Back when I was a young engineer in the employ of the Great Corporate Salt Mine, I learned about hydroblasting, a technique that was used to clean out pipes and pressure vessels. Used properly, it would remove the most stubborn deposits of gunk and crud, leaving pristine, shiny metal surfaces.
When you had a runaway reaction that would fill a hundred-foot-tall reactor with a single, solid 90-ton chunk of polyethylene, you’d open ’er up, send in the guys with chainsaws to cut the mess up into manageable chunks, and then hydroblast that crap out. When you had pipes that got plugged up with nasty, viscous goo, you would call in the hydroblasters. They’d clean things right up.
In like manner, the nice folks down at my local ENT specialist - that’s Ear, Nose, and Throat - solved what had started as a minor annoyance that subsequently threatened to become a Major Issue: my progressively worsening hearing on the right side.
There’s no doubt that my auditory abilities are not what they used to be. Not surprisingly for someone who has been marching around this blue marble for over six decades, I’m starting to get some falloff in my ability to perceive higher frequencies. It’s not at the point where I need Electronic Assistance, but that is only a matter of time, I fear.
But in the past few weeks, my right ear has been downright dysfunctional.
At first it was reminiscent of a time about five years ago when I flew to and from Sweat City with a full-blown head cold. It felt as though someone had stuffed my head with cotton wool: The combination of plugged-up Eustachian tubes and the cabin air pressure differentials stopped up my ears for a solid month.
This felt like that, but I had no cold... just that miserable plugged-up feeling. But since it wasn’t responding to the usual remedies (antihistamines, gum chewing, et alia), She Who Must Be Obeyed suggested that it might be a good idea to actually go see the Ear-Croaker. After all, who knew whether something more serious might be afoot?
Turns out it was nothing more serious than a good case of Cerumen in Extremis: I had been growing a veritabobble sweet potato farm in that right ear canal. Fortunately, a short hydroblasting session (with a syringe that looked like it could have given a horse an enema) was sufficient to blow it right out. Holy crap, I could hear again!
Good Gawd Awmighty, if that hunk of wax wasn’t half the size of my pinky finger... enough to shine a whole bowling alley, it seemed like. The Missus forbade me to post a photograph of it, and I cannot say I blame her, for it looked every bit as if my ear had taken a dump. Posting a photograph of that evil goo would have been nekulturny in the extreme.
But I shall leave you with this:
You’re gonna squirt what in where? Get that infernal device away from me!
Scary, ain’t it?
Funny. Now, I feel a whole lot better. But I’ll bet you’re feeling a whole lot worse.