High Blood Pressure
In August of last year, Leigh had an outpatient procedure, and after it was over, the doctor called me in to the back and explained that he was concerned about Leigh’s blood pressure. It was REALLY high at this point, but it went down, and the doctor didn’t seem overly alarmed, and let us go, just telling us to keep an eye on it. Neither of us really gave it much thought, and quite honestly, forgot about that episode all together until a few weeks ago.
In September, Leigh had to go to see the State doctor for his DOT physical, which he failed. For high blood pressure. Now, it wasn’t nearly as high as it was the prior month, but high enough to warrant a temporary DOT card and a follow-up visit with our primary care doctor.
From BP to an ENT
In October, actually, it was the day that we were leaving for vacation, Leigh finally went to see our primary care doctor as a follow-up to the DOT physical. Dr. Ukens didn’t find anything of concern with Leigh’s blood pressure at all, told him to monitor it weekly for the next few months, and if there was not problem, he would send him back to the State doctor to have his DOT card reinstated.
It was at this appointment that Leigh brought up the issues he had begun to experience with his right ear. Dr. Ukens looked at it and said that he had a red spot, but that it wasn’t infected, or anything else that would warrant the typical antibiotic and ear drops. He told him to follow-up with an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor if the symptoms didn’t go away or get worse.
We went on vacation, and had a great time visiting with family in North Carolina and Georgia! When we came back, life as usual continued. Two or three days after our return, Leigh called me about two o’clock in the afternoon to tell me that he was going to the doctors. Now, this is alarming because 1. he N.E.V.E.R. makes his own appointments, and 2. he went straight to the ENT and didn’t bother going back to Dr. Ukens. He said that the ringing and pulsating in his ear was just too much to bear.
The ENT took a look at everything and said that he had a sinus infection and an ear infection. He sent him on his way with three weeks worth of antibiotics, and an appointment a month away. Dr. Patterson said that his ear was red, and that he had a lot of fluid in there, but that he also saw “something” behind his ear drum, something that he believed was a “mass of veins.” This day, they also preformed a hearing test, and Leigh had moderate hearing loss in the right ear.
A month came and went, and Leigh was still experiencing the pressure, ringing, and pulsations, so it was back to the office to see Dr. Patterson. The infections were completely cleared up, but he still had quite a bit of fluid. They “poked” his ear to relieve the fluid build-up. During this visit, he still saw something behind the ear drum, so Leigh was sent for a CT scan of his head.
After the CT scan, we went back to see Dr. Peterson a third time, results of the CT in hand, and we were informed that “there is definitely something there.” We were given a referral to surgeon in the same practice for a consult to have whatever this was removed.
After this appointment, we were contacted by the ENT office to have a series of MRIs completed prior to our appointment with Dr. Marcus. This proved to be more difficult than it sounds, and after a series of events that occurred as a result of these scans, I’m pretty sure we will never see Dr. Patterson again.
Long story short, Leigh had the scans done, and we went to see Dr. Marcus. Because his appointment was not long (hours) after his scans, the doctor only had the images to look at and not the radiology reports. He confirmed that there was something there, and left us with two scenarios: 1. it was a simple mass that could be easily removed in an operating room at Anne Arundel Medical Center, or 2. it was a complex mass, one that would require a referral to a surgeon that specializes in these more complex tumors.
A few days later, we received the call. Not only did Leigh have the tumor behind his ear (which is responsible for the hearing loss, ringing, pulsating, and pressure), but he also had two tumors in his neck, one on either side, and we were being referred to two surgeons at University Medical Center.