Battlefield Medic

I should probably go to the doctor more often.

I don’t though, because I am fairly decent diagnostician and battlefield medic. I have a pretty good grasp of basic first aid and can almost always figure out what’s going on with me. I credit these skills to my two years as the secretary for the Butler University/Methodist Hospital Physician Assistant program. Just in typing up student materials, I learned SO much.

A few weeks ago, I had an “ooh shiny” moment at Target and bought some sparkly earrings. I have a grand total of six holes in my ears (4 in the left, 2 in the right), and once I find earrings that my body doesn’t react to, I tend to wear them until they literally fall out of my ears. It’s been awhile since the last group of earrings, and like I said, these were very sparkly.

Unfortunately, half of my earring holes did not get along with them. You’d think that if I were having a reaction, all six would swell and get grody and that would make SENSE, but that isn’t what happened here. Three of them are just fine and three are not. It’s stupid.

Anyway, my right ear was giving me particular trouble and even though I’d taken the earrings out a couple days ago, the right ear was still being shitty. I was alternating between dousing it with peroxide and slathering it with Neosporin until yesterday evening when it got super-painful and swollen all of a sudden. I can only assume that something bit me (not an outrageous supposition, given the wide variety of crawling things in the basement), but I am generally sensitive enough to know when something is crawling on my neck toward my ear.

Or not.

Luckily, I sleep on my left side, so it’s not like I was smashing the poor ear all night. It’s huge and red and because it’s so swollen, the structure of my ear is comically simple. Instead of the creases and folds that characterize my left ear, this is just a lump of curved flesh sticking redly out of the side of my head. It’s extremely attractive.

And PAINFUL. The ear itself is actually fine – it’s the lymph node below that is swollen and it hurts every time I move my head. It’s this swelling that caused me to google my symptoms and see just how quickly the internet thinks I’m going to die. Apparently, I am not. Dr Google suggested Tylenol and warm compresses, which is what the bulk of my day has been made up of.

Side note – just how does one keep a warm compress warm? It lasts all of two minutes.

At what point would a normal person go to the doctor? I suppose if the pain and swelling persists through the weekend, I should maybe go get it checked out. I’m not sure that I want to do that, though. It will just cost me money and the doctor will just prescribe antibiotics that I won’t take correctly anyway (because I never do). If I could just have my own Rx pad, that would be much more convenient.

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