things not to put in your ear canal

Elbows, knees, pencils, Barbie legs, insects, batteries, Lego's, Star Wars light sabers, buttons, grass, plastic BB's, electrical cords, spit wads, camera memory cards, school buses ........ the list goes on and on. Sometimes, however, as much as we teach our children to keep things out of their orifices, nothing beats trying it out anyway. Yeah, this story is personal.

Earlier this afternoon I was working on the computer (okay, really I was playing the facebook bejeweled blitz and doing mighty well) when Ben so rudely interrupted me to say he had something stuck in his ear and it was hurting. When I tried to ask what it was, this was his response:

Ben: "I didn't do it on purpose. I really didn't. This small little ball got in my ear and just got stuck there. I didn't push it in or anything. I think it is really going to hurt!"

I grabbed a flashlight and observed the damage. I am proud to say I only asked him "WHY?" about 7 times. Sure enough, I could see the intruder firmly planted in ear wax, deep inside the ear canal. If you know me, I got a little excited about the prospect that I could whip out my tweezers and perform minor surgery. I love to pick, scrape and suction things from my children's bodies. Kind of like those monkeys who pick the fleas and ticks off other monkeys.


The tweezers didn't work. I called Dave and calmly told him what had happened. He jumped on the computer at work and searched Google for the best way to remove foreign objects from the ear. As long as it is not a bean (beans sprout quickly in a warm, moist environment ..... like an ear canal) it was deemed safe to try a couple of home remedies before heading out to the Urgent Care cesspool of germs down the street. I placed Ben on the couch and waited for Dave to come home. Then I got antsy and called a friend for validation that I shouldn't be freaking out and calling an ambulance. She agreed it wasn't an emergency, and gave me a couple of suggestions to remove the object. Then we switched topics and laughed about stupid things we and others have done when we were little. Friends rock.


Dave got home and had a look-see. Since he is a Geologist, he happened to have a hand-operated vacuum pump in the trunk of his car. He also grabbed a couple of coffee straws (thin diameter) to use at the end of the hose. MacGyver has nothing on my hubby. The end result was not enough suck to work, but too much suck might pop the ear drum, so the household vacuum idea was out.

Now might be a helpful time to show a diagram depicting what we saw:

You would think it would fall right out, but remember, ooey gooey ear wax was holding the ball in place. We put Ben in the tub and used a plastic bottle with a fine nozzle to shoot warm water into the ear. Surely the wax would loosen up, melt away and release the ball. Maybe we should try again. And again.

By this time I am out of ideas and decide to call the Urgent Car cesspool of germs down the street and let them know we are on our way. As I am getting off the phone, Ellie comes running into the kitchen screaming "It's out! It's out! Dad got it out!"

Whew. Co-pays and deductibles averted.

Apparently the water flushed away the wax, but Ben's ear had a little ridge holding the ball from falling out. Dave fashioned a 'hook' out of an ink pen cartridge and use the inside cartilage of the ear as a brace to get the hook behind the ball and pop it out. Bada-bing-bada-boom. Crisis thwarted.

Tomorrow I will tell you about how Ben's loving and caring and concerned sisters reacted to the 2+ hour ordeal. For now, I am going to pretend it is bedtime and ignore any requests requiring a thought process.

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