Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not Your Ordinary Bullet Wound

Not long after I graduated from college, I drove my 15-year old sister Linda to the emergency room with a bullet in the head.

Thinking back, I'm not even sure why we went to the ER. I mean, having a BB lodged deeply in one's ear isn't exactly life threatening. We were relatively certain that the ear canal was a dead end street. But what if there was an alley that led to the brain?

Keep in mind that this was before Al Gore invented the internet, or else we could have googled "How to get a BB out of your ear."

In fact, I just googled "how to get a BB out of your ear" and this is what I found:

Question: I was messing around with a bb pellet and now its stuck inside my ear canal, not yet to the ear drum but far enough so that I can't get to it with my short fingernails, should I tell my parents or something or try to vacuum it out ?

Hmmm. We never thought of trying the vacuum. That might have worked!

And by the way, here's the "best answer": Start by telling your parents so they can get you into the doctor right away.

You are probably wondering how the BB became lodged in my sister's ear. It was an act of athletic prowess never before seen in Sanborn, NY. My brother Jim (who had never played a round of golf in his life) tossed it to Linda while she was laying on her side watching TV. 

He got a hole-in-one!

Linda immediately jumped up and started doing what has since become known in Clyde circles as the "BB in the Ear Dance", violently shaking her head sideways in an attempt to eject the stubborn BB. The more she tried, the deeper it seemed to go.

So we headed off to the Emergency room.

I have to admit that I had a riot at patient registration. I was laughing so hard, I could hardly get the words out. The nurse thought I was the patient (in the middle of a mental breakdown.) 

"My!" I gasped.

"You brother shot a BB in her ear?" the nurse asked, her voice rising an octave.

Which made me laugh even harder!  I howled.

When we finally explained what had really happened, the nurse took us back to the triage area. An ER doctor grabbed the longest set of tweezers I'd ever seen and attempted, unsuccessfully to retrieve the elusive BB.

After about 10 minutes of trying he gave up. By then Linda was in tears and I was starting to get nervous. Maybe it was life threatening after all. "We'll have to call in a specialist. He'll get it out. He's got more tools... better tools."

Better tools? What the heck was he going to bring in?  A nuclear weapon? 

"Get up, Linda! We can get that thing out," I said and I grabbed hold of her head and started shaking it like there was no tomorrow.  I had to protect my little sister from this mad doctor.

What happened next was something right out of a situation comedy.

We didn't notice the curtain open and the little Asian doctor stepping in. He put his hands on his hips as he watched our "BB in the Ear Dance."  Then he said, "Ahhhhhhhh. You must be the girl with the BB in your ear."

Talk about stating the obvious.

He was able to flush the BB from Linda's ear with some fancy water tool.  

Last summer a bug flew in my ear while I was out for a walk.  I danced the "BB in the Ear Dance" all the way home.  

My neighbors just shook their heads, "There goes that crazy woman who does theater.  I wonder what show she's in now?"

"Looks like it's got some really stupid choreography." 

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