Probably didn’t hear you

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. I’ve been on vacation for a week, enjoying cooler climes and more relaxed environs, but I’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.

That’s not what’s stopped me, though. The sorts of things I’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 didn’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 you’ll notice me turning around a lot because it helps me make out what you’re saying. If you’re directly opposite me we should be fine, but it depends on how noisy the place is. And if you’re more than 15-20 feet away the probability is I just can’t make out what you’re saying.

I’ll go see the doctor again this week. I don’t know if it’s simple external blockage (i.e. wax), which is unlikely but possible, or if there’s been a Meniere’s-related issue. It’s sometimes hard to know. In fact, one of the hardest things to explain about my experience with Meniere’s is that it means my hearing can be very variable depending on time of day, whether it’s acting up or not, weather etc. etc. Right now I’m trying to be optimistic and hope it settles back to France levels. If it does, I’ll arrange hearing aids to offset the moderate permanent hearing loss I do have, and I should be fine. If it doesn’t, it’ll be worse than that.

Communicating and enjoying film and music aside, the real problem with my Meniere’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 I’ve been lucky of late. Thanks to various medications, I’ve not been having Meniere’s attacks. Every year for the past three I’ve been struck down over Christmas and in April. If it weren’t for my right ear being blocked, I’d barely have noticed it. I’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.

Home tomorrow!

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