Monday, May 18, 2009

an alternative to surgery?!?

so today . . . i had an adventure--and before 11:00 a.m.

i have hearing issues. about 14 years ago i had lost enough hearing in my left ear that i had to have surgery. the surgery helped--for a while. but a few years ago, i noticed that i was losing the hearing in that ear again. so last summer i went back to the doctor to see about another surgery, and he said it couldn't be done again--"get a hearing aid," he said.

i was not happy with that diagnosis.

so for now, i just deal with the reduced hearing in that ear. but there are times when i really have trouble with my ears, like when i am flying. they seem to adjust to the change in pressure fairly well going up, but coming down is very, very painful. and this time i forgot to bring any gum or candy to suck on, so it was especially bad. when i landed on friday, i couldn't hear out of my right ear at all. and so i was complaining about it a bit . . .

and then i learned about "ear candles."

my dad, who has had hearing issues for a long, long time told me about them. he said it made a difference for him, and maybe i should try it. i am thinking, "ear candles?!?!? i don't think so!" all i can think of is an open flame near my ear AND MY HAIR. this cannot be a good thing. but he explains it to me--"no," he says, "you put the candle in your ear and light the other end. the heat transfers through the candle and pulls the ear wax out of your ear, and you will be able to hear better."

i am still thinking no. but i say, "oh, that sounds interesting," because i love my dad and don't want to say to him "are you nuts?!?!?" i still can't picture it. so he shows me an ear candle. it is a tube about 12 inches long that comes to a rounded point at one end. it seems to be made from some kind of treated cloth. he tells me that you stick the pointed end gently into your ear and then LIGHT THE OTHER END ON FIRE! i am still thinking "hair, hair, burning hair," but in a moment of weakness i agree to give it a try.

we gather the necessary tools--a pillow for my head, the ear candles, a LIGHTER, and a paper towel. as i rest my head on the pillow, i see my dad poke a hole in the paper towel and insert the ear candle. "dad," i say, "what is the paper towel for?" (i am feeling a little bit like isaac on the altar saying, "dad, where is the ram for the sacrifice?") he says, "it is to protect you from anything dripping or falling." i am thinking that maybe a paper towel is not the best choice to protect me from anything involving fire . . . but no matter how outlandish the plan sounds, my dad usually knows what he is doing, and i trust him, so we proceed. he sticks the candle in my ear, lights the top of it, and we wait. after about five minutes he says, "oh, here comes the white smoke!" white smoke?!?!?!? "that means the wax is starting to vaporize." vaporize?!?!? i am hearing things now that he neglected to tell me earlier, but it seems a little late to back out now. ok, just lay still and wait for it to be over . . .after about 10 minutes, he thinks we are done. it has burned down from 12 inches to about 2 inches. i am thinking we are done too--that flame is getting rather close to the paper towel which is kind of close to my head and my hair! dad takes the candle, dunks it into a bowl of water to put it out, and then says, "now let's see how much wax we got out!" i'm kind of curious about this as well. did anything happen? did it work? will it make a difference? dad slowly unwraps the rest of the candle and there it is--not what you would think of as earwax. it is dry and powdery, not waxy. i guess that is where the vaporizing came in. i have a picture of it, and i found it somewhat interesting, but maybe it is a little too personal (and possibly gross) to include here.

count your blessings that i am showing some restraint . . .

1 comment:

Scuotto Graphics Plus Blog said...

Glad everything worked out and the fire department didn't have to be called. Wouldn't one of those over the counter Removal Ear Wax Kits work to. It might just take alittle longer.

Then again, you can always look at it as another dad and daugther memory building moment. Building memories. One that you won't forget.