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Chasing The American Dream

April 06, 2006


It’s rare that I’m sick and an even rarer (is that even a word?) occurrence for me to see a doctor. If I go to a doctor, I’m likely not too many steps away from my death bed. I’ve had this vise-gripping headache for like three weeks now which turned into fever, cold, and the whole nine yards. Plus, I feel like I’m underwater and can’t hear anything. It got to the point where it was keeping me up even later than normal. So I caved and went to see a doctor.

Well first of all I’ve noticed a trend with doctors. They’re becoming more like dentists because you never see them. Seems as if Physician’s Assistants (PAs) are in vogue. I guess I don’t mind. I’ve had pretty good luck with PAs.

Shannon was nice. Lucky for me she’s married so I don’t have to worry about any CBG-like complications. She stuck that ear-thingy in me and noticed all kinds of fluid and stuff. She told me that all had to be cleaned out for starters so she had the nurse do what’s called and ear lavage or an ear irrigation. Seemed harmless enough. Wrong.

To me, if you’re dealing with the ear, you kinda need a deft touch, dontcha? And I should hope that the nurses have undergone plenty of training not only on dummies but also on real patients. Like if the patient screams in pain, they probably need to keep practicing or simply be kept away from patients. I think both are the case for my nurse.

She barely spoke English so I’m not even sure she could understand me clearly. She came in with two plastic trays and a syringe a mile-long. I started to worry about this ‘harmless’ procedure. I couldn’t imagine that thing fitting into my ear and being comfortable. And how in the world was all that hydrogen peroxide going to fit in that tiny ear hole? The answer to those questions is, “not very well.”

What an experience. The nurse jammed that syringe into my ear and didn’t waste any time emptying the peroxide. Think of someone blowing hard into your ear. Can you imagine how loud and painful that could be? Well add the speedy rush of hydrogen peroxide and I think you get the picture. I have a high threshold for pain, but man-oh-man, OWWW. That pain rippled right through my head and left me plenty dizzy not to mention she soaked me with the peroxide. I told her I was surprised it hurt so much, but I’m not even sure she understood me. Before I knew it, she reloaded the syringe and was at it again. Well, she was certainly breaking down my threshold because the pain was even worse the second time around. Then she gave me the good news that she had to do it once more.

I mean, she injected me so quickly. Can you imagine that force? I’m sure there has to be some degree of force but I’d sure like to have the use of my ear for the rest of my life. I asked her if she could try doing it more slowly. She tried. It was better, but I was mush by then. That simple procedure left me with a worse headache, completely dizzy, and soaked to the bone. I guess the good news is that she cleaned me out. Whatever “stuff” that was in the tray was truly gross.

When the PA came back in, I had her look at my soaked clothes and I asked her if this is how they initiated all their new patients? She looked at me in amazement and actually laughed at me. I guess it was funny. I was a total mess, inside and out. She stuck the ear thingy back in me and confirmed I had an inner ear infection. I’m hoping the meds she prescribed start kicking in soon. I’m tired of feeling like I have two heads. I hope my painful experience can at least be beneficial to you. I guess my advice is this. If you’re ever asked if you’d like one of these ‘lavages,’ kindly refuse and instead ask for a Q-Tip.


  • Wow, and here I was thinking that the ear was a semi-erogenous zone (as I love cleaning my ears) and that it would feel great to get them cleaned professionally. Now this sounds more painful than I'd ever want to imagine. Sorry this happened.

    By Blogger K, at 1:13 PM, April 06, 2006  

  • I've had this done. It's normally not that painful, but only if you are infection free. I'm sure with an infection it is (obviously) a lot worse.

    You really should go to an ENT, especially with inner ear problems. I used to work for both a pediatrician and an internal doc, inner ear problems were almost always referred to a specialist.

    Hope you feel better! Oh! And never, ever, use a Q-Tip, it just pushes earwax deeper into your ear.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 12:13 AM, April 08, 2006  

  • Eeeek!

    I hope that you're feeling better, PT!

    By Blogger A, at 9:03 PM, April 08, 2006  

  • Take everything I say with a grain of salt. From my previous comment I sound like a know-it-all :P

    Hope you're feeling better!

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 9:45 AM, April 10, 2006  

  • Ouch

    And all this while wraping up SOX work.

    Take C.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:16 AM, April 10, 2006  

  • Hope you are feeling better ny now! :-)

    Inner ear infections are the WORST! Right up there with sinus infections.

    By Blogger Elle, at 11:58 AM, April 13, 2006  

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