“What did you say?” I couldn’t quite make out Spouse’s words. My ears had been clogged since I’d taken a dozen or so laps underwater at the pool on our vacation a few days before.
“I think we should try candling your ears.” Spouse exaggerated the words as if speaking to a deaf person.
“Candling my ears? What you smokin, mon?”
But he was serious. My well meaning, health-food-nut husband who loves to buck the traditional system was always open to trying alternative methods. If you want proof, just re-read the “Shoving the Envelope” chapter in my book, Too Blessed to be Stressed, when he Hiroshima’ed our home by juicing a bushel of garlic.
So for lack of any better ideas, I allowed him to pull out the 8-inch “candles” he had purchased years before, stick them in my ears, and light ’em up.
Before you think we’ve altogether lost our minds, let me inform you that candling is actually an ancient practice that is supposed to remove excessive ear wax. No kidding. Somebody a long, long time ago came up with the idea of creating “candles” of fabric impregnated with beeswax that when lit on the ends, supposedly create a vacuum that serves to soften and disintegrates errant ear wax clogging the ear canal.
Spouse even pulled up a couple of video clips of pleasant looking Asian people lighting fires on these things in each others ears, while smiling and saying things to the camera like, “Don’t move head while candle lit or you burn hair off head.”
Although my heart did skip a beat or two at this last admonition, I trust Spouse (most of the time) and was more than over not being able to hear the smoke alarm go off when dinner was ready. So a’ candling we go.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. After 20 minutes of blowing warm crackling smoke into each ear, I could hear no better. In fact, it actually got worse. I think the candle heat must have melted the ear wax into into a solid cork.
So after a sleepless night, the next morning found me in line at the local Walk-In clinic. When the 15-year-old doctor finally made an appearance (I swear the kid had never shaved), he peered into my ears with his magnifying thingie and remarked. “Yep, it looks like ear wax all right. But there’s a strange round black spot on the ear canal wall that I’ve never seen anything like before.”
I figured Doogie Houser had probably never seen anything like it before because he just got out of med school last week. “It’s most likely singed hair follicles from candle smoke,” I replied cheerily.
His little freckled face looked confused.
“Candles,” I explained. “You know, candling. You put candles in your ears to remove the ear wax. Only it didn’t work.”
“W-W-WHAT?” Doogie sputtered in disbelief. Something akin to horror played across his young innocent features. I could tell he was picturing me with lit birthday candles sticking out of both sides of my head. “You put candles in your EARS??”
So I tried to explain the legitimacy of the whole thing, but he couldn’t stop shaking his head and muttering something that sounded like, “inconceivable.” I wanted to tell him that that I saw that movie too and, “I don’t think it means what you think it means” in a Spanish accent, but he seemed to be in a big hurry to exit the room.
Shortly afterwards I heard, through the closed door, a chorus of “What?” from the rest of the medical staff in the hall. Then a 12-year-old MA came in with an awesome little pressure washer gizmo and blasted those ear wax corks right out of there. I asked if I could borrow it to use on my driveway, but she didn’t bite.
So goes another episode in the Coty stump-the-medical-profession game. You thought I couldn’t top the doctor fainting dead away on the floor during my colonoscopy, didn’t you? (Scroll back for that post.)
Life is such an adventure. Can’t wait to see what’s next!