On miracles and my ears.

Oh, Monday. You evil evil bastard.

I get it, Garfield. I get it. Like, “Give me some lasagna and my bed and leave me alone until Tuesday when I know it’ll be safe.” I think even God can appreciate the evilness of Mondays. Bad shit happens on Monday. He’s probably all, “Why DID I create Monday?”

I’m being silly, of course. Dear Dad, please don’t email me a long scriptural exegesis on the fact that God didn’t REALLY create Monday.

Will it make you feel better if I blame Satan? That jerkwad.

So today was Monday, and like an idiot I scheduled a C/T scan and carotid ultrasound and vascular surgeon appointments for today. This here Monday. Excuse me while I flip this Monday off.

So, almost a year ago a noise began in my left ear. I was diagnosed with water behind the ear. Then I went to see an ENT who said there was no water behind my ear. Then I landed in the ER at AGH where I was practically immobilized from the noise in my head. After ten house, an ER resident on a whim decided to throw me in the C/T machine to see if I was having an aneurysm or some other “catastrophic event.” Internet, do you know how odd it is to pray for a “catastrophic event” when it comes to your personal health? But I was. I prayed that they would find something because then I would know what I was dealing with.

I’ve told you how I rejoiced to learn I had a carotid tear causing 65% blockage in my left artery. THAT must be what was causing the noise. Fast forward to three months past that when I learned I had TWO torn carotid arteries, the one that was blocked 65% was almost clear, and the other was currently blocked 50%, meaning it was probably blocked, well, I don’t even want to guess how close it was to completely blocked that day I was in the ER.

Fast forward to today when I was told that my arteries have almost completely healed. They show no signs of plaque or narrowing or anything. Nothing at all that would cause a noise in my head. I am off the Plavix. They will see me in a year to be certain I have healed 100%.

So here is where my dilemma was. As I sat in that exam room with my surgeon telling me he hopes the noise goes away soon — do I cry because I am back to square one with a noise in my head and no clue what’s causing it, or do I, a child of the church, rejoice because I’ve clearly been on the receiving end of a miracle?

Follow me. Had the noise in my head never occurred, I would probably be dead right now, or a vegetative shell of the person I once was prior to the massive stroke that resulted from two undiagnosed carotid tears and subsequent clotting. But the noise waited 37 years to come and it came at or around the same time my arteries tore. This explains why the noise isn’t able to be paired with any life event that would explain the tears. Because it seems the noise isn’t from the tears. It’s from something else. It just put me in the ER at the right time with the right doctor who got fed up enough to just try One More Thing.

So I cried. Then I rejoiced. Then I cried. Then I rejoiced. Then I cried.

I am woman, hear me fluctuate.

I’m thankful I didn’t have a stroke. I’m thankful I don’t have worse health problems, like cancer. I’m thankful it’s me and not my kids going through this because how do you comfort a kid who just wants to rip his ears off? Can’t express to you enough what sick kids do to me. If it was my own sick kid, God help the Universe because it’s on like Donkey Kong.

I don’t know. I don’t know what you believe. Maybe you believe it was a stunning stunning STUNNING coincidence. Maybe it was.

But I think you know where I stand on such matters.To each his own, Internet.

All this to say, back to Square One! As the annoying tourist dude said in Speed, “I already seen this place.”

But I’ll rejoice here and take it one day at a time.

Thanks so much for all the kind thoughts and prayers! They do mean much to me. Back to regular posting tomorrow and then from Wednesday to next Wednesday you will be on the receiving end of some amazing guest posts while I take a little vacation from Square One.


  1. burghbaby
    March 19, 2012 7:51 pm

    I hope the noise vanishes just as mysteriously as it appeared and soon. Immediately, even.

  2. Rachel
    March 19, 2012 8:02 pm

    Glad to hear the carotid arteries are better…. sorry to hear you still have that awful noise. Like burghbaby said, hopefully it vanishes as quickly as it started

  3. rose
    March 19, 2012 8:08 pm

    hoping and praying for the noise to be diagnosed and silenced soon…and grateful that the carotids are healed. be well!

