Saturday, February 02, 2008

What? What?

A mother shouldn't be jealous of her one-year-old. But when the audiologist and the ear/nose/throat doctor (ENT) were prodding her ears, I really, really wanted to trade places with her. See, I've noticed that Super Ninja hears the kids cry first at night, and I've been asking him to repeat himself often. If you know Super Ninja, you know that he's like Will Ferrell's Jacob Silj character. So the idea that I was telling that guy to repeat himself pushed me into a hearing exam.

First things first: each time I've proactively signed up for a medical appointment, I get weird looks from the medical staff. Each receptionist asks me, "What is the purpose of your visit today?" And I respond that I'm there just to get checked out. At the dermatologist, I thought it was time for someone whose gotten like a hundred sunburns in her lifetime to be examined. I didn't say anything about the melanoma imaginings I had, mind you. But she gave me the look nonetheless. You know, the one where you just know that the receptionist has passed judgment and has deemed you a hypochondriac. The ENT's receptionist did the same.

I guess most people respond by saying another doctor referred them. Or that they have football-sized, flaky red skin that's oozing pus. Or that their ears are falling off. I dunno.

When I was nineteen, I worked in a doctor's office and I filed the billion bits of paperwork that are links in the chain of a person's medical history. The bulk of these people came in because something was wrong. But none of them came there when they were healthy, which seemed silly to me. Sure, doctors know what's normal with most people. But how are they supposed to know what's normal for me unless they see me when everything's A-OK? It's all about data integrity, people.

So, yeah, back to the ENT. I've had a cold, off and on, for the past four months. One of the joys of having kids in the house who also go to daycare. I'm sure that my gummed up ears are a result of these common colds, but it's worth a check, right? When the heavily pregnant audiologist led me to me to the back room for a test, I was kind of giddy.

Then she sat me down and started the test. Groan. I like tests, too much. I want to do well on tests. When they are medical tests, I stop being rational. I just want to fall in the excellent range, even if it means that I'm not actually going to walk away with any treatment.

The main part of the test took place in a soundproof beige booth the size of, um, a phone booth (what? there aren't really any synonyms for booth). The audiologist plugged my ears with some tubes, bumping into my shoulder with her belly as she did so. She shut the door of the booth, and told me to tell her if I heard a beep. That was it.

I really wanted to hear those beeps that I was supposed to be hearing. I heard most of them, but there were definite pauses when I couldn't hear anything, and I knew, based on the rhythm of the previous beeps, that I should have been hearing them. I strained, and heard phantom beeps, but I didn't want to say I'd heard something if I really hadn't. If I'm going deaf at 32, I want to know it.

Turns out I have really good hearing, and the places where my fourth sense dips below normal is consistent with folks who are in the grip of a headcold. This, I think, just means that Super Ninja has excellent hearing, and I've been feeling deaf by comparison.

And really, it's not so bad that he hears the kids first, since that usually means that he's the one who tends to them.

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