Adding to our arsenal

The other night I snuck into Mary Virginia’s room and put a half an onion under her crib. I didn’t tell Tom because I knew he’d think I was crazy. And, ok, I thought it was a little crazy, too. It’s just that she’s been fussy and pulling on her ears and, by now, all these ear infections have made me a little, um, crazy. There are all kinds of articles and stories about onions miraculously clearing congestion and infections. And there are just as many saying the whole thing is nonsense. But it can’t hurt, right? And if you’ve already tried drops of garlic oil and onion juice in the ear, then placing one in the room doesn’t seem like that bad of an idea, right?

I have ear infection anxiety. At the first sign of a nap cut short or unexpected fussiness, I lose all hope. I throw my hands in the air and declare that Mary Virginia has an ear infection, plan to lose sleep for at least a week, and start dreading the trip to the doctor where David will inevitably pick up a stomach bug.

One of my friends, who happens to be a medical professional, suggested I buy an otoscope.

“An otoscope? Great idea! Tell me more!” I responded, trying to pull more context clues out of her because, ok, I’ll be honest, I’d never heard the word “otoscope” before.

With the help of my friend, I picked this otoscope, and with the help of Amazon Prime, it was on my doorstep 30 seconds before I even placed the order.

How many times have I said, “I wish I just had one of those things the doctor has so I could look in her ear and see if it’s infected!”

But I should have known, if you don’t even know the name of “those things” then you probably won’t know how to use it…even with a handy instruction manual from the otoscope people. Turns out, sticking a plastic object into your squirmy 13-month old’s ear isn’t easy. It’s like putting together a dresser from IKEA. It requires the right combination of force and finesse. And there’s absolutely no room for frustration.


I’d been beaten by the otoscope.


The David woke up screaming at midnight. And then, every 10 minutes after that, screaming. And he said his ear hurt, there was water in his ear.

The next morning he acted like he didn’t know what we were talking about. “There was water in my ear, Mommy, but then you got it out. It’s better.”

On a hunch, I whipped out my trusty otoscope. And guess what? His ear WAS NOT BETTER! It was totally infected, JUST LIKE THE PICTURE!

The swell of pride I felt when I saw his infected ear drum made me forget that I was actually celebrating an EAR INFECTION! But this, this is the closest I’ll ever get to graduating from medical school. My first ever diagnosis. And I nailed it. That it took a child screaming in my face for an hour, “My ear hurts! MY EAR HURTS!!” is entirely beside the point.


  1. Lynsie July 23, 2014

    So you could actually tell? I’ve been saying I wanted one of those things, but I was also afraid it would be a waste bc how would I know if I was looking at an infected ear or a perfectly good onion?

    • amandakrieger July 23, 2014

      YES! I could definitely tell!
      It comes with an insert that shows you what an infected ear looks like. My friend also sent me this link:
      I STILL haven’t been able to look in Mary Virginia’s ear, though. She’s way too squirmy. My friend said to practice on adults first. Maybe one day I’ll get around to that!

  2. MrsMacKenzie July 23, 2014

    This post made me laugh, but those pictures are disgusting I couldn’t look at them for longer than a few seconds and had to nope out of there.

  3. Karen July 23, 2014

    Wish I had known to use those when GA and N were little; one year they had 9 ear infections–each…

  4. elissa whited July 24, 2014

    Ha! That’s awesome! I think I am also a hypochondriac with my kids too…if Maddie seems off, I start thinking she’s sick or has an ear infection…even though she’s only ever had 1 ear infection. That’s so handy to have an otoscope though! Way to go, Dr. Amanda 😉 Now you just need to get to the point where your Doctor will write you the prescription without having to go through the hassle of going to the doctor haha now THAT would be awesome if you know for sure it is an ear infection.

  5. E July 24, 2014

    We have an otoscope, and I’m literally obsessed with looking in Sam’s ears. (Like, I have to limit myself to only when he complains about his ears… Otherwise I would seriously check them three times EVERY day. It just fascinates me.) Sam actually kind of loves it too! He says, “Mommy, I need you to look in my ear with your tube.” Haha!


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