Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Speak Up Son

As you may have gathered from my previous post, I'm ill. Quite a few people I know actually are too - my father, my roommate, folks at work... I'm not sure which one of them I can blame for my current bout with the dreaded mucus monster (although the folks at work will probably end up getting pinned for it. They shall face my eternal wrath. I am the Devil, you know) but the battle rages on.

I know, I know, I know... I'm the same guy who has boasted in previous posts about how I don't often get colds due to echinacea, good hygiene, a more hearty constitution than the sickly masses and blah, blah, blah... Surely you must realize those comments were made in jest, my good fellow. Let me assure you however that this particular cold is a mere sneeze compared to those I had when I was but a lad. 'Tis nothing but an irritant.

OK - that's not entirely true. A cold is a cold but this one doesn't seem to have the same full-on force that I've had during previous visits to rhinovirus land. I credit this to two things. 1) The echinacea, of course and 2) Cold-Eeze - I can't say it enough, folks. At the first sign of a cold, head to CVS, pick some of this stuff up and follow the directions to the letter (not because you'll overdose, but because it's not as effective if you miss one.) It works wonders, I'm telling you. Fine, call me a sucker who's fallen for a placebo... all I know is that by and large my colds were much worse before I was using it.

This is not to say I'm without symptoms, however. I still feel worn out, have a scratchy throat and a phlegm filled cough (should've seen what I hacked up this morning - yummy!) No sneezing thankfully, but I do have plenty of blockage - in several orifices. That sounded really bad, actually... but really, I just mean my nose and, oddly enough, my ears. They keep popping as if I were in aeroplane or something. I keep forcefully swallowing spit and moving my jaw in an attempt to get them unpopped. That solves the problem some of the time, but I don’t think pressure is the only problem. I think excessive wax buildup is to blame as well. (By the way, ladies..... did I mention I'm available?) Yes, I think this damned cold has caused earwax to accumulate in significant enough amounts so as to obstruct large portions of my ear canals and therefore lessen my hearing considerably.

This has happened before, most noticeably when I was around 10 or 11 years old. When I complained about it to my mother, a nurse, she improvised and tried to clean it out with a Water-Pik waterjet dental flosser, resulting in a nearly punctured ear drum (which actually still hurts from time to time.) I've been hesitant to stick anything in my ears since.... not that this is a common problem, mind you. You can imagine my shock however, when reading Boing Boing today I discovered a story about a man with a similar problem (hell, it was ten times worse), and solved it using a super soaker squirt gun. The results were so impressive that he wrote about them in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. You can click the link provided for one of the most amusing medical articles I've ever read, but I thought I'd share these two quotes directly as they made me cackle:

"Midway through the second load's stream, wax particles began to run out of the ear. Just after starting the third load, a large plug of wax burst forth from the patient's ear. The 3 generations of family members present took turns admiring (or recoiling from) the specimen. The patient exclaimed in joy, 'I can hear again!'"

"We feel that prospective randomized trials are warranted to evaluate the utility of the Super Soaker Max-D 5000 in clinical settings."

So, if any of you folks out there are currently suffering from "excessive ear cerumen" *ahem* ... like myself - here's a possible solution for you. And if you feel like reading up some more on colds, what causes them, and possible solutions/placebos, here are some more links for you courtesy of Ask Yahoo and The Straight Dope:

Is it true that catching a cold has nothing to do with being out in the cold?
Why is winter the season for colds/flu's etc?
Will Vitamin C cure the common cold?
Can zinc lozenges cure the common cold?

As for me... well, I'll catch you a little later this week when I'm feeling better. Right now though, I'm off to find a squirt gun... or maybe a hammer and chisel. Toodles.


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