October 20th, 2009

bundled up, walkabout, snow

Empty Gestures

LJ Idol Season 6 - Week 1 - Empty Gestures

I got a "clean" bill of health from my ear doctor yesterday. Yay! No more drops. And a follow-up appointment for April.

My ear doctor has his own definition of satisfaction with my ears, and I believe when he was dictating the note to be sent to my family doctor he said something about both ears being clean and dry. Mind you, the right ear was only clean because he popped out the ear candle embryo. It wasn't long enough to anchor a wick, but it made an audible pop when it came out. I can tell my left ear is doing as well as it does, because when I clear my ears in the afternoon, I can feel the warm breath coming out my left ear canal. I know better than to do so in the morning, because the best I'll get is a whistle and the worst is that I'll have enough sleepy goo to stopper it up from the inside for a few days.

Uh, yeah. I have a hole flap in my left eardrum. It's from years of earaches, when the internal pressure built up enough to perforate the eardrum. Eventually, it just healed open. Only a bit -- I still test well in hearing tests. Backup a bit. I was the second child. My older brother was a Very Active Toddler™ when I was born, and my mom chose the bottle over the teat for me. She didn't think she could chase after him if she were nursing me. Back then, it was called formula, because your doctor handed you a recipe formula for mixing it up. Mine included corn syrup and it seems that I was allergic to it. I threw up most of every feeding, and I cried. A lot. When you've got a baby that cries all the time, the only way you know she's crying from the pain of an earache is after the eardrum bursts and the blood shows up. She says I was two something - weeks? months? - the first time I had an earache. If I'd been the first child, I'd be an only child. ;)

I was a teen when a doctor first told us about my eardrum; I'm not sure how long it had been healed that way. His concern was that it could somehow cause a skin ball (you know, like a hair ball, only made out of dead skin cells?) to form and adversely affect my tympanic bone, causing deafness. He recommended yearly observation. My reaction at the time was heavily influenced by the Bionic Woman - I figured I'd be a candidate for a Better, Keener Ear™. But yeah, the doctor was preparing us for the possibility that I would lose my hearing.

Over the years, I've been pretty lax about seeing the ear doctor. Oh, the intense pain of an earache will drive me there. After moving around a bit, I've got a regular ear doctor here in Lexington. And he's caught on -- he hasn't mentioned any bugaboo about bones, but he knows I need regular observation. His office fit me with a customized earplug -- filled my left ear with a quick-hardening rubbery substance -- but I'm more comfortable using the soft silicone ball plugs. I've figured out they are one time use; after that they're not sticky enough to stand up to ear-jiggling during a shampoo. I keep my ear dry and after four years of allergy shots, I don't generate nearly as much internal growth medium for itty bugs. The last time I had an ear infection, it hardly hurt -- but I knew to see the doctor because I couldn't blow through my ear anymore, and I was tiring of the hearing blockage.

I've taken sign language classes three times. All three times, I took the beginner level. I can remember most of the alphabet; I can sign "I was born in Key West." Each time, I retain a little bit more. But I've no one to practice with, and I seem to have lost the urgency over contemplating eventual deafness. I've noticed a woman signing at the front of the church, but I don't know if she's there for every service or just occasionally. Either way, all those intricate movements remain empty gestures to me.


This entry was written for inclusion in The Real LJ Idol writing competition on Live Journal, Topic 1: Empty Gestures.