It was a Tuesday in, I think, May, 2006. The plumber, Colin, was here working in our downstairs loo which was also the only bathroom in the house at the time. I was sitting on the settee in the living room, perhaps reading or just thinking. Suddenly I realised that my right ear was ‘stopped up’, as though I had gone up a steep hill or was on an airplane. I cupped my hand over my ear and made a vacuum, trying to clear what was obviously some sort of obstruction in it. It didn’t work and I realised I was “hard of hearing” in that ear. This was the day I started to get old!Before I knew that for a fact, though, I had to go through several visits to the audiology clinic at the QEQM and an operation to insert a ‘grommet’ in my ear. That grommet stopped my swimming for nearly a year and made it difficult to wash my hair, even in the shower. It was only two or three years later that a young doctor put forward the suggestion that maybe I had a cyst along the auditory nerve and sent me for an MRI. I am still waiting for the result of the scan as no-one got back to me! I am assuming that they would have if it had turned out to be a tumour.
Later, I had (still have) another symptom pointing in the same direction – tinnitus. I’ve got used to the feeling of there being something between my ear and the sounds around me but I doubt if I will ever get used to the constant shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh of the tinnitus. Sometimes it’s louder, sometimes quieter but it’s always there.
After my hearing went south my body just sort of gave up its vital youthfulness! First, another ulcer (and TWO gastroscopies), then pain in the lower back/hip region which, when scanned turned out to be – for want of a medical term – a squished nerve between two vertebrae, followed by first one then the other knee losing all cartilege, carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and, of course, white hair!
Luckily for you, my friend, not all of these ailments are inevitable though there are others which I would not want and which you may come across in your journey. All in all, despite the gastroscopies, the grommet, the two replaced knees (another story for another time), the op on one of my carpal tunnels which cured them both(!) and the myriad other niggling age-related conditions, I am glad to be here to tell you about it.