One morning, really early, as I was shifting and stirring in that semi-present state, I heard something that sounded like a bug near my head, crawling. Hmmm…I listened and shifted, and then my ear felt really funny, like there was some moisture, liquid or something making squishy sounds. I sat up to look for the intruder in my bed; there was nothing so I lay back down again. As I rolled over onto my right ear I could feel that weird feeling, and I heard that sound again…what is going on?
The first year that we lived here, our dogs were only a few months old and we had gone out to look at some property, an absolutely beautiful property that was graced with rivers and water falls and swimming holes you find only in your dreams, and there was a very gently rolling beautiful grassland suitable for establishing some amazing permaculture gardens. We had the dogs and we all walked everywhere around for the day and enjoyed the pristine sanctuary that it was. However, a few weeks later I noticed some sores on my dog…they were raised bumps that leaked and they were sore. I felt of them to investigate what they might be, and found more – and more, there were lots of them. So we took her to the vet and had our first experience with bot larvae. I have had experience with cattle on a large level and I know that bots will lay eggs on a cows back and a larva/worm will grow and create a big swelling with a hole at the top (so the larva can breathe) and we would have to pop those icky things out. Sometimes we got them when they were small, sometimes they were huge and would squirt out and fly a ways, so you had to be careful not to get one in the face (eeww, yuck). Well these were the same things, and apparently this is common in the tropics (double yuck), and most certainly not limited to cows. My poor little dog had lots of them, and the vet worked for a while popping them all out, then he gave her some pain medication and some antibiotics because there were so many of the nasty creatures that she allowed to be removed with so much patience and gratitude. This was my first, but certainly not the last, experience with them on a very personal level.
It wasn’t long after that Mate had a sore spot on his elbow, a big red swelling. We thought ‘uh-oh, could this be?’ We squeezed and studied and believed that it couldn’t be so, there was no visible hole and it wasn’t leaking, but he complained that he for sure could feel something moving around in there. We tried everything to treat it, but it would not get better, so we once again tried the big squeeze. And I mean he squeezed it so hard that we finally could see a hole, but the invader was most reluctant to abandon its post. So we tried a local trick and we applied some Vaseline to the hole to block the air flow, and this theoretically would cause any would-be hitchhikers to surface for air, and this is exactly what happened. So with Kleenex and tweezers ready, Mate squeezed and I grabbed as the beastie surfaced for air. Oh triple yuck! And that hurt, too – he really had to squeeze hard, but the intruder was now gone, and the sore healed up very quickly afterwards.
Interestingly enough the owner of the property that we had enjoyed so much that day had one of these nasty things set up housekeeping in his leg, and when he tried to squeeze the hitchhiker out he unfortunately killed the nasty critter, which is not a good thing. Unbeknownst to him he had killed it, until infection set in and he made the trip to the doctor to find out that he was there not a moment too soon and put immediately on antibiotics. He did go through some intense pain and was feeling quite unwell for some time as it was quite reluctant to heal any too quickly – another lesson learned: don’t kill the worm while it is under the skin. By now we were getting the hang of this thing and our attention was more keen to prevent, and or treat, if need be any recurrent situations.
Not long after that a friend that was new in the country was complaining about a sore spot on his back…sure enough, it was a big red swollen area with a hole in the middle and oozing some liquid. We schooled him as to his current condition and he kept repeating ‘Get it out, get it out!’, and so we prepped him and Mate set to squeezing and I grabbed – a biggie this time. Our friend, a grown man, almost passed out from the pain of the squeeze and the thought of some critter that looked like that making his body its home – ACKKK AND A HUNDRED YUCKS!!!
So what does this have to do with my ear? Well consider that my imagination was running rampant with the thought of one of those nasty things residing in my ear canal. I had not really heard of incidences of bugs in ears before, but my horses have bugs in their ears and I have unfortunately found ticks in my dogs’ ears as well, so I was not very enthused with the idea of any of these things living in my ear, so I asked Mate to have a look to see. He could see nothing. I used an ear candle to try and draw out some ear wax that may have become abundant, but that didn’t return anything that even remotely could substantiate what I was feeling and hearing, but I let it go for the rest of the day as things seem to have settled down, perhaps ‘it’ was gone?
That night as I lay on that particular ear, once again the noises and the weird feelings were there. That’s it! I immediately googled ‘bugs in ears’ and sure enough there were plenty of cases of such things. Oh yuck! What is it in there? The home remedy trick is to pour mineral oil in the ear (to drown the bugger), then flush it out with water. So I was up early with the mineral oil and a syringe and begging Mate to get with it, muy pronto! He poured enough mineral oil in to fill the canal and then I waited long enough to make sure that ‘it’ was dead, then dumped the oil into the sink and lo and behold there was a gnat, a very dead drowned gnat, about the size of a pinhead with wings. How could something so small make so much racket? Well, it doesn’t matter – THANK GOD IT WASN’T A WORM!!!!!
And now you know the rest of the story.