This past weekend, I had a bit of a health crisis.
I was getting ready to go to bed on a perfectly normal Saturday night when all of a sudden my world fell quiet, literally quiet- and not in a nice, peaceful way.
It felt as if someone had pressed my left ear against a thick wall. In all of a few minutes, I could feel my hearing fade, and in came this roaring, ringing sound through the chambers of my head.
All of this came out of no where.
“Something’s really wrong,” I told my husband that night. I didn’t panic, yet.
Our kids were fast asleep in bed, so my husband stayed home, while I drove myself to the urgent care. The doctor diagnosed me with a middle ear infection, gave me a shot of antibiotics and referred me to an ENT if things didn’t get better.
“Are you sure it’s just an ear infection?” I asked her.
This made the ER doctor think, and she gave me a shot of steroids just in case.
I got home, and I felt like the room was spinning. Tinnitus set in. I felt so sick. It was pretty terrifying, and I couldn’t for the life of me, get any sleep that night. I just prayed, wondering how I was going to face the world and all that I had to do, in this state?
I saw an otologist a few days later, and I was diagnosed with what I feared, sudden sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear plus some vestibular issues (dizziness). My audiology test showed I had profound hearing loss in that ear. My heart sank.
How’d I go from perfect hearing to this?
“It was good that you got on steroids quickly,” the doctor said. “The sooner the better.”
He seemed genuinely optimistic, but of course, he couldn’t guarantee anything.
The cause? It’s unknown. The doctor thought maybe it was an autoimmune issue.
He gave me my first intratympanic ear injection (I can’t believe I held still for that) and plans to do it once a week for the next three weeks to see what becomes it.
“Don’t expect this to go away overnight, everyone’s different, and we just don’t know,” he said.
I’ve decided to try hyperbaric oxygen therapy – an off-label treatment that some doctors use for hearing loss in other countries (also used off-label for Chronic Lyme). It is expensive, but we figured it was worth a try. Just for good measure, I’m also adding in some supplements – vitamin E, magnesium, Gingko, fish oil, etc.
So all of a sudden, life has become harder. Just like that. My life sounds different, and I will need to adjust to it, temporarily or indefinitely – my kids’ voices, the sound of the kettle brewing, the washing machine beeping, the jingling tags on our little Chihuahua as she trots to my side. I took my daughter to her gymnastics class, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer chaos of noise – without two hearing ears, it’s much harder to separate background music from conversation. My world, once rich in stereo surround sound has become a bit more mono – I joke to my husband that everything sounds like it is coming out of one cheap speaker right now. A little funny, but definitely not fun!
I will admit, the first two days with this, I was down. It’s just a shocking and emotionally difficult experience. I suddenly felt so isolated and wrestled with feelings like maybe I deserve this … why is God so hard on me … maybe I do need a harsh, in-my-face reminder to be thankful for what I do have.
But somehow, I am letting those self-focused thoughts diminish, and I am learning to keep my thoughts on His goodness, sovereignty and strength. I am realizing that the only way through this is by holding tight and resting in His grace. I’ve been through scary health issues before, and while I don’t pretend to know it all, I know that the best thing I can do in times like this … is to wait patiently on the Lord.
Believe me, I’d very much love for my life to go back to normal, like tomorrow.
But I know the Lord will come through. I don’t know how He will choose to or when, but He always has.
So now I just wait on the Lord, the One who heals and restores, in my newly muffled world, praying that I will draw closer to Him. I am trying my best to be grateful that I can still hear normally through one ear, and I am doing my best to continue life as normally as I can.
I guess my heart in sharing this is to encourage those of you who may be waiting in a place of loss too … for reasons entirely different from mine, but waiting just the same.
And if so, let’s wait together. Even if you struggle to feel Jesus is even there, let’s wait. You don’t have to wait before Him with perfect faith … just come. Come messed up and doubtful and hurt. Just come.
It’s true, life is one beautiful, amazing trip and sometimes it’s easy to make it all about how much we can gather along the way – but what about the very real losses we face too? Somehow it seems, we have to fight to see God’s goodness in both.
Not an easy task – but with His grace, I know this quietness … this somewhat scary stillness of waiting … will turn into a song of clearest hope.
So, my friends, whatever you’re facing, let’s wait on Him together.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! ~ Psalm 27:14