This Girl's Voice

Saturday, October 04, 2003  

Deaf, Drugged and Ideologically Blinded

Back on Oct. 11, 2001, the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles held a press conference and announced they were treating Rush Limbaugh for rapid hearing loss which they attributed to AIED or autoimmune inner ear disease(AIED).

"We are treating Rush Limbaugh for hearing loss resulting from autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED)," said Jennifer Derebery, M.D., House Ear Clinic. "We base our diagnosis on Mr. Limbaugh’s medical history and hearing tests."

But could there be another explanation for Rush's hearing loss?

Yesterday, one day after Rush resigned from his NFL colour commentary stint on ESPN, the National Enquirer broke the story that Wilma Cline, Limbaugh's former housekeeper and alleged drug pusher for four years between 1998 and 2002, says that her former boss was hooked on the potent prescription drugs OxyContin (a.k.a. "Hillbilly Heroin"), Lorcet and hydrocondone (found in combination with acetaminophen in the drug Vicodin) and that he was addicted to them and took them in massive amounts:

There were times when I worried. All these pills are enough to kill an elephant - nevermind a man.

Interestingly enough, only a month prior to HEI's 2001 announcement of their treatment of Rush's rapid hearing loss, the LA Times reported that the doctors at the HEI in L.A. (yep, the very same HEI that was treating Rush) had discovered that the misuse and abuse of "exceptionally high dosages for several months or more" of "Vicodin and other chemically comparable prescription drugs" could be linked to rapid hearing loss and even deafness, and that they had identified "at least 48 cases of deafness tied to prolonged misuse of Vicodin and other comparable prescription medicines."

Researchers also suspect that the inner ear contains opioid receptors, or nerve endings that are highly sensitive to stimulation by drugs like morphine, heroin or hydrocodone. They believe that there is a connection between these two phenomena.

It's unclear whether the damage can be reversed once patients start experiencing symptoms. "Some patients have retained some hearing if they stop using the painkillers immediately," House said. "But for most, the damage is already done. Once the process starts, it seems irreversible."

One wonders whether his treating doctors at the HEI in 2001 were aware of his alleged painkiller drug abuse, or whether Rush withheld that nugget of information. If his doctors were aware of his predilection for hydrocondone, one wonders further, if Mr. Limbaugh informed them that he was still abusing the drugs while being treated for his rapid hearing loss. Ehis New York Daily News article two days ago reports that:

Cline said she gave Limbaugh 10 pills the next day and agreed to give him 30 of her husband's pills each month. When the doctor stopped renewing the prescription in early 1999, Limbaugh allegedly went ballistic.

"His tone was nasty and bullying. He said, 'I don't care how or what you do, but you'd better - better! - get me some more,'" Cline said. After several months, Limbaugh told her he was going to New York for detox and didn't need any more pills, Cline said. But a month later, he said his left ear was hurting and asked her for hydrocodone, followed by an order for OxyContin.

It should be noted that at the time of the HEI's 2001 press conference disclosing their treatment of Limbaugh, they also stated the following interesting passage:

"Other symptoms of AIED may include fluctuating hearing, dizziness, ear fullness, rapidly progressive Meniere’s disease or sudden hearing loss. Mr. Limbaugh does not display most of the symptoms associated with AIED, but he has suffered rapidly progressive hearing loss since May 2001, which we are currently treating with medication at the House Ear Clinic."

One thing for certain, not even his own wife knew he was using,
The housekeeper said she found a new supplier and arranged to hide Limbaugh's stashes under his mattress so his wife, Marta, wouldn't find them.

posted by voxpopgirl | 10/04/2003