Boy, I have no faith in medicine.


-The White Stripes

I spent 23 awesome years never getting sick, ever, and then suddenly I turned 24 and my body went to shit. This is a problem. I spend the majority of my life trying to avoid doing things that are a hassle. I go to such extraordinary lengths to avoid the hassle, in fact, I make things more difficult for myself to avoid making things more difficult for myself. And there is no bigger hassle than being sick.

It appears my spry young body is degenerating into that of Hans Moleman’s; to the point that whenever I enter a room I survey my surroundings, hoping to find a stretch of wall that makes me say, “Now that’s some good leaning!”; to the point that I can sort of turn my neck to the right, but I can’t turn it left at all, so I basically have no peripheral vision and every left turn I make in my car brings with it about a 93% chance of death; to the point that in the mornings I have to move so slowly and deliberately that I have to allow an extra two hours to wake up, and here’s what my mornings look like:

6:03 – 6:50: Traverse bedroom
6:51 – 6:52: Pee
6:53 – 8:10: Dress

So on top of that mountain of crap, dig this: Last Wednesday night I was taking a shower, and as I was drying off afterward I discovered that I had gotten water in my ear. “That’s funny,” I said out loud to no one, “I haven’t gotten water in my ear since I was like nine years old.” Thinking about it, I realized that from ages two to nine water entered my ear canals constantly, so often in fact that I actually owned custom ear plugs molded just for my ears for when I went swimming. But come ten? Gone. What the hell happens to the inner ear, it just figures out how to repel water droplets?

Anyway, the water got into my ear, and I couldn’t get it out no matter what I tried—I tried a Q-tip, I tried my finger… I tried everything! But eventually I said ‘f this’ and went to bed, assuming my ear would feel better in the morning. It didn’t, and while the pain went away after a few days, my hearing in that ear never went back to normal. In fact, it got worse and worse every day. I carried that burden of a heavy ear, and the millstone of having to interject every conversation with ‘HUH!’s, around my neck every day.

I grew more and more troubled and depressed (And embarrassed. Because come on, it’s just a lil water in your ear, wimp.) as the days wore on. When my girlfriend suggested I see a doctor, my response was about a three-minute groan, and the explanation that, “First I’ll have to call and make an appointment. Then I’ll have to go see the doctor! Ohhhhhh the humanity!” followed by some more groaning. I planned instead to just buy some ear drops, and if that didn’t work I’d resign myself to a life of partial deafness.

Now, I can’t explain this aversion I have to doctors. I love science… I apparently just don’t want it practiced on me. But the first night I spent stumbling around my apartment with a soggy cotton ball stuffed into my ear made me come to my senses, and I made an appointment with an ENT. So into that ENT’s office I wandered this morning, and sheepishly explained that I’d gotten water in my ear and then ignored it for a week. “Well, let’s have a look,” the doctor said. Peering into my good ear led the doc and me to have the following exchange:

Doctor: “You use Q-tips.”
Me: “Uh, yeah.”
Doctor: “Well stop, dick.”

Which made my heart flutter because I realized, then and there, that this doctor was my favorite type of person: A person who knows his shit. I love these people. You know the kind when you see them, the person who just do their job and do it spectacularly. I was convinced there was nothing to be done, that I better go ahead and purchase a vibrating bed for the inevitable day when I won’t be able to hear my alarm clock going off in the morning. But the doctor peered inside my bad ear, said, “Yep, you sure do have a bunch of crap in there,” and got out his ear-sucking-vacuum-thing and sucked that shit right out.

“All done,” he told me after a minute in my ear. I stood up and I felt FANTASTIC. By Jove, he cured me! It was probably the single greatest feeling of my life, going from a clogged and useless ear back to perfect hearing. Like Superman I felt! Incredible. I didn’t know this was possible.

I thanked the doctor profusely, probably stammered and called him my hero or something, and went on my way. I even skipped some more work and just drove around listening to music the way it was meant to be heard—loud, in a car, driving 80 mph.

I still feel wonderful about it, even eight hours later, I keep wanting to tell people how great I feel, and I think writing a glowing review for this guy on or whatever wouldn’t be enough. So I just want to publish this doctor’s name: Van Horn, M.D. (didn’t catch his first name) Thank you, Doctor, for restoring my faith in medicine.