mardi 19 janvier 2010
Yes, this is going to be another post about everyone's favorite topic- earwax.
(at least no pictures. Be thankful)

After about a week of putting the eardrops in my ears the situation wasn't improving. Alain's comment- why are you walking around the apartment with your 'ead on one side and kleenex coming out of your hear? (in French-American "you 'ear with your hears" and "you put your harms over your 'ead")

This past weekend it got particularly bad- seriously couldn't hear anything. Which proves useful when say, someone is yelling "Can you bring me a beer?" from the other room (Nope, sorry, didn't hear a thing) but can get rather taxing and quickly.
I kept telling Alain "It's practice for when we get older". He wondered whether I would be able to hear my courses okay- oh sure, no problem, I sit in the front row anyway.
Monday morning, first five minutes of class,
PROBLEM!
Couldn't hear a thing that the teacher was saying.
Not good.

It was like my own custom-made Megan-purgatory. Trapped in the silence in my head, while some teacher rambles on interminably in French, catching only tidbits like "action en contrefaçon mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble propriété intellectuelle mumble mumble mumble très important pour l'examen mumble mumble mumble mumble".
Throw in a full bladder and some faint strains of accordion music and there you have it-
Might as well bundle me into a straightjacket tout de suite.

At lunch time I ran to the nearest pharmacy and asked for something for my ears. She offered the eardrops I already had, but I said I needed something more. Something Industrial Strength. She gave me a spray to be sprayed directly into the ear. I came home for lunch and tried it. Good grief! I've heard of foaming at the mouth but have never heard of foaming at the ears!

back to class. Not much better. Was determined to wage an all-out war Me vs. My Earwax that evening. Spent a good hour in the bathtub with the drops, the spray, some q-tips and the shower sprayer, doing what I could.
Checked out the internet to see if I could get any other helpful hints. Wikipedia suggests olive oil, among other things. Yeah, I can just see that:
Throw some olive oil in there, plus maybe some flaxseed and white vinegar...
Hey I've got a salad dressing going on here. Instead of Paul Newman's Own, we've got Megan's Own with a secret ingredient!

Looked for other solutions, one of which is called "ear candling". Basically, you buy some special candles at shops such as healthfood stores or yoga stores (wondering what kind of wax these candles are made out of), lie down on one side, stick one end in your ear canal, and light the other. Now generally, I try to live my life by the latin motto:
NON IGNEUS CORPUS QUICUMQUE SUBIUNGO

which, roughly translated is:
"Don't attach burning things to thy body"
but when you are about to become Madame Tussaud's next supplier, believe me, you'll consider anything.

I can just picture it now, at the specialist's office, whom I'm paying 60€/minute to be poked and prodded;
Doctor: This looks like... olive oil in your ears?
Me: Um, yeah?
Doctor: And candle wax?
Me: Um, yeah?
Doctor: Why in heaven's name did you do that?
Me: Um, the internet told me to?
Doctor: You mean like a scientifically peer-reviewed medical journal?
Me: Um, no, like an anyone-can-edit compiliation of random articles on everything from A (Jethro Tull album), 1980 album by progressive rock band Jethro Tull to the Z Nassau Street Express, a rapid transit service of the New York City Subway?
Doctor: (to himself) Thank god I get paid this much to deal with wackos.

Tuesday, after more deafness and now pain in the ears, started to worry about ear infections and permanent deafness. Sure, the earwax jokes are funny up to a point, the point being permanently reduced hearing at the age of 30. I could just see the tabloid headlines:
Deaf from excess earwax at the age of 30!
Growth of mold in non-aerated inner ears!
Earwax-induced infection spreads to brain!

Went back to the Pharmacy to beg for something, anything. He recommended a nearby generalist doctor that was still open, so I went over and waited. She took one look in my ears, confirmed that yes, they were indeed-y completely blocked, that she couldn't do anything, I would have to go a specialist. She gave me a letter (woe betide you if you go in France to a specialist doctor without a recommendation from a generalist doctor), I called, and got an appointment for the next day, which is something in and of itself.

