Liewicki leaks: Seeing beyond the earwax

Nathan Liewicki
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Earwax is gross. It’s sticky, smells funny and leaves sedimentary deposits in earphone buds.


More importantly, however: if ignored, earwax can build up in the crevasses of the ear, the ear canal and possibly even up against the eardrum.

None of these possibilities is a good thing, but doing nothing to thwart the reddish-brownish wax from making a nest inside your ear, or inner ear, is a problem.

I recently found that out for the second time.

Seven years ago I was a busy young adult with thoughts of school, sports and friends dominating my mind. Throw in occasional thoughts of attractive young women and this young adult had more important things on the brain.

It’d been a couple of days and one of my ears was bothering me — which ear I can’t remember.

My parents suggested I clean out my ears with Q-tips. I did and nothing changed.

There had been various instances in my childhood where I allowed earwax to uncontrollably build up in my ear, but this was worse.

At least to me it felt worse.

Before I knew it, I was sitting amidst a slew of sniffling and sneezing people at the nearby medicentre in southeast Edmonton. It took close to an hour to get in and see a physician regarding my problem, but I finally did.

The doctor told me it was nothing more than too much earwax build up. A naïve first-year university student, I breathed a sigh of relief.

All that remained was to get my ear flushed, and for good measure the other ear too.

The pulsating rush of warm water injected into my ears was alarming. It not only startled me, but also left me feeling funny inside.

On Wednesday, I was back at a clinic for the exact same thing. Except this time it was here in Moose Jaw.

Admittedly, it’d been close to a week that a conglomeration of earwax in my left ear had been causing me fits. For two days, however, it was at the point where I couldn’t hear out of that ear.

I knew better, but my inner laziness took hold of me and I put off getting my ears flushed until I just couldn’t handle it any more.

At the clinic I saw a chunky metallic, 10-inch tranquilizer-like instrument suck up a boatload of water.

Panic didn’t set in, nor did I buckle and cringe.

I knew what was coming, but since this episode of enormous earwax buildup felt worse than the one seven years ago I was nervous.

Would the nurse be able to extract all of the earwax from both ears? Might something go wrong?

I wasn’t on my deathbed, or even remotely close to it. As such, I should not have had any reason to worry, but I did.

As a young man who has been blessed with what I’d consider very good health into my mid-20s, I don’t know of hardship when it comes to one’s own health.

My younger sister, on the other hand, does.

Only 14 years old, she has a learning disability and has suffered seizures. She takes various medicines to help her get through everyday.

She is very shy, and therefore it was and still is difficult for me to understand how she deals with the issues she continues to face.

Living about 800 km away from her, we rarely speak. And even though I will not be going home to Edmonton for Christmas this year, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about what she goes through. I wish I could give her the occasional hug to tell her how much I love her.

If she can live with the possibility that she might suffer a seizure at any moment, then I should not be nervous about a little bit of earwax being flushed out my ears.

Perspective: it’s everything.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Geographic location: Edmonton, Moose Jaw

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