M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, April 12, 2004  

Hear, Hear

About six years ago, I woke up with my right ear feeling like I’d descended to crush depth in a submarine and then opened the hatch. Okay, it wasn’t anywhere near that painful, but that’s about how well I could hear through it. Several Valsalva maneuvers and a box of Q-Tips™ later, my ear still felt a) popped, b) full of water, and c) non-functional, so Trash drove me to the hospital to get it looked at. After a four-hour wait, I finally got to see a guy who squirted warm water into my ear until a ball of wax the size of a toddler’s fist got flushed out and my hearing instantly returned to normal. I resolved to be more diligent with the Q-Tips™ after that.

But apparently that’s only good up to a point, especially if one has allergies, as I learned this morning.

When I went in today for a physical, the nurse shone the little scope into my ear and saw that my ear canal was about as clear as Marlon Brando’s aorta. She told me as much.

"WHAT?!" I responded.

On the one hand, I was disappointed to learn that all my swabbing had had limited effect. On the other hand, I was relieved to realize that the two-liter syringe she brought in a few minutes later wasn’t going to be attached to a needle and jammed into my ass.

No, instead, it was going to be filled with hot water that would then be firehosed into my ear canals.

The right ear came first, and the nurse, after firing the third or fourth tsunami into my head, asked me if I was all right. Which is odd, because I thought I’d been concealing my dizziness pretty well. I figured, if someone’s going to be pressure-washing my eardrum, obviously that’s going to have some temporary effect on my inner ear, the seat of balance and equilibrium. So I said to the nurse, “Some dizziness is normal, right?”

“Um, no,” she answered, and went to work on my left ear.

I didn’t see what got fished out of there today, but I didn’t think it could be anything drastic. I never had an “unmute” moment like I had six years ago. But after the nurse and I had dried off my ear, the side of my head, my neck, and the far wall, I realized—somebody had cranked up the world’s treble to eleven.

It was weird. I could hear higher-frequency sounds louder and more clearly than I had before. I put my shirt back on, and to my new ears it rustled as if it were made if stiff tissue paper. The nurse said I might have to ask people to talk more softly around me for a while.

“Shhh,” I said.

It was the aural equivalent of putting on a new pair of glasses for the first time. I met up with Trash in the lobby and told her about it. She asked if she was going to have to repeat herself less now. I couldn’t resist.

“What was that?” I asked.

So it’s nice to have my ears working properly, even though I didn’t know they weren’t before. It’s not like it would come up or anything. It’s not like I’m an amateur MUSICIAN whose day job is in RADIO, right?


I’m going back in another six years to have them do this again.

By the way, yes I have heard about ear candling. No, thank you. I don’t think my earwax would make a very pleasant-smelling candle anyway.

Today’s best search phrase:The Sopranos character that had its body parts buried in a bowling ball bag.” I had this search about ten times today. Was there some kind of massacre at a bowling ball bag factory?

posted by M. Giant 5:52 PM 0 comments


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