Jun 5 2017

Radio silence due to crappy events. Spoiler alert: I am fine.


When last we left our intrepid heroine, she was chilling on the couch, while recovering from unpleasant pain meds after a surprise kidney stone attack.

Aha, but there’s more to the story!

I seem to be the poster girl for bottom-of-the-warning-sheet side-effects.  I don’t waste time; I just go straight for the least common manifestation, and manifest up a storm.   For, example, oh… Muscle relaxants?  How about them?  Way down at the bottom of the list of rarely-seen side effects: agitation.  This being, you should note, the actual opposite of what a relaxant should do.   And then there’s Propofol, a common anesthetic for colonoscopies, which has the lovely rarely-seen side effect of causing agonizing horrible pain.  Yeah, that one was fun.

Anyway, to continue:

In order to mitigate the misery of the miserable headaches I always get after Dilaudid,  the ER doc gave me a prescription for 500mg of Naproxen.   The over-the-counter version of this is Alleve, which I’ve taken in the past for backaches and such now and again.  But never in this high a dose.

Let’s look at the bottom of the list of possible side-effects for that one, shall we?  Let’s see:

  • Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • hearing loss

These are listed as a minor side effects.

But what if you’re, say, already hearing impaired?  As I am?

Yeah.  I basically spent a week running through a dress rehearsal for my personal nightmare.   Of course, I didn’t know it was a dress rehearsal at the time.  For all I knew at the time, it could have been the real thing.

So, let’s repeat that spoiler alert: I am fine.   Side effects all gone now.

I’ve been deaf in one ear for most of my life, and it’s annoying and inconvenient, but not that great a problem.  But it does cause me to freak out about any changes in my remaining ear.  So, when my hearing went all bizarre on me, muffled and popping, and buzzing and weird, I saw a doc, of course.  I saw my Primary Doctor the day after I noticed the problem, and we got me in with a otolaryngologist.   But by the time I saw him (three days later), the symptoms had diminished a lot; and when we did the hearing tests, I came out pretty darn good, actually.

He’s not entirely convinced that the Neproxen was to blame — but for me, it’s pretty clear.  The timing was too perfect, including the fact that the problem seems to have been temporary, and has now completely cleared up.  Still, I’ll be getting an MRI of the whole shebang, just on the outside chance that something in there is going wonky.

But boy, that was so weird.   And scary.

And there was this one manifestation, which showed up a few days into the whole thing, where I started hearing every sound as two sounds.  That is, two different notes, one lower than the other.  Any sound that had a tone to it — fan, car engine, human voice — was doubled.  I noticed that particular one when, late at night in my office, I decided to play some guitar and sing, to prove to myself defiantly that I wasn’t actually going deaf — and discovered that I was singing harmony with myself.  So weird.

Oh, and it was bad harmony.  Like, a half-step off. And I couldn’t actually tell which note was the real note, either.

I didn’t know that it was even possible for one ear to hear one sound as two different notes.  But an intensive Internet search of legitimate medical research and report sites showed me that, yep, that can happen.  That particular side-effect hung on longer than the others, and I was treated to a meeting of the Genrettes in which Laurie and Delia discussed my manuscript, sounding like four people discussing my manuscript.   And the crowd at the cafe sounded twice the size it was.

But even that has cleared up now, thank goodness.

So… MRI to come, and we’ll see.  I’m pretty sure it’s all fine now.

But I will be avoiding all NSAIDs for the rest of my life!   Because they all (Naproxen, ibuprofen, even aspirin) have the potential to (very rarely) cause hearing problems — which are usually temporary, but in really really really rare occasions can be permanent.    Hello Tylenol, my New Best Friend.

In other news, I went for a particularly nice walk and saw a bunny, a blue heron, several turtles, and OMG baby skunks.  I’ll post about that next time, right?  I have pictures.


Too young to be out on their own!