With Sue gone, I immediately looked up a clinic in Reykjavik.  I was frantic to get this thing out of my ear. 

        I had health coverage in America.  What could I expect in Iceland?  I knew that Iceland had universal health care but how would this plan handle a stranded tourist like me.

        What were they going to charge me?  I just had to have this ear dilemma resolved.  They could have charged me anything and I would have paid it.




        “Hi, I am an American.  I need someone to take a look at my ear.  I think I have something (water/wax/beetle) stuck in my ear,” I announced to the receptionist.

        They told me I would need to make an appointment with an ear specialist.  Of course, the specialist was not available.  I convinced the receptionist that it was not that my situation wasn’t that special and I just needed someone to remove whatever was in my ear.

        A general practitioner agreed to see me.  I told him the whole story.  I told the doctor about the pool, the wax, the water, and the Q-tip.  When I mentioned the part about the Q-tip, strange enough, the doctor cringed and shamed me.  I acknowledged my poor decision to use the Q-tip and followed him into the surgical room.  The doctor pulled out his otoscope and very quickly informed me of the prognosis.  I had some heavy wax build up that had been forced on to my eardrum.  The wax had dried to the eardrum,

        “…like cement,” added the doctor.

        The doctor went on to say that I would need to see a specialist if a good flushing failed to release my ear drum from the grip of this wax “cement” build-up.

        He called in a nurse for assistance.  She, too, took a look in my ear.  I couldn’t understand her, but from her expression I am sure she was a little astonished at what she saw.

        The nurse pulled down this cherry wood box.  She lifted the lid and in plush red velvet, lay this huge horse’s syringe.  Now, I know the nurse couldn’t understand me, but I know she saw my expression of astonishment.  Shit, shit, shit…             At that moment, my imagination was trying to blur my critical decision making process.  My imagination was helping me to second guess the necessity of this surely painful ear procedure.  My imagination was showing me a movie of me on my flight pleasantly sleeping, undisturbed and without a concern.  

        With the intimidating size of this horse’s syringe, I did not notice that in the lid there were different adjustable heads nestled in velvet slots.  Thank the mighty Lord.  The nurse replaced the two-foot amniotic needle with a fat two-inch nipple thing.

        The doctor-nurse team cloaked my shoulder, filled the syringe with some soapy water, put a metal tin under my ear, and held my head in place.  SWOOSH.

        Whoa, it felt as if the Hoover Dam had broke and was now being channeled through my head via my ear canal.  SWOOSH.

        Nothing came out of my ear.  They changed the head and again…SWOOSH.  The shear pressure of this intense water jet was pushing my head.

        Then, somewhere in the middle of the tidal swoosh, there was a break.  Like light coming into a deep mine shaft, like earthquake victims being discovered in an air pocket under rubble, something broke from my eardrum.

        The water stopped.  Everything stopped.  There was a very long medical silence in that room.

        “What…what is it?...”  I inquired.

        Without words, the metal tin, which was under my ear, was slowly lowered for my viewing.

        “Whoa,” I was staring down at this walnut-sized hairy earwax abortion slowly sailing around the metal pond. 

        In some way I was proud of it, and in another way, I was internationally embarrassed.  Of course, as I was considering asking if I could keep this sweet nugget in a zip lock bag, the nurse very briskly disposed of the wax vessel.  This, for sure, avoided any awkward explanation to the customs officer as I would have tried to escort my new wax buddy back home for much bragging and victorious bets.

        I looked up at my medical crew, smiled and let out,  “Wow.”

        This kind of broke their concerned disbelief and we all kind of admitted that we were amused.  They flushed out my ear again to make sure it was all cleaned out before I left.  Of course, there were some little pieces of drift wax that came out, but nothing the size of the mother wax battle ship that had just come out from my harboring ear canal. 

        The nurse toweled me dry.  I kept turning my head, alternating my ears to hear the doctor debrief the surgery.  I could hear again, yes!

        Money?  Yikes, I was so nervous to ask about the bill.

        “So doctor, ah, how much do I owe you?” I inquired.

        I felt totally bonded to him.  He was the doctor--the doctor that delivered “it” from my ear.  The doctor and I, we, had a relationship. 

        I told the doctor that I had Icelandic currency.

        “How about $10?” he nervously asked.

        I slapped the doc $10 with a sturdy handshake.  I leaned into the “surgery room” to see the nurse.  I mimed a “thank you”.  She nodded and smiled.  The nurse went back to polishing her prized horse’s syringe, preparing to gently put it back in the cherry wood plush velvet lined box.




        “Hello, hello…” I kept talking and turning my head.  I was pleased with my rediscovered hearing.  I had left the clinic and I was skipping back to the campsite.