Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cockroach in Ear

Last night I stayed up past midnight watching England give India a good hammering in the cricket. All of a sudden my wife came out of the bedroom, bent over double, screaming, and generally freaking out. Turns out a cockroach has crawled into her ear. Not unreasonably she asks me to extract it. Cue a search for some tweezers. They are eventually found, but it is no use. The beastie has obviously crawled deep into her ear as it is not to be found. More freaking out suggests that it is still alive and scuttling though. A few more probes with the tweezers only succeed in retrieving a tiny bit of shell.

After giving up on the tweezers I fallback to the trusty internet. Googling for 'insect ear' brings up some useful links. They suggest not poking things in the ear. Ooops. They do suggest turning the affected ear upwards. San is reluctant to do this, and it seems to lead to an increase in insect activity. Next suggestion is to pour oil in the ear. Two search results suggest the same thing - that's as good as medical fact in my book. The first oil I find in the kitchen is mustard oil - probably bad. More searching reveals some corn oil. I tip some in. The cockroach doesn't bob to the top, but on the plus side it appears to have drowned. No scuttling means no more freaking out.

It's half past midnight by now and we need to find a professional to remove the carcass. Our daughter is asleep so we don't want to wake her. Fortunately we live in an apartment block with 24 hour watchmen, and one of them agrees to babysit whilst we head for the hospital. A medical drama is the perfect excuse for driving as recklessly as my 800cc car allows. The roads are empty, apart from the sleeping dogs, and the car is slow so it is safe enough. We park outside the gates and walk in to reception. They're all watching the cricket too, although with India 40/4 I suspect they're not too happy with the way things are going. A doctor is more than happy to leave the game and take a look in San's ear. He manages to extract some small pieces of insect, but is unable to retrieve the main body. This makes me feel better about my failed attempts. The ENT specialist is called from his home, and says he will be round in 15 minutes. Meanwhile a crowd of doctors, asssistants and nurses has formed - they're loving it. True to his word the ENT guy arrives at the promised time and invites us into his surgery. There's obviously a knack to extracting things from ears, as he pulls out the obstruction with one attempt. The doctors crowd round to take a look at the expired culprit. For some reason San doesn't want to join them.

A few swabs of iodine later we return to reception and settle up the bill. 400 Rupees, that's £5 or $10. The staff thank us for livening up their night, and we return home some time after 1am. San stuffed her ears with cotton wool before going back to sleep.


Blogger Pressed said...


I had cockroach in my ear few days ago. Rushed down to the hospital. The nurse drowned the roach with some clear water liquid (I believe it's alcohol), then use a tweezer to pull out the carcass. After that he looked into my ear, there's a leg in there, so he took it out. Then gave me ear drop to drop at home to prevent infection. Don't dig the affected ear for a few days, just drop that ear drop. It costs me $90. That insect is expensive! Thank God I can claim the full amount from my insurance. After that, I made everyone sleep with cotton balls in their ears.

4:25 AM


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