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A couple days after Christmas, we finally had family photos taken. A very pleasant process outside (it was warm!) with a local photographer, Shay. She has posted a small best-of on Facebook, while the full set is here if you want to browse the whole almost-200 of them.

The picture above is one of my favorites, edited a little to take out a high-contrast rock that seemed to be jutting out of the side of Rosie's head. She's wearing a butterfly clip she told us she put in because she wanted to look like Annie (we went to the new film of Annie last week with a friend). I thought that was cute, both in concept and in how it looked.

We have had a quiet holiday. We celebrated New Year's day with a walk in nearby Reservoir Park on another sunny day (and rolling down the hillside!), plus playing with Rosie's presents, packing up the last of the christmas decos and taking the tree out of the house, and eating Chinese food, which Brian tells me is an East Coast New Year's tradition, though in his college years they did it just past midnight, whereas we did it around noon after our walk.

A highlight of the week was a games night for the whole family over at a friend's house on Sunday, combined with a feast of fingerfood including deviled eggs, guacamole and chips, and ham sandwiches. The holidays were a little lonely here compared to being in Michigan, but moments like that seemed to bode well for good times yet to come.

Brian is having his gall bladder out next Tuesday, so that will make for a kind of intense start to the year, but also hopefully give him some relief from the pain the gallstones have been causing. Please keep him in your thoughts.

May 2015 be a good year for us and also for all of the rest of you out there in Internet Land!
netmouse: (Just me)
I thought I had an ear infection in February, but I had also accidentally poked the ear with a Q-tip when Rosie rammed into me while I was cleaning it. A visit to the doctor reported a clear ear drum but redness around the ear canal, and pain when they tugged on my ear. They prescribed antibiotic ear drops. It sort of got better, but not completely. Repeated visits to the doctor got me gradually stronger antibiotics, and in the meantime I started to suffer tinnitus, odd hearing effects, and then hearing loss. The doctor reported the ear canal plugged up with white build-up, and referred me to an ENT. The ENT office offered me an appointment in _July_. Attempts to get the doctor's office to negotiate an earlier appointment initially failed. The ENT office put me on their triage waiting list.

Meanwhile, I complained on Facebook, and someone said they had a similar problem and it turned out to be a yeast infection, so I looked that up and called the doctor's office about it. And a friend who is a massage therapist recommended I see her for lymph drainage therapy, which improved the tinnitus considerably. I started drying the ear out more in case it was a fungal infection (typified by white build-up and hearing loss)- putting a cotton ball in while showering, and rinsing with one part vinegar, one part rubbing alcohol. My hearing started to improve.

The doctor's office had me in to see a different doctor, who reported there were now two holes in the crust, and she was worried I might have a pierced eardrum, and couldn't prescribe any treatment until that question was resolved. She got my ENT appointment moved up to the following Monday.

So... yesterday I got a hearing test and saw the ENT. The hearing test reported some high frequency hearing loss in both ears, slightly worse in my right ear, which I knew (I burst that ear drum once in high school). Otherwise, the nerve response is fine in the right ear. Bone conduction hearing on the rt is MUCH better than hearing conducted through the ear canal. Not able to get the ear drum to move at all. Hearing through the ear canal is not good.

The Doctor worked on manually removing the crust in my right ear with tools, which hurt like the dickens. After he suctioned what he could away, he could see the ear drum - the otoscope image was up on the wall, so I could see it too. The ear drum is lying limply against the bones of the middle ear. It is not taut like it should be, which means it is either stretched or pierced. But if the ear was pierced, I probably would have tasted the vinegar I've been rinsing it out with, which I haven't. He has no way of knowing how the ear drum was before February, so he doesn't know if it's been that way for a long time

He didn't see any of the structures he expected to see if it was a fungal infection. Said the crust looked more like a buildup of skin cells. He's going to have me flush my ear out with a mix of vinegar and warm water once daily for a month to try to clear out the rest of the crustiness, then see me again and see if the eardrum looks any better. If not, he might refer me to an ear surgeon.

I'm also getting another round of lymph drainage therapy on Thursday, because that was terrific. The therapist is Sarah Musil, and I can't recommend her highly enough.

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