Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Too Much of a Good Thing: A Hump Day Hmm-er PSA

Hump Day Hmm

The prompt for today's Hump Day Hmm-er is Too Much of a Good Thing.

Well, I can start with what I think is too much of a bad thing. (You might want to skip down a bit if you are not interested in a long-winded rant about my daughter's ear.)

This is my daughter passed out on the couch. She was up around 5 a.m. because of an earache. She went back to sleep around 5:45 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. was still asleep. She is missing a day of Art Camp because of the earache that won't go away--at least not for long. Since the second week of July we have been trying to tame this earache beast. To no avail. I was sure it was swimmer's ear, an external ear canal infection, because she was in pain when she touched her ear and when she opened her mouth too wide.

Doctor Visit #1: It isn't an external infection, it is an inner one. Give her this five-day antibiotic and keep her out of the pool.

One week later... Her ear starts hurting again. She was in the pool one time at the end of the week with ear plugs. Except for the absence of fever this time, the symptoms are the same including pain when pushing on the ear.

Doctor Visit #2: Her ear is a little bit pink. The ear infection is resolving itself still. Don't give her any more medication except for ibuprofen if her ear hurts. Don't know why it hurts when she touches it. Maybe she is getting some molars that are exacerbating the problem. Keep her out of the pool until her ear stops hurting.

Two weeks later... She has been kept out of the pool for about 10 days. She gets two days (Thursday and Saturday) splashing in a small, inflatable pool in our front yard. On Saturday, I notice her digging in the "bad" ear. I ask her if it hurts. She assures me she doesn't. On Sunday, the same thing happens again. I ask her again if it hurts. She tells me no that it just itches. Sunday evening she is crying that her ear hurts again. I put her back on the ibuprofen.

Monday I call the doctor's office. At visit number two, he had given me a prescription in case she got worse. Because we had days of no ear pain, I think I should call him first. The nurse returns my call and says that he should see her. I make an appointment for Wednesday (today). Yesterday afternoon, Marley starts complaining about her ear. Usually, it is a morning/evening kind of thing because of the cooler air. I have to give her an extra dose of ibuprofen. During bedtime, she is avoiding teeth brushing and in the fuss she bumps her ear. She starts bawling because it hurts. Bad.

After she goes to sleep, I decide to look up swimmer's ear. Just for kicks, you know. Here is what I found:

If your ear aches and you pull on it, wiggle it or push on that little bump (called the tragus) in front of the ear canal and it really hurts, you don't have just any old earache. You have swimmer's ear, an inflammation of the external ear canal (known in medical circles as otitis externa).
I sit on the couch, watching a re-run of House (one of the two "It's a tapeworm!" episodes) and I am fuming. Why should it take three co-pays, possibly two prescriptions, and two different doctors to figure this out? Earaches don't just ache. They hurt... a lot. I remember them vividly. I remember swimmer's ear especially as I had two very bad cases of it, one as a teen and one as an adult.


Anyway, I just had to get that out of my system. Hopefully when we go for Doctor Visit #3, I won't snap at the doctor. In general, I find him to be quite good. After all, he is the doctor who listened to a teary, desperate woman last year as I told him my list of symptoms which all sounded like hormones and depression and accepted it when I told him that I knew it wasn't hormones or depression. He asked a few questions and shipped me off for a sleep study.

But I am not leaving this doctor's appointment without some ear drops for my daughter.

Moving on, you probably have forgotten that this was supposed to be a Hump Day Hmm-er post. Without further adieu...

The Sun.

A flaming ball of fire. If Earth were too far from the sun, life couldn't exist on this planet. If Earth were too close to the sun, life couldn't exist on this planet. We are just the right distance.

That is a good thing.

Even so, there is still a thing as too much sun.

Too much sun trying to get a tan and when you are older, you might look like this:

(This is actually a rock, but you get the idea, right?)

Too many sunburns, or just too much exposure to the sun in general and you might get this:

(I know, I know, it is disgusting. But skin cancer just ain't pretty, that is all there is to it.)

I was inspired to write about too much sun because I saw that sun picture online today. It made me think about someone I know who has just had two surgeries to remove a melanoma on her leg. Married, mother to three, she is pursuing alternative medicine to heal her body.

I think about a favorite blogger who is waiting to have a mole removed and biopsied.

I remember the eight moles I have had removed. The last one over three years ago. Four or five of those moles were dysplastic nevi, the kind that are more likely to develop into melanoma. (Why haven't I been to the dermatologist in so long?)

I still enjoy getting out in the sun. (I've never, ever been one of those sun worshiper types. A little bit of sun just feels good.) If I am at the beach I always wear sunscreen. However, I've become more diligent about it even for every day use. I always wear sunglasses and often a hat. I've considered a one-woman campaign to bring back the parasol. Some of it is vanity. My skin looks older than 42. Blech! I am also more diligent because I know I am getting to the age where things start to happen. It doesn't mean it is going to. But it might.

The sun is good. We can't live without it. It is a force to be reckoned with, however, and we should be careful about thinking there is no such thing as too much sun.

For more information on sun protection and skin cancer, try The Skin Cancer Foundation.


Sheila said...

Yes, too much sun is a bad thing. My aunt had a huge chunk of her arm removed last year because of, yup, skin cancer. Huge chunk. A lesson for us all.

Alpha DogMa said...

Thanks for the happy thoughts. I hope someday we meet: we'll get together with out bajoran earrings and flirtatiously twirl our parasols and mock uber-serious trekkies.

Stoo-pid ozone layer. Grr...

Two of my favourite rants: sun smarts and doctors who JUST don't listen. Will go off and yoga-cize my blood pressure down.

thailandchani said...

The sun! You are so right! The very thing that makes our plants grow and keeps us in food is also the very thing that keeps us in air-conditioned computer rooms for hours on end each day.

Hmmmm. Indeed! :)



Emily said...

Amen. I have just started wearing a sun hat. If I make my kids do it, I should too.

Swimmers ear -- yuck!

Julie Pippert said...

Poor ear! Poor child! Poor you! Poor schedule! Poor wallet!

I do not know why some people practice---or don't---medicine.

I'm sorry you guys went through the wringer. I mean, that's PAIN!

And amen about sun care.

Glad you joined. :)

Ravin' Picture Maven

Lawyer Mama said...

Argh! I would be so angry about the earache thing!

And get your tushie to the dermatologist. I'm a few months overdue too, so it's a nice reminder for me as well. (I've had several moles removed & can't stay out of the sun too.)

atypical said...

I had posted a hugely long response to that, and my connection went, "Phooey!" - just as I realized it was possibly going to die and started trying to cut and paste.

Suffice it to say:
Ear pain sucks as do accumulating copays.

The sun - so lovely, such a great symbol of what too much of a wonderful thing can do.

I need to do the dermatologist too (since I haven't been since I was 13 and moles tend to run strongly in my family).

-t (the frustratingly ineloquent by way of repetition)

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, last summer my daughter had swimmer's ear. Couldn't even comb her hair near the ear. My condolences. Hope she's on the mend.

Last summer I had a skin cancer cut out of the side of my nose. I currently have a spot above my lip that I know isn't good...a recurrent scab that won't heal. All those sunburns on my pale white youthful skin....

V-Grrrl said...

I had skin cancer when I was only 33 and I ALWAYS wore sunscreen. Now I just stay out of the sun unless it absolutely can't be avoided. And my blond haired, blue-eyed, fair skinned children? When we were living in Virginia, the rule was no swimming before 4 p.m. Plus in the summer, I'd butter them with sunscreen first thing in the morning. Most of the sun we get is "incidental" exposure, not sitting by the pool or on the beach.