For the past 6 weeks, ever since Colorado Springs was on fire and the town I live in up in northwest Wyoming had smoke clouds rolling in like dirty brown thunderstorms in the afternoon sky, I have been deaf in my left ear. Not even just deaf, sometimes it has a low roaring sound like waves on the ocean, with a steady pulse to it which might be my own pulse echoing in my head. It’s strange really. Usually I come down with the world’s worst sinus infection and my cheekbones ache and I feel like I might drown in mucous. This year I am only deaf.
I have caught myself lip reading at times and worrying often that it may never go away. Will I hear this roar forever? There is a reason it’s only on the left side. I broke my nose and forever partially blocked the sinuses on that side years ago in a different life when I escaped one night in my bright pink slippers to go out drinking Jack at the rodeo bar. The next day at noon I either passed out getting out of the shower or tripped and then passed out when my head hit the counter. I hit my head so hard I will never remember what happened to me. All I remember is waking up in a pool of bright red blood, like in a movie when someone dies after a fall and they make it all artsy by making the blood bright red, and I woke up with this spreading pool of redness and thought I was dying. Strange that, to wake up and think that you’re dying. Ever since that incident, one that friends and I attempted to reenact in order to understand how I broke my face, I have not been able to breathe through the left side of my face.
I was uninsured. And it looked straight. I went to the walk-in clinic and the doctor gave me his trash can to throw up in. I was so sick from smacking my face against that counter. After the doctor sent my husband to the waiting room so that he could ask me alone what had happened and I felt like an idiot saying “I think I tripped getting out of the shower, but I don’t remember and yes, the door was locked and no, I’m sure he didn’t do this.” After all that, I just couldn’t afford to get a CAT scan and have surgery to fix my sinuses.
And so I am deaf and I hear a loud ringing sound because I am allergic to sage this time of year and other dried up flowering plants that are blowing into town. With the clouds of smoke. And the roaring is making me a little crazy. It’s like constant pain in that it is exhausting and frustrating and I can’t think to myself. I can only think about the sound of my pulse in my ear. That usual radio chatter that all people have is silent to me and if it wasn’t so annoying I might think that I had finally reached self-realization and that I’m so very Zen now.