September 28, 2006

Next Week's Column. . . TODAY!

"Can You Ear Me Now?" c. Ryan Rhodes, Sept. 27, 2006

I'm one of those people who absolutely hates going to the hospital. Not that there are people who really enjoy going to hospitals. . . well, except for maybe doctors. The point is, if given a choice between removing my thumb with a pliers, or going to a hospital, let's just say I'd have to put some serious thought into it.

Alas, sometimes going to a hospital is simply unavoidable. Generally, I have the healthy constitution of a Kodiak bear, but even my body sputters every once in awhile and I have to make the dreaded doctor's appointment.

Last week, thanks to an unfortunate experience during a jiu-jitsu tournament, I developed a case of cauliflower ear. For those not familiar with this medical condition, let me explain: Cauliflower ear is somewhat common if you're active in boxing- or grappling-related sports. If your ear is either struck or bent violently, the skin can separate from the ear cartilage, causing a bubble of blood and liquid to bulge out. If this doesn't sound like fun all by itself, there's more! If left unattended, the cartilage, separated from the skin—it's only source of blood—can die and basically shrivel up, resulting in a drastically deformed ear.

Faced with this prognosis, coupled with my stubborn refusal to visit a doctor, I opted for a couple of days of self-surgery. Now, being the M.D. that I am, self-surgery consisted of me dropping a sewing needle in boiling water, and then jabbing the needle into my ear. It was a successful—and righteously painful—procedure. Bloody liquid flowed freely out of my ear and down my neck. I then squeezed the remaining liquid out, and hoped for the best.

Unfortunately, the best did not transpire. The needle hole quickly knitted and closed, and the blood-filled bulge re-asserted itself, and it did so larger than before, probably because there was more blood on hand since some moron went and jabbed his ear with a sewing needle.

disappointed in my failed first attempt at self-surgery, I was nonetheless optimistic enough to try again. Again I boiled the needle, aimed it at my ear, and proceeded to puncture the resurgent hematoma. What had once just been a merely a righteously painful procedure had graduated to the next pain level, that of tear-jerkingly excruciating. Painful though it was, the result was the same, and the bulge spewed forth its pent up bloody reservoir.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize I was dealing with the Obi-Wan Kenobi of cauliflower ears: "Strike me down and I'll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." Sure enough, I woke the next day to a case of cauliflower ear that was now almost blocking the entrance to my ear canal. Clearly, I was losing this battle, and I quite frankly had lost the will to attempt a third self-surgery.

Defeated, I picked up the phone, putting it up to my undamaged ear, and made a doctor's appointment, which I quickly learned was probably what I should have done in the first place, since I immediately saw that they had medical instruments far more sophisticated than my sewing needle. Additionally, the doctor seemed to know exactly what she was doing, which was a distinct advantage I lacked.

As I walked out of the hospital with my professionally drained and stitched ear, I reflected on how stupid my stubbornness and my hatred of hospitals is. Never again would I put off going to the doctor when it's warranted.

Except for that appointment I have this week to get the stitches taken out. I think I can do that myself.

Posted by Ryan at September 28, 2006 12:22 AM | TrackBack

I've always hated hospital, even more so after worked for a pizza place and having to deliver pies to the burn ward.

If I get sick, I want to get well in a cemetary.
When I die, I want to be buried in a hospital.

Posted by: Rob@L&R at September 29, 2006 06:04 AM

Trust me, you can take your stitches out yourself. My damn dog just did. And you're probably, though not necessarily, smarter than my dog.

Hopefully you'll be smart enough not to take them out like two days after you get them, though, requiring a return trip to the vet and two weeks of wearing the Cone of Shame.

Posted by: DG at September 29, 2006 07:19 AM

DG, heh!
Just go, because there may be more wound care that needs to be done. Just do it.
Although I still think you are a bad ass for withstanding that kind of pain. I'd bet you could chew your leg off if you were in a trap and shit. LOL.

Posted by: donna at September 29, 2006 01:11 PM

I think the "cone of shame" mentioned above could be a good thing for our hero. It could be worked nicely into some kind of dirty mushroom collage.

Posted by: Derek at October 2, 2006 09:07 AM

It's a pain in everyone else's butt. Let’s just stop discussing this crap, the topic is too questionable.

Posted by: dj at April 9, 2008 04:58 AM
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