What’s an Asymptote?

I don’t what was going on in my left ear between October 1st and October 22nd, but whatever it was, it doesn’t seem to be happening anymore. In that three week stretch, the skin graft that had been put there back in May went from three-quarters healed to ninety percent healed. In the six weeks since then, granulation tissue (or mucosa) has grown over the remaining exposed bone, but hasn’t yet become the dry skin it’s supposed to. Upon hearing the word mucosa, I panicked a little as I remembered that being a bad thing. But the doctor assured me that this was the expected progress. After my pressing him a bit for a prediction, he guessed that, given my history, my ear would be healed in another month. I was really hoping that with the momentum that I’d managed to build up through October, he would tell that it was healed today. Though it’s not, he assured that all was going well, and he seemed quite pleased (which seems to be the best measure of progress available to me).

I’ll see him again before Christmas, but until then, it’s more of the powder and more of the cotton and vaseline in the ear for workouts and showers. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tired of this, but things continue to go well. Yet despite my best efforts to maintain a positive or simply realistic perspective, I find myself wondering if the trajectory of my ear’s healing will become asymptotic with the ear being fully healed, forever approaching but never quite reaching that state. Will I be sixty years old and still putting powder, cotton, and vaseline in my ear in hopes that the last percent of the graft will somehow transform from mucosa to simple dry skin? I know logically that it will heal, but I can’t quite believe it. When it does happen, I fully expect to weep tears of joy in the doctor’s office. I wonder how he’ll take that.

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