The next day during lunch, right after yet another class on mute, I hightailed it over to the doctor's office, waited about half an hour (reasonable for a last-minute appointment. Heck, reasonable even for an appointment that you have had scheduled for the past 6 months) and was called in. Yep, ears still completely blocked. Thank you. Amazing how hard it is to talk when you can only hear about 50%.

Only thing to be done was to take a fire hose to my ear canals, leaving me quite drenched, off-balance (go ahead, blast your inner ears with water for a few minutes and then walk across the room and see how many walls you bang in to- I almost fell out of the chair) and amazingly clear.
Which made me wonder how long I had unwittingly been a part of the hearing impaired. I wanted to ask the doctor to please lower his voice. Actually, he probably was shouting because not 5 minutes before I had asked him 3 times to repeat himself.
Doctor: You might want to take off your jacket.
Me: what?
Doctor: You might want to take off your jacket!
Me: what?!
Doctor: You might want to take off your jacket!
Me: what?!
Doctor: Take off your jacket!
Me: Oh. Yeah. I'm having trouble hearing you because of the
Doctor: Earwax. (nods) Got it.

(Which brings me to another side note- how much would you like to clean earwax out of people's ears for a living?)

I began noticing all sorts of sounds that I hadn't noticed in a long time- the sound of a hairbrush through my hair, the noise of the movement of my bag against my leg, etc.

Got back to class in time to take a two-hour practice exam on the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Not sure which was worse- ten minutes of getting my ear blasted or two hours of writing legal essays in French. Opinions?
At least with the first I get squeeky clean auris interna and only slight nausea, while with the second I get a headache, cramp in my hand, and a sinking feeling that I'm going to have to do it all over again, for real this time, in a few short months.

Couldn't quite decide on the best title for this post. Here are some others that I thought of:
Earwax- no laughing matter.
Earwax- it can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Earwax Emergencies
Earwax 101
Return of the Earwax
Earwax Alert Level: Yellow
Earwaxapalooza

So here concludes the
Exiciting but Extremely Exhausting Earwax Epic.
Now go clean your ears.

7 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

The telling is funny, though I'm sure the experience was not.

Mwa a dit…

Wow.

I hear my sister gets them hoovered out now. No water involved, and very quick. Her doctor also told her that she just makes a lot of earwax, and it's not a lack-of-cleaning thing. (Thought you might want to know that.)

Glad you can hear again.

screamish a dit…

ha! nice title. at last you went to the doctor. i had the same problem and after the doctor syringed it all out her presented me with the stainless steel tray and the evidence of my slovenly personal hygiene as if he expected me to applaud.

then the phone rang on his desk and i thought my head would explode from the volume. it was GREAT!!!

talesfromagarden a dit…

Having suffered this myself I was wondering on reading your post how long before you actually go to the doctor!In the end its the only thing to do if the drops dont work! Your ear is a very sensitive area so I would forget the ear candling and all the other remedies when one visit and a "hoovering out" by the doc. is all it takes. Stay well and wax free!

Jurek a dit…

yes, weird, i had the same thing here in the states, so i went to one of those urgent care centers. they immediately put drops in my ears to soften up the wax and then got out the firehose. the difference was amazing...

Tiki a dit…

I understood every moment of your post and while I really don't like the syringing part, you do feel like you're trying to walk on the deck of a ship in a really nasty storm afterwards, it does eventually feel better.

One thing, most people I know have actually tried the candling thing and they swear by it. Lighting the candle at one end apparently cause the ear wax to adhere to the end in your ear and then the whole thing comes out painlessly. Still would be weird though.

Jess a dit…

I do ear candling. It's actually very painless. Nothing goes into your ear aside from the tube. Once it burns down to the end (really only about halfway down...nowhere close to your head) you extinguish it and voila :)

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