protrude from the sidewalls of the nose. they are shaped as folds and are actually quite important. they warm inhaled air before it enters our lungs and they also filter and clean the air from pollutants that might be dangerous if they enter our lungs. this is accomplished by the millions of tiny cilia, very small hairs, that are spread all over the turbinates. these turbinates change their size periodically depending on a number of factors. during a cold, infection, or allergic reactions, they enlarge because of the blood that flows to the region to fight the infection via white blood cells.

usually the turbinate that is in front of the nose is the one that gets enlarged and swollen for people suffering from allergies. in my case it is the farthest most one that is swollen. that is unusual and that is why the doctor put me on the spray for a month to see what happens instead of following “normal procedure” and operating on the closest turbinate to ease air flow and breathing. however, after a month’s use the problem still persists. now i have an option to either choose surgery or just keep on using claritin and the new spray each year like the past 7, 8 years. i chose surgery.

since dr. beard is an ENT, an ear-nose-throat specialist, last time i was at his office i asked him to take a look at my left ear because i had had a funny hollowy underwater kind of sensation in it for about a week. i had assumed that it would go away automatically but it hadn’t. when the doctor took a look at it he had told me that my ear drum seems to have excess fluid behind it which is giving me that undewater feeling. however, it should fix itself soon enough and there isn’t much to worry about.

it hadn’t fixed itself during the course of the month so the doctor took a closer and more detailed look. he asked me if i had had any ear disease during childhooh and i replied with a negative before i corrected myself and told him about the repeatedly ear cleaning appointments me and my older brother used to have at an ENT in saudia in 1988 or 1989. i don’t remember how it started but i remember going to the ENT more than a couple of times and during each session he would use a very loud and very powerful suction ear vaccum that he would put in each ear to suck out lots of mucus. ugh. it was extremely painful and i would cry really loudly every single time.

apparently i had an ear disease back then and it has physically caused damage to my left ear. a bone, called the incus, is missing in my ear. a bone that virtually every human being has in his ear is missing in my left year… *cries* but it is not something to be really upset about. “you won’t loose any more hearing than you have already” … omfg.. what ? the doctor asked me which ear i can hear better out of. i told him that i’ve never felt a difference. he then used a tuning fork and placed it near my left ear and then my right ear and wow, i felt a huge difference between the two. over the past twenty something years my body and adapted itself to cope with this hearing disability and i just never noticed it. now i know why i suck at counterstrike.. i just can’t hear the enemy crouching up on me from my left :P

so, since i am scheduled for surgery on march 30th anyways, the doctor decided to operate on my ear at the same time. the excess fluid, i’ve no idea what kind of fluid, behind my ear drum is causing the ear drum to stick to the fluid and is also blocking a small tiny tube that goes from the ear to my nasal cavity. this tube is called the eustachian tube and it lets air through the nose to the ears to equalize the pressure between the middle ear and the atmosphere. because of the excess fluid, this tube is blocked and no air is passing through. the doctor will drill a small hole in my ear and put a tiny cylindrical object with a hole in its middle in my ear. this will ensure easy and continuous passage of air in my ear and fix the problem. this tiny object will stay in my ear for about a year and then automatically fall out. if the hole collapses after that, then the doctor will put something permanent inside.

all this seems so scary. both operations are quite delicate so the doctor recommended general anesthesia instead of local.. meaning i will be sleeping while they operate. it will be easier for both the doctor and the patient but it means i will have to go to the hospital two hours in advance and then stay there two hours after surgery. the op itself might take an hour at most but the doctor said it basically takes away the entire day and i should make sure i have nothing to do that day except rest and relax.

he assured me that i have nothing to worry about and if i want i can cancel both operations and just continue as is. keep using nasal sprays and leave my hearing as is. neither is any sort of threat to my general health, however, the surgeries would definitely help and i chose surgery. my allergies are worsening each season and any sort of relief would be more than welcome.

i had taken half the day off work and later in the afternoon i went to pick up skid from the airport. he was arriving from vancouver by air canada. he has a flight to moscow on the 12th from toronto but on the way back, 24th, he’s going directly back to vancouver which is a bit sad. i would’ve preferred he come back to toronto first and then to vancouver but the tickets were already booked and couldn’t be changed or updated.

i really do wish this trip does him some good. i can’t imagine how hard it would be for him but i’m sure it is something he must do to get some sense of closure. i don’t really know what to do.. if i should talk to him or wait until he wants to talk or maybe he doesnt want to talk about it and bring up memories and what not. sigh, such a sad tragedy and i wish i can help in any way i can. time heals all.. i hope it does its work soon enough.

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