I had been suffering from left ear pain for some time but had no idea what was causing it. I finally could not bear the pain anymore and went to my ENT doctor. After examining me and reviewing my CT scan, he immediately told me that this was something more serious and personally called the neurotology practice at Rush University Medical Center to make a referral.
The diagnosis? A large mass in my ear canal.
What’s amazing is that my doctor made the call at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. By 11 a.m., a nurse was calling me to schedule a consultation at Rush with Elias Michaelides, MD, for Monday morning.
From that initial phone call, to the ease of having the consultation at Dr. Michaelides’ Rush South Loop office, to the kind and caring folks at reception, everything was ‘so far so good.’ And the rest of the appointment did not disappoint.
I was greeted by one of the nurses, who took my vitals and then to the room where I would be examined. From the moment I met Dr. Michaelides, I knew I was in excellent hands. He really listened to me as I explained how severe the pain had become. He then examined me and reviewed the results of my CT scan. My wife, Robin, was on the phone during the appointment, and Dr. Michaelides was so patient with her questions and concerns. He then had me meet with an audiologist, who determined that as a result of my condition, the hearing in my left ear was severely compromised.
Back in the exam room, Dr. Michaelides said that I needed surgery — and the sooner, the better. Sooner turned out to be three days later, on Thursday, Jan. 27.
I arrived at the Rush University Medical Center campus Thursday morning feeling a bit anxious, but at the same time I was optimistic that the surgery would help relieve my pain and improve my hearing.
Up on the surgical floor, I received a cheerful and kind greeting, which helped put me at ease, and 10 minutes later I was in the pre-op area getting into my hospital gown and having my vitals taken. The nurses could not have been nicer: They even laughed at my corny jokes.
Soon, the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself and ask if I had any questions or concerns. Then, one of Dr. Michaelides’ associates, who would be assisting with the surgery, came in to introduce himself and again asked if I had any questions. Even though I didn’t have any questions at that time, it was good to know that if I did, the doctors were happy to address them.
Five minutes later, and on schedule, I was wheeled into the operating room, and things went a little dark at that point. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery area, where Dr. Michaelides explained that he was able to perform the procedure — a binocular microscopy — without having to make a large incision; instead, he was able to go in directly through my ear canal.
Because the procedure was less invasive, I didn’t have to stay in the hospital overnight. By 8 p.m., I was on my way home.
Confident about the future
My two follow-up visits have been just as great as my first consultation.
While there is a chance that I might need another operation down the road, I have zero anxiety about the prospect of a second surgery.
The entire Rush organization has my utmost confidence and gratitude. I want to especially thank Dr. Michaelides for his kindness, for his patience and for setting the bar for where health care should be.