The story of my right ear drum…..,

So I have started this blog because I was finding it hard to get up to date relevant info on the surgery I was about to have.

Ill start with my own back ground info then tell you what I went through. Feel free to comment but if you would like to share your story please start a new comment on the page and give your background too.

So I am 33 female and live in Western Australia.

I don’t remember having a lot of trouble with my ears as a child, but at the age of 17 I spent 3 weeks in Bali partying and took a lot of pseudoephedrine and developed a cough that lasted for almost 2 years and I believe this was the start of my sinus and subsequent ear problems.

I remember having at least one perforation in my ear in 2001 but I think it healed on its own. I may have had some slight tinnitus by then also.

I was having a lot of sinus trouble though and after seeing an ENT in Margaret River I had some xrays and possibly a CT scan of my sinus and in 2002 at age 21 I had my sinus cavity scraped and grommets or tubes put in both ears. The sinus scraping did absolutely nothing and I remember the first days after surgery being very uncomfortable. Almost a year later the grommets had grown out. I could not get water in my ears until that happened. I now feel that the grommets created a weak area in my right drum

I think my ears were ok for a year or so then but I after that I would keep getting perforations, also often I would have wax covering the perforation so it was not always visible to doctors. My ear was also what i would call very noisy, lots of crackling, squealing, intermittent pulse in it, squeaky, bubbly and felt blocked often. I was often taking antibiotics.

2008 after having a perforation that wouldn’t heal for about a year – but as I said may have been there longer I had an op to patch the drum. My hole was only small about 10% of the drum and this second ENT had already tried cauterising it in the office but it would keep falling apart.

He took a piece of cartilage from my tragus – the little bit that stocks out over the canal and went through the ear canal to patch the hole. He told me he had to “rebuild some of the little bones in there”. I woke up feeling very sick and didnt eat for at least 48 hrs but i don’t remember having too much pain. I was up and about and told to keep it dry for a week. I do not feel in hindsight that what I needed to do to give my ear the best post op chance was stressed to me. As such I am sure I was too active and didnt keep it dry enough, also the fabric gauze he poked in fell out all shrivelled up almost immediately.

As the weeks went by the graft took but left a small hole. After waiting almost 6 months for it to heal spontaneously he eventually dropped a little silver nitrate on to close it over properly. Did I mention that my ears are now a completely different shape as he took quite a lot of cartilage, it is now difficult for me to wear music earplugs. I will post photos!

Again it was fine for probably 1-1.5 years before I burst it again. i spend a lot of time in the water and I think that, combined with my sinus just, equals troubles for my ear…

So for the last 4 years I have put up with another permanent perforation which wouldn’t heal. I switched to a new ENT closer to my new home and approached him to see if he would close it with the silver nitrate but he refused. I then went on a wait list for a patch for a year as I didnt want to pay for it to happen privately again, but I ended up chickening out of the surgery, partly because I didnt feel comfortable with the doctor and partly because I figured the chance of failure was too high.

Day 1 behind earBut I did go and see an osteopath who has helped massively with my sinus congestion – more on that later- and also cleaned my diet up, almost wheat free, lower sugar and dairy, so when I got an ear infection I couldnt shake I went and tried a new ENT (number 4!) who also said it was surgery or nothing and I went back on a wait list. I felt more positive of not relapsing this time because my sinus situation is better.

Still after a year I was very hesitant to go back under the knife! This time the doc wanted to go post auricular (behind the ear) and use some fascia from my scalp. During my freak outs pre op i couldnt find any info about recovery so I wanted to start a page where others could share their experience.

I just got home from the hospital – had to stay over night due to going under the anaesthetic. Arrived at 8am straight into surgery and was awake at 10.30. Felt totally fine, no pain at all but a bit itchy under the bandages. Also have a slightly louder than usual tinnitus at the moment. When I figure out how to add photos i will show the 10 stitches behind my ear – which thankfully appears to be back on straight!!!

I am not a doctor and have no qualification to back up any of my opinions. I also feel that each of the ENTs I have dealt with have had the best intentions no matter the outcome.

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