I’m sure this TLA already exists for my intended usage but in case you can’t work it out it is not (for the investors among you) an Open-ended Investment Company but rather Only In China. I’ve become somewhat inured to most OIC experiences which is unfortunate but I’ve got one stored up from today which has inspired me to pay attention and compile a list for later publication.
The OIC for this post however concerns my most recent trip to the hospital. As a consequence of the dratted lingering cold I have been quite hard of hearing for over a week now, persisting far longer than would be the case with a standard British cold. So I made my fourth trip to the hospital yesterday morning to see an ear nose and throat specialist.
Dr Ji pulled at my earlobes and squinted down into the depths of my eustachian tubes using only an over the eye round mirror with a hole in the centre. According to Wikipedia this is a pretty standard piece of medical equipment despite now being obsolete where most of my esteemed readers are from. Although I have been around a while and I had my fair share of childhood ear infections I cannot recall ever having been examined with one before. Maybe that is because I have been around a while mind you.
To complete her investigations Dr Ji stuck a pair of dividers up my nostrils, prising them open for a good look, and did the usual wooden spatula on tongue and say ahhh thing. Aside from the spatula everything else was made from stainless steel and retrieved from a steel tiffin for use after which it was dropped into a steel mug for sterlisation (I sincerely hope).
She gave me quite a turn by telling me, bluntly, that my eardrum was sunken in. Thank goodness for the internet since this is apparently quite common after a cold and usually rectifies itself naturally, however she didn’t tell me this at the time and, rather, suggested I go to the best large local hospital for a hearing check up. Only when I looked quite disturbed did she go and fetch the standard ear examination magnifying glass with a light built in for a further examination. I don’t know why she didn’t just use that in the first place but I’m guessing it was someone more senior’s toy (or perhaps less skilled) since it lived some way from her consultation cubbyhole.
This achieved little beyond confirming what she already knew but it gave her time to suggest that she try an alternative remedy. It took a few attempts to explain but I finally realised she wanted me to go and buy a bottle of mineral water from downstairs and come back to see her. Duly armed I returned, expecting her to perform some sort of flush. Even as she put tape around the nozzle of a straw attached to a squeegie ball I had no idea what she was going to do.
It wasn’t until I had taken a mouthful of water as instructed and held it until told to swallow while she shoved the straw up my nose and squeezed the ball that I understood the mechanics of her remedy. I was sufficiently shocked as the eardrum reflated not to go with her suggestion that she give it another go, even though it did have some sort of discernible outcome. My right ear momentarily returned to full capacity while my left ear enjoyed the pressurisation slightly less.
Regrettably full functionality in the right ear was fleeting and turned out to be accompanied by feedback at high frequency sounds; my General Chinese teacher’s voice, which I usually enjoy for its precision, is now decidedly uncomfortable. Evidently the feedback remains and the tinnitus I usually manage to ignore is also ringing away at full volume. Left ear hearing about 85%, right ear 75% plus 10% tinny dolby stereo effect.
I am confident that all of this is temporary and if someone had just given me some decongestant then I’d have been fine ages ago. As it is I have had all sorts of mineral and floral remedies. Not knocking them as I’m considerably better off throat wise. I just don’t think I’ll be going to see another ENT specialist even at Beijing University’s reknowned hospital. I fancy my chances better with a bit less intervention.