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Monday 12 April 2010 5.24pm
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
I've been drying my ears with cotton buds since the year dot and I've never had a problem, until this morning. I withdrew the stick and there was nothing on the end of it. My muffled hearing confirmed that the cotton bud was still inside my ear. My immediate reaction was to put the stick back in and try to 'hook' the cotton wool out. You've guessed the rest. Of all the days my wife chose to take a holiday from work it had to be this day, when I'd done such a daft thing. Naturally, she was less than sympathetic and compared me to a three year-old. She advised me to phone the surgery and make an appointment with the practice nurse. The G.P.'s receptionist, after conferring with the nurse, informed me that it was a case for A & E, not for them. I couldn't believe my good ear! A & E? Just for that? I asked if they could at least look at it before I embarked upon a lengthy wait at the local hospital and I was told, 'No.'
When I arrived at A & E I was told I should have seen the practice nurse at my local surgery. Quelle suprise! They were a little surprised to hear that it was my local surgery who had sent me to A & E.
There were only about half a dozen people in the waiting area, which I thought was too good to be true, and so it proved. For half an hour nothing happened, then one person was called. Another twenty minutes passed without any more names being called and the waiting area began to get busier and busier. Mums started arriving with children sporting a variety of minor injuries and more adults also began to trickle in at regular intervals, including a bloke in handcuffs with a bleeding foot accompanied by two burley coppers. (Happy to say he went straight in. Not a pretty sight for the kids.) After two hours I'd had enough and politely approached the receptionist and enquired as to roughly how much longer I could expect to wait. There were now dozens of people waiting and some, including children, were obviously more serious cases than me and would understandably be seen first. 'No idea,' came the reply. I couldn't resiast asking, again politely, how it was that some adults who had arrived after me and were carrying no obvious injuries, were being called before me. I was told that they were only seeing the triage nurse and would not see a doctor until after they'd been assessed. The reason I hadn't been called was that in my case no assessment was neccessary. So, basically, being such a trivial case, I would just slip further and further down the waiting list. I immediately signed myself out and went straight back to the G.P. where I appealed to the receptionist, virtually on bended knee, for the practice nurse to just look at my ear. Eventually, but a little reluctantly, she agreed, but I was told she would only look and that at some point I would have to go back to A & E. I was given an appointentment with the practice nurse for 3 p.m., (two hours later.)
The nurse told me to keep the ear lubricated, (e.g, with olive oil,) and then go back on Friday when the cotton bud could then simply be washed out.
All that, just for that. Over four hours out of my life, including a two hour wait in what is one of the least desireable of places and, to add insult to injury, a two quid parking fee for the fun of it. All for something that could have been sorted in five minutes.
I know I did a stupid thing, but hands up anyone out there who's never dried their ears with a cotton bud. Who will I vote for in the forthcoming election? Anyone who can sort out our National Health Service!!!
Monday 12 April 2010 6.17pm
I imagine very few people have dried their ears with a cotton bud. I always read you should never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.
Have you tried getting in the shower, face the ear downwards and directing the shower into the ear and blast it out. Bet it would just pop out.
Monday 12 April 2010 7.11pm
Sounds about right in principle. I assume that's more or less what they're going to do on Friday, only in a more sophisticated way. And no chance of the nurse getting in a shower with me. Such is life. After I'd done the silly thing this morning, my wife suggested she blow in the good ear, so that the cotton bud would pop out the other side as there was obviously nothing in between. She loves me really.
Seriously though, I was told not to tamper with it until I went back on Friday, other than to drip the olive oil in every few hours.
I remember when I was a kid and had a bath once a week, (whether I needed it or not, ) my mum would dry my ears with the twisted corner of the rough old bath towel. I had sore ears for six days and then it was bath night again. Happy days. .....Not!
Tuesday 13 April 2010 1.19pm
I was told not to put anything smaller than my elbow into my ear!

I sometimes clean my ears with cotton buds, but never cry them with cotton buds - usually, I tilt my head, and the water pours out... thinking about it, I guess I also wiggle my little finger around a bit in there if it still feels full of water.

the problem with putting anything in your ear is if it breaks, or you slip, and it gets stuck in there. burst ear drums are very painful.

