Every six or seven years my right ear goes out, which is a problem because I rely on my hearing when I ride, unlike the countless idiots who cycle with earphones.
When my right ear goes out I wait as long as I can, usually a couple of weeks, and then I go to the doctor and they “irrigate” it with a “lavage.” It is pretty gnarly.
This time I went to Kaiser. I enrolled in January and haven’t had any reason to go there until now. They did a bunch of tests and were very skeptical about my low heart rate and blood pressure, you know, in hospitals they don’t like it when healthy people show up because there’s nothing to fix.
Plus, they spend the entire day dealing with sick people, so they have a hard time relating, i.e. not making you feel like a freak.
The nurse looked in my ear with the ear-o-scope. “Yes,” she said, “you have a lot of wax build-up.”
“I know,” I said. “That’s why I’m here.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get that right out.” She was pretty confident as she put a bunch of towels around my shoulder and neck, but she was plainly unfamiliar with the tenacious nature of Wanky wax. “If it hurts or you feel any sharp pains, let me know.”
With those reassuring words she put this small fire hose into the side of my head and started blasting away. This went on for a while and then she turned the nozzle to warm, which felt better. After another while she turned off the hose and then got out the ear-o-scope.
“Hmmm,” she said, like a mechanic who just torqued the shit out of a bolt only to find out that he hadn’t torqued it quite enough. “I don’t think we got it.”
“I know you didn’t,” I said. “I’m still deaf as a post.”
She stuck the thing into my skull again and really blasted it, this time for twice as long. She pulled it out and looked at me, satisfied. “I bet that got it.”
I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t hear her. She stuck in the ear-o-scope and grimaced. “Well, that is persistent. It looks like there is a deep wall of wax that has hardened and is very thick. You’ll have to use ear drops for a week or so to loosen it, then come back so we can wash it out.”
That sounded good to me. “Since most of my head is wet now, can you also throw in a shampoo and a rinse?”
She didn’t laugh. My head hurt and I knew she hadn’t made much of a dent in the wax hockey puck inside my head; if she had there would have been wax shavings spewed everywhere, like some crazy topping at a Cambodian restaurant.
“Let’s give it one more shot,” she snapped. She was personally affronted by the wax and was going to blast it out of my head or kill me in the process. I submitted as she nozzled me again, but at the end it was Hockey Puck 1, Kaiser Multibillion Dollar Healthcare System, 0.
She sent me home with instructions to buy some earwax softener at the store, and told me to come back in a week. “Will I get that shampoo if I do?” I asked.
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