All summer I swam with ear plugs. I forgot to bring them to Costa Rica and sure enough, I got water trapped behind the wax in my ear. I couldn’t hear out of my left ear at all. I went to my doctor when I returned but she was not able to flush it out. She recommended an ENT doctor and I made an appointment but in the meantime the water dried up and my hearing came back. I kept the appointment anyway but I had reservations.
The doctor has three locations and the first appointment was out in Greece. I don’t like Greece. Google maps plotted two routes, one on the expressway and the other along the lake. Both were 21 minutes. I chose the lake route and made it there in plenty of time.
I filled out a few forms and studied the watercolors on the wall, small landscapes in awkward frames. I was thinking they might have been done by someone who works there or maybe a relative. An older couple came in behind me. He was outfitted in LL Bean gear. The assistant took me back to an empty room and I sat there in this chair. At one point someone opened the door and went right to a cabinet to get something. I said hi but she didn’t say anything. I was hoping to god that she wouldn’t be the one attending to my ears.
I sat there for about a half hour, long enough to study the room and take these photos. The same woman came back. Not interested in small talk, she barely heard me out and said “As long as you are here we might as well remove your wax.” She pulled a white plastic hose out of the drawer, stuck in my ear and turned on the vacuum. I squirmed as she worked the hose in and I pictured my eardrum popping if it went in any further. She acted annoyed and said, “Let’s try the other ear.” I squirmed again and she said, “I can’t do it if you keep moving. It’s too dangerous” and she put the equipment away. She walked out in a huff and said, “Have a nice day.”