Of the perils of “Bog-Snorkelling Ear”, GPs, Teasmaids and shouting

Righty Ho!
A bit of a blog is required, cue up Metallica, brew some extra strong coffee and off we go ….

Sunday week ago the bauld Vitor Pereira and I entered and took part in the Norn Iron Bog-Snorkelling championships, Vitor dressed as Iron Man and me in the trusty Spidy suit. Needless to say our plan not to embarrass the other contestants by sweeping all before us was executed to perfection in both the main event and the fancy dress. The world’s press lapped us up and both Vitor and myself have been gracing the middle pages of the world press both online and print in the “WTF!!!???” section. Which is as it should be.

I could regale you with the ins and outs of the day but I won’t as there is a tale of one particular bit to tell and I will concentrate on that. Beside the main swiming course was a Bog Jaccuzzi this makes it sound way more safe that it actually was. Basically it was a 5 foot deep hole some 10 feet in diameter from which the dark black peat had been removed. This material was passed through a wood chipper and then mixed with equal quantities of water, the resultant thick soup was then placed back in the hole and left to settle.

Being the sort of chap that does no shy away from new experiences I did the honorable thing and jumped right in .. like this

Which was all right and proper, bar the fact that one of the essential bits of kit for any neophyte bog-snorkelling jaccuzzi contestant is ear-plugs. The mashed up peat is quite pleasant to be in, however the bits get everywhere! I my case the everywhere included my right ear.

The introduction of a chunk of ancient bogland into my ear canal was not immediately  noticeable, however come the following morning it was obvious that something was amiss as I could hear bugger all in my right ear.

There is an old medical adage that goes “you should never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear” however this is for mere mortals and does not apply to trained medical professionals like I am/was. So the first thing I did was stick a Qtip in and gave it a good wiggle, some gunk came out but the world was still in glorious 1960 dancette mono. Somewhat miffed at this turn of affairs I went to work calling in at boots the chemist to pick up a bottle of those fizzy ear drops that are meant to sort you out double quick …
This appeared to be the case, I would after application of the drops have a dramatic improvement which would gradually lessen until i was to back to right sided deafness the following morning.

I did some more poking, dropping and wiggling all with no great effect and as a result this afternoon I gave up and went to my GP’s practice after work to get a second opinion and so it was that I approached the gatekeeper of medical magic the receptionist. GP receptionists are the SAS of the medical profession, they are trained to weed out the malingerers, the time wasters and the chronically well from wasting the GPs time. I am well versed in the “Would you mind not bleeding/throwing up/oozing on the carpet for a moment while I look at the computer …<pause> … the soonest appointment I can give you is 3 weeks next Thursday” so I was expecting to be put off, the conversation went like this.

RCP – Can I help you?
Me – Hello, would it be possible to see someone in the treatment room or a doctor?
RCP – <typing on keyboard> well the earliest …
Me – <interupting as if she had not spoken> it seems I have gone a bit deaf and I would really like to see someone
RCP – Deaf?
Me – Sorry?
RCP- You have gone deaf?
Me – Yes today please
RCP – When did this happen?
Me – It’s my ear you see, it has stopped working
RCP – Which one?
Me – It happened after i was bog snorkelling
RCP – No which ear?
Me – Somewhere near Dungannon
RCP – <types some more and points at a seat> Sit over there
Me – Sorry?
RCP – Sit <poitns at a seat> over there
Me – OK i will wait over here then?
RCP – YES!!!
Some 5 mins later a nurse stuck her head out of the treatment room and motioned me into her lair. I explained all in one big rush what the problem was and she got the ear-o-scope and had a bit of a look-see.
YE GODS! She exclaimed with rather too much excitement I felt and called for one of her colleagues to have a loo
Nurse 2 had a shufftie in my lughole and said “You have something growing in there!”
A short discussion later and they got a very long nosed narrow pair of tweezers and with a all the gusto of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat they wheeked a loops of peat bark out of my ear and into a waiting bowl. 50% improvement ! Nurse 1 then had another look and vouchsafed that the bit of County Tyrone that had been stuck in my ear had irritated the ear canal which being irritated had produced copious thick wax which was now chunified around the ear drum.

Nurse 2 said “Good I haven’t done a ear syringe in AGES… do you want us to clean the gunk out?”

“Why yes” I replied that would be most excellent!

Nurse 1 and 2 went into a huddle and I think they may have played Rock,Paper,Scissors to see who would do the cleansing of the McDonagh Auditory Canal. Having sorted out who was doing what, Nurse 1 got me to sign a consent form which Nurse 2 got a machine out of cupboard. Now in my day, which admittedly was some 35 years ago, syringing an ear was done with water, oil and a big syringe. But not now, oh no, now you get something that looks remarkably like a teasmaid, which you put water in, let it warn up and then it squirts pulses of warm water into your ears many times a second and out comes the wax, like a bat out of hell into the light of the treatment room, sterile towels. 1 minute after they started it was over and I could (and still can) hear again!!! OH THE JOY!

So if there is a lesson to be learnt it is this, if you are bog-snorkelling wear ear-plugs and if you forget and end up a little deaf do not use Q-Tips and go and see the nice ladies in the GP Treatment room and get your ears washed out with a teasmaid!

Now bring on the weekend!



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