Monday, February 25, 2008

The Ears

After I wrote my last post, I called my rugby physician, Dr. Gloyboner. Though dazed and confused from the tail end of a thirty hour shift (don't worry! Those only happen every four days, she told me for reassurance) she seemed to think the ear candles would be a fun experiment and possibly something good to photograph. Would they work? She had no idea. In her professional medical opinion, I should go to the doctor and have her use some sort of suction device they use for extreme ear wax situations.

So my party began and I barely heard the door knocking when guests arrived. I told them all about the problem and they all seemed very interested in these ear candles, which cost $3.29 apiece. After everyone was done eating, I requested the help of my friends to burn the wax out of my ears. They agreed to help.

The first step was reading the directions:

Note the look of joy on the woman's face as she is candled. The instructions use candle as a verb.

My four very good friends then each took her position around the procedure. Patsy photographed the event for posterity. Libby held the candle in my ear and regulated the pressure with which it was jammed into my ear hole. Renee held the scissors to trim the fabric every inch and also lighted the thing. My new friend Theresa held the water bowl--a precaution advised by the instructions to catch "ash."

Note the paper plate with a hole cut in the middle. This was also advised by the instructions as an ash catcher and flame barrier. A paper plate. Paper.

The whole procedure took about ten minutes. I was excited because I could hear something out of the ear with the candle in it! It was the sound of the smoldering beeswax candle. Other than that, nothing happened except a very strong smell of burnt fabric.

In the end, it looked just like a half smoked joint in a puddle of bong water and was just about as effective in removing wax from my ear. As a writer, I must say the experience was very necessary and rewarding. As a patient, I far preferred my morning call to the student health center, where they eased my suffering with the "elephant ear" gun.

Dr. W. peeked in my ear and said, "Whew! That's a big plug. I'm gonna get an RN to flush that out for you." She left me a paper gown to put on and I heard her in the hallway talking to the nurses from the front desk. Brenda and Vicki began arguing over who got to flush my ears and use the new gun. Evidently, they had all been dying to use the elephant ear and my visit caused quite a stir. They squabbled for a bit and eventually decided they would each get to do one ear.

Nurse Vicki filled a squirt bottle with warm water and attached a laser-beam looking thing and went to town on my ear. After a few pumps, she showed me the dish. In it was a peanut-sized lump. (The nut part of the peanut) No freaking wonder I couldn't hear anything! I wanted to hug her and remained fascinated that something so large could fit inside my ear canal.

I barely had time to gush about my new auditory skills before Brenda started squirting my other ear. She pumped the elephant ear a few times and yelled, "Here it comes!"

"All right! This gun is amazing. Here, look. Do you want to keep it?" She showed me yet another lump, this one the size of an M&M. That from my good ear! I told her she could keep my wax lump and just sat back enjoying my amplified hearing. "Shoot, girl. You're a new woman!"

And with that, they left me to change out of my paper gown and go about my day with real hearing powers. For example, did you know the keyboard keys made clicking sounds when you typed on them? It's true!


Jane said...

Do you use Q-tips to "clean" out your ears? if so, you are only jamming that wax in there to later become a peanut or m & m.

Em said...

Jane, I have heard this, but I Q-tip daily and have never had this problem. But truth be told, I use them mostly for sopping up the water (they don't drain well on their own). Maybe if I made more wax, it would be a problem.

ninny said...


Emily said...

This is interesting. That is a MASSIVE amount of wax (in my uneducated opinion). And you had a friend put a lit candle in your ear? Amazing. You and the friend.

(also, I also Q-tip to dry!)

Valtastic said...

Thank you for not showing a picture of your ear was lumps... and seriousl paper plates? Do they want you to burn your face off so you can't sue them?

What about swimmers ear daily to prevent? That stuff keeps nothing from forming...

Jane said...

We are so pitiful talking about Katy's ear wax.

PeaceLoveMath said...

No, I WANT to see a pic of Katy's wax lumps!!

I also Q-tip every few days to wipe the accumulated wax from near the outside - I'm pretty confident I'm cleaning out a lot more than I'm pushing in. My outer ear gets itchy and then I wipe out a smear of wax with the QT and it's better. Plus the wax (usually, except if you're Katy apparently) works its way to the outside of your ear gradually, taking dust and dirt and other bad stuff with it, as a result of your normal jaw motion from talking and chewing. You would know that if you had read the Wikipedia article on ear wax, like I did.