What Did I Ever do to You, Ears?

13 Jul

My ears and I have never had the best of relationships.  This isn’t a superficial thing.  I have no problem, visually, with the way my ears look.  They are neither particularly big nor particularly small.  They neither stick out too much nor hug my head too closely.  I do sometimes think that they are a little bit high because wearing a hat can be somewhat problematic at times.  I either have to tuck my ears into the hat, thereby looking foolish, or let them stick out, thereby looking foolish.  My solution?  I don’t often wear hats and I’m okay with that.  The poor relationship that I have with my ears, and particularly my left one, is predicated on the fact that for my entire life they have caused me quite a bit of pain.

For the first 5 or so years of my life I had near-constant ear infections, or at least that’s how I remember it.  I think it was more a seasonal thing in reality but I have always been one for exaggerating so let’s go with it.  I think it had something to do with the development of my ear canals and so my ears didn’t drain themselves properly, or something.  Regardless of the reason they occurred there was no denying the fact that I was a walking ear infection.  It was so constant that my pediatrician, most awesome lady ever, considered draining my ears out to stop all the build-up of whatever it was that was building-up.  She told my mom that if the following ear-infection season (read: all the fucking seasons) I got another infection, then she would drain them but she was reluctant to do so because she said there was a risk of me losing my hearing.  My ears, upon hearing this news of having tubes painfully stuck into them, decided to stop infecting themselves.  For then…dun dun DUUUUUN!

Fast-forward to the winter of 2004, west coast of India.

There I was with some of my friends from my study abroad program on the beach at night.  We decided to go swimming despite the relatively large waves crashing down on the shore.  I was doing that thing that I love doing where I turn my back until a big wave comes and then I jump and ride the wave all the way onto the beach, only sometimes bloodying my knees.  For some reason right when a monster wave was approaching I looked over my left shoulder and CRASH!  The wave hit me right in the side of the head, absolutely pummeling my left ear.  My ear became clogged with water and remained that way for the following 2 months.  The annoying aspect of that was completely offset by the fact that I got to say to people, in my best Jewish Grandma voice, “Eh? Talk into my good ear, sweetie, I got some schmutz in the left.”

Ever since that incident over 9 years ago, my ears, and particularly my left one, have consistently acted up.  It’s sort of like, when my doctor threatened to stick tubes in them they ran scared but they were really just biding their time.  Maybe they even forgot.  But then one day my mom told me my old pediatrician had retired and seeing as how they get the information before the rest of my body a spark of an idea was born and they were all “we’ll show you, thinking you can control us.  You got nothing on us, bitch.”  So now every time I swim and every time I wash my hair they suck water into themselves and hold onto it for dear life.  For days everyone else’s voices are muffled while mine is in stereo.  Then comes the headaches on the sides of my forehead just up and out from my eye sockets.  The occasional searing pain and the embarrassing realization that I am probably the only adult in the entire world who still gets ear infections.  But that’s not the worst of it.  The worst thing ever is flying.

I have never loved flying, per se.  I enjoy the idea of going somewhere new, of boarding a plane somewhere I know and ending up somewhere completely different.  But the flying itself, boring.  I can’t sleep on planes because I can’t sleep sitting up.  Also, my butt falls asleep and it is always so damn cold on those planes and I, without fail, forget to bring a blanket.  I always end up sitting dangerously close to the bathroom, children, or both.  Or someone who smells.  But the worst of it is the excruciating pain that shoots through my head.  It literally feels like my ear drums are about to explode or my head is just going to split in half.  I sit there, doubled over with my head on my knees, stupid ass earplugs sticking out of my ears that are supposed to help relieve the pain but really just make me look like an asshole, chewing like 12 pieces of gum in order to try to salivate enough so that I can continuously swallow thereby popping my ears (which, by the way, hurts like a motherfucker) and crying.  Crying.  Almost every god damn time.  I routinely bring scarves or just take off my sweatshirt so when the moment comes when tears are pouring down my face I can at least cover up.  Sometimes I take Sudafed but then I often lose it between journeys and have to buy another box, again landing myself on the national “is this person a meth head” registry.  And it only helps like half of the time.  And you know what else?  The flight attendants never stop to see if I am okay.  I am doubled over in pain and only one time did someone stop and she told me to chew gum.  Bitch!  I have like a whole pack in my mouth right now!  The only people that ever seem mildly concerned are my seat neighbors and mostly they just look at me like I’m nuts and/or click sympathetically. This last flight my neighbor goes to his wife,

“Oh her ears must be clogged.  Quite a production.”

It’s like, I can hear you!  It sounds like you’re about 10 miles away but I can ever so slightly hear you and if my eardrums explode I hope you get eardrum gore all over your stupid golf shirt.

So yea, my ears like totally suck.  Especially the left one.  I went swimming on Tuesday afternoon and you know what? Still clogged!  Still can’t hear shit except my own stupid self!  So, yea, that’s what’s up with my ears and why if you see me any time in the next few weeks I might ask you to repeat yourself 12 times.  I think I am going to make a doctors appointment but don’t tell my ears, especially the left one, because who knows what torture they’ll have in store for me next.

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