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  • Cherrie Ann


HEY LOVELY! You know how we all have those little jobs that we should do but neglect for far too long? I once owned a teddy bear that I called Ted who somehow got a hole in his butt.

Consequently, soft half round, silicon beads kept appearing on my bed (where I snuggled with Ted each night). Over the course of about 3 weeks, I'd find one or two beads here and there around my bedroom and then I believe some grew legs because I started to notice them around the rest of my house as well.

They weren't doing any harm. They simply existed for me to clean up each day until one particular morning upon waking I flicked the sheets into the air and felt a neat little 'dink' in my ear. I immediately jumped out of bed to do the panicked 'bug in my ear' dance but no amount of wiggling my finger in my ear or shaking my head offered any kind of reward.

I wasn't totally convinced anything was in my ear nor was I convinced it was empty either although I resigned myself over to the fact that if there was something in there, it was probably one of those darn beads.

Even though I could hear fine I wasn't sure if the warm feeling down my ear canal was my imagination or if something was actually there. I decided to literally sleep on it, waking the next morning having noticeably pushed Ted’s butt away and very cautious when I lifted the sheets.

As it turned out I was given another reason to venture to the Dr's that morning so I asked about my ear. I was greeted with a slender, kind faced woman, who reminded me very much of Diane Keaton out of Something’s Gotta Give.

She became quite amused when I shared my story with her and after taking a peek into my ear exclaimed delightfully "Oh yes look, you’re quite right. It's nestled against your eardrum perfectly."

The Dr's idea was to gently push a nice flowing stream of water behind the bead to nudge it out of place. I was agreeable with words like "flow" "nudge" and "easy does it" because that’s how it should be when it comes to ear drums but I couldn't help recall the time Michael (a boyfriend of my mum) and my 15 year self decided to climb onto the roof to clean the gutters.

It was summer so I was expecting dry leaves but what we found was cool, thick, condensed black mud much like moist fudge that was topped with a thick green moss. It was so rich that fat pink earthworms wiggled around in handfuls of it. It was yummy!

I remember the flicker of an idea, then the laugh in my own head as I imagined the outcome and before I had time to address any possible consequences, I had already reached down in one fluid motion, skimming my knuckles along the cold surface of the metal guttering as I wedged my hand under a huge square wad of black, juicy, heavy mud, pulling back with my treasure, standing and spinning around fast and full of mischief with a well aimed launch.

I was already roaring with laughter as it hurtled towards him and laughed even harder when I was rewarded with the look of shock as the black mud plastered across his face.

With a burst of laughter, it was on for young and old. Missiles of mud flying back and forth ... ducking, laughing, ducking, slipping and slipping some more, black and green splatterings painted across terracotta tiles. It was great fun! Can't say my mum was too impressed though.

It wasn't until a week later that Michael told me one of my mud missiles had hit him square in the ear leaving a nice plug of mud and moss which had to be squirted out and I was about to find out why he spoke of his ordeal in wide eyed fits of hysteria and giggles.

The nurse ready to take on our nice Drs orders of "coaxing" was a rather bright, blue eyed, lively 30 something English woman. The kind of woman you can be at ease around and natter away with as she goes about what she needs to do.

We start the "procedure" with a towel nestled into my neck and another over my shoulder whilst I cupped a steel kidney shaped bowl below my ear. She came armed with a jug full of tepid water and a syringe.

The first squirt into my ear was the noisiest and strangest sensation.

Imagine a garden hose turned on high so that an arc of water pummels onto a trampoline and now imagine that you're pressing your ear against the underside of the trampoline, then add a squelch of bubbles pushing into your ear at the same time.

We developed a pattern. I'd squeeze every muscle together and break into fits of giggles as she bought the syringe closer to my ear. She'd squirt, I'd giggle and squirm and she'd laugh as my shoulder lifted closer and closer to my ear.

We worked in quick succession, needing to empty the kidney bowl three times, until the nurse sadly announced “No... it’s not budging. “

The lively nurse stepped away to the surrounding sinks and overhead cupboards where she needed to stand on something to reach for the box of pipes and muttered something about another nurse named Ruth ... "She's 6'4" Ruth is. She’s a lovely woman but she keeps putting things away and I can't reach them."

She toddles back down to me , ready to coax the little bead out again until Ruth walked in.

Have you ever seen those cliché German parody movies where a towering giant of a woman comes marching in looking all stern? Yes. Well that was Ruth. She even had the bobbed brunette hair and was clad in dark green scrubs.

Without much of a thought I said "You must be Ruth." and she retorts back something like "Yeah, why's that?"

Whilst I sat there with my ear gurgling and dripping I “tried” to explain to Ruth my predicament with the syringe, the high cupboard, Ted, the hole in his butt and the bead in my ear.

The pair exchanged nurse stories of how it "seemed to be the day of people coming in with things in their ears" and after amusing stories that I wished I remembered, Ruth announces “Right, where is it, I’ll get it out!”

With a new spring in her step and I shit you not, she grabs a stainless steel syringe that looks like one of those self sealing handyman glue gun trigger things that are as thick as my son's forearm, and I start internally squealing.

She whacks a hose on the end, sucks up a friggen swimming pool, yanks open my ear and insists on blasting not only the life out of my eardrum but any other past lives it may or may not have had!

After fits of I don’t even know ... delirium? Believing I'd never uncross my eyes again, I feel Ruth tug and pull my ear up and out, peer inside and boast merrily “Nuh it hasn’t even moved at all.”

Part of my amusement came from knowing that this unusual situation was rather usual for me.

After being informed that I may need to go to hospital to get it out, the nice Dr walks back in still looking rather amused about it all and offers yet another “something stuck in someone’s ear” story that I don't recall and then offers to help by trying some other size pipe on some other size syringe when Ruth loudly proclaims “Oh you told us we should never do that!”

I resigned my eardrum to the care of the Dr and after a few, what seemed to be gentle nudges and squirts, I hear a little coo of delight “Oh there it is, yes look.”

Peering into the kidney bowl to recognise one of the little silicon beads I'd been seeing for the last 3 weeks. “Oh yes *exhale* that’s it.” Followed my more coos of delight from the other nurses. “Awww look it’s so little.”

You can guarantee the moment I got home, I walked straight inside, dumped my bag, grabbed Ted, grabbed a safety pin and folded his butt together nicely, stripped the bed, dusted and vacuumed every single bead up.

Needless to say I slept soundly that night with a new understanding of that look on someone’s face when they say they have had their ear syringed.

I also now know that the inside of a clean eardrum looks like the mother of pearl, like the inside of an oyster shell.

Question - What have you put off that you shouldn't have?