I had an appointment yesterday with an ENT doctor to have impacted wax removed from both my ears. He was a very nice young guy and after the procedure he checked my throat and my nose – I guess wax removal is boring and he maybe hoped for something more interesting (or maybe lucrative). It reminded me of another ENT visit many years ago in Scotland.
I was touring Brittany in France with my band in the 1970s and towards the end had a couple of days of dizziness and nausea which I put down to something I’d eaten. But then gradually over the next few years I began to have hearing problems in my right ear. About ten years later I spoke to my family doctor about polyps in my nose and he sent me to the ENT doctor in my local hospital. He quickly gave me an appointment to have them removed, but as I was leaving he asked if there was anything else and I told him about my hearing issue. He immediately brightened up!
So I had numerous tests including a full brain scan and it was concluded that back in Brittany I’d contracted a viral infection of the inner ear that would have been treatable then but had done permanent damage.
It must be very boring most of the time for these doctors – dealing with ear wax and nasal polyps.
But the best medical story I have is about that same family doctor in Scotland. About thirty years ago I had suffered dreadful pain in my stomach for a few days one summer. When he came to the house he sounded my stomach and said “that’s strange – I don’t hear anything’ (his ears were fine). Continuing he said “The last time I had this experience was with someone who’d just been run over by a bus”. It turned out that my small intestine had double knotted and was gangrenous and causing sepsis. I very nearly died!
That surgery and follow up treatment was, of course completely free on the Scottish NHS, whereas I’m not sure if my ear wax removal is covered by my Medicare – I may receive an invoice in a few weeks. The last time I had ear wax removed by a doctor I was booked at a festival while touring in the US and went to the ER. I eventually got a bill back home in Scotland for $600.
What did you say? What?