What I failed to mention in the recap of our wildly successful last show is that during the whole thing I was sick with a summer cold. This is, arguably, the worst kind of cold. But I didn't hack up a lung during any of my tests (I saved that for afterwards) and the symptoms obviously weren't bad enough for me to take a break from riding or work.
When I got home, though, I didn't feel right. It wasn't the usual post-show exhaustion hitting me, it wasn't that I was maybe a little bit dehydrated from the hot day. My ears felt... full.
And then they started to hurt. A lot.
It turns out that I had been working on a raging ear infection all week, and that Sunday evening it all came to a head with ear pain so horrible that I almost made my husband drive me to urgent care at 10pm. Something was not right. I slept on the couch in an attempt to avoid disturbing him with my incredibly loud, disgusting coughing all night, and rolled around in sleepless agony until suddenly, the pain stopped. My ears still felt horribly full and the pressure was incredible, but the icepick-to-the-brain pain had subsided.
Then, I woke up the next morning to find that I was bleeding from my right ear.
I was unsettled by this, to say the least, and got myself a doctor's appointment within a couple hours. I felt drunk and out of balance because of all the fluid in my ears, and noticed that I definitely had some hearing loss in the right ear. I was fairly sure that my ear drum had ruptured.
My doctor confirmed that I had indeed ruptured my ear drum due to said raging ear infection, which would hopefully heal on its own in several weeks. She sent me home with some antibiotics, and for the past three weeks I've been living in a state of partial deafness and constant congestion. I even got to visit an ENT for an even more in-depth exam, and he looked in my ears with a special microscope which was SUPER COOL, even though the rest of the experience has been definitively not cool.
The ear infection kicked my ass so hard the first week that I pretty much didn't ride at all, and my first attempt back for a very easy 30 min flat ride left me feeling like I'd been hit by a truck.
Thankfully after that first week I started to improve enough to ride again, and exercise seems to help jiggle the ear fluid around enough to give me brief moments of respite from my half-deafness. Dino did not complain about the week off, and came back to work more or less his usual wonderful self. Which is good, considering that we have a lesson with a GP dressage trainer who is traveling to our barn from MD next weekend to do a day of teaching for us.
This comes, not very conveniently, a week after I was away on vacation. If you're counting, that adds up to two weeks off out of the three weeks before our "big" lesson next weekend.
This is not ideal.
But, at least at this point I've got a full week to get Dino and I back to work, and I'm hearing well enough to understand what the trainer is saying to me. I hope.