Sep. 17: All ears

Early this week Sunshine and I went out for Thai food and I saw a weird thing on my broccoli. I wasn’t altogether sure it was food. Sunshine said it looked like a tiny ear. She’s lucky I love her, huh? I’m not a big fan of people telling me things in my food look like things that shouldn’t be in my food. I pushed it to the side and ate my food anyway because Thai food is so delicious even if there are random body parts mixed in, it’s still worth eating. Pretty much as soon as we left, we said we should’ve taken a picture of the tiny ear. Damn. Fortunately, I have a good memory and Google Image Search at the ready. Here’s what the ear I almost ate looked like:

…but-cept it was much, much smaller. And brown. And more swirly. And not covered in skin. And probably not an ear at all, no matter what Sunshine says.

Last night Victor came in with a flashlight and said, “Look in Jack’s ear.” I knew whatever I saw in there, it would probably end with me gagging a little. I mean, is it ever anything good? You don’t very often hear someone going, AND YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE WHERE I FINALLY FOUND THAT GOLD DOUBLOON! Sure enough, I looked in there and saw something dark and fibrous. And just like whatever that was in my Thai food, I knew what was in Jack’s ear didn’t belong there.

We took him to the pediatrician this afternoon. Dr. H set our minds at ease immediately with a story about a live cockroach he found in a patient’s ear once. WTF? I used to like that doctor. He looked in Jack’s ear for a long time without saying anything, and although he couldn’t identify what was in there, he assured us it did not have antennae. I was relieved.

He left the room to retrieve teeny tiny surgical tools. The guy was having entirely too much fun with this. Victor played assistant and held the light while the good doctor yanked out a giant piece of something that looked way too much like what was in my Thai food. So gross, I tell you. So gross.

Dr. H put the giant piece of something on a tissue and took it out in the hall, where his nurse immediately turned away from him. He looked all dejected, but then another nurse ran in, asking excitedly WHAT WAS IT WHAT WAS IT??? and suddenly Jack was a rock star. But none of them could figure out what it was; Dr. H tried to slice it but mostly just smashed it. I asked if I could take a picture of it, and put a pen next to it for perspective. I know, it doesn’t look that big here, but you try walking around with that chunk in your ear canal and see if it makes you a brattier than normal 8-year-old. I bet it would.

Dr. H finally decided it was probably a big glob of the end of a Q-tip with a bunch of disgusting wax mushed in. He was concerned that there might be more of it left in Jack’s ear, so he asked the nurse to flush it. Again, Vic played assistant. Jack didn’t enjoy this part very much at all (it wasn’t painful, just uncomfortable), but a bunch more gunk came out, so it was probably a good thing they did it.

Katie sat across the exam room from Jack, playing the role of Bratty Big Sister and laughing her butt off. I thought she was a big meanie, but I guess me playing Photog Mom probably wasn’t much better. The good news is that when we walked out of there, Jack was doing much better. He said he could hear again and his ear didn’t hurt at all anymore.

As we left, Vic admitted that when he looked in there with the flashlight last night, he was kinda freaked out over what it could be; he thought it looked bloody. It certainly didn’t look like remnants of a Q-tip to me either. As parents, you get all sorts of thoughts running through your head over this kind of thing. Could it be a popped/infected ear drum? Embedded foreign matter? Brain tissue, like he’s leaking smarts? An infection that might permanently affect his hearing? Would he need surgery?

When I got an MRI last fall in hopes to find some answers about my back pain, it all felt fairly routine. Then, of course, they found that big cancerous tumor and now I wonder if we’ll ever feel comfortable before simple little exams anymore.

Anyway, whew. Everything’s good. No one in our family has eaten an ear or anything that was pulled out of an ear ALL WEEK.


  1. Is it going in his scrapbook??

  2. I had a kid as a patient who had been putting pieces of a nerf ball up his nose and in his ears. Are you missing any raisins?

  3. Poor Jack - makes E's head lice seem like no biggie :).


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