Ear infection: please help!
October 15, 2008 8:28 PM Subscribe
For an outer ear infection, how do I get the medication drops safely past the pus to the infected ear canal?
posted by high0nfire to health & fitness (10 answers total)
So 3 days ago I started to feel a tinge of pain between my ear and jaw hinge. I did the wait-and-see for a day and it got worse pretty fast. I have old vicodin that still works that I was taking for the pain (when I needed to sleep and focus on work, ear pain is terribly distracting) So I go to the doctor, he looks in my ear canal and says "yes it looks enflamed" and prescribed me the Neomycin/Polymixin/Hydrocortisone drops. The first couple applications were pretty easy, I could feel them drip down the canal, all was good. After two applications, I thought I could feel some blockage in the ear canal. here is where my stupidity begins.
I get the bright idea to flush my ear out with warm water to try and flush the pus/wax/whatever out so the medicine can coat the entire canal. Well i sort of went crazy. Probably 20 minutes of flushing ensued, with no payoff wax-boulder tumbling out. After I gave up, I used a hair dryer on low to dry my ear off, didn't use a q-tip or anything.
My wife gets home, looks in my ear and says "there's no wax/pus blockage, but your ear canal looks about 1/3 the width of the other one". So I go to bed and in the middle of the night I wake up (probably 4-5 hours after the flushing) and my ear canal is totally blocked. It's swollen shut and sounds like I have one of those -30db earplugs in my ear. Also the pain is way worse, so now I have to take a 2 year old vicodin to function, which does the trick fine but once it wears off i'm in pain city again. The problem I then discovered was that I can't get the drops to go down my ear-canal. I'll sit there with my head tilted for like 5 minutes, then straighten up and out they come.
So i go back to the doctor today (different doc, thanks HMOs) and tell him the story about the flushing and what not. I don't tell him about the vicodin cuz I know it's illegal cuz the prescription is expired and I know not telling him was a mistake. So he takes the ear-looker-inner instrument and plunges it (much like a jilted lover would a dagger into their betrayer's heart) right through my swollen-shut canal (OUCH!) and says "yeah it's infected... you might also have a middle ear infection too but I can't see through the outer canal so lets put you on 10 days of amoxicillin just to be safe".
An hour later (the vicodin was worn off) my ear hurt SO friggin much, i'm not sure how much of it was from the infection or the breaking of my ear-canal-hymen by the good doctor. My wife tried to apply the drops but she said the ear canal was very tight and spackled with yellow pus. So the medicine just sits on the mouth of the canal and doesn't go down. It might have gone down a LITTLE, but after 15 minutes of wiggling my ear , pulling the lobe around trying to let the medicine work it's way down, sitting up still put drops of the medicine onto my shirt collar. The second doctor was positive that my wife could drip the medicine into the canal and work it right down. Maybe the pus really formed after he shoved the instrument down the canal?
Anyhow, maybe most of this was uneccessary to write down. My ultimate question is: I'm on the amoxicillin AND the drops. The drops are blocked by the swollen canal and yellow-pus. How can I get the medicine down in there? They say don't put anything in your ear (and i think flushing with warm water made things worse, maybe i just did it too much) so what do I do?
If a medical professional could give some advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I assume I have to move the pus out of the way, right? I can't think of any other way. What I sort of think you will say is "you have to move the pus out of the way, so let your ear get wet in the shower and apply the medicine immediately"
Ear infections really suck, thank you in advance for your advice.
In retrospect, they probably would have prescribed me pain medication...