  4. bluzdude
    March 19, 2012 8:27 pm

    I so hope it clears up for you. I can’t even imagine what it must be like. I want to claw my ears off from just getting water in them.

  5. Jenny
    March 19, 2012 8:31 pm

    I think that you might benefit from acupuncture. At the very least I know that it won’t make your ringing worse and I hope you give it some thought. Good luck Ginny.

    • MN
      March 19, 2012 8:39 pm

      That’s a very good suggestion! Give it a try, Ginny!

    • Lauren
      March 19, 2012 10:23 pm

      I second this. Acupuncture is awesome and at the very least is an excuse to lie still for 40 minutes, perhaps even take a nap. The needles aren’t as bad as they might seem.

  6. biggeorge
    March 19, 2012 8:50 pm

    Be thankful….I got two bad headaches once.
    Knocked me out for a couple of hours. I thought it was migraines.
    The family doc sent me to his buddy in Oakland for a c/t scan.
    on a machine that was older then I was.
    it found the tumor though. I’ve lived another 30 years….
    be thankful.

    um have your adrenalin glands checked.

  7. Leslie in Dayton
    March 19, 2012 8:56 pm

    I’m sorry to hear this. But not that. But this! But not that. Argh. Fluctuating!
    You are in my prayers. Enjoy your time off!

  8. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    March 19, 2012 8:58 pm

    Hang in there. Have a great vacation!

  9. katrinaRavioli
    March 19, 2012 9:00 pm

    I believe in miracles. My dad had a stroke, and while they were still working on figuring out that he had a stroke, they found very early cancer. That they wouldn’t have found otherwise because 6 months prior he had given a clear bill of health from his colonoscopy, and didn’t need another one for like 3 years.

    Who knew we should be thankful for things like strokes and massive ear noise?

    I hope it goes away soon. I’m glad your arteries are healed, though!

  10. Jen
    March 19, 2012 9:14 pm

    I can’t believe you’re still dealing with that noise. But, obviously, SO GLAD that it arrived in time to catch the tears. But I really really hope the noise disappears as quickly as it came. I can’t imagine that insanity…!

  11. suzie-Q
    March 19, 2012 9:30 pm

    I am grateful for all of the gifts you have been given, because you are certainly a gift to all of us who read your words and share your life each day.

    And because this is Pittsburgh, with so many fine medical facilities…SURELY someone out there can figure out what is causing the noise. How about a little help here folks!!!

    Enjoy your time off Ginny….blessings on you and your family….

  12. Magus Patris
    March 19, 2012 10:45 pm

    O**** OO****O

  13. tw
    March 19, 2012 11:44 pm

    Ginny… so glad to hear the tears have healed!!! As for the ear ringing… have they classified it as Tinnitus? Basically that’s just a ringing in the ear due to various causes. My hubby has Tinnitus from diving down too fast or deep when he was snorkeling and although the ringing hasn’t disappeared (doctors claim it never will), he says it doesn’t bother him anymore (it’s been 6 yrs). There are many causes for Tinnitus (loud noises, catastrophic events, and even just plain hearing loss… hint, hint). I know they don’t have a cure for it but there are some “herbal” remedies and whatnot out there if you want to try… just search Tinnitus online. Can’t hurt.

  14. bucdaddy
    March 20, 2012 1:26 am


    There ya go.

    Seriously now … I have some tinnitus, oddly enough in the ear that doesn’t hear very well — when I was a kid, I used to imagine I was getting signals from space — but apparently nothing like you describe. It seems so strange to me that you can be mostly deaf but hear loud noises inside your head. Could it be your brain is somehow trying to compensate for your deafness? There must be some kind of study you can enter that will pay you lots of money to be a test subject. I mean, what ELSE does UPMC need with that pile of money’s it’s sitting on?

  15. Z
    March 20, 2012 1:29 am

    Glad to hear the the arteries are healed. I believe in God so I believe the ‘coincedence’ of the noise and the discovery of the torn artery just means you have a lot left to do here. Enjoy your time off.

