There are all sorts of things I have not been doing, and all sorts of things that I have not been enjoying, that I normally do. Iâ€™ve been on vacation for a week, enjoying cooler climes and more relaxed environs, but Iâ€™ve had to devote time to writing year-in-review essays, and to working on compiling my Best of the Year anthology (final ToC announced any day now) which has gotten in the way of really relaxing.
Thatâ€™s not whatâ€™s stopped me, though. The sorts of things Iâ€™ve not been doing too much of are watching TV and movies, sitting around chatting a lot, and even reading as much as I want. The reason for it is that, once again, my ears are acting up. I was very fortunate when I was overseas in France, the UK and the US this year that my ears not only didnâ€™t trouble me; they functioned pretty well (for me). I felt relaxed, confident and that things might be slowly improving.
Since I got back from the US in November, though, things have slowly deteriorated. My right ear particularly is problematic right now. It feels blocked and the hearing out of it is very poor and muffled. If you sit on my right side youâ€™ll notice me turning around a lot because it helps me make out what youâ€™re saying. If youâ€™re directly opposite me we should be fine, but it depends on how noisy the place is. And if youâ€™re more than 15-20 feet away the probability is I just canâ€™t make out what youâ€™re saying.
Iâ€™ll go see the doctor again this week. I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s simple external blockage (i.e. wax), which is unlikely but possible, or if thereâ€™s been a Meniereâ€™s-related issue. Itâ€™s sometimes hard to know. In fact, one of the hardest things to explain about my experience with Meniereâ€™s is that it means my hearing can be very variable depending on time of day, whether itâ€™s acting up or not, weather etc. etc. Right now Iâ€™m trying to be optimistic and hope it settles back to France levels. If it does, Iâ€™ll arrange hearing aids to offset the moderate permanent hearing loss I do have, and I should be fine. If it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™ll be worse than that.
Communicating and enjoying film and music aside, the real problem with my Meniereâ€™s is that the experience is so variable, with ears feeling blocked or not, or hearing being good or not, that I am aware of it every day. It never quite settles to the point, or seldom settles, to where I can just forget it and get on with the day to day. It distracts me, even beyond the mechanical issues of watching or listening to things.
That said, in some ways Iâ€™ve been lucky of late. Thanks to various medications, Iâ€™ve not been having Meniereâ€™s attacks. Every year for the past three Iâ€™ve been struck down over Christmas and in April. If it werenâ€™t for my right ear being blocked, Iâ€™d barely have noticed it. Iâ€™ve had a moment or two of light-headedness, but nothing like an attack or even the precursors to an attack.
Given that I need to relax, become creative and get my 2015/16 schedule settled pretty much immediately I hope things improve. Back to the day job on Monday, too, which will be fun! I love working with my team, but the work occasionally can be trying.