February 5, 2003

It has been quite the week so far. I woke up on Sunday morning with a very painful left ear and a temperature. When I looked in the mirror I realized that the ear was swollen to twice its normal size and was very red. I figured that at the age of 54 I had come down with my very first ear infection. The ear became more painful and swollen as the day progressed. By late afternoon my neck was painful to touch.

When I woke up on Monday morning and looked in the mirror I was horrified to see that my ear was now three times its normal size and the redness had spread half way across my cheek and down my neck. That afternoon my husband took me to emergency at the country hospital. After checking my ear, the doctor told me that I did not have an ear infection but that I had a skin infection. He told me that the infection had also spread behind my ear and around back of my head. The doctor told me that the infection could have come from a small scratch in my ear; something I might not have been aware of. He prescribed antibiotics and told me if the infection did not clear up within a day and a half I would have to be admitted to hospital and put on IV antibiotics. Needless to say I was not impressed with my predicament. I have enough troubles; I don’t need something as bizarre as a skin infection and I don’t need to look like Dumbo.

When I woke up yesterday morning, the infection had spread a little bit closer to my eye. By evening I was really feeling miserable and wondering if it might be a good idea to go back to emergency. When I woke up this morning I was very pleased to see that the infection is no longer spreading. In fact, the hard lumpy area under the skin on my cheek is decreasing in size and the intense pressure is gone. It is no longer painful to touch. My ear no longer feels like it will blow up. Thank God for antibiotics.

This morning I received an email from Margot Russell, Demos Medical Publishing. She included a chapter from a book called “Life on Cripple Creek” and asked me to publicize it on my website. You can read the chapter here: Life On Cripple Creek. Even though Dean Kramer, the author, is a woman with a disability from multiple sclerosis, I think that all of us with disabilities can relate to her wonderful and poignant essay.

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