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An_248472 posted:
Hello. My partner is in a lot of pain with both her ears especially the right ear. Sometimes the pain is so bad it almost takes her breath away or I see her just pause and wince in pain. This has been going on for about 6 weeks but the drainage started about 5 days ago, With the pain her vertigo issues have gotten worse and you can't put anything near the right ear because it is that tender to the touch. I warned her to put on her ear muffs during the last cold days and she couldnt even do that because her ears hurts so much. She has a thick dark yellow drainage coming from her ear which is tinted in blood and it runs like a runny nose. The pain is so bad she can't even turn her head. fShe hasn't slept a full night for nearly nearly 10 days. When she does sleep it is in the lazy boy with her head propped with a boopy preventing her to roll on her favoiritr side. My partner refuses to go to the doctor because of bad experiences with a handful of ENT, especially after the last ENT she went to for the same exact pain 4 weeks ago told her to take a Motrin and leave. Another ENT put some black stuff in her ears and that is coming out along with the drainage. She feels the ENTs never take her seriously and just blow her off. I pretty much think the drainage came from pressure of fluids which caused her head pain earlier. Not to mention her easy going nature has been replaced by snapping and irritability(I have been running for cover lately). One of her coworkers called me and told me she had a screaming match(extremely rare for her) at work a few days ago and then immediately after cried out in pain. She didn't have a cold or throat issues so I am not sure where this came from. How serious is this? What could it be?Will it go away on its own? Should I drag her kicking and screaming ASAP to the doctor's office or go to the ER.? She has had issues with her ears for years but this one I can see it is one of the worst as she cries in her pillow every night. She has had three tumors removed from her right ear in the past. i am more concerned about the not sleeping because of the pain and her getting behind the wheel. Any help would be appreciated. She is 40, exercises about 3-4 times a week, and is in otherwise good health besides her recurring ear issues. A MRI was done about two weeks ago to check for tumor regrowth but the physician who promised to call no matter the results has not called us.

Signed very concerned
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
That "tumor" in her ear that the ENT is investigating could be a cholesteatoma. As you know, I have absolutely no way of examining her ear over the Internet, but I am guessing (a blind guess) that she may have a cholesteatoma - a debris-filled, "retraction" pocket in her middle ear. This would account for the pain, the smelly (guessing) drainage, and hearing loss (again, guessing).If she does have a cholesteatoma, these can be very serious...even life-threatening, so I would support taking her to a good ENT -- kicking and complaining if necessary. These symptoms cannot be ignored, and it is highly likely that it will just go away if ignored.

Clearly, you care about your partner, so your first step is to convince her that she needs some immediate ENT intervention.


Go buy some rope and duct tape. Let me know how things turn out.
 
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Electronictoys replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks Dr Moser. I will tie her up and go. The recurring tumor was something called paraganglioma(spelling questionable). I am really surprised the ENTs who saw her almost a month ago didn't pick up on it and we are talking about some big hospitals that she went to. She did allow me to use a warm cloth around her ear and there is some debris behind the ear(the space between the head and ear) as well. I will keep you posted once we are able to see an good ENT who doesn't have any office politics like the one we called earlier today(earliest the office said was 4-5 weeks).
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Electronictoys's response:
Hummm. A paraganglioma is not something that I have encountered in my primary care practice. I sure hope that you find a sympathetic ENT -- one who will take the time and make the effort to properly evaluate her, and put her on the road to recovery. I hope that you are going with her to the ENT visit...for moral suport and to provide that extra set of ears that is so helpful when explanations are offered. Besides, you will need to be there to untie her...

Four to five weeks is too long, so I hope she can be seen sooner....hopefully, this week. I know these chronic, recurrent ear issues are frustrating, but there are no other alternatives than putting her trust into the right specialist.
 
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Electronictoys replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Kicking and screaming we went to a go between ENT because of the wait was so long to see others. I guess bleeding from the ear is not as serious as it seems? I have first hand knowledge how frustrating it is to deal with some doctors now(wasn't at all like this when I had a nodule removed from my breast). The bleeding and pain increased over the weekend and all my partner could do is stare at the walls with tears streaming her face. The go between ENT told her she had a nasty infection and a pre-Cholesteatoma. The ENT who was one of the ones who saw her recently(6-8 weeks ago) said the ear filled up way too quickly but didn't give a more detailed explanation when asked. The eardrum which was created for her during one of the surgeries for the tumor has now according to the ENT " discinerated because of the infection and the new eardrum did not take." The ENT didn't seem too concerned that the ear drum is gone. Does she really need an eardrum especially for an ear that is always giving her trouble? Or can she do without it? What precautions would she need to take without the eardrum?
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Electronictoys's response:
Trying to guess the rationale of another medical provider is something that is very difficult. It would be nice if she did have a function eardrum (better hearing, less chance of infection), but I really can't comment on if she can get along well without it (many people do, but this is not without its own medical risks). The "pre-cholesteatoma" is concerning, as is the chronic infection (the bloody drainage). This cannot be ignored, so many ENTs will want to clean out this troublesome debris and drainage. Sometimes, the mastoid sinus (the bony area behind the ears) will become involved and surgery may be needed to manage infections that spread here.

Precautions? Obviously, water can be an issue, so swimming may be totally out; caution with bathing. When the eardrum is totally ruptured, recurrent infections requiring prompt (and I mean PROMPT) treatment will be part of her future. Finding an ENT that is thorough, accomodating, and communicative is important as well, since this can be a long-term relationship. Sparing the hearing; preventing infections from getting out of hand, will always be high on the list of precautions.

I am glad you were able to get your partner into the ENTs office. Now, she will need to remain under care with this ENT or another of her choice, until this chronic issue is solved. This can be a long road so the support of a friend/partner is good medicine, too.


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