21 January 2008

Hospital jaunt

I spent much of my morning today at the local hospital. For the past week, I've had a blocked up left ear, which never was painful, but was a tad annoying: I either couldn't hear well enough (conversation, music), or could hear all too well (anything going on in my own head, such as cereal-crunching or my own voice). So I showed up for my ear-cleaning appointment, nervous as all get-out because I was alone and would have to negotiate in French.

Unless, of course, I broke down and begged my doctor, or the receptionist, to speak to me in English.

Fortunately, the begging did not happen, as I managed to understand what was required of me at check-in, as well as the rather complicated instructions for how to negotiate the labyrinthine hallways up to the otorhinolaryngo area. Hooray for that day in French where we practiced giving each other directions to different floors in imaginary buildings!

After a long sojourn in the waiting room, during which I furtively flipped through my dictionary to find the words I would need to explain what was wrong with my ear, I met the nice doctor. She nodded sagely as I spoke and I had barely gone through two of my carefully mentally-prepared sentences before she had me on the examining chair and was shooting a jet of water into my ear while I held a basin below it. It was over in a flash, and it was pretty gross to see the quantity of, um, particulate matter that came out of my ear canal. Even she sounded impressed.

They did a test of my hearing, during which I sat in a little (totally NOT soundproof) cabin wearing ill-fitting earphones, and had to click on a little trigger whenever I heard a faint beeeep. I passed with flying colors.

On my way home I stopped at an unfamiliar grocery store (I don't know about you, but I love wandering around strange grocery stores, especially in foreign countries) and bought some ice cream. I rarely buy ice cream, especially in the winter, but it somehow seemed that, after a trip to the doctor's office, ice cream was the appropriate response. Not that I had my tonsils out today or anything, but still: ice cream!

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