Margaret’s earache — the one that flared up two weeks ago — has abated in the intervening days, but she still couldn’t hear. She went to the GP this morning to have her ear flushed, and the nurse and GP discovered that she couldn’t hear because she had a punctured eardrum. The ear-nose-throat specialist advised her simply not to fly. The GP, who’s better-acquainted with her, pointed out that she wouldn’t have any trouble as long as there’s a hole in the eardrum, because the pressure will equalise — it’s the return trip that she ought not undertake until her ear has fully healed. Any damage she does in the next weeks might have permanent effects. We have plane tickets for tomorrow morning at 6 AM; you imagine what happens next.
We spent much of the middle of the day scrambling for the best suboptimal answer. At one point it seemed as though we had to keep pushing forward; at another, that we mustn’t. Maybe we could delay our tickets; no, we couldn’t. I was cut off on a phone call with KLM after forty minutes and £10 of negotiations; when I called back, they weren’t answering phones, since the weather in the UK has been so unexpectedly harsh.
So we’re going ahead with the flights tomorrow. Margaret will stay in Chicago (or take ground transport if she wants to go anywhere else) until her ear has healed and she’s been approved to fly by an American medic. I’ll stick with my 3 January return ticket to Glasgow. I’m disappointed about her ear not being healed (not the GP’s fault, they couldn’t see past the inflammation when she was first treated), about her not coming home with me when she was scheduled to, about her being grounded in Chicago (and our wonderful children and in-laws having to put her up), and especially about the risk to her hearing. We only have so much time to deal with the circumstances. We will lose money on the changes no matter what. We haven’t seen the family in a long time. KLM isn’t talking to us.
On the whole, I would prefer not to have days such as this.
I’ll be in touch, and will let readers know as much as I can about how Margaret’s ear, and the trip, are progressing.