Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Ear infection

Yes, I’m alive. Well, mostly. I got back from Hawaii a week ago, but I flew back with a very tiny cold – minor enough that I barely even thought about it as I got on the plane. But I thought about it a lot as we descended and my head just about exploded like that dude on Scanners. I now have two horrible ear infections. Actually, the one in the left ear has been about 10% infected, and usually doesn’t bother me at all. But the right ear has been 95% infected, and feels like when your ear is full of water when you swim, but permanently.

I tried all the basics: yawn, shower, gum, sutafed, nasal spray, heating pad on throat: no dice. Sometimes I could get the stuff to slosh around a bit, but I was looking for a huge POP, a clearing of everything, like when your ears are clogged from swimming, and an hour later, BAM, you’ve got a clear ear and a bunch of shit on the shoulder of your t-shirt. Finally, I dipped into the stash of prescribed but never taken drugs, and started a regimen of Flagyl, thanks to my dentist and root canal. It didn’t do much, so I finally had to call in the last resort: the doctor.

I hate doctors. Doctors never solve anything, unless you show up at their office dead, and then they say “yeah, he’s dead” and sign the death certificate. Otherwise, a doctor usually can’t tell you anything you didn’t already know from google. And believe me, I read every damn entry about the inner ear last week. I could pretty much do surgery on someone’s inner ear if my hands weren’t so shaky from drinking Coke all the time. Anyway, doctors can only do one thing, other than cut people up legally, and that’s prescribe drugs. You’d think keeping the mighty power of dispensing medicines locked away in the hands of the few would be great, but it introduces the problem that drug companies turn these people into drug fiends. I don’t mean they will be shooting heroin into their eye (although the might.) What I mean is when I come in for a hangnail, the doctor’s going to suddenly say “hey, your cholesterol is a point high, and instead of telling you to get off your ass and run around the block a few times, I’m going to put you on Lipitor.” Why would he do that? Is it because he cares about my well-being? No. Is it because someone from Pfizer will take him on vacation in Aruba? Probably. Is it because he’s an enabler for a drug industry that will now collect a few hundred bucks a month from me for the rest of my life and possibly subject me to horrific side effects just in order for me to get at the bottom of their pyramid scheme? Dingdingdingding, we have a winner.

It was bad enough when I was in my twenties, and every therapist and shrink I talked to wanted me to take about 12 different mood enhancers, probably so Eli Lilly could take them on golf vacations. I didn’t need to be heavily medicated as much as I wanted the answers to some common questions about how my brain worked and how I reacted to others and how I perceived the world around me, and how I could change that. It was basic “teach a man to fish” stuff, and everyone wanted me to get addicted to fish pills for the rest of my life. And now that I’m about at my mid-30s and not in great shape, admittedly, every time I see a doctor, they want to lock me into a long-term contract for cholesterol-lowerers and blood-pressure lowerers, and sugar-lowerers, and everything else, and IT PISSES ME OFF.

I have an endocrinologist, who I might not have anymore as I stopped going to him, who pulls this drug freak shit on me every time I go there. I have a potential thyroid problem, or maybe I don’t. It seems enlarged, but it tests OK. They run another test to see if it’s some rare exotic autoimmune problem, and it tests OK, but they say the test doesn’t work 50% of the time. I, of course, use some Lewis Black logic that if I didn’t go to my job 50% of the time, I wouldn’t have one. But anyway. He says, well, take the thyroid medicine anyway. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’re just making your piss that much more expensive. I can almost live with this logic, but then he wants me to come see him constantly, and take blood tests constantly, and miss work constantly, and the most he can come up with is trying to get me on another prescription.

ALL OF THIS IS INSANE. I AM NOT 94. I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE 17 PRESCRIPTIONS THAT COST 25 DOLLARS A MONTH, EACH. That’s a fucking car payment. Not to mention that it’s a full-time job to get the fucking yo-yo down at Rite-Aid to actually fill the shit correctly, because they completely fuck up one in four prescriptions. You know what? I bought a fucking bike. It cost $300. My blood pressure as of Friday was 120/80. FUCK THESE DOCTORS. FUCK THEM ALL IN THE HEAD.

But I had to go to the doctor anyway. I went Friday and he gave me eardrops and a Z-pack antibiotic to nuke the thing from orbit. ($50. And that’s with insurance. Whoever raised our copay to $25 should be taken outside and hung from a streetsign by his dick.) I feel a little better, on day 3 of the new stuff, but still can’t hear.

So there’s that. I haven’t finished the Hawaii trip, although I’m sick of writing these things and I’m not even sure if people read them or if the hits are all spam-bots using my pages to up the hit counts on their stupid “discount Hawaii we don’t sell anything, we’re just a referral passthrough trying to up our pagerank” type of shit. I will eventually get to it. The photos are there, though.

It’s very nice outside, but humid. It looks like it could break into a rain at a moment’s notice. I want to go ride my bike, but the lack of hearing and lack of balance make it difficult. And walking is too boring.