  16. Brett
    March 20, 2012 2:01 am

    Ginny I am so glad to hear of a clean bill of health related to the carotid tears, that must be a weight off of your mind. I am hoping that the noise will go of its own accord now that it has done the job of helping to diagnose the tears. I am not what you would call a religious person (agnostic is the correct term I think), but I do believe that some things do happen for a reason.

    I hope you enjoy your time off and spend it with your loved ones, if I am to understand it the weather over there is very spring like at the moment so enjoy it :)

  17. Stephen
    March 20, 2012 7:37 am

    Hope you feel better soon.

  18. Dr Kevlar
    March 20, 2012 8:30 am

    Glad things are improving for you! Even incremental progress is progress…

  19. Moxie Bestos
    March 20, 2012 8:46 am

    Thinking of you. Will say a Mi Sheberach (Jewish prayer of healing) with the hopes that you have a complete healing of your tears (rips) and tears (saline).

  20. Butcher's Dog
    March 20, 2012 10:03 am

    bucdaddy getting signals from outer space? That clears up a whole host of questions!

    Be well, enjoy the time off, and work your magic with the karma gods for the Pens and their playoff run. They should clinch a spot tonight, if my math is correct, with a win.

    • Sam's Dog
      March 20, 2012 6:35 pm

      Oh sure, I make an innocent grandstand comment and get flagged, but you’re allowed to get away with this. ( Oh well, I guess that’s the privilege of being one of the elder* statesmen here.)

      * elder meaning more experienced

      Ginny, have a great and hopefully quiet vacation.

      • Butcher's Dog
        March 20, 2012 9:53 pm

        Elder also means older. Like, a lot older (probably). Trick ain’t lookin’ this good (or bein’ this sharp mentally) at this age. Trick is gettin’ to BE this age. Deal with it.

  21. WI Mom
    March 20, 2012 10:13 am

    God works in mysterious ways. And yes, there are miracles everyday- I know, I have seen some of them.

  22. Robin
    March 20, 2012 11:17 am

    I can understand your frustration. Its incredibly difficult when you KNOW something is amiss, yet nobody can find out WHY! Pray Pray Pray. Every time you think of it. Pray for understanding, yours and the doctor who will find out what is going on. I’ll pray too.

  23. red pen mama
    March 20, 2012 11:54 am

    I am sorry the noise continues. That must be difficult. However, I do vote for rejoicing in a miracle. I hope you get another one, and soon! Most glad that you are here, and well, and even if frustrated, still funny, and still bringing us the view of Pittsburgh from behind your eyes.

  24. RichD
    March 20, 2012 1:06 pm

    As Lazlo Hollyfeld said “Well then I’m happy and sad for you. “

  25. Pensgirl
    March 20, 2012 1:22 pm

    Totally understandable to be both relieved/thankful and incredibly frustrated. I hope the noise will stop – I have a huge appreciation for silence and can only imagine how anxious, upset, and intermittently-homicidal I would be if I had a problem like that (and that’s to say nothing of being able to keep functioning when you’re being driven to distraction). In the meantime, sending you some extra patience and strength while you continue to deal with it – ’cause I know I would feel like I was running out of those things.

  26. hello haha narf
    March 20, 2012 2:56 pm

    thankful and still praying for answers.


  27. Pa-Pop
    March 20, 2012 3:58 pm

    It’s all good until the day they decide to call it Virginia’s Syndrome. But that won’t happen because God will eventually reduce the noise to a sweet whisper. BTW, was the house/hours typo Freudian? House is who ya need to see. Or Foreman. Or Tomlin.

    Magnus Patris: For a second I thought you were puttin’ on your “O face” there, buddy. Thanks for the explanation.

  28. Christina
    March 20, 2012 5:21 pm

    Dear Ginny,

    I do not know much, but if there is one single thing I know for sure and 100% reality checked than it is the fact that there is no such thing like coincidence.
    So I am very grateful for this noise, but now its job is done and with all my mental power I’ll try to tell it to SHUT THE F**K UP!

    I wish you a FANTASTIC vacation and hope it all works out and we see each other soon.