So, there I was, in plaster, in bed, in hospital, in Baiyin, in China and it occurred to me that now might be a good time to see to another very minor but rather irritating problem that had been bothering me for a while. Ear wax.
Every few years ago the wax in my ears begins to build up and I go to see the nurse at my local GP to get something done about it. She gives me ear drops that I use for about a week to soften it and then one more visit and a syringe full of warm water squirted into the ear washes it all out. Hey presto, done for another few years.
I mentioned it to Doctor Hu who arranged a visit later thta morning to the relevant department. When I arrived I was a litt;e disconcerted to see a large tray filled with long thin knives, spoons and needles.
They proceded to use these implements of torture - and I am choosing my words with precision - to poke, prod and scrape all the way down to my ear drum. It took about twenty minutes and I will admit that it was so painful I was screaming out like a baby. For the whole time I was terrified that one small slip could render me permanently deaf.
Eventually the looked again and declared my ears to be a wax free zone. There was however, they said, always the risk of infection from this non-too-gentle process so I would have to use ear drops for a few days to prevent it. The handed me a bottle. It was very clearly labelled - in English - "EYE DROPS". I pointed this out and they told me that it's the same thing. It's rather concerning that they think eyes and ears are the same thing, though they probably meant that the drops are the same, or at least will both do the job of preventing infection.
All the same, next time I feel myself going deaf I will wait till I can go see a nurse in the UK.