Monday, February 6, 2012

No Cancer - A Visit To An ENT Specialist

When I walked into the room, I saw three chairs that I could've taken. Two were right by a desk. And one was on the opposite side of the room and looked something much like a dentist chair. Dr. M asked me, "Why are you so anxious?".

"Do I seem anxious?".

"Well, you're still standing. Why not grab a seat?".

Well which seat do I take?

I was in for an ear cleaning. Nothing major. Dr. had referred me to this ENT (Ears-Nose-Throat) specialist just to be thorough.

He looks into my ears and says, "Holy cow. What have you been doing? Q-tipping?? Are you trying to keep me in business or something?".

Instead of the usual syringing that I've seen and heard, he took out a pair of really long tweezers. "Don't move," he said. "This is going to hurt like hell."

He had me sit in the dentist chair. With my head tilted slightly towards the other way. "What??" I had to ask, unsure if I really heard what he just said.

He repeated himself. "I said DON'T move."

And yah, it hurt. But only for a second. And certainly not to the extreme he put it. Now that I know he's full of sarcasm, I relaxed a bit and subconsciously spoke to him in the same way. "Why the heck did it hurt so much?? What did you do?".

"Did you skip your human anatomy classes?? You have your C2, C3, and C4 nerves running all around here," he said while whirling his fingers around my ears. "Anyway, your ears aren't bad. Practically nothing. Although, I do recommend with any kind of ear cleaning, you come to me. You want to dry your ears after a shower? Use a hairdryer. If you want it clean? You come to me. Got it?".

When the whole process was done, I was ready to get up and go. He then swivels the chair so that I'm now facing him, and tells me to tilt back my head. He proceeds to stick something metal up my nose. He then was  about to squirt something in my nose, when I interrupted him. "Can I ask what this is for?".

"I'm an ear, nose, throat specialist. Of course, I gotta check all of them. You'd be surprised how many Asians get nasal and throat cancer. Most of the time, asymptomatic. Best to catch it early and save your life." Wait, how did getting my ears cleaned turn into screening for cancer?

"And what is this you're sticking in my nose?".

"Xylocaine. C'mon, pharmacist. You see this stuff all the time."

True. Only, never used on myself. Xylocaine is an anesthetic. So automatically, I asked, "Xylocaine? Is this going to hurt?".

"No. Because I'm using xylocaine." And he proceeds to squirt the gel into my nose. Then instructed me to snort it in. I was wary but then the thought of not getting enough xylocaine inside may result in more pain made me sniff harder. He then stuck a long, thin tube done my nostril going towards my throat. He did the same thing on the other side. Surprisingly, the whole process was not as bad as it sounds. The worse part was the numbing feeling all around the nose area of my face.

"Good. You don't have cancer."

Well, great to hear. I was ready to say thank you and run out the door before he springs any more surprises on me. But he then walks me towards a closed door, and goes "Now you're in trouble."

The whole talk about the "C" word put my head in a whirlwind for a moment so I was a little disoriented to which door was which. I thought he was walking me back out of the office. But, I walked through the door to find myself in another room full of equipment.

He then made me sit in a tiny closet of a room with a window and told me to put on headphones. Ahh, a hearing test. Haven't had these since elementary school.

Result? I have a bit of hearing loss. He says it's a bit surprising with my young age. I was thinking to myself, with all the headphones and concerts, is it really? He asks if hearing loss runs in my family.

Yup. My dad is hard of hearing.

"Well you can thank your dad for that then," he commented. Apparently, it has all to do with genetics.

"Can I go now?". I was certainly ready to.

Overall, I was glad he was thorough and went beyond what I went in for, and his crazy sarcasm helped to ease the uncomfortable topic of cancer and hearing loss ... but, what an experience.

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