Why I’m Taking a Rare Half Day (Sick Day)

Today (July 14) I’m taking a rare half-day as a sick day. I worked the entire time I had COVID (all two months: December 2020 through Feb. 2021).

From COVID, I ended up with even more severe chronic migraines, temporary colorblindness (from what the doctor and neurologist thought was a brain infection or inflammation of some kind), severe photophobia (light sensitivity (I still wear purple sunglasses in the house, use F.lux on my computers, etc.), and I had a relapse of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (initially diagnosed in my late teens after dealing with Epstein-Barr virus). But, I kept trucking. In fact, there’s a funny little story from May where a client sent me a request to write a landing page for one of their Denver locations and sent me text I apparently wrote in January for their OKC location and “Just model it after what you already wrote.” I just started at it. I had no memory of writing it. I immediately looked in my client files. I had the file. I wrote it. It was my writing style.

So, I was all, well…okay then. They loved it. Honestly, I had no memory of it. I have a very high pain tolerance. I wasn’t about to take a hit to my bank account while being sick. I was quarantined at home. I worked between naps. I slept probably 18 hours a day.

Anyway…the migraines I had (and have) always seemed to start…behind my fucking ear (from COVID). I didn’t think anything of it. Until adulthood, I never had ear infections (those of you with ear infections know where this is going).

So, on July 9, my head hurt so bad I told my husband I had to lie down. That’s rare. I had forgotten what I was supposed to be doing (not uncommon for me because I have hemiplegic migraines. We knew it wasn’t a stroke). For the most part, I am generally functional thanks to treatment from Cove.

Over the weekend, I realized I had an ear infection. For the record, I don’t swim and I don’t get my ears wet when I wash my hair. I had a virtual visit on the following Monday and was told just to use swimmer’s drops because despite my ear canal being swollen, the doctor didn’t think it was bacterial. My husband talked to a pharmacist and that didn’t seem right because of the amount of pain I was in.

Yesterday (Tuesday, the 13th) it was really bad. I had been sick all weekend, by the way, and couldn’t really be out of bed for long. I did an urgent care visit through Integris. The first words out of my mouth was about the pain BEHIND my ear. The second thing I told her was about my first visit. The third thing was the swollen ear canal. I told her about having COVID at the end of the year. She asked questions, of course. I was diagnosed with mastoiditis, which is an infection of the bone behind the ear. It is shaped like a honeycomb. If it is left untreated, it can cause a brain abscess, a brain clot, meningitis, and a lot of other scary things. Antibiotics are essential or you end up needing surgery if it doesn’t fucking kill you and/or make you deaf. On one hand, if you go deaf, are you still noise sensitive? Because migraines make me extremely noise sensitive and being noise sensitive causes migraines.

Here’s What John Hopkins Says about COVID and Mastoiditis

According to John Hopkins, COVID-19 can actually settle in the mastoid bone. My theory is the reason why the migraines increased is because I ended up with mastoiditis because of COVID. It settled into the mastoid bone. I learned there are two types: chronic and acute. Chronic can be inflammatory and sometimes not bother people. Doesn’t always need treatment. Acute requires treatment. Until it started bothering my actual ear, making it to wear I couldn’t sleep, or lie on my right side, all I really knew is my head started hurting on my right side. But it was livable until late last week. For months, it was livable. And now it’s at a tipping point…although not requiring hospitalization (thankfully).

I’d much rather get taken out by trying to pet an animal I shouldn’t than by an ear infection gone rogue because some doctor wouldn’t fucking listen. Doctors, please listen when we tell you our ears hurt. Prescribe the fucking antibiotic.

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