day 7/7 - in one ear and out of pocket

My ear hurt so much last night I couldn’t sleep. This morning I called my doctor’s office to make an appointment. This is the practice where my doctor retired without notifying me. Today they informed me they no longer take my health insurance. This is news to me. They have an appointment at three, but I’d have to pay out of pocket. They give me another doctor’s name. Dr. Nada Roche. Which translates into Dr. Nothing Rock. She doesn’t have anything until Thursday. But this is a medical emergency. Dr. Nothing Rock’s receptionist understands and repeats: She doesn’t have anything until Thursday. I call back my old doctor's office and ask for the name of an Ear, Throat and Nose doctor. They give me one. I call their office. They don't have any appointments until later in the week. I don't bother to tell her this is a medical emergency. I email my son’s father and ask him the name of his doctor. (We’re on the same plan.) He emails the name of his doctor. “At the Watergate,” he adds. Dr. At the Watergate is out of town until Wednesday.

By now I see that it comes down to a choice of paying out of pocket or going to the emergency room. I take the three o’clock. A little after three Dr. Three O’Clock informs me I hear an ear infection. I ask Dr. Three O’Clock what causes it. “Bad luck,” he says.

Bad luck. That's an interesting etiology. Dr. Three O’Clock prescribes ears drops and tell me I should feel relief within 24 hours. I go to my pharmacist to fill my prescription. She tells me she does not have the ear drops in stock. She can order them or I can try the pharmacy across the street. The pharmacy across the street doesn’t have the ear drops in stock. She can order them or I can go to another pharmacy. I go back to the first pharmacy. My pharmacist thinks they’ll be in by one. It’s about five o’clock. This means I’m staring down approximately 20 hours of excruciating pain. At six o’clock, I call Dr. Three O’Clock’s answering service. Dr. Three O’Clock calls back almost immediately. What do I do? I implore. He can’t believe the pharmacies don’t have the ear drops. They’ve been selling these ear drops for years. Well, swimmer’s ear is kind of seasonal, I point out in my most ladylike layperson’s voice. (The ear drops he prescribed are used mainly to treat swimmer’s ear.) He tells me to mix a cocktail of one part rubbing alcohol to one part white vinegar and to put that in my ear. Which I did. In addition to taking an Advil. This is going to be a long countdown.

I can hear my heart beating in my ear. One night my grandmother woke up in the middle of the night with a moth in her ear. She was visiting my aunt at her farm in upstate New York. Imagine, a moth in your ear. She went to the emergency room. The doctors removed it. A moth in your ear. Imagine that.

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