Friday, January 25, 2013

Shh! The world is too loud

Myasthenia gravis is at it again. She's picked a new target and is working her evil magic on my stapedius muscles. Don't feel bad if you don't know what the stapedius muscles do. I wouldn't have known my stapedius from my gluteus maximus if it wasn't for The University of Catastrophe. Students with chronic illness majors forcibly learn random trivia about the human body.

Right now I am taking a class called Your Stapedius and You: Do You Hear What I Hear?

This class sucks.

The stapedius is a millimeter long muscle. Compare that to an eyelash at about seven millimeters and you get an idea how tiny this thing is. How can anything so tiny matter enough to wreck my day? The job of the stapedius muscle is moving the stapes, the stirrup shaped bones deep inside our middle ears.

Wikipedia explains how the stapedius muscle functions like this:

"It reflexively dampens the vibrations of the stapes by pulling on the neck of that bone. It prevents excess movement by the stapes, helping to control the amplitude of sound waves from the general external environment to the inner ear."

This is all fine and dandy assuming the stapedius muscle is doing its job. Mine are currently AWOL. Myasthenia gravis is busily snacking on my stapedius muscles nerve/muscle junctions and is giving me hyperacusis.

The entire world is too loud. The furnace sounds like a roar. The cat purring on my shoulder sounds like a jackhammer. The refrigerator is growling at me. The clock ticking sounds like someone slamming a car door over and over. I feel like someone crammed ear buds in my ears and then cranked up the volume. It hurts to hear. Not only does it hurt to hear, all the sounds are blurred together into a cacophonous noise. I can't make sense of what I hear. As a musician this sucks. I feel lost in a world of noise.

I tried to block it out but the foam expanding from my ear plugs was too loud. Taking them out was worse than having them in. I was a ball of misery today.

Thankfully, this is only temporary. I have Mestinon tablets which work well on small muscles. Mestinon is like spinach for Popeye. It's amazing how quickly that stuff works. (And how quickly it disappears.) The hyperacusis will go away soon. I've had it before and it didn't last long. Myasthenia gravis is never the same disability twice. In a few days she'll get bored with the stapedius muscles and move on to my gluteus maximus. Then she really will be a pain in my ass.


  1. Wow, Marie, that sounds miserable. I hope the sound of this comment e-mail landing in your inbox doesn't hurt. :-)

    Thinking of you!

  2. so i just got out of a bus after having successfully quieted a man shouting from one end of the bus to the other, nerves all frayed of course, and made my way to my desk at work. full lateral aural assault. co-workers. couldn't stand it any more. couldn't help but google "the world is too loud". couldn't stop laughing when i read this. (not at your predicament, no. i fully empathize.) you are hilarious. i hope you don't have more nasty things to write about. but boy is your writing wicked! complete fan :) am sharing this with my lady!




I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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