Tuesday, December 17, 2013


My ear was itching in that deep down, hard to reach place. I tried for several days to scratch it by trial and error. Sticking my finger in there, jiggling it around did not help. Doing that thing with my tongue, scratching my throat did not help. Carefully inserting a cotton swab a little ways in did not work either. I tried flushing it out with warm water, then suctioning it out. This just made it worse. Now every sound was muffled, and the itch was still there.

There was no relief. Itching day and night was taking it's toll on me. Lack of sleep, and unable to concentrate on daily activities caused me to call in sick to my place of employment on more than one occasion as the days and weeks went by.

I didn't want to, but I made an appointment with the ear, nose, and throat doctor. The exam, which included tiny lights being shone down my ear canal, and small wire probing instruments poked down inside, turned up no clear cut diagnosis. I was sent home with only some ear drops.

After one day of using the drops, I noticed a change. The itching was barely noticeable now, but very faintly I could hear music. Even when in the silence of my house, I could hear snippets of songs, one after the other. Day by day the music became louder until it was a perfect volume.

I was able to shake my head, and the music would change to another song like magic. It was very strange, but at least it was not the infernal itching. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it, this radio in my head...turn my head, change the station, as often as I wanted.

All kinds of music was represented. I'd go about my business, at home or work, walking down the sidewalk, or shopping and be listening to a soundtrack to my days. Lucky for me, it would stop when I went to bed, so that was appreciated.

I had no need of my I-Pod anymore. I didn't even feel embarrassed when I banged my head, or did a sudden hip-hop move in the grocery store. I even showed some people waiting at the bus stop my awesome ballet pirouettes.  Most people smiled along with me. A few tried some dance moves themselves, but I knew they couldn't hear my music. They had their earbuds plugged into their own ears. Mine was internal, organic, awesome.

Word got around soon enough. I even had an interview that was broadcast on local television. Did that make me a celebrity? I think it did. After all, I sang and danced on camera, and now was recognized everywhere I went.

I did have one strange phone call, though. It was from a travelling troupe of performers. Their talent scout asked if I wanted to tour the fifty states with their "Amazing Freak Show". I would be billed as "The Woman Who Hears Music In Her Head". They promised a nice paycheck, a giant poster of me, smiling, free carnival rides, and all the cotton candy I could ever want.

I reluctantly had to turn them down. To be honest, after a year of constant music, I was beginning to be annoyed. I mean, the same playlist was on a thousand song replay. After I'd heard them three hundred sixty five days in a row, it was getting to me...and not in a good way. My dancing was becoming jerky, and I was forgetting the words to songs. More and more I'd find myself blocking out whole genres of music.

It happened gradually. I began to feel the tiny tickles of the itch coming back. After about a month, it was in full force again, and the music had completely stopped. The itching was much worse this time, so I made another doctor appointment. This time, to my relief, the doctor made a definite diagnosis.

As he reached into my ear with his long tweezers, he pulled out an object, putting it on a paper covered tray in front of me. I recoiled in horror at the sight of it.

"What in hell is that?" I managed to ask.

"You have had a bad case of Heliocoverpa zea...earworms."


*earworm...a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind.

*Heliocoverpa zea...the larva of the moth commonly known as corn earworm.

Peace, Love, & Music 

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