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.