• Erika Lee Kline

The Show Must Go On: Pushing past the Pain!

24 hours before my first comedy set I was sitting in an Emergency Department in Glendale, California with the sound of a stereo static inside my head. Several health care providers have told me I most likely have a chronic diagnosis that would be with me for the rest of my days on this Earth. Tinnitus. The American Tinnitus Association defines Tinnitus as 'the perception of sound when no actual external noise is present'. While it is commonly referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus can manifest many different perceptions of sound, including buzzing, hissing, whistling, swooshing, and clicking. Since starting this blog I have visited a Nurse Practitioner, Otolaryngologist and 2 Audiologists about my ear noise. I've also been told I have eustachian tube dysfunction and hyperacusis. I'll be quite honest, I'm in quite a bit of denial and disbelief. In fact, I'm not really accepting any of it.

I've been trying to understand what could have caused this annoying Tinnitus and so many things came to my mind. My car accident November 2019 was the first possibility that came to mind. I was rear-ended super hard and my face hit the steering wheel, which resulted in needing 6 stitches to the left side of my lip. Also the first tooth to the left of my front tooth was damaged, requiring a root canal. My airbag didn't deploy and I'm not really sure my seat belt did it's job either. Apparently it didn't. It might have been a blessing that I didn't see the huge Chevy truck barreling towards my car. My back and neck were fine, but maybe my left ear assumed the impact as well. The next thing I thought about was my trip to Kauai last month. The snorkeling was quite amazing. I was so excited and giddy about it, what an amazing experience. I might have dove a little too deep down to try to capture a better view of the coral reef below. I felt a bit of pressure on both ears, but nothing burst or happened immediately so I wasn't too concerned. Lastly, could my ear have been aggravated by the strong cabin pressure on the 5 hour flight going back to LAX? Or was it related to the 3rd Covid vaccine I got a few days after I returned from my trip? I may never know. It's all truly puzzling and the more I think about it the deeper I dig a hole.

Either way I've decided to accept whatever is going to come my way. If I don't make the decision to do this I believe depression and anxiety will overtake me and affect my health in a truly negative way. In fact, I've already been experiencing quite a bit of these feelings and the physical impact isn't welcome. I'm a healthy woman that doesn't stress and worry to wear me out sooner than it needs to. I was given the advice to distract myself as much as possible and that is what I've chosen to do since the beginning of this tragedy. And it started with this opportunity to be on a stage in Hollywood, California performing comedy for a room full of friends, family and strangers who love to laugh! I had a choice to make. I grabbed my hat and cherries & danced right up onto that stage!

My brother Eric and I share so much in common, including this annoying Tinnitus. He said his was caused by loud Jets when he was serving in the Air Force. I can only imagine the sounds in his ears are so much louder than mine. He tells me he just accepts it and he literally jams his finger in his ear and creates a suction and pops it to find relief. Oh my goodness Eric, that seems so awful!! When you open up and share your struggles with people you love it makes you remember you aren't alone and can survive almost anything. Thank you Eric for helping me to realize what I can live with and persist through, and thank you for coming to my very first comedy show!!

When your mind is consumed with laughter and fun you often forget about any of your problems. That's what I was on a mission to do! The mind is a powerful masterpiece. So many supportive friends and family showed up for me. Unbelievable really! I had no idea how many would show up until The Comedy Chateau venue told me 17 people had RSVP'd under my name! WHAT?? There was no backing out, no cowering, no canceling! I had to just laugh and make others laugh. I had to hold it together. They gave me 7 minutes to perform, and I was ready for anything!

Looking at this picture really brought to me so many feelings. My Cowgirl hat and the fuzzy cherries were winners. I brought some funny stories to tell, and was really hoping they were gonna be funny to the crowd. My brother supporting me there in the foreground was really the icing to the cake. Him and my sister-in-law Jenn drove from Beaumont, 91 miles away, to come out and support me on a Sunday night. Both of them had to work the next day too! And there's the guy on the other side of the stage laughing at me throughout my set. I thought I was a bit funny, but damn! When I mentioned to my Mom about the guy laughing so hard my Mom tells me 'He was probably drunk'. Oh goodness, this is why I had to include my Mom's inappropriate responses and comments in the comedy show that night. Thanks Mom, LOL!

Thank you to all who came out to my show that special night. I truly appreciate it with all my soul, heart and mind. So thankful for the opportunity I had to be a comedian for an evening!

Stay beautiful, unique and inspired

--Erika Lee Kline lives in beautiful Pasadena, California. She is fitness minded & enjoys hiking, biking, paddleboarding and wall climbing. She is a fully embodied Empath, a human rights advocate, ballroom/Latin dancer, a student of human behavior and an MI Practitioner. She is a Pediatric Diabetes Nurse working in Los Angeles at a Children's Hospital. You can find her on Clubhouse, TikTok & Instagram.

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