Getting old sucks and health issues with doctors

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I’m sort of combining two thoughts I had here: getting old sucks and doctors don’t know sh*t. OK, maybe doctors don’t know sh*t is too bold/mean of a statement…maybe it should really be frustrations with doctors. But let me back up a little bit. I’m 29 years old and it wasn’t until the last few years my body started to feel a little older.

Growing up my dad always told me getting old sucks.  I would just laugh at him thinking he was just being my old grumpy daddy.  In my younger life, I had all sorts of injuries that would hurt at the time of occurrence but then feel better once it was healed.  I broke my finger playing basketball when I was 12; I got hit in the nose with a softball when I was 13;  I broke my big toe playing kickball in my early twenties.  All of those injuries hurt really bad but then I was fine a few days/weeks later.

My broken toe (ignore the awful toe polish)

My broken toe (ignore the awful toe polish)

Then somewhere along the lines in my mid to late twenties, I didn’t shake things off as quickly.  I broke my ankle rock climbing and some days I can feel it still hurting.  I remember when I broke my ankle, a older lady that I worked with at the time warned me that as you get older, injuries will be felt more.  Well, she was definitely right although at the time I just sort of laughed to myself at her.

Broken ankle

Broken ankle

With warnings from both my dad and my coworker about the joys of getting older, I didn’t think I would feel the effects until later in life-not at 29.  Now I take things a lot more seriously.  For instance, when I used to go skiing, I would just go out and have fun and not worry too much about falling.  Now when I ski, I try my hardest not to fall because who knows what I might break and I don’t want to be feeling the fall for the rest of my life.

Besides injuries though, my body is feeling older which is where the doctor frustrations comes from.  It might be a little too much information to go into all of my ailments but I feel I am accumulating more than the average 29 year old.  Maybe it’s thanks to my diabetes or maybe it’s because of my diabetes that I am more aware of my ailments.  Whatever the case, I have issues with my body that doctors can’t seem to figure out.

I’ll start first with my most recent ailment (sorry if it’s kind of gross).  I have been having ear pain for about a year or so.  I first noticed my ear hurting when an accumulation of ear wax built up in my ear.  I’m not sure what I did, whether I scratched it because it was itching or what, but eventually dried blood came out of my ear.  The dried blood/ear wax would come out and then my ear would temporarily feel better until it started to itch/hurt all over again.  When I was younger I did have tubes put in my ear and my left ear didn’t heal properly so I had ear surgery when I was 8 and then I still got bad ear infections which I think is what contributed to my diabetes.  I finally went and saw a doctor back in February about my ear pain because it was getting painful/annoying and I was flying in March so I didn’t want my ear pain to be amplified on the flight.  Well, the doctor pulled out a big wad of wax (so gross-sorry!) and looked at my ear and said everything looked fine and it was just the wax that was hurting me.  Well everything was OK for about a month and then the ear pain came back.  After two months of dealing with the pain, I made an appointment for the doctor again and this time, there was no wax to pull out but he said everything looked fine in my ear and had no idea why I was having pain.  His new hypothesis was that I had ear pain from TMJ (ear pain is a symptom of TMJ) and I should talk to my dentist.  So I went to my dentist last week and she said she didn’t think I had TMJ because she didn’t notice any grinding of my teeth but since she couldn’t tell anything, she referred me to an oral surgeon.  Seriously!?  I have to make a fourth appointment for my pesky ear pain!?  What if I go to the oral surgeon and she/he agrees that I don’t have TMJ, then what!?  Sigh, doctors don’t know sh*t (or my ear really is fine and there is just no explanation for my pain which is a possibility although a depressing one).

A second health issue I have that doctors haven’t been able to diagnose or figure out is what I like to call my Bell’s Palsy.  My husband hates when I call it that since I haven’t technically been diagnosed with it. For those of you that don’t know what Bell’s Palsy is, I am going to quote directly from Wikipedia to explain it: “Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) causing an inability to control facial muscles on the affected side.”  I don’t necessarily have a face paralysis and if you look at my face, you won’t notice anything obvious, but I feel it.  My right side of my face feels really slouchy (is that even a word?).  The left side of my face feels really tight.  The difference in feeling between the right side of my face and the left side of my face drives me crazy.  I have had an MRI done and the results came back fine.  My face, however, does not feel fine.  When I drink alcohol, it’s even more noticeable which is very annoying.  One interesting thing I read about Bell’s Palsy symptoms is that the symptoms can include pain or discomfort around the jaw and behind the ear…hmm I wonder if my face annoyance and ear pain are related!?  My source also stated that Bell’s Palsy also disproportionately attacks people who have diabetes.  Again, I feel like it’s all connected but no doctor will listen to me.

Another health issue that I have that isn’t related to the possible Bell’s Palsy/ear pain is pain in my lower right back where my kidneys are.  A few years back I got a kidney infection and let me tell you, that was one of the most painful things I have ever gone through.  Well ever since then, my lower right back where my kidneys are hurts.  Pretty much everyday I feel pain although it’s usually a 1 or a 2 on a scale of 1-10, so usually more of an annoyance than anything.  However because it irritates me, I have gone to the doctor about it which resulted in getting an ultrasound done.  Of course, the ultrasound came back fine.

The doctors/test results all seem to say that my ear, face, back are all fine.  Everyday though I feel the pain/annoyances and disagree.  It’s sort of like diabetes.  Some days I’m high/low without reason and there’s no way to explain it, just like days when my “Bell’s Palsy”/ear pain/back pain act up and hurt without reason.  I wish the human body made more sense.  It sure is going to be fun getting older and dealing with even more issues.  I’m only 29 and already have a plate full of problems.  Hopefully as I get older, more will be understood about the human body.  Some days I wonder if I should be going to see more doctors to see if different ones have different explanations or if I should be fighting harder to explain my issues to get answers.  Maybe the answer is that doctors just don’t know.  The human body is so complex.  Why did I get diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes?  No one knows. :-/

Update: I did forget some other ailments I have had over the years as I’m getting older, like plantar fasciitis and other feet pains.  Those tend to come and go though and right now, I’m not feeling them so the escaped my mind although I’m sure they will come back at some point.

6 thoughts on “Getting old sucks and health issues with doctors

  1. I think you are right about whatever problem you have with your face probably playing a role in your ear pain. I had something similar, but not the same problem, happen too. About 6 years ago, I went to the doctor with pain in my left ear. I really thought I had an ear infection. My doctor said my ear looked just fine, but after some discussion, came to the conclusion that a small salivary gland in the roof of my mouth was blocked and pressing on a nerve in the area, making it feel like I had an ear infection.

    Even now, this salivary gland will get blocked every so often, and I get the same pain in my ear. A couple of days of ibuprofen, heat and lemon drops or lemonade unblocks the gland and gets rid of the ear pain. The reason my salivary gland gets blocked: minor scar tissue build-up from having my tonsils removed almost 9 years ago!

    So, following the logic, I had my tonsils removed because I had basically a constant case of either strep throat or tonsillitis for 6 months straight. I have some scar tissue from the surgery, which when I get dehydrated enough, changes just enough to block one of my salivary glands, which then presses on the nerve, causing ear pain. Weird, right?

    I hope you will be able to find the logic for your pain soon too.

    • Oh wow, that’s interesting. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who has had ear pain for a supposedly “unexplained” reason. Yeah, I haven’t made an appointment with the oral surgeon yet because it doesn’t really seem like I have the TMJ symptoms so I’m not sure why it would be that, but if it’s not that I have no idea!? Maybe like you, the surgery I had when I was younger did something to cause the symptoms. Why aren’t answers ever easy?

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