I had turned a corner. I was not sneezing as often, and I managed to keep my eyelids apart for the majority of the day. Not quite 100%, but I saw that illness would soon be behind me. On my way to pick up a challah for Shabbat on Friday, I ran into a friend and sat down to chat for a minute. During the course of our ten minute conversation, I lost the hearing in my left ear. I was clearly not out of the woods yet, but no matter. A clogged ear? I was certain that only a hearty blow was between me and aural pleasures.
As the day progressed, however, no form of blowing could do the trick. By the afternoon, the side of my head was pounding in conjunction with the rhythm of the ocean waves rushing inside of my ear, and I could not stand the pain in my jaw when I closed my teeth together. I had no choice but to schlep the boys with me to the doctor. After a 45 minute stint stuck in a waiting room acting as referee while my boys crashed cars into each other, the doctor finally saw me. She looked in my ear and laughed a muffled, all-knowing, ominous laugh. In a way, it was comforting to know that I wasn’t overreacting to the searing pain in my ear. I was used to the twisted things doctors found funny and the lack of empathy after having grown up with a pediatrician for a father who would look at any blood gushing cut and say nothing more than, “Good job!”
I can’t remember the last time I got an ear infection. I’m sure I was not yet old enough to vote. I’m sure it was so long ago that I cannot vaguely remember the hideous pain. It’s karma of course. So many nights when the boys complained of ear aches I had contemplated just waiting until morning. The warm garlic oil drops usually did do the trick, so if I could just get them to sleep, we’d be able to avoid a trip to the doctor. I do solemnly swear to drug them up immediately and call the doctor the next time they cup their ears with their small hands in agony.
Rachel to my brother Benjamin: You know it’s bad because she actually went to see a doctor AND she started taking antibiotics.
Benjamin: Yes, but do you think she’s going to finish the course of meds?
R: Good question.
D: Why do you all think I'm such a quack? I just don't like to go to the doctor unnecessarily.
R: Yes, Deborah. We understand.
Oh how they patronize me, my loving siblings. Of course I’m going to finish the course of meds. First of all, 4 days in, and I still feel like someone shoved a plunger over my ear and sucked my ear and parts of my brain right out. Secondly, I do know that if I stop before the course is complete, I’m doing something bad that will invite the infection to return bigger and badder than before. I don’t know the medical terminology-just that it’s not a good idea.
Deborah: Gabriella, the antibiotics are just not doing the trick. I think the only thing we can do at this point is take the snake venom approach and suck the infection right out of me...via my vagina.
G: That’s a great idea. Can you open the oven for me so I can put the chicken in?
D: It’s either that or you’ll have to stay home from work and do my bidding while I recuperate in my sick-bed.
G: I’ll get the dust buster, and you can go to town.
D: I always hated you.
"What does all of this have to do with Passover, Deborah?" Don’t you want to mention something about the holiday when we celebrate our liberation from the slavery? Why, even our President is hosting a seder in the White House, and all you can do is bitch about your ear?
Yes, of course. Passover. I’m grateful to Moses for liberating our people so that I would not have to be a slave in Egypt where no one would have attended to my ear infection, and I probably would have been rendered deaf in a few days time. To be a slave and to be deaf was probably not an enjoyable scenario back then I’m guessing.
Happy Passover to all those celebrating-a zeisen Pesach!