There are no photos of anything in this post, but if you have a vivid imagination, you should skip it.
For a while, my right ear was stopped up. It happened after I got a terrible head cold, got better, got worse, etc. I saw the doctor who said it was swollen, and I took some antihistamines to fix that. But the hearing quality never really came back and I was making a lot of ear wax. ?
To be honest, I’ve always produced a prodigious amount of the orange goop. And I had nasty ear aches as a kid. This was ‘normal’ to the point that I know how to flush my ears out with a lavage of hydrogen peroxide and warm water. I do that about as often as I use a neti pot. But then I woke up in the middle of the night and my ear hurt. It was a sharp, stabbing, pain that hurt to lie on my side.
Fucking awesome, I know. As it happened, I had a day off and the doctor had an opening so off I went.
The squeamish can stop reading and know that my ear is much better.
Still here? Okay. I go in and they look in my ear. There is a big ball of wax and no infection. The doctor gets an ear spoon and gently tries to prise it loose. As she pokes it, I inform her that doing so hurts. A lot. Like blindingly. She gets a nurse to lavage it, which I’m fine with, but that too brings on the stabbing pain. I grit through it until we thing it’s getting softer, but nothing is flushed out. The doctor returns and tries again. Nope. It’s a sharp pain and nothing is coming out.
This happens. The skin is sensitive in the ear, after all. Not really happy, but I put a cotton swab to my ear, get a prescription for antibotics and softener in drops… And then I go cold. My skin whites out, I feel clammy, and I remember telling the doctor that I felt a bit woozy. She has me lie down and boy was that a good idea, since I kind of went wobbly and dizzy and shake a little. Embarassing, but they are a doctor’s office. Best place for it!
Ten minutes later, I feel better. They give me an orange juice and check my BP. It’s normal, as expected. I thank them, go to the car, and text my wife to explain why my 20 minute appointment took over an hour. She panics, like you should, but after making sure I’m okay to drive, I go to the pharmacy and get my drops.
Those drops work! They have pain killers and my ears feel sooooooo much better once I use them. By day two, a small clump of wax falls out. Oh man that felt so good, you don’t even know. Of course, thanks to the ear bleeding, I have a lot of red nasty bits too, and that can be terrifying, but I know what’s going on and I feel much better. My hearing was less muffled and the pain was going away. Since my ear bled, I have to treat it like an infection.
An ear wash is an awesome thing. Ear drops are brilliant.
OH and in my case, it had fuck all to do with q-tips, but in general, don’t use them too deep. You’ll push those wax balls back and they won’t come out. My ears being swollen are why the wax can’t get out and, thus, cause impaction.