Yesterday, for some reason, I was firmly convinced that my appointment to have the post-surgical gauze removed from my ear wasn’t until this morning. As a result, I was very nearly late, and only made it because I’d had the foresight to put an entry in my calendar and set the calendar alarm for twenty minutes instead of ten, giving me enough time to sprint out the door and drive at…a completely legal and moderate pace all the way to the ENT.
I had been looking forward to getting the gauze (or, as I have heretofore referred to it, the “bloody cotton”) removed, because it was incredibly gross, and had been in there for a full month. There was a sickly sweet smell coming off it, and whenever I was in a space with strange acoustics (pretty much every restaurant) the sound rebounded back into my good ear in a way I can’t fully explain, making everything sound simultaneously muffled and thunderous.
I had also been dreading the appointment, though, because I knew it would hurt to get that stuff pulled out. Plus, just before the general anesthesia was delivered into my system for the surgery, my ENT had explained that my ear would try to grow “mouth skin” (apparently that’s just also the kind of skin the inner ear grows? I asked about it yesterday because it has been PLAGUING ME) which would have to be abraded, and I knew that couldn’t be good news. And it wasn’t! Once the gauze was out and the cleaning was done, the “mouth skin” got burned off with some kind of medicine, which made my head ache down to the jaw, and which will have to be reapplied every two weeks until I’m fully healed. (Hooray.)
But guys. Let me tell you. Absolutely the worst part of the appointment was just having the gauze pulled out, not because it actually hurt in particular but because there was so much of it—like an endless string of scarves from a magician’s sleeve, except dense and moist and slick and sonically displeasing, reverse-slurping out of my head (MY HEAD) for what felt like six eternities. Surely there can be no more I told myself, every time a new length was tugged free. But there was more. There was always more. Somehow I am still there, feeling wet gauze slide out of my ear, spritzing the air with unclean, bloody discharge.
The cleaning itself also made me dizzy, since my inner ear is now more accessible and the instrument cooled it as it cleaned, so I lay on the chair wondering how it was possible to get vertigo without actually moving. Then there was that mouth skin medicine.
As an added bonus, I guess the ear will always look a little weird now? I haven’t had the heart to look, myself, and I don’t think it will be particularly noticeable to anyone who doesn’t search for it (which will now be everyone, because I have told you all about it, and how can you resist?), but it’s not a great feeling to realize you have been mildly disfigured and there’s no going back. Maybe I really will get a distracting tattoo to compensate for my new feeling of powerlessness over my body, or maybe I’ll just comb my hair to the side, or wear hats. (Or more likely, keep wearing ponytails and quickly forget about it or develop a lie about some sort of youthful rugby accident? Though does rugby ever mess up the inner ear? Probably not.) Anyway. That was my day. I ate a really good scone to compensate, which kind of worked.
Now, why am I telling you all about this, you might wonder? Because I cannot stand being alone in my body horror, and now I am not. You’re welcome. Welcome. We are all welcome here.