poured out before bed
“Have you ever seen a fat patch on an eardrum perf?” Dr. ENT smiles as if about to share with me a secret, precious treasure.
“Ooo, no,” I reply. “I’ve heard of fascial patches before, but I’ve never seen either type. Does our next patient have one?”
“Yep. I patched it about a month ago.” He stops outside the exam room and lowers his voice. “She stuck a crayon in her ear and perforated the drum. The hole was almost too big for a fat patch, but I got it to work. We’ll make sure you get a look.”
The doc knocks and we find on her mother’s lap a toddler of about two, hair as red as can be, with the roundest walnut peepers I’ve seen in quite a while. She giggles and holds out a stuffed dog’s paw to shake my hand.
“How has Joan been doing since surgery?” Dr. ENT asks, to which mom gives effusively favorable report. A few more salient questions later and mom sits on the table, little Joan in her lap, ready for the exam. Dr. ENT entreats me to look first and describe what I see. I start by looking in her plush dog’s ears, describing his fuzzy canal and extracting some “earwax” lint, garnering squealy joy from little Joan, who grins and sits perfectly still as I examine her nose, mouth, and ears. Her right ear is pristine; the left has a brown scab anteriorly over the patch, a beautiful new blood vessel coursing across the drum to feed the graft.
“You have such interesting ears! And you did so awesome letting me look! Thank you Joan!” I exclaim, and hand the otoscope to Dr. ENT, who steps forward to confirm my findings. Grasping the scope in his right hand, he holds back little Joan’s pinna with the left.
As he leans in, Joan, who had been behaving beautifully, sporting the biggest possible smile, starts. In one smooth and absurdly quick motion she pulls away and sinks her tiny teeth into the dorsum of Dr. ENT’s hand. She does not break skin, but leaves an erythematous double row of teeth that promises a bruise.
“JO-AN, NO!” mom screams and grabs the little red head between her palms. “What are you DOING?”
Joan wrenches her head away and looks up at her mother with the sweetest of innocent eyes.
“Doggie first,” she says matter of factly, holding her soft pal out to the shocked doc.