On Tuesdays we read from the Bible to a group at a convalescent hospital. I first noticed it there. It felt like when you come up from being underwater and your ears still have water in them - that closed up with liquid feeling. I came home and went online to seek answers, which was probably mistake #1.
I looked up home remedies for swimmer's ear. One of the home remedy websites suggested peroxide. Another solution was dripping white distilled vinegar in your ear. You're probably way ahead of me at this crucial part of my narrative, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea at the time. I can tell you that vinegar in your ear burns and hurts like pouring demons in your ear. I can also tell you that in my case pouring vinegar in the ear either causes the ear canal to swell shut for four days or, at the very least, doesn't prevent that if it was right on the verge of happening anyway (as I've said to Laurie, I'm not that kind of doctor and not qualified to speculate on cause and effect here.) I also tried peroxide and rubbing alcohol to relearn the age old lesson "Don't put things in your ear."
The effect is that I've only had about 1/3rd of my normal hearing over the past four days. It finally opened this afternoon and, while it is sore and raw, seems to be returning to what I've grown to consider normal.
There's a metaphor from the situation which I'll probably sit on for years until I find an application or proper place to bring up the anecdote. The situation called for maybe one thing (peroxide would be my guess but you see how good my guesses have been so far) but for the most part the situation really called for doing nothing and letting the ear heal. Instead I went a little mad with trying everything my fevered little brain could come up with to try to expedite the healing process. And in the end I had to return to doing nothing and letting the ear heal on its own. Which it did, and fairly quickly I might add, as soon as I stopped meddling with it. There's a lesson there somewhere although one cannot apply it across the board. It won't work so well, for example, in my employment search.
There's the obvious lesson, which is that there is so much I take for granted. A huge portion of my life has been spent completely ungrateful for my ear canal not being swollen shut. I would imagine within a few days I will probably return to that almost constant state of ingratitude.
My friend Mindy and I used to have a game we would play. It takes at least two players. Each player gets a bottle of Merlot. The player drinks their bottle of Merlot and lists things they are grateful for as they come into their head. It's best played under the stars.
We will not redeem every moment of our time for edifying purposes. We can always strive to up our averages, but the simple fact is no one gives 100% at all times. And that's okay. One strives to do one's best and one grows ever sleeker, wiser, catlike and beautiful.
When I turned 30, little things started going wrong with my body for no good reason at all and they would just as spontaneously end or heal. I'm told that that sort of thing really starts rolling once you hit 40. We have no guarantees and so often we forget that. I have no guarantee that I will have hearing for the rest of my life or even that my life will extend through the night. At any given moment we can drum up things to complain about. Also at any given moment, we have an infinite resource of things to be grateful for. I recommend the latter.