I woke up a few days back with my right ear completely plugged, and I was puzzled. I’ve never had this happen to me before, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. It’s like having water in your ear, and I was having fluid leak out of it. My ear was sore, but it wasn’t hot, and it didn’t hurt, exactly.
Side note: I have difficulty with my ears in general. They tend to get crud in them, and then I scratch the crud out, so they scab over, and then sometimes, they get slightly infected. I know I shouldn’t pick at them, but i can’t help doing it. I’ve also been using earbuds in the past few weeks because Ian is here, and I wear earplugs at night. For now, I’m not doing the latter, and it’s strange because I still use one in my left ear.
Anyway, if I turn to the right so that ear is facing downwards, and I stay in that position for several minutes, sometimes the ear will drain. However, the minute I sit up, my ear is plugged again. It feels as if it’s full of water, and it’s irritating. I’ve tried these swimmer’s strips that are supposed to absorb water, but those didn’t work.
I Googled it, and it’s a sinus problem, much to my surprise. It’s funny because I had just read a thread on Captain Awkward about sinus toothaches, which is something I experienced several months back. I had a sinus problem that I can’t say for sure was an infection, but it was holy hell to deal with, and it lasted for months. During that time on and off, I would have a sudden piercing pain in my teeth, usually when I was drinking something hot or cold, and it was agonizing. It’s seriously some of the worst pain I’ve experienced in my life. I thought it was a tooth problem at first, but I noticed it only happened when my sinuses were acting up. I Googled it then, too, and that’s when I discovered that sinus toothaches were a real thing. In the Captain Awkward thread, several people talked about their sinus toothaches and how awful they were, and I felt validated. In that thread, someone commented on how people think sinus means nose, but it’s the whole face.
Why is this relevant now? Because what’s happening with my ear is a sinus problem. Basically, my ear has a cold, and the fluids draining from it are snot. I did a bit of digging (literally) with a Q-tip*, and a glob of phlegm came out. Ian suggested moving my head around because of the ear canal, which I forget isn’t a straight line, but that didn’t help, either. The first day, it came and went, mostly went, and it wasn’t a big day. Now, it’s been plugged for two days straight, and it’s rather annoying. I currently have drops in my ears with cotton to make sure it doesn’t leak out, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Google tells me steam might help or plugging my nostrils and gently blowing out, but nothing has helped so far. To be fair, I haven’t tried steam yet, but I imagine that won’t help, either.