Over a month has passed since the last blog post. I am still trying to figure out why. I may be burnt out. “From what?” one might ask. Sometimes I believe the world is tired of hearing about my various medical freefall(s). And while it’s a great relief to talk about such conditions, they are not ‘page-turners’ for readers.

Since I have been silent, I’ve visited an ENT for potential Meniere’s disease. My first stop was visiting the Audiologist. ‘Amy’ (as I will name her here) was very professional but had no sense of humor. I’m convinced she returns home only to turn on reruns of America’s Funniest Videos to combat the dreary disposition she perfunctory displays during work life. Amy performed ten different auditory tests. And before leaving, she mumbled that she thought I showed some evidence of Ménière’s disease, but testing did not match 100% of the usual Ménière auditory profile. “Great,” I thought to myself. “I’ve always been outside the norm.” As a whole, the ENT doctor was a lovely person. I mean, he did spend about 15 minutes with me. After looking me over and performing some auditory tuning fork tests, he stated, “I think you have Otosclerosis.”

Otosclerosis occurs when abnormal bone growth occurs inside the ear, between the eardrum and inner ear. This growth prevents sound waves from amplifying. “The condition is treatable, usually via laser surgery. We replace three small bones on the other side of the eardrum with a prosthesis. We do this on both ears. The surgery is 90% effective, and most hearing is restored. Unfortunately, without the surgery, you’ll eventually go deaf. In the meantime, we’ll need to reprogram your hearing aids and get a CT scan to ensure there isn’t a tumor. Small chance. Small chance. We’ll see you in six months and reevaluate to confirm the next steps.” 

I read the physician’s notes online several days later. “Patient shows no evidence of Ménière’s. The condition is likely to be neurological. Patient also shows evidence of essential tremor.” What the ENT doctor did was that instead of telling me the bad news, he pushed me out the door and let me read it at home. At home, there’s no way to counter or ask questions. There’s no opportunity for dialogue, no opportunity to understand. Patient number twenty-five of October 28th is gone; we can close the doors and enjoy our weekend. 

The radiology department was to call and schedule an appointment. The call never came. I had to make the call. The CT scan occurred on November 18th at 8:30 AM. The morning of the CT scan was bitter due to the unseasonably brutal winter wind. I underestimated how bone-chilling the walk from the parking lot to the clinic was as the wind chill bore through my bones. For some reason, I felt special, as the whole CT scan was completed in 25 minutes. The day’s bitterness turned even more depressing at about 4:15 PM when I noticed test results were posted to the ‘Patient Portal.’

“No significant abnormality detected. No evidence of otosclerosis. Findings are suggesting midfacial hypoplasia.” Even after all this time in the medical industry, I had to look up ‘midface hypoplasia.’ Midfacial hypoplasia describes a situation in which the upper jaw, cheekbones, and eye sockets have not grown as much as the rest of the face. Because of this, the eyes can seem large, appearing bulgy or “bug-eyed.” Also, the upper teeth usually do not meet the lower teeth well, resulting in an “underbite” appearance. Some might associate this condition with Down Syndrome. I was pissed about the CT scan diagnosis, for I have neither. And how this condition caused my hearing to move from mild-to-moderate to severe-to-profound in one month was not explained. And the coup de grâce is that neither my personal doctor, neurologist, nor ENT has called about further testing. 

I have one of the best medical coverage insurance an employee gets. However, such insurance does not prevent one from being pushed around like a pinball in some odd galactic game. Maybe God is up there somewhere laughing. I envision the conversation.

“He’s got ‘Scharmynoodle Pooh-pooh Syndrome,” He whispered to Jesus.

What?” Jesus replies.

He’s got ‘Scharmynoodle Pooh-pooh Syndrome.

What the he…. is that?

He’s got ‘Scharmynoodle Pooh-pooh Syndrome.’ Unfortunately, humans won’t discover it until 20 years after his death. But that’s it: Scharmynoodle Pooh-pooh Syndrome.

How come I didn’t know about this?

Oh, I don’t know,” God said awkwardly. “I just made it up on the fly. Do you like it?

I have to be realistic. I am full of issues. As we age, we’ll encounter problems. So, I’m not excessively angry. Yet, I am thankful for what I have this Thanksgiving. Many are not so grateful. Tuesday’s massacre at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, left six people dead and four more injured. That was three days after five people died in a shooting rampage at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado. In 2022 (thus far), at least 3,179 people have been shot in mass shootings, resulting in 637 deaths and more than 2,500 people injured. I also reflected on Kanako, who lost her battle against Pancreatic cancer two days before Thanksgiving 2013, and my father, ex-wife, and ex-mother, who lost their lives in 2021. I’d have given my life for any of the wounded (or dead), but God, in His infinite wisdom, has said ‘nope.’

There are broader 2022 Thanksgiving blessings. 2022 saw Trumper politicians lose more key races than won. And Trump has to turn over his tax returns. Democrats lost the House, but it appears they will keep the Senate. Kari Lake lost her election bid even though she’s holding onto hope. “I still have hope that we’re gonna win this,” Lake recently stated. “I want you to know that. This is not hyperbole. This lawsuit that we will be dropping is going to be devastating. I believe we will win this.” God forbid!

Years before her death, Mother Teresa was asked what could be done to assist her. “Go find someone who thinks they are alone and convince they’re not.” So whatever you do this weekend, this Thanksgiving, please hug someone.