More evidence that Fran isn't shy of tackling the really big topics

Let's talk ear wax. Or is ear wax, like politics and religion and how often people actually do break wind, not for polite conversation? 

We all have ear wax, yes? I looked it up and Auntie Google says it's there to moisturise the ear, to fight off infections, and to act as a shield, stopping dust, dirt, insects and presumably lost sparrows from finding their way inside your head and into your brain. 

I'm liking my ear wax more, reading that. There could be nothing worse than trying to think through something complicated like difficult long division or the Times Cryptic Crossword or the concept of nihilism only to find a random small bird flitting about among your grey cells as though he didn't have a wife and three tiny children to feed. 

But ear wax is all very well until it begins to proliferate as though in a bid to take over Warwickshire, like mine is currently doing. 

The ear wax build-up happens to me about once every two years. Normally, I go to the GP surgery, see a nurse, chat happily to her while she irrigates my head with the warmed-up contents of the Amazon river, say to her when she's finished, 'Are you SURE you're not shouting at me?' and then walk home, at least a pound lighter and therefore looking forward to a family-sized bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut after my tea.

The moment Fran realised the lipstick had been a mistake

So, I rang the GP surgery to hear a long, detailed message about how, unless you are seriously ill, you need to fill in a form on the website. 

Fair enough. I understand why, what with Covid 19. 

I filled in the form. 

I've completed shorter tax returns, that's all I'll say. 

One question was, 'Is there anything that would make your condition better?'

'Yes,' I wrote. 'Having the ear wax removed.'

Next question: 'Is there anything that would make your condition worse?'

'Yes,' I wrote. 'Not having the ear wax removed.'

Was that rude? I was getting a bit antsy by that point. 

After I'd also supplied my vital statistics, latest gas bill and a photo of my tights drawer, I pressed Send. 

I received an email. 'Please ring the surgery for a telephone appointment with a doctor.'

I rang the surgery. 'I don't think a telephone appointment is going to hack it,' I explained. 

I was expecting a terse response but the lady on the phone was hugely sympathetic. She regrettably informed me that the surgery no longer provides an ear wax removal service. 'I know,' she said, 'It's disgusting, isn't it, the way these services are disappearing. Well, I shouldn't be telling you this, but I got my daughter to do mine yesterday with one of those Chinese hot candle kits.'

I did wonder whether she was someone's mum, drafted in for the day to cover a couple of shifts. 

Her other suggestion was to ring Specsavers. Apparently, some of their branches do ear wax removal. 

So, it's feasible that an assistant at Specsavers could make a mistake and extract someone's ear wax rather than inspecting their corneas and be told, 'You should have gone to Specsavers.' 

I rang Specsavers. My nearest branch that does ear wax removal is in Birmingham, a half-hour train ride away. 

Train journey? That's not happening. Ear wax deafness is the worst problem I have at the moment. I'd like it to stay that way. 

Then, whaddya know? Auntie Google, still helpful, told me there's a local Ear Clinic, and for the small sum of EIGHTY POUNDS, I can have my ears done. 

I rang the number to book an appointment. 'As I'm paying so much,' I said, 'can I have the ear wax to bring home in a doggy bag so that I can start my own candle factory and earn some cash that way?' 

The appointment is next Tuesday. 

At least, looking on the bright side, once I've had the procedure done, and the bank manager rings to suggest that an application for bankruptcy might now be the best option, I will be able to hear him. 

Fran's ear wax candles proved hugely popular.
(Until she told the truth about them.)


  1. Oh my, what a lot of runaround - and expense - for a simple procedure, although I expect being able to hear made it worth it. I liked how you described the amount of water they use, though - it does feel like a lot, doesn't it? My husband has to have regular wax removal but I must say it doesn't improve his hearing as much as I would like. I still have to shout, just not as loud ... he's quite deaf and unfortunately they can't fix that with water.

    1. I still can't hear that well, Jenny, as it's not happening until next Tuesday :( Sorry to hear it doesn't help your husband that much. I'm still at the point where it's like a miracle cure and I feel all dizzy with it to start with.

  2. Pretty funny take on the subject of ear wax, those candles probably would not sell well.

    1. Dammit - there goes another business idea!

  3. Eighty pounds?? How much ear wax is in there?
    I remember being taken to the doctor's office late at night and mum would hold a kidney shaped dish against my neck while the doctor squirted warm water into my ears. I don't know if it was ear wax or an ear infection, but once I got a bit older I never had any trouble again. I still have occasional ear pain, but it's tooth related, since the roots of my teeth are apparently long enough to connect with every other place on my face. Which is why I get toothache during hayfever season.

    1. River, it gets worse. It's £80 whether you have one ear or two de-waxed. I know my deafness is only on one side, but you still have to pay the whole price. Sorry about your toothache - that doesn't sound a happy situation :(

  4. Fran I empathise with you, whilst also shaking with laughter about the bar of fruit and nut, and other things in your article. I have had an ear syringe a couple of times and it is amazing. The nursing sister in the local GP's surgery did it. Not that long ago I had the same problem as you; it was painful and quite distressing. It takes over your life like a headache. I squeezed warmed up almond oil into the offending ear several times a day for about 2 weeks, which is quite a nuisance in itself, and I didn't think it would work. I was planning to ring the surgery for an ear syringe, and had no idea it would be such a difficult thing to achieve, as you have described. But eventually the blockage did disappear. I read somewhere (on the internet) that the heated up oil eventually breaks and disperses the plug of wax. And often when you request an ear syringe at the surgery they require you to have done that anyway for a few weeks first. Good luck with your appointment - the relief will be immense!

    1. Yes, I've been doing the drops thing because that's what the surgery normally says. If you dared ring for an appointment to have your ears done and you HADN'T been putting drops in, you got short shrift and perhaps some kind of fine ;)

  5. Brilliant! Move over Jo Malone - there's a new range of candles in town.

    1. Probably just as well the shops aren't open!!

  6. Anonymous11/6/20 11:56

    Have you heard of Q-twists, which are a doctor-designed silicon tool (soft tipped) that you can use to (in theory) reduce the build up. I heard them recommended and am about to buy for my son!


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