No, ma'am, I do Not Have Erectile Dysfunction / by Kenneth Buff

There's nothing quite as frustrating as not being able to get the medical attention you need. My wife's been going through this for years, she has an auto-immune disease called Sjogren's that attacks the moisture in her body as well as other unpleasant things. She was diagnosed with the disease when she was 18, and has since then been given various explanations for her pain, including one doctor who said, "you just have pain." Today it was me who had the experience of a doctor who wasn't listening to me, who I ended up asking, "Well, can you prescribe it for something else?"

Let me start by explaining the strange condition I have. I have ear issues, well, really it's an "ear issue" because it only effects my left ear. Right now I have a ringing in my inner ear and pressure, as well as pressure in my outer ear. My doctor in Oklahoma believed the ringing wasn't just tinnitus, he could tell the ear was tighter than it should be. He told me it was some kind of allergy, gave me a script for a nasal decongestion and prescribed a steroid. I moved a week later to Colorado (where my insurance does not work). Needless to say the prescriptions did not work. That was about a month ago. I figured I'd just wait it out until I got insurance through my new job, get it checked out then, but then a couple days ago I started having a problem I had about 9 months ago. My outer ear started pumping full of blood. The veins become very visible, and the entire ear gets warm and red. This combined with the inner ear ringing freaked me out, and in my paranoia last night I thought it was possibly spreading to my face, and from there of course the fear would be the issue would go to my brain. Now, let me slow down and say why I was worried about this issue going from my ear to my skull. My doctor in Oklahoma saw me for this outer ear blood-pumping-into-my-ear issue, and he immediately deduced that it was some kind of weird blood flow issue. He thought it was really weird, had never heard of anything like it, but he could see my ear was red, and the veins were huge, and he knew just the thing that would fix a blood flow issue: Cialis. For those of you who don't know what Cialis is, it's a medication for erectile dysfunction. My doctor explained this to me, and then assured me it would fix my problem. He gave me some samples, I took them, a week later the problem was solved. I haven't had any issues with it until two days ago.

So last night as I was laying in bed, knowing the blood pumping like crazy in my ear was from poor blood flow, I was worried the condition must be getting worse if it's now effecting my hearing, and that I was sure it was spreading to my the left side of my face, and from there it could go to my brain, and then result in me having a stroke or something else horrible. (note: the blood pumping in my ear feels like your forehead feels when you hang upside down on a set of monkey bars). So today I broke down and went to an urgent care despite not having in-state insurance.

I waited the 30 minutes in the waiting room and then an additional 10 in the doctor office. A nurse practitioner finally saw me, I explained the situation, told her the things my doctor had prescribed in the past for the ringing and the blood pumping issue (flonase, prednisone, Cialis). She nodded her head, and then did a "huh" when I said Cialis. I told her that it was for the blood flow, and she said yeah, makes sense, but then later refused to prescribe it because "she didn't know what she was treating."  I was adamant on getting this medication, because having an ear that constantly pumps full of blood (along with ringing, which I think is related) is extremely annoying, and I know this medication works because I've used it for this purpose. The nurse leaves to talk to a doctor, she comes back 7 minutes later, tells me she can't prescribe the Cialis for my ear, she says it can actually cause the issues I'm having. I get quite. I just wasted a 100 bucks. I'm pissed. She then says, "though I could prescribe it for something else." I take this as she wants to help, but it has to be filed a certain way. I go along, "okay, so if I wanted it for something else, then you'd prescribe it?" She says yes, I say "okay then, let's do that." My wife is in the corner of the room laughing. I think me and the doctor are in on the joke of pretending to prescribe me Cialis for ED when I actually want it for my ear, my wife is laughing with her hand over her mouth because she believes the doctor thinks I actually have ED but am too embarrassed to admit it, so I created an elaborate story about having blood flow issues with my ear. She tells me this when we leave, I tell her I think she's wrong, later I think she's right and I think it's funny, I think about it some more and it makes me angry. We go to the pharmacy together to get the medication, today is the last day my previous employer's insurance works, it didn't work for the doctor but it still works for prescriptions, so we had to do this today. I go to the counter and the pharmacist tells me the medication is over 200 hundred dollars. She tells me I can do less pills and the cost will go down. I ask how much 10 will be. She says 100. I'm visibly upset. She tells me lots of guys just do three or five. I tell her it's not even for that, I need it for my ear. She says, "I've actually heard of that." She's nodding her head and I later realize she might as well be winking at me. I tell her I'm not really willing to shell the hundred bucks, she tells me, "Yeah, for an ear blood flow problem I probably wouldn't either." There's no conviction in her words, and it's then that I realize everyone I've confided my condition in today has thought I really just wanted to have sex, when all I want is to be able to hear and sleep at night without a dull ache in my ear. I'm pretty upset at this point. My wife grabs some tylennol and some over the counter allergy and sinus medicine. We go to Firehouse Subs and she buys me a sandwhich. It helps a little.

So that's my story. If anyone out there in internet land has any idea what could be wrong with my ear, has a doctor friend or a friend studying to be a doctor, feel free to slip my story by them. At the moment I have no insurance, so I'll be living with this condition for at least another month if the tylenol and sinus medicine have no effect (which I think they won't). I know things could be worse, but they could be better too, and I know from experience what will help, but the moment I mention what the medicine is it's assumed I'm lying because I'm embarrassed that my penis doesn't work. I never thought I'd miss Oklahoma, but man, right about now it would be nice to have a doctor that listens.