I Can’t Believe My Ears

When it comes to my MS, my ears are the Last Frontier.  When every other part of my body has been hit at one point or another, I’ve always prided myself in maintaining, what my husband calls, my supersonic hearing.  Of course, I’ve never taken this for granted, MS can affect hearing, most commonly in the form of tinnitus, but I’ve long held onto the hope that my ears will remain intact.

Funnily, as I write this, I am reminded that my ears have been affected.  Right at the start of all this nonsense I suffered bouts of hypersensitive hearing, so maybe it’s not quite the Last Frontier I imagined it to be.  In any case, my ears have remained relatively unaffected and that’s the way I’d like it to stay.

You can imagine my devastation then, when just before Christmas, my left ear became blocked.  I was pretty sure this was simply a build-up of wax rather than anything unfixable.  And so, I made an appointment for, what turned out to be, 6 weeks later to have the wax removed.  During those 6 long weeks my friends and I laughed at the number of times they were having to repeat themselves as I turned my whole body in a dramatic effort to hear what was being said.  So, even though it was annoying the heck out of me, especially the dull, heaviness that encompassed the left side of my head, I found ways to see the humour in it.  Having lived for 13 years with a condition like MS where no moment is free of some form of pain and irritation, I have developed ways of coping and blocking some of it out.  By comparison, a blocked ear was nothing, especially if it could be fixed.

Which brings me to the appointment.  I had been dreaming of that moment of relief when the wax was finally removed and with it the unbearable burden in my head.  You can see where this is going.  “There’s no wax in there, it’s totally clear!” the audiologist said with a smile, as though this was somehow music to my unhearing ear.  In that moment I felt the familiar nag of panic you get when a new MS symptom pops up and you don’t know whether it is paying a flying visit or is actually here to stay for as long as you are here to stay.  I left the clinic feeling utterly deflated.

I stewed over what to do.  Should I call the doctor?  Or wait it out and see what happens?  I chose the latter, not wishing to burden the already overly burdened surgery with what I hoped was, just a minor ailment.

Cue yesterday morning.  I was pottering about getting the kids ready for school and myself ready from work when suddenly, with a tiny pop, my ear was clear, and I could hear!  Oh, what blessed relief!  The weight that was lifted was immense and life felt totally amazing.  The morning was made even better by my ipod’s choice of song in the car – The Darkness ‘I Believe in A Thing Called Love’.  Can it really be nearly 20 years since my housemates and I used to rock out to this tune on the LCR* dancefloor?  My kids were in joyous fits of giggles as they watched me transform into Rock Mum, complete with air guitar moves and high notes.  Man, it was so good to hear again.

After all this ear business I find myself reflecting on what it would be like if my MS symptoms disappeared.  How big would the relief be if I finally got the full feeling back in my feet?  Imagine the heaviness lifting from my legs.  Imagine being able to run again.  Imagine if the tingling in my hands disappeared and imagine if I no longer felt tired.  Now, that really would be worth rejoicing.

*LCR – The University of East Anglia’s resident nightclub and music venue.

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