Joys of a Ruptured Ear Drum….and other things to make you squirm

This has not been one of my finer weeks.

I prayed to Yahweh, Elohim and El Shaddai (Hebrew names for God) all in the same prayer.

I always thought I was a bit of a tough guy. Bite one ear lobe off and I will keep coming at you…as long as it’s a heavenly cause, that is. But I got humbled real good this time. Something they are saying is a ruptured ear drum caused from back pressure from some kind of “super bug”. Well OK. At least it took a ‘super bug’ to bring me down.  Truth is….most of this stuff about a “super bug” is internet fear mongering in my opinion.  I think I have …….big tank that I am…. I have been brought low by what usually makes infants cranky and whiney.  In my case, the pain and discomfort has reached apocalyptic proportions.  Honest to God, this has been a stretch of “nail gun” pain in my inner ear.  I don’t wish it on anyone.

So here I am calling on my God in as many dialects and mantras as I can muster up. It’s not a pretty thing to see me in that kind of pain. Kinda funny but not pretty. Well over a week ago, I was put on a steroid to chase away some mysterious infection affecting bronchial passages and such. I got dehydrated and they brought me in to give me an I.V. to get the fluids up. A few days later I get a horrible pressure in my left ear.

Tough guy that I am, I taught my class on Hebrews and for all that I could tell, the comments were about Shebrews or Phlebrews or Night Priests and the Carbunkle. Those who have hearing loss will instantly identify these as High Priests and the Tabernacle. ( Those of us with hearing losses are smarter because we have to decode. )

The class showed a lot of patience and we gotter’dun. Now isn’t that a fine way to get through a Sunday morning Bible class? By Monday night I was waving a white flag. My dear wife Deb took me to Aurora Emergency. The young doc takes one look and says, “that’s ugly”. Now I really don’t think that is what he said, but to me it meant the same thing. He could have said, “look out…..she’s gonna blow!” and then I would have known for sure what was going to happen next. He was actually quite medical as he explained that, “yes”, I have considerable inflammation and bulging of the ear drum and it will likely rupture and I’ll be stone deaf for a few days and they will put me on even more antibiotics and pain relievers strong enough to make a tatoo artist swoon.

He left the room and said he would return with the pain killers. I watch the clock tick…….ever…….slow. And then I says to Deb, “hey hon, is there a water pipe dripping overhead? Something about the weight and color of WD-40 is leaking from my ear. So begins my week.

Memorial day and I will never forget this one.

They send me home with instructions about how this is temporary. I will be uncomfortable and probably cannot stand up straight, but to persevere and this too will pass. So over the next 4 days I have been on an adventure of sorts. Those of you who know me know that I have a hearing loss as it is. I wear these little things some folks call hearing aids. I refer to them as “highly sophisticated surveillance instruments”. A nifty little feature of my hearing loss is something called “tinnitus”. It is a constant “white noise” or “ringing in the ear”. Well, this ear drum thingy I have is fifty times over what it usually is. Voices seem to mysteriously come from directions other than what is true. I have a cacophony of sounds inside my head.

At times I would swear that I am in a rain forest with monkeys chirping and water dripping off palm leaves. At other times I hear children giggling, dogs barking out words and phrases even performing old 60’s tunes. I tell you that I hear these things in the vacuum of my ear canals. I don’t have the science for this, it just is. Last night Deb was in Madison helping our kids move into their new house, and she was 80 miles away, I thought I heard her say, plain as day, “are you dressed and ready to leave”? Now, granted that one may be a hallucination from the pain killers….but it’s not like she was saying “Helter Skelter”….she was asking if I was dressed, for crying out loud. Today is Friday. I’m feeling a bit better. The fever is not so hot and the pain is not so white hot. But I’m not a well man yet.

So I’m sitting here blogging and one of my church elders is out mowing my lawn. Duey is the kind of guy who will do that for you in a pinch. And he’s going to preach for me on Sunday. “On Malachi”….at least that’s our running joke. If ever I can’t preach and he does it, it has to be on “Malachi”. Of course, He pronounces it “Malachy” kind of like its some sort of mexican musical instrument. But we both know that he can speak on whatever he wants because anything he says will be of God and from the heart and people will be blessed. I don’t know how long this ear-ringing folk festival is going to be going on in my head. I see a specialist on Wednesday. But until then I’ll just take my little meds and enjoy the monkeys playing their little rain forest tricks in my head.

About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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4 Responses to Joys of a Ruptured Ear Drum….and other things to make you squirm

  1. Wayne says:

    I’m laughing with you and praying for ya!

  2. dianne kinzer says:

    OUCH!!! I am so sorry you had to experience this. It was eye and tooth week at our house; this week’s ailment hasn’t shown up yet. We are in failing body part of the week club! We want OUT!!!!

    Is that your place that is pictured? Lovely.

    Well, a little lunch for me and then a long nap; only got 3 hours sleep last night. Something about David getting a position here in Springfield that kept me awake until about 3 and then I had to get up at 6 to fix breakfast for Chuck and Roger before they took off on the Death Machines for KY. We had a great time.

    Get well; stay well, and we will try to do the same!


  3. Janet says:

    I’m sorry it took your painful experience to lead me to your blog, but I’m thankful you wrote this…what a blessing that you can take something so painful and frustrating and turn it into something fun to read. My heart goes out to you, but I have to admit, I chuckled several times as I read your plight (of course, Ted would say it’s just my sick mind that laughs at another’s pain).

    I pray, Gary, that this will heal quickly, and that you’ll soon be back to preaching and teaching as you’re blessed to always do so very well.

  4. nannykim says:

    I hope you are feeling better. The delicate balance of the body surely teaches me how amazing our bodies are and how everything works together in our bodies! (I had an ear thing–forget what you call it–happen this past yeart–where you suddenly can’t walk and the room spins even when lying down—you get super sick to the stomach–there have been few times in my life when I felt so sick and out of control—the really funny thing is my daughter’s mother-in-law who lives 4 hours away got the same thing the same week!!)…..But anyways, it was an example to me of the Body of Christ, the church, and how all the parts need to be working together 😉

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