In the film Speed, right near the start, the bad guy is pretending to be an elevator repairman, and he kills a security man by shoving a screwdriver through his ear into his brain - not pleasant.
Tuesday 13 April 2010 7.42pm
Many years ago I had a mate who was a hospital porter. Tempted as I am to go into more detail, it would be inapropriate on this site, but the stories he used to tell me about people arriving at the hospital with various items wedged in various parts of their anatomy would bring tears to your eyes.
Thursday 29 April 2010 10.29pm
Well, I went back to see the nurse on the Friday and she tried to wash it out. It didn't work. She called for the senior nurse and she tried to wash it out. It didn't work. She then said she would gradually increase the water pressure until it did come out, but I should squeal if it became too uncomfortable.
I squealed. It didn't come out. She rang the E.N.T department at Southend Hospital and, after a brief conversation with them, she told me I would get a letter with an appointment date. A week later the letter arrived with an appointment for the morning of the 28th April. On Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours before my appointment, I received another letter cancelling the original appointment because the consultant was 'unavailable.' I now have to go next Wednesday, (unless of course they cancel that one as well,) by which time the cotton wool would have been lodged in my ear for 23 days. We are forever being told to give adequate notice if we have to cancel an appointment with our G.P./ hospital ect. Obviously it doesn't work both ways because our day-to-day lives are not important. I had scheduled my week around the original appointment as I wanted to leave the day completely free for various reasons. I had no idea how long I would be at the hospital, (they are always running late,) I didn't know how long the procedure would take or how complicated or even how painful it would be, bearing in mind the discomfort I had experienced with the practice nurse's unsuccessful attempts. My bathroom fitter wanted to start work on the day of my original appointment, but I chose to postpone him rather than mess the hospital about and I re-scheduled him for next Wednesday. Then, when the cancellation letter arrived, I had to cancel him again, which understandably annoyed him because for the second time he now had to rearrange his work schedules. The hospital's cancelation letter was posted on the Friday before my Wednesday appointment. Only a supreme optimist would expect it to arrive on the Monday, what with today's postal service. I suppose by today's standards I should be gratefull it arrived on Tuesday and I didn't have a wasted trip to the hospital. However, had the hospital phoned me on the Friday it would have been cheaper and less time consuming for them, rather than typing, printing off and paying postage on a letter. (We are always being told how overworked the NHS is and how tight the budget,) It would probably then have given me ample time to salvage my original date with the bathroom fitter, which would have pleased him and we would all now be happy bunnies. Except that I would still have a piece of cotton wool in my ear 'ole!
When, if ever, does life become easier?
Friday 14 May 2010 2.25pm
What happened in the end?????
Saturday 15 May 2010 8.51am
Well, the next exciting instalment of 'The Saga of Chaley's Lughole,' isn't very exciting. Thankfully the appointment for the following Wednesday wasn't cancelled and so I trolled in to the E.N.T department at Southend Hospital and took my seat in the waiting area. After fifty minutes the usual 'waiting room paranoia' began to creep in as everyone who was there when I arrived had been and gone and people who had arrived after me were being called through. Eventually I asked a passing nurse if she could check to make sure I hadn't slipped off the radar. She then informed me I was next. Which made me suspect that I had indeed slipped off the radar. Within two minutes it was all over. The doctor had a look in my ear, put a little nozzle in to it, inserted a wand-like implement and, with one quick suck it was out. It was nice to hear that mine was a common occurrance after all, with both adults and children. However, with the children, it's usually a case of the parent who has inserted the bud.
So, all better now.
Stay tuned for Chalkey's next exciting adventure.
Saturday 15 May 2010 12.05pm
Chalkey, please stop using cotton buds. I don't care how long you've been using them. They can transfer infections. I had one and they told me they were going to stick a needle through my eardrum!
Sunday 16 May 2010 11.03am
Beetroot, you've just cured me of the habit.
I'm a little embarassed to admit it but, having the tube gently inserted in to my ear by the not unatractive young lady doctor, and the bud sucked out was, in a tickly sort of way, quite a pleasant experience. Perhaps even worth the wait. But a needle through the eardrum? I'll pass on that one.
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