Monday, January 4, 2016

Hear And Now

When my brother Mike and I were on the Applebee's extended jaunt earlier this year, we would often stop into the Main Street eatery for heated trivia competitions, lively conversations with engaging barkeeps, sports coverage on multiple TV screens and half-priced appetizers. One particular date on our May schedule concerned the 2015 NFL Draft. As we piloted Mike's 1997 Honda Civic tour vehicle towards the Suffolk-based venue, a drummer friend contacted me on a recently acquired cellphone in hopes of sharing the stage with us. We agreed to meet Hoyt at the nearby Starbucks for a pre-gig jolt of iced coffee. Minutes after ending the brief call, my left ear became painfully clogged. This uncomfortable situation had been the result of foolishly jamming an index finger deeply into the already-obstructed canal. Upon exiting the Civic, both my hearing and equilibrium were seriously affected to the point of considering a double-back to Sentara Obici Hospital. Strangely, I still wanted to partner with Mike and Hoyt for trivia night and see early stages of the draft's first round. After several steps in the parking lot, however, any chance of another $25 gift-card trophy was suddenly squashed. Apologizing to Hoyt for stunting his beat, I proceeded to strike the snare for an answer to my real-life quandary.

Rather than needlessly spending hundreds of dollars on a medical bill, Mike suggested that I purchase a Walgreens Ear Wax Removal Kit for $6.99 plus tax. He had suffered from the same buildup several years ago and had used the treatment to swiftly eradicate the irritation. Since repeated yawning and excessive pounding on my right temple failed to remove any gunk, I grabbed the green box and proceeded to the cash register. As I swiped the debit card through the machine, doubts of the product's effectiveness began occupying my thoughts. Was my problem more severe than simple congestion? Did the makeshift Q-tip instantly trigger permanent loss? Would I have to undergo surgery from the professionals at Obici? Why wasn't I able to get free coffee refills in the café of said hospital? "Do you have a Rewards Card?" posed the pale redhead behind the counter. "Yes, I am a member, but I don't have physical representation of it," was my slightly haughty retort. Entering ten digits into the keypad revealed a code for an ineligible discount. "Be well," wished the drugstore darling with an Equal packet-like earnestness. Bag in hand, I prepped myself for a home-based procedure that would commence around the same time as Tampa Bay's choice of their franchise quarterback.

Under center, Mike directed me to sit down on a shoddy chair and tilt my head sideways. Gently squeezing the bottle, he placed roughly ten drops of liquid into the damaged ear. Per directions on the box, cotton was listed as an alternative to keep peroxide from seeping out of the canal. I readily nixed that idea and kept my noggin in the awkward position. As I barely heard Roger Goodell mention Jameis Winston's name at the lectern, the "It gets worse before it gets better" rub became fully realized. "THANK YOU, MIKE, FOR DUMPING THE ENTIRE NANSEMOND RIVER INTO MY LEFT EAR!!!" was what I screamed while silently playing the role of an agreeable patient. Sure, I had experienced water-related issues brought upon by showering and swimming in the past, but having an ear purposely irrigated was a different deal altogether. Once the tidal movement ceased, I was led to a bathroom sink where Mike filled the provided washer bulb with warm H2O. Flushing out the waxy contents sparked a magic "POP!" My hearing was completely restored, and I couldn't thank Mike enough for his skillful syringing. The celebration was curbed, though, when he recommended that I treat my right ear with the kit. Grudgingly, I gave Mike the go-ahead to start another round of therapy. There was less of a wall to shatter this time, so the canal accepted more peroxide into its depths. Any future benefits of preventive maintenance were temporarily nullified by my current squeamishness. Post-extraction, however, I felt more refreshed than a wireless mouse perpetually clicking on the appropriate icon. Walgreens Ear Wax Removal Kit is suitable software for an auditory reboot.

It's December 28, 2015, and an index finger is retrieving wax from my left ear. You can scold me for doing so, but I've heard it all before.

1 comment:

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