The Facebook status update jumped out at me like…something that jumps out at someone. It said, “Courtney Barrett is taking Dale to the Emergency Room because he has a BUG in his ear !!!” Dale is my nephew. Being a good uncle, I called him to check on him. They were en route to the hospital. I said, “This will be written about on the blog.” He said, “I know. It should be.” He spoke with little joy or humor in his voice. He said, “It feels like a Cadillac is parked on my eardrum.” I stifled a laugh and spoke with as much sympathy as I could muster under the circumstances. I asked him to update me when he was done. The following email that he sent me this morning is his account of the events of last evening:
We are on the way home from my mom’s and we stop to get a drink at the store. I walk to the door and as I open it I am swarmed by about 700 million bugs. After dancing on the sidewalk to get the bugs off of me I go into the store and go about my business. We start heading home and about 2 miles down the road I feel something in my ear crawling, so I start freaking out because it is in all the way down and I can’t get it.
Once home, I get a baby suction bulb and start trying to get it that way with no luck. Next, I get Q-tips and go that way, still with no luck. So, I get in the shower and run about 200 gallons of scalding hot water into my ear. At that point, I thought it was gone, so I get out of the shower but while I’m drying off, it starts crawling again. I get another Q-tip and by this time I see that my ear is bleeding which causes me to get even more frantic because I think that it has bitten a chunk out of my ear. Then I think to myself, “How do I kill it and then flush it out?” Alcohol is the first thing that comes to mind. I pour it in and immediately realize I have to go to the ER and do two things: A) Get the bug out, and, B) Repair the eardrum I have demolished trying to do just that.
We head out to Baptist Medical Center East and Courtney is driving when at the end of the toll bridge we see…State Troopers doing a license check. It is right then that we realize Courtney had left her wallet at home and we have to play twenty questions with with the officer and watch him struggle as he tries not to laugh at the 6 foot 300-pound baby in the passenger side who is all broke down with a bug in his ear.
We get to the ER and it is appears as though there has been a war of some sort and all of the wounded are at this ER. I see a woman sleeping in the front door so we turn and head to Elmore Community Hospital. We get there about 20 minutes later, go right back to the treatment area and the festivities begin. The doctor looks into my ear and says, “What have you tried to get this thing out?” I did withhold the part about the q-tips and alcohol and only mentioned the bulb thingy and the water. He sort of chuckles and continues. He says he sees it way in the back, a tiny, little black speck. He flushes my ear with a saline solution several times and it doesn’t budge. He walks off and comes back a few minutes later with a nurse, a pair of angled tweezers, and a light to look into my ear. He still sees the speck and he reaches in and grabs it! Ahh…it is finally coming out. Hallelujah! It is at this point that I almost faint because he has it alright, my eardrum! If you have never had your eardrum clamped onto with a pair of tweezers and stretched out, I highly recommend you run out and have it done now! What an incredible rush! Anyway, he looks in again and nothing is there and he gives me some antibiotic drops and tells me to leave it alone. Turns out my self-treatment had done far more damage than the bug could ever have done. Go figure.
The lesson I learned here, and I hope you take heed of this, is that a bug will come out on its own, usually quite quickly, because there is nowhere for it to go in someone’s ear. Unless it is too big to turn around. I don’t even want to think about that possibility. I know that from now on if I have to go into a convenience store at night, I will wear earmuffs!