Isn't that just the most charming title for a post you've ever read? Hmm?

Last Thursday I woke up and heard on the news that it was going to be a very bad day for allergies. And I made the cardinal mistake of tempting fate by thinking to myself, "Gosh, I haven't had any allergy problems this week at all."

And then come late morning, as if some celestial entity looked down at me and said, "Hey, why isn't she miserable? We must change that!" my entire head suddenly filled with goo.

My throat grew sore, my eyes turned red and itchy, and I could barely breathe. I have never suffered from such acute congestion in my life. I felt like my head was inside an invisible balloon.

And THEN the day progressed and the fog rolled in and I don't know if it was a change in air pressure or what, but my ears? They just clogged. Like I was on an airplane going through sudden shifts in cabin pressure, except worse because there was going to be NO LANDING to offer relief. Just time and yawning and swallowing and chewing and hoping...

...but by 8 or 9 p.m. on Thursday, I was in tears in a ball on the sofa. My right ear hurt so badly that I felt nauseus, and also everyone on the Internets scares me and I hate them.

In my painful desperation, I went searching online for some herbal/holistic remedies for my ear because (short of going to the hospital) I didn't know what else to do. But -- as happens with the scary Internets -- I kept stumbling upon what I was sure would be The Miracle Cure, only to then find three more articles explaining, calmly and rationally, why if I tried The Miracle Cure I'd end up SCARRED FOR LIFE DON'T EVER TRY THAT.

(I'm not, for example, stupid enough to go pouring hydrogen peroxide down my ear canal simply because some doof with internet connectivity tells me I should. But I totally almost did.)

And OH MAN. There's one site out there where people write in their favorite "homemade" remedies. And so this one dude had explained how his sister-in-law's ear really hurt, and he kept insisting that he had the cure, but she wouldn't trust him. Finally he convinced her that he would fix her right up by sticking a LIT CIGARETTE IN HER EAR and, I dunno, "smoking" out the pain/congestion/wax/horrors. So this random internet sister-in-law said SURE CRAZY ASS MAN WITH A CIGARETTE, WHAT COULD IT HURT? And then according to crazy internet man, he was right and she was cured and now everyone they know thinks Ear Cigarettes are the true Miracle Cure, isn't that so good to know.

But that isn't the best part.

The best part is that following this dude's entry, the site moderator had, for some reason, felt compelled to add his own warning. Please, he urges his readers, you may follow crazy man's advice, but please be sure NOT TO PUT THE LIT END IN YOUR EAR.


Which makes one wonder: just how many people read that post and honestly thought that sticking an ashy, burning-hot LIT AND POTENTIALLY SMOKING CIGARETTE into the side of their head WAS A GOOD IDEA?

More importantly, I really, really want to know how the resulting trips to the ER went, and just what they told the doctors when they arrived.


  1. When I read "Just time and yawning and swallowing and chewing and hoping..." I suddenly heard the tune of "Wishin' and Hopin'" by (among others) Ani DiFranco, from the soundtrack to "My Best Friend's Wedding." So I wrote a new version for you:

    Yawnin' and hopin' and swallowin' and chewin'
    Crying and weeping and blowing your nose
    Sometimes that's how it goes

    So if you're looking on the web for a cure
    All you gotta do is light up a camel, don't smoke it
    Just stick it in your ear

    Stick it in your ear--not the lit end
    That would hurt like you won't believe.
    Stick it in your ear--the filter end, and
    All that smokin' will chase away the hurtin'
    Of allergy snot

  2. I'd like to apologize for my previous comment. I'd like to, but I can't because I'm just too proud of myself.

  3. That reminds me of the warning I saw on a prescription suppository:

    "Do not take orally.
    Remove Foil Wrapping Before Inserting."

    Keep in mind the foil wrapping had very sharp edges and was like 4 inches wide.

  4. You may think it's funny, but it's snot.

  5. I've done the peroxide thing in the ear before. I'm still able to hear. :)

    I hope you feel better soon. You could try the Neti pot for the sinus congestion. I don't know how you feel about pouring hot salt water into your nasal cavaties, though.

    I'm gonna go stick a cigarette in my ear.

  6. Um. I totally thought that's what Crazy Internet Man meant. And I wouldn't have, you know, actually done it or anything, but I'll believe anything of crazy people.

  7. sam, you made my day. thanks!

    ok, so i gotta ask, why is pouring hydrogen peroxide in your ear bad? i've totally done it and don't seem to be suffering any nasty side effects. or maybe i am & just didn't know it. huh.

    hope ya feel better quickly!

  8. I have a sis-in-law who is an ER nurse, and from what she and her coworkers have told me, there is NOTHING they haven't seen people do.

  9. Sorry to hear about your allergies. They have been crazy this spring for everyone I know, myself included. For your ears, here's a good short-term remedy, should you have ear pain again. (I work for an ear nose and throat doctor.) Go buy some Afrin nasal decongestant (over the counter, and generic is fine) and do two sprays in each nostril. This will help equalize the pressure in your ear with the air pressure outside. This is also handy for travel-by-air situations. Just make sure you don't get in the habit of using Afrin on a regular basis to help with breathing. It's addictive, and has a rebound effect (when you stop using it, you feel like you can't breathe at all, thusly addictive).

    Lastly, I've been reading your blog for about a year and a half now, and thoroughly enjoy your writing. Thank you very much for sharing with us!

  10. Kristy,
    As a child when I had an ear ache my father would gently blow cigarette smoke in to my ear. Gross, yes, but the warm smoke causes inflamation to go down and it also helps the wax to soften and disattach.

    Now as an adult when I have ear itches due to allergies I pour a teeny bit of hydrogen peroxide in them. The sound is deafening but the bubbles help to break through clogs and you know the clog has been evacuated when the peroxide empties in to your throat. Once again, gross, but very effective.

    And regarding is VERY addicting. Might should stay away from it.

  11. I have also put peroxide in my ears before for ear infections. I am not sure what my rationale for it was, but I can still here. It does do some crazy popping and bubbly once you instill it in there though...and even if it doesn't quite fix things, that experience almost makes it worthwhile!

  12. Hi, I am a speech language pathology student, so I have studied basic audiology and anatomy of the ear. I just looked up on google about this H2O2 thing, and according to this webiste:
    the H2O2 remedy is only for cleaning out ear wax. The pressure you are/were feeling due to congestion is most likely in the middle ear, which is separated from the outer ear canal by the eardrum. So H2O2 isn't going to do a damn thing for your middle ear. The middle ear is also connected to the nasal passage, so that's how fluid gets in the ear when you have an ear infection. I don't know anything about the cigarette business, but I do remember one of my profs saying there was some old home remedy about "ear candles" which was putting lit candles in your ears! So perhaps the cigs are along that line of thought. I believe my audiology teacher did NOT recommend ear candles ;)


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