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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stick it in your...ear?

Growing up I spent many an hour of imaginative play being old. I was enamored with the things that old people did. It must have been because I was surrounded by nothing but old people. One of the things that always captured my attention for hours on end was my Granny's skin. It was paper thin and adorned with liver spots and "calcium bumps". The coolest thing was that I could pinch her skin and it would stay up for what seemed to me to be a minute. My skin would not "hold a pinch" and I just thought that was so cool.





Granny's house was a wonderland for me, Hostess fruit pies in the fridge (old people think that a refrigerator is a cryogenic chamber where nothing spoils--EVER!) and some of the coldest cool aid known to man. It also meant I spent 90% of my time outside. My Granny's yard seemed like it was 100 acres when it was maybe 1/8 of an acre if that. She had a cactus bed, which I fell in once--don't fall into cactus beds, and a potting table which housed the Venus fly trap, and she also had a fabulous garden, which I was not allowed near--sacred ground. Her Honeysuckle bush was enormous and filled the whole yard with it's sweet, succulent fragrance which I cannot help but think of my Granny every time I smell honeysuckle. I used to pluck the flowers off the bush and pull out the stamen then suck the nectar out of them. So good.



On many occasions I would go to my wonderland of play and set off on a journey to a distant land no where close to my reality. I would become a major player in Star Trek or my favorite an old person. This one hot afternoon I was an old man with need of a hearing device. My Grandpa wore a hearing aid that the old fashioned kind, you know the ones with the cord leading from the aid to the ear piece. It whistled all the time! I had noticed the new fangled in the ear devices which made me think of O'hura from Star Trek...how did that huge thing stay in her ear? Anyway... I wanted to role play that and needed something for my new in the ear hearing aid. What to use?.....Ah-ha this stick will do. It was about the size of two tic-tac's. Ok...here we go...in...keeps coming out....I'll push it in more. There. That will do it.



Note: When trying to retrieve a stick that you stuck in your ear hoping to enhance your imaginative play of being an old man...do not poke your finger in your ear at first as this will drive the stick further into the ear canal making it impossible for one to retrieve.



"Sis!...help!...Sis!" "What do you want?" "I have stick stuck in my ear." "What? A stick...you idiot how did you get that stick in there...Dad is going to kill you." "I want it out get it out." "We need to go tell Granny." "No! don't tell Granny, please don't tell Granny... she'll do something really painful." "Ok, let's go inside and I'll try to get it out...what were you doing with a stick in your ear?" "Well I was pretending to be-" "Never mind...I don't want to know...idiot." "What are you kids up to?" "Nothing Granny"



We were in the bathroom looking for some device to retrieve the stick and decided that tweezers might work. They worked alright..LODGING IT FURTHER INTO MY EAR! "GRANNY!" Granny's solution involved either peroxide or alcohol as either of these two liquids would reverse any medical malady one could possibly experience. "Wood floats, let's fill your ear with alcohol and it will float out." Even at six I was not too thrilled with the prospect of trying to float a piece of wood out of my ear by flushing it with alcohol. "NO...no way you aren't doing that. I"ll just wait for Dad." "He's going to kill you...you are such a dork." Can't you just feel the love oozing from my sister's every pore?



Dad showed up...having just clocked out from an 8 hour work day on his feet. He was always dog tired and wanted nothing but his recliner and a news paper blanketing his face. "Dad...William has a stick stuck in his ear and we can't get it out." "A what? how'd he get stick in his ear?" By now I was crying and trying to wrap my brain around how I could go through life with this stick in my ear. "I was wanting to be old and I needed a hearing aid so I stuck it in my ear to have a hearing aid and I tried to get it out and it wouldn't come out so I poked it and it went in then SHE! jabbed it in further, 'I was trying to help you, you idiot' and Granny wanted to fill it with alcohol and it's hurting." I saw every ounce of my Dad's hopes in his son drain from his face. I hadn't used firecrackers to blow up anything, or set fire to something, I didn't torment girls with reptiles, or get in a fight, no I had a stick in my ear because I wanted a hearing aid because that's what old people do...wear hearing aids. Makes a father proud. "Let's go to the hospital...Lesa stay here with Granny." "come on boy."



The whole ride there was in silence. I spent it gazing out the passenger window...wondering how the medical profession would approach stick removal in a six year old. I hoped it didn't involve floating it out with alcohol. Our hospital, Sale Memorial, was an old limestone square building. The Doctors office portion of the campus was a long hallway which seemed to go on for ever. One side of the hallway was a waiting area with the other side being the offices. You sat outside your doctor's office in the waiting area and waited for their nurse to come out. Every doctor had their own nurse...all in a starched white dress with white hose white SAS shoes and a Nursing cap. The air smelled of sterile cleanliness, a crisp clean odorless smell almost as if you were breathing pure oxygen. It's one of the most unique smells.



Dr. Dabb's was our family doctor and about half way down the hall. His nurse, Gladys was one of the meanest people of the 20th Century--we did not like her. "Spoon...Bill Spoon...Spoon." "Here we are." "Mr. Spoon what seems to be the problem with Bill?" "He has a stick stuck in his ear." "What? a stick...in his ear...how'd that happen." "It's a long story." "The doctor will see you in a minute." Dr. Dabbs was a kind soft spoken gentleman. Very distinguished. He looked like Marcus Welby but walked like John Wayne. He was cool. He always had a grin on his face, a kind here to help grin that just didn't go away. "Hi Will, let's see if we can find that stick?" He grabbed the ear-looker (I now know it's called an otoscope) and poked it in. "Ouch! there it is." "Yep...there's a stick in your ear." Thank God all of those years you spent in medical school and all of that money led you to this conclusion! He opened his stainless steel drawer full of torture tools and pulled out the longest pair of tweezers I had ever seen. These tweezers could pull a chicken bone from the depths of a giraffe's throat. "Hold still now Will...I...am...almost...got it." The bliss of sound coming into my ear was just wonderful. "There you go son, all better. Gladys is going to come in now and flush it out with some peroxide."



On the way out to the truck my Dad walked with me around his arm, drawing me into him which said to me, "it's ok if you get a stick in your ear...I still love you...a lot." I never heard that but knew that the actions were saying it. "Son?" "Yes Dad?" "Please don't ever stick anything in your ear again." "OK Dad, sorry." Granny was pleased that her "float it out" idea was reinforced by Gladys flushing my ear with peroxide. Yet again the two miracle liquids of modern medicine came through.



I did continue to play "old" but found devices that would fit only a little ways into my ear. After all, I had learned my lesson. The Fischer Price snap-lock beads had an awesome cylinder piece that worked great for O'hura or hearing aid play which ever I decided-they also made cool bombs. The beauty of it was you could stick it in your ear and have it stay all the while enjoying the bliss of being able to live out your imaginative play for hours and hours at a time.

3 comments:

sherri (Tied Up In Ribbons) said...

such a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Renéa said...

Ha! What a hilarious story! Thanks for sharing it! Yet another bit of proof, that boys can and will try anything, once! lol

Sue McGettigan said...

I'm glad you knew how to interpret your Dad's body language, there's a lot of love in those moments :) As for your sister, your grandma and the nurse - bwahahahaha!