Normally when I say that I should get my head examined, I don’t mean it literally. However, over the last few weeks, I’ve started to question whether I really should.
About two weeks ago, I seriously thought I blew out an eardrum or something. My own damn fault. I like music a lot and I like to listen to it loud. (Plus – my car is really noisy, so I have to listen loudly otherwise I can’t hear anything.) I’m around music all the time – at dance clubs, conventions, studio settings and dances, etc. I figured stuffing those earbuds in my ear was just a nail in the coffin.
While I didn’t experience any typical symptoms of a blow out, such as bleeding, loss of hearing, and so forth, I began to notice that the side of my right face was going numb every time listened to anything with a heavy baseline. My right temple would also start throbbing. (I’ll admit – I was listening to Lindsey Stirling a lot.) My right ear was where I wore my ear bud at work so I could listen for phones out the other, so I figured that had something to do with it. I couldn’t listen to my car stereo without intense pressure on the side of my face nor sleep on the ride side of my head.
Maybe it’s just an ear infection gone AWOL.
Changing up my work sitch (to some bright purple headphones) and turning down the stereo didn’t seem to help, so I called the doc for an appointment. He said I “could” have an ear infection but it didn’t look severe, but gave me some ear drops just in case and advised me to take a whole lotta Sudafed to keep the congestion out. (I didn’t have any congestion, but okay.)
4 days of Sudafed and drops and I’m not seeing any improvement. Clearly it’s not an inner ear issue because otherwise the crazy v. waltz routine I’m doing would be much more of a problem than it is currently, balance wise. Plus – I’ve never had an ear infection so bad that it feels like Khan is crushing my skull from one side. (Though – have you seen him in the new movie? I don’t know if I’d mind, but honestly… anyway…)
Sup bad guy… (c) Bad Robot Productions
Back to the doctors I go. This time, I also mention that I’m back to grinding my teeth at night because obviously something is painful enough to do so. We come up with two scenarios:
1 – I have TMJ, which would be causing the soreness in my jaw and grinding of the teeth madness. (Since the appointment, I’ve begrudgingly began wearing my uber sexy night guard to bed each night. As if I needed something else…) However, this doesn’t really explain the Khan-inspired head crushing feeling I get when I head to sleep, listen to loud music, or simply exist in the evening hours.
2 – I have a slightly more serious condition called Trigeminal neuralgia, which is essentially the inflammation of a blood vessel that carries blood to the brain through the face. The condition is more common in women over 50… and possibly one PWD under 35. I’m not really buying into the symptoms though because the characteristic is a shooting sharp pain on the face at any given time. Either after eating, yawning, touching the face, etc. I wouldn’t really characterize my pain as sharp. Although – shooting, maybe. As in, my brains want to shoot outside of my ears from the pressure. However, if it is this, I get shipped off to neurology for further examination.
In the meantime, the doc prescribed an anti-seizure medication to stop the pain from radiating in my skull. I only take it at night and it knocks me out cold. But – I’ve still been waking up with a semi sore jaw and the Khan Pain doesn’t really let up in the evening hours. Mostly, I can make it through my day without incident.
I am supposed to see the doc again on Friday so I can divulge my triggers, which so far have been driving at night and my six year old god-daughter’s dance recital. Today I asked for a CT Scan of my head… y’know, because tumors also cause headaches and shit, so we might as well rule out that possibility.
If it is TMJ, at least I have a dentist appointment next week.
Wish me luck!