I’ve always heard of bizarre medical stories, not ever thinking that one of them would actually happen to me:
After my night shift, I fell asleep with the intentions of waking up to a Superbowl Sunday football fiesta and NOT to a burning throat and signs of a cold yuck! I went to the gym for a workout, which only made me feel even more like a pile of poop. I also noticed this crazy weird “crackling” sound in my right ear. I chalked it up as sinus drainage and nothing else.
I spent the next two days heavily drugged in a sleep coma to fight off the sickly crud that took over my life on Sunday. By Wednesday I was back to normal but still hearing this plastic bag noise in my right ear and decided to go to a quick clinic to rid me of this possible sinus drainage and open up my ear canal.
The clinic checked my ears and started asking me a bunch of questions:
Did you have ear tubes as a child?
Have you been involved in any accidents that could have damaged your ear drums?
Have you been using Q-tips in a way that could have damaged your ear drums?
“No, no and no…. why?”
“Well…. You have scar tissue on your ear drum. AND… there may be a foreign object in your ear behind the ear drum, but we can’t tell”
“So, we are prescribing you this antibiotic to help clear up the ear infection, but if this plastic bag sound doesn’t go away, see your physician or see a specialist”
Well what the shit… Wasn’t expecting that! So, of course, I took the antibiotics for the next couple of days and still no clear up.
So what do I do? I get the hair-brained idea to pour peroxide in my ear to help clear out this muffled drainage. The peroxide fills up in my ear…. and won’t… drain… out….. I take a shower, my ear fills up with water. And again, won’t… drain… out…..
Let the mini panic attack commence. How in the world am I going to explain this to the doc as to why I’ve permanently lost hearing in my ear and they now have to suck all the peroxide and water out as well… geez. The only way to get most of the fluids out was to stick a Q-tip in there and let it soak up most of the liquids that way.
Friday morning I started calling my occupational physician, knowing they could get me in quickly. My ear needed help fast. The earliest appointment was for Monday afternoon.
All weekend, I had to deal with the sound of a plastic bag coupled with the continuous sound of bubbling peroxided with swishy water AND the coming and going hearing loss.
Meanwhile, my mind played mad tricks on the me the entire weekend. I was constantly thinking some kind of bug made its way inside my ear and burrowed itself a home and decided to have little gross bug babies. Maybe started working on a whole bug community to fill up my entire ear canal. Or! Somehow, my terrible cold claimed my hearing and refused to give it back when the sickness passed.
Monday finally arrived and I was more than ready to visit the doc to figure out my ear dilemma. I explained my entire story to the nurse. Her, very simple, response to me was “Yeah, that’s not normal.” Really? No crap. She brings the doc in and I repeat the entire story to him as well. He finally stops me mid sentence and says “Ok wait. Let me just take a look in your ear. This sounds too weird.”
He pulls out the infamous “ear probing” device and starts looking in my ear.
“Oh yeah… you DEFINITELY have something in your ear”
My body instantly began to sweat from head to toe with the dreadful thought of some creature living inside my ear and/or the possibility of this thing causing permanent damage. My second thoughts were dreadful emergency surgery to get the sucker out.
The suspense was killing me. I HAD to know! And what would happen after I found out? Was I gonna pass out and land face-first on the floor or, even worse, in this guy’s lap?! “Oh God, just tell me!” I didn’t believe him when he did tell me. He had to repeat it to me just so it would sink in to my peroxide and water-filled brain.
“Ma’am, you have a piece of toilet paper stuck in your ear….”
“A piece of toilet paper… it’s stuck in your ear.”
My body sweats instantly dried up and conserved all energy into my now extremely red face. I. Was. Mortified… I had no clue how in the hell a piece of toilet paper got stuck in my ear. And then, right there in front of the doc, it hit me.
Two months prior, I left work and headed to my sister’s house to pick her up for a family gathering. I forgot to grab my ear plugs for my much needed few hours of shut-eye before seeing family. My sister suggested I use toilet paper or cotton ball to drown out the noise. The only source available was toilet paper. Unbeknownst to me, a big chunk of toilet paper had lodged itself in my ear/throat canal and now floating at the surface with a vengeance.
The doc inserts a torture device to expose my ear canal. It felt like my ear was getting a pap smear. Anyway, as he’s pulling out the paper culprit, I keep laughing hysterically, partly for my embarrassment and also because the toilet paper was tickling the inside of my ear pretty damn bad.
He pulls out the toilet paper and has me take a look at it. “Wow! that was in my ear?! I have to get a picture of this!” This sucker was as big as my index fingernail…. Not even kidding… I was still very red in the face and continuing to laugh at myself due to the entire week of ear pain and panic attacks of what could have been living inside my ear. The doc even have a giggle at my stupidity.
Moral of the story? Don’t ever stick toilet paper in your ear. Even when your sister tells you to. Oh don’t judge me. We’ve all done it before. 😛
Just kidding, sis…