Wednesday, January 09, 2008


My life has recently been considerably enhanced and it’s not because we’re getting more sleep nor because I have almost managed to reclaim my breasts.

I haven’t wanted to talk too much about this, but over the past year I have found it increasingly difficult to hear what people were saying to me, especially in crowded theatre foyers.

All that background burble - the tinkling laughs, the earnest discussion, the rhubarb rhubarb, melded into one throbbing, pulsating mess. It was as if my head was encased in a large plastic bubble big enough to admit only one person at a time and only if they were standing uncomfortably close.

At the time I simply put this down to boredom due to the high levels of crap that are usually spouted in such places (I, myself, guilty of similar spouting) and now and then I would scare myself by assuming it was an imminent MS relapse.

More recently it got worse, especially in my right ear, and over the holiday break I spent several days squinting at my friends and relatives, trying to read their lips, and shouting ‘what?’ at them. I was even accused of shouting unnecessarily which meant I had sunk to Grumpy Grandad’s EVERYTHING MUST BE SAID IN CAPITALS status. I tried eardrops which was the proper way and bobby pins and cotton ear buds which are the Totally Wrong And Improper Way To Unblock Your Ears.

A couple of nights ago C and I met up with our housemates (and inlaws) K and N for jolliness at the opening of the Sydney Festival. A whole lot of streets had been closed off and stages set up on various corners with bands, cabaret acts and dj’s akimbo. It was fun to be roaming the streets but a lot of the live music sounded pretty shit through my plastic bubble and that just made me feel old and cranky.

Yesterday I could stand it no longer and I went to see my doctor. She brought out an enormous shining metal syringe full of warm water and balanced a bowl on my right shoulder.

“Have you had this done before?” she asked.

I had not. I smiled nervously and asked her if she thought ear candling had much to recommend it. She snorted into her metal bowl. Then she let loose with the syringe. The sensation was not unlike that of an enormous hot wet slug rushing at the speed of light through my ear canal singing Wagner at the top of its tiny lungs. It sounded quite shocking actually but not as shocking as the sound of my ear feeling OPEN at last.

“Oh my God”, I gasped. “That is incredible! That’s the most fantastic…”
I stopped. I had just caught a glimpse of what was now floating in the water of the shoulder bowl. “OH MY GOD WAS THAT IN MY EAR?”

“Yup,” said the doctor. “Don’t worry, I’ve seen worse.”
“That is possibly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen,” I told her. “But would you mind checking the other ear?”
She peered into my left ear and hoisted her monster syringe back into action.
“Ok," she said. "We’re going again.”

The difference has been extraordinary. Clean ears make me feel brighter, more energetic, more intelligent. I feel like running up to complete strangers, people who look sad or irritable or unhealthy or ugly or just anybody really, and exhorting them to HAVE YOUR EARS SYRINGED!!

I even feel excited about loitering in theatre foyers again. I can’t wait to see if all that crap I could hear really was just the stuff between my ears.

8 comments:

Vacant Uterus said...

LOL! That is awesome. Maybe I should try that. Couldn't hurt, might help!

Nico said...

I'm somewhere in between LMAO and totally grossed out ;-) I'm very glad that your doc was able to fix you so easily, and that it wasn't any of the very much worse things it could have been!

Spanglish said...

I wonder how much stuff is in my ears...

Trevor said...

I had the same thing done nearly 20 years ago (surely to God I'm much too young to have just written that sentence?). The difference was fantastic although the whole process was a bit, well...ick.

By-the-by, love the rhubarb photo on the post - very clever.

Trevor said...

Of course you could also have used a photo of waxy candles...

Mima said...

Sounds like you had got yourself pretty scared before you finally dragged yourself to the doc, so it must have been such a relief to find it was something that was so easily fixed.

Happy eavesdropping in the foyers (you will pick up all sorts of things now).

laura said...

As a big, huge fan of qtips and ear cleaning, this sounds like a dream. I've never heard of doing this ... how can I get my dr to do it??!!

Lin said...

All I can say is, "uh huh...me too, about 15 years ago." I'm glad to report that it hasn't happened again (yet) so don't go thinking that this is a new pattern and you'll have to be hanging your head sideways over a metal, kidney-shaped basin while foul emissions pour out of your ear on a regular basis. You know I just smacked a big piece of wood to ward off the ear junk spirits.