Tonight, we discuss a vital topic that I’m shocked still plagues modern society. Ear infections. For the first time in my life, I am writing about ear infections. I was a healthy kid. I’ve never had chicken pox. I never wheezed until Lifesavers School. (Thanks for that, recycled air and what I am certain was the same virus that we all passed around to each other for three years like some kind of sick game of volleyball…) So I missed out on a lot of first-hand experience with the typical symptoms of grody upper respiratory diseases.
Last summer, I lay in bed one night, the house was dark, the dog-sensing, I’m sure, the fact that I was near the end of my rope-was silent, and (this is key) my ceiling fans were off. (I NEVER turn my ceiling fans off. I need the air circulation or I kind of get a little bit weird.) Because it hurt to HEAR. Anything. I lay in my bed willing death to release me from this prison, or for my ears to somehow detach, or my head to explode or really anything to relieve the insane pressure that no amount of sudafed would satisfy. Certain that I was the only human to have ever had this kind of horrible pain, silent tears streamed from my face. (No, the release of tears didn’t help the pressure at all.)
The next morning, I remembered that we, as a society, have medically trained professionals commonly called “Doctors”. I called mine and begged for an appointment. I take it as a compliment that I am such a valued patient that they worked me in within the hour. Or the fact that somehow they needed to get the crazy sobbing lady off of the telephone.
Upon seeing my doc, I believe my words were, “I’ll get a bucket, you get a nail, and let’s commence to poking my ears. This has GOT TO STOP.” (I probably screamed this, because not being able to hear, it was difficult to gage my volume.) He looked in my ears, and confirmed that indeed they did look “pretty gross”, and that they were infected, but he told me that one of them had already exploded. It wasn’t a big enough explosion. After sending me off to Pharmacist with a fistful of prescriptions, I started to feel better after a couple of days. The plane ride I had a few weeks later was HILARIOUS, though, because the ear that had exploded actually WHEEZED, audibly, during takeoff and landing. Silver linings.
So earlier this week, when my ears began to hurt, you can understand why I did NOT WANT A REPEAT OF THE LAST INCIDENT. I hauled it into my doctor’s office, where he confirmed that while he had seen my ears look a lot worse it probably wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and start treating my ears for an infection. Repeat of fistful of prescriptions, only with less sobbing and no explosions this time.
But this got me to thinking-the ear infection is a PAINFUL, terrible, awful, no-good, very bad thing. It afflicts zillions of children every year (and at least one 33 year old), and our best treatment options are a fistful of prescriptions or something called “tubes”. (It should be noted that my doctor wanted me to think about the “tubes” option for my ears, to which I replied, “Thanks but no thanks, see, I’m no longer eight.”)
Why the defeatist attitude toward this? Why are scientists not out there, in LARGE NUMBERS, doing cutting edge research into eradicating this scourge? While I’m not up on my ear geography, surely the space where the gross green stuff resides could be somehow removed or put to better use thereby not giving the ear infection a foothold? Because if I, a reasonably literate, certainly verbal, 33 year old was sobbing and praying for death? Imagine what a little 3 year old feels but cannot express? Quite simply, we’ve fixed that polio thing, we’ve fixed the diseases you see in “Oregon Trail” (don’t pretend you don’t spend time on that on your phone-it’s gaming greatness….), so the fact that we haven’t successfully eradicated something simple like this disappoints me. I’m thinking massive societal movement, like the space race, only this time, for ears. You only get two, and I think they’re worth it. Let’s get on this, people!
And you can have your soapbox back now. I’m done. High quality programming to return tomorrow.