It happened during Reiki – I had taken a shower beforehand, and whilst lying on a bed and Natalie cleansing my chacras, I could literally feel my left ear „close“ and even the right ear seemed to shut down a bit. I suspected water, it left me nearly deaf, and especially when we were together as a group and everbody talking, it became very difficult for me to follow the discussions, which wasn’t very pleasant.
Against expectation, it didn’t get better, and after 2 days I went to one of the small health clinics to ask for something that could unblock my ears again.
I explained the problem to the person in attendance; he asked: „Do you feel pain?“ „No“. „Do you have an infection?“. „No, it’s probably just water lodged in the ear“. He looked at me, doubtfully, disappeared into a small room, and came back with a box of medicine he put in front of me. He asked: „Do you really think this will help you?“ „Eh… well… I don’t know, what is it?“ Some jargon followed. „Ok, but what is it?“ Jargon. „Ok, but what does it do?“ „It’s against pain, and infection“. „But I don’t have pain, or an infection“. „Then it won’t help“. He smiled at me, nicely. Why is it that you feel like an idiot in those moments, although you haven’t done anything wrong? I smiled back (mostly friendly) and left.
On the third day, I was desperate enough to try ear candeling. A burning candle is stuck into your ear, non-burning end first – it’s supposed to suck out all the stuff from your ear.
I was very sceptical, but what was I to do? It’s a bit frightening to see the flame getting closer to your face and trust the beautician to hold the candle steady. When the flame got really close, the candle was withdrawn, and I sighed a sigh of relief; the beautician stabbed a q-tip around in my ear, and asked if everything was alright. She spoke into my left ear, and I could hardly hear her. So we tried it a second time, the beautician smiling a bit tightly and ramming the candle into my ear extra firmly. Didn’t help either, the ear was still blocked (to be honest, a bit more than before).
So the next day I tried another small health clinic. The guy inside was obviously of the opinion that nobody understood him, because he ended every single sentence with „you understand“? But he did use one of those ear torches, then lovingly drew little ears with ear conch and ear canal, put a lot of little dots into the picture of the left ear canal and less into the one of the right, rammed a q-tip into my right ear („does it hurt?“ „No“. „Does it hurt now?“ „YES“), diagnosed an infection (no surprise there, after the amount of tugging and poking my ears had suffered in the last days), explained that anti-biotics wouldn’t help me („you understand?“ „No“), and tried to sell anti-biotics to me („You understand?“ „NO“), for a price that corresponds roughly to half a monthly local salary. When I got up and said my good-byes, he called after me that the price was negotiable, how much was I prepared to pay, but I decided to play deaf and let ears to ears.
After a week of deafness and a further failed attempt with some ear oils, I finally visited the hospital in a larger city, Makassar, where cash paying foreigners with assumed big wallets are quickly pushed into the surgery, past queues of waiting people. After enquiring after my religion (which worried me a bit, would I meet my maker?), my ear received a suck, wash and flush, and everything is clean again and I can hear better than before.