It doesn’t look like I’ll be in swimming in Provincetown next week. My ear started bothering me this morning. It felt itchy and warm, and even started to hurt in the ear canal. The ear itself, especially around the edges and the lobe, turned fairly bright red. So I got an immediate appointment with the ear doctor and headed up there. He looked in my ear and discovered a fair amount of fungus growing in the ear canal, a known potential side effect of extended use of antibiotic drops. He cleaned it all out and filled my ear with deep dark purple ink that will permanently stain all that it touches (so old pillowcases and sheets on the bed tonight) and presumably kill the fungus, and he gave me prescriptions for anti-fungal drops and still more antibiotic drops to follow up with. We’ll check in Thursday afternoon to see where things stand. If I respond well to the treatment and things have improved enough, I should be able to go on vacation, though there’ll be no swimming. If I don’t and they haven’t, there’s the real possibility that I’ll have to stay home for further treatment.
Right now, my focus is just on getting the healing process far enough along so that I can go on vacation. He couldn’t really tell me much about the longer term impact of this. The fungus apparently sends roots deep into the soft tissue that’s been having so much trouble healing, and where the fungus is removed, there will be holes and granulation tissue, which will have to heal all over again, a process with which we’ve had limited luck at best so far. He can’t yet say how extensive a problem this will be.
This is the first time I’m really ready to give up, whatever that means (what would I surrender, and to whom?). So far, it’s just me sitting here sobbing that I’m scared. I’ve had so much help and support from so many people, and it’s meant so much to me, and, perhaps bizarrely, I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I suppose in the most immediate sense, that comes from all of the people who’ve planned their vacations around being in Provincetown with me and my wife. But I’ll absorb it and get on with things–the catharsis of crying certainly helps. And I do have enough of a sense of perspective to understand that having a fairly luxurious vacation disrupted is hardly the worst thing that can happen to a person. Hell, our next door neighbor has just had her last attempt at cancer treatment fail, and now she’s dying. That is their suffering, and blessedly, mine is small by comparison.