may the fourth be with you...

I don't know about you but I pronounce tinnitus as tin-NIGHT-us but, apparently, health care professionals say tin-NIT-us. Both ways are OK, though.
I learned that yesterday when I went in for a hearing test. I'd originally scheduled it a million years ago and the original appointment was supposed to be right before Thanksgiving but then C's dad died and I cancelled everything that week.
In any case I made the appointment because for about two years now I've had a ringing in my right ear. Somewhere along the way I realized, too, that my hearing is pretty bad in that ear. Bad as in I can't really use it to talk on the phone and have to tilt my left ear toward someone if they're talking quietly.
Old age, right? Too many rock shows, for sure. That one Quasi show probably did the worst damage of all. I still remember how pissed they were when someone actually asked them to turn it down.
I made the appointment to find out how bad it really is and to see if there's anything that can be done. I know tinnitus isn't curable and the thought of wearing a hearing aid makes me feel ancient but it was getting bad enough to finally feel as though I should talk to a doctor. Have you ever tried to fall asleep at night with a persistent ringing in your ear? It is not pleasant.
As it turns out, though, tinnitus and hearing loss in just one ear isn't exactly normal.
I found that out the same week I rescheduled my first appointment. Sitting in a motel room in Oregon watching my friend D's talk about his brain tumor in a new video blog he'd just posted to Fbook. He has a nonmalignant brain tumor, he explained, and as I watched his video, I realized I was experiencing some of the same symptoms. Just some though. No numbness or loss of taste. But still. Hearing loss and tinnitus in one ear. Oh, and dizziness. But I've had the dizziness off and on for forever. I have low blood pressure, I get dizzy.
That's what I told the audiologist yesterday. She nodded and asked me more questions. Did I have headaches? (Not really beyond the norm). Had I ever shot a gun? (Once, about five years ago). What about a concussion? (No, I mean, I don't think so). What made you decide to make the appointment?

I told her about D. It wasn't why I made the appointment--but it's why I kept it.

She showed me to a small soundproof booth, outfitted me with a pair of headphones and then left, the door whooshing shut with a vacuum seal. For the next five minutes or so I had to repeat words back to her, all spoken at various levels. Then she returned and attached a wire to the center of my forehead and left again. This time I had to listen for a series of beeps and tell her "yes" every time I heard them. The stretches of time between some of those audible beeps felt awfully long.
After, she printed out a chart.
"Do you want me to show you on the chart or should I just explain it?"
"Use the chart," I said, although I'm not really sure why.
She used her finger to trace the lines. The blue one was for my left ear--some hearing loss, yes, we were all dumb at concerts at once. The red one, she said, her fingernail traveling along its steep pitch down the page, showed significant hearing loss.

"It could have been caused by a virus," she said. "Or maybe a sudden loud noise--though I don't think it was the gun that one time. It could even be just a more dramatic version of what's happening on the left side. Too many rock shows."

Now it will be up to a specialist to narrow down the cause. He'll likely recommend an MRI. The first available appointment isn't until May.

It's probably nothing, nonmalignant brain tumors are rare.

But still. I couldn't help but feel the claw of tears in my throat.

"Tell me everything I should know so that I can reassure my husband because he's probably going to freak out," I said, trying to keep it light.

Life is fucking weird. The appointment isn't until May 4 (ohhhhh, 'may the fourth be with you'?! I just realized that) Part of me wants to get the MRI over with and part of me never wants to have it. I don't even know if that makes sense.

"It's fine," I told C later when he started to protest about the MRI's date. If I start experiencing new symptoms we could schedule something sooner at a different clinic. "We'll just play it by....ear....no pun intended."

Damn it, I came here wanting to write some really elegant essay ruminating on the fragile uncertainty of everything but instead it's just a rambling mess. Fitting, really.

6:38 pm - 25.01.18

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why won't you call me lady bird? - 16.03.18 - 2:55 pm

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C'mon Shivers, get real. - 27.02.18 - 8:46 pm

turn it up to 11 - 27.01.18 - 11:51 am

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