In some circles, they call me Typhoid Marika
Late last week, I decided to beat this head cold into submission. Well, either that or at the least assuage my fears that the strange goings-on in an auricular direction weren't signs of some incipient horrible secondary infection that would leave me defeated; a broken woman in neon wraparound visors, weakly humming stadium rock riffs. So off I hied myself, my Czech Health Insurance Card and my fug of rhinoviruses to the clinic with the English-speaking doctors recommended by a friend (it seems illness withers up my Czech language gland).
Two stops across and four stops down on Prague's rather crowded metro, I arrived and battled with the very complicated entry system to greet the doctor himself.
For 'twas indeed a male doctor and one quite attractive in a grey-blond sort of way. Things began to appear rosier. The tiny part of my mind not wholly occupied on working out precisely when I have felt more miserably ill before in my entire life perked up and started to take an interest. It glowed with approval as I explained my symptoms, deftly skirting around the whole Pink Floyd issue.
"Hmmmm…" he frowned, just like every other doctor in the universe. "Do you have fever?"
"Umm… no. I don't think so."
For a brief moment, I wondered if now would be a good time to bring up overstated twin reverb and dry ice. The tiny non-illness-obsessed part of my brain moved with the speed of (laser) light to stifle this urge with a barrage of sneezing. There was a pause while I mopped up with a scrap of tissue. Bit of an own goal for the mucus-brained one.
After a brief hand movement reminiscent of an amateur (pre-bunny) magician's, the still-attractive but more elusive he-doctor lunged forward and grabbed my forehead. Paralysed by shock and a strong Czech accent from a man in a white coat, visions of brain-sucking machines danced through my head.
"No. You don't have fever."
"Oh, well, that's good." Did brain-sucking really require complete cranial rigidity? "But it's really my ears that I'm worried about." I pointed at my ears. They stick out a bit, but are not unattractive.
His hands shifted and his thumbs pressed down very hard on the bumpy bit of skull behind my ears. "Does this hurt?"
Strong hands or not, torn by the brain-sucking issue, it was something of a relief to find him less attractive from this perspective. "Well, you are pressing quite hard."
"No. But do you have pain here?" More pressing.
"Not really. It's more sort of here." I did my own pressing, this time on the squishy bit behind my jaw where the crackling noises seemed to originate.
"Then you do not have ear infection."
"Well, that's a relief."
"You have a cold."
"Yes, I knew that. It's just my ears…"
"There is no medicine for a cold. You must rest. You must drink water."
"And if you still have the hearing problems after the cold is gone, you must see an otologist to clean your ears."
And so, suitably chastened, I took my dirty ears home to tune the air guitar.