Would you care for a split eardrum with that typhoon, madam?

Can you believe it? We went to Japan. The land of earthquakes. And we didn’t feel one. Not a quiver.

Some of you may not realise that I am home from Japan now. As I sit and type, I can hear out of one ear and the other…. well, the other is not a happy little camper. See, on Sunday while standing in my brother’s kitchen waiting for the typhoon to reach us later that night, my left ear suddenly felt “funny.” I may have said something out loud. My brother may or may not have harumphed a half-answer in acknowledgement of having heard some noise emitting from my general direction (he was reading, on the computer, don’t you know not to interrupt him? Choh!). So I did what anyone would do – I stuck my finger in my ear and pulled it out…. I won’t describe what I fetched, but it wasn’t “normal”.

I played it down, blotted the slow leak with a tissue and put my sudden lack of hearing in that side down to “my stupid sinuses” and kept on packing.

That evening, we had to go to a piano recital for my 10-year-old niece (as you do when a typhoon is coming… sure, let’s all bunker down in the auditorium and hope the cars are still there when we come out! Sounds like a hoot!). Strangely, I was feeling worse and worse but I couldn’t put a finger on just what it was. Nausea? Pain? Not exactly. Just…. pressure. In my body. Perhaps I could feel the impending doom of what was to befall me the next day when I attempted to fly home. While we sat and joined in the polite quiet golf-clapping after each performance over the next hour and a half, for some weird reason my brother’s clapping behind me was ear-splitting. Certain frequencies were beginning to hit me in the short and curlies and it was very unpleasant. Still, I had no *actual* pain. Curious. I began to feel like an empty can buckling under unseen air pressure.

In the morning, I thanked the heavens that although I had felt as if I had spent the night in a boat what with all the rocking of the house and squally winds that threatened to shake the window shutters clean off, the house was still standing. Even if the long grass in the adjacent vacant lot was not (it had been flattened sideways overnight by the high winds).  I was on the final day of what had been our wonderful trip to Tokyo and surrounds. We were heading home.

That is, if the ENT doctor cleared me to fly.

While I sat in the waiting room next to my sister inlaw, she filled in a patient sheet for me. In Japanese. I watched as she deftly wrote out my details and explained my symptoms and I couldn’t decipher a thing on the page. A young boy who had gone in ahead of us was heard screaming out. I asked Kyoko if I could get a jellybean if I was a good girl. Chortle-chortle. Little did I know what awaited me.


Stay tuned for part 2 of this happy holiday ending. It’s already gone on far too long. And I haven’t even got to the bit about the trip in the ambulance.


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