Dr. Jack Hole: So what is bothering you today?
Erin: This ear has been bothering me. It's fuzzy like I can't hear really good out of it.
Me: Yeah, she says her hearing is kind of out in that ear, but it doesn't hurt.
Dr. Hole: *not looking up from his chart* And what's your relation?
Me: Stepmom. *(commonlaw. If we lived in Canada.)*
Dr. Hole: And how long has this been going on?
Me: *(since I moved in?)*
Erin: Since September.
Dr. Hole: ....And. Why. If this has been bothering you for nine months. Have you just come in. Now.
Me: *smiling the pleasant smile of go-ahead-kid-now's-your-chance-explain-how-we-are bad-people-who-only-buy-you-three-pairs-of-size-one-jeans-and-not-four-and-never-buy-you-toaster-strudels-and-also-hide-the-good-cereal-from-you. This guy really wants to hear it. I can tell. I'm not explaining it. I'm just the stepmom. (commonlaw. If we lived in Canada, eh?)*
Erin: Well...it bothered me in September and then I just forgot about it or got used to it or something and now it bothers me again.
Dr. Hole: Any fever or diarhea?
Dr. Hole: Headaches or sore throat?
Dr. Hole: Let's take a look. *looks* Okay, it looks fine. No water or blockage or inflammation or anything. Lets get you a hearing test. *leaves abruptly, Erin trailing behind*
Dr. Hole: (upon return, still no eye contact) So it seems as though you have perfect hearing. And since there is nothing like an infection going on, the only thing I could suggest is that you're inner ear muscles may have been strained by loud music or other trauma. Do you listen to an IPod?
Me: *smiling the smile of quiet vindication*
Dr. Hole: Okay, here's the deal. Your inner ear is comprised of three tiny bones and the muscles that hold them in place. When you put inordinate strain on your ears by listening to an IPod, you cause the muscles to get tired and pull away from the bones....blah, blah, blah, lecture lecture lecture.
Dr. Hole: That's it. Lay off the IPod and it'll be fine. You can go now. *already halfway down the hall, texting someone or playing tetris on his Blackberry*
Erin: Well, that's one way to kill time on a Summer day.
Me: Your Dad is gonna laugh. And possibly say "I told you so."
Erin: I know. I was kind of hoping for a giant shot or something.
Me: Yeah, that would have been more dramatic.