I remember reading an interview with Eddie Van Halen years ago about how, while he was sleeping, a beetle crawled into his ear. He had to have a doctor remove it, and he’d kept it in a little glass jar.
I’d always wondered how terrifying and painful that must have felt.
Now I know.
About 30 minutes ago I was out in the back yard with someone special, and we were admiring the tomatoes, jalapenos, and cucumber plants. We were standing beneath the beautiful tree that shades almost the entire back yard, and as we discussed which branches we might trim to increase available sunlight for the vegetables, I suddenly felt something drop into my right ear.
I don’t mean that it landed ON my ear. I mean that something dropped straight into my ear canal. And it was alive.
Standing there shocked, I literally did not know what to do to make the situation better. Shake my head around? Strike the side of my own head with my hand?
Might get the –whatever it was– out of my head… but then again, might send it further into the depths of my skull. MY skull. This thing was inside my freaking skull.
Suddenly, there was a lightning bolt of pain, and I found myself screaming and slobbering. This was NOT how I’d planned to spend my Saturday morning. Clear skies, sun shining, 71 degrees… but all of that took a pale back seat to the fluttering and sudden, agonizing stabs taking place in my ear.
I ran inside, stopping only once on the steps to scream again as it fluttered and stabbed.
In the upstairs bathroom, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror–eyes wide with terror, entire body shaking from the gallon of adrenaline that had been dumped into my bloodstream… but how do I fight or run away from something inside my own skull?
Fortunately, a loved one was standing right next to me, helping me through all of this. The little green squirty-bulb tube thing (“ear irrigation bulb”) that comes with the Debrox. Find that. Yes. Okay. It’s in my hand. Flutter. Flutter. Stab. Slobber. Scream.
I got the hot water running and into a glass, then started shakily squirting water into my ear. Flutter. Stab. Flutter. Slosh.
After three or four tries, in a complete state of panic, I saw a little black ‘something’ emerge, and I yelled, “There it is! Grab it!”
My beloved swiped it out with a Q-tip.
We both looked down…. and I heard her say, with what sounded like a mixture of shock, amazement, and disgust, “Earwig!”
After taking a somewhat shaky photo and ascertaining that it still had all of its legs, stingers, wings… whatevers… I squashed it. A lot. Angrily.
I can’t even IMAGINE what it would have been like to try to sit calmly in the waiting room of Urgent Care… a grown man sitting in a chair with a terrified expression on his face, eyes blasted wide open, occasionally smacking the side of his head and screaming out loud… I can see all the other patients sloooowly moving away from that guy on the Group “W” bench…
All I can say is ‘thank you’ to my beloved for helping me through this. And wherever you are, make sure you’ve got one of those little green squirty-bulb tube (“ear irrigation bulb”) thingies handy at all times.
Not fun for any human, I’m sure… but for those of us whose primary means of moving through the world is hearing/sound, wow. I have a new appreciation for the feeling of NOT having a little angry creature struggling inside my ear canal.