Just now, I was in the doctor's office, to ask whether I need to continue taking these stupid pills (yes I do). I was sitting up on the table there, waiting, with the door open to the hallway. I sat looking at the two chairs in the room thinking that they would be more comfortable than sitting on the table, dangling my feet as they slowly went numb, when I realised that I could hear a patient in the other room.
It was a little boy, moaning over and over, and kind of crying a bit. And (for once) I didn't feel annoyed by it - I recognised it. I said to myself, "Huh. Sounds like that kid has an ear infection." Just then, the doctor went into the room, and starting talking about what medicines he was prescribing for the ear infection. (why, yes - the walls are very thin - why do you ask?)
I remember getting very nasty earaches and infections when I was little. And moaning and crying just like that. And, even then, as a little kid, feeling like