So, this was family reunion weekend. My father's family does this massive hug-eat-chat-eat-play games-eat-chat-eat-repeat thing once every three years or so. Now some of you may be flinching already, but I actually have a really fun family, and I look forward to these reunion things. My dad has six brothers and sisters, so I have lots of cousins and second cousins and etceteras that are very fun to hang out with, provided we steer clear of discussions involving politics and religion. If you've read my blog, you may realize that these are topics I find interesting and engaging, so steering clear is tricky. However, feeling obliged to bitchslap my otherwise-much-loved uncle across the potato salad is an impulse I could do without. So we play round after round of Oh Heck and throw horseshoes and go for walks and overeat with our kith and kin (well, maybe not our kith – we don’t like them) and generally have a merry ol' time. There are, unfortunately, a few bugs in this system.
And I mean bugs. We were staying at a very nifty YMCA camp in Montana, sleeping in bunks either in the main lodge (where I was) or in cabins. Sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I felt a weird scrabbling sort of something going on in the left ear-ish area. I had the very unpleasant feeling that something had just taken up lodgings in my ear. There were thrummings and drummings and possibly the cast of RiverDance in rehearsal, but I put it down to swimmers' ear (despite my not having been near water except to shower) and tried to go back to sleep.
The next morning, there were still periods of vibration against my left ear drum. I kept shaking my head, feeling that watery feeling, but nothing was coming out. My dad tried to shove an entire Kleenex in there, but nothing grabbed hold. We looked with a flashlight, but couldn't see anything, so again I took refuge in denial and went about my business, periodically shaking my head like a demented spaniel. Happily, one of my aunts has been through a similar experience with a miller moth (well, not happily for her, but hang on, I'll get to the happily part), and even better, she has a son who is a physician's assistant. AND he carries his gear with him wherever he goes (smart, for a guy with two young sons and a cousin who potentially forgot to remove the 'for rent' sign when she moved into her own head).
My aunt wasn't about to let me go on denying the possibility of critters squatting uninvited in my head, so she asked her son to take a look. He got out one of those proper ear-looking-in machines, poked around for about a half a nanosecond, then said, "Yeah, there's something in there. We should get that out." Ugh. We filled a glass with warm tap water, and he used a syringe to flush out my ear. It took three squirts to dislodge my lodger (a spider affectionately known as "Craig" because naming him kept me from freaking out), who came out soaked but very much alive. The several cousins who were observing this whole event took off running (and so did Craig), but Doctor Cousin calmly sent Craig to his Eternal Reward via a very heavy boot. Another quick look-see determined that Craig had been in there alone. And that Craig wasn't actually a Craigette looking for a warm place to hatch a brood. I got the all-clear and a very clean ear. (And that's the "happily" part.) That night I slept -- sort of -- with my head swathed in more layers of gauze than Tutankhamen.
Moral: Kay the Anti-Camper may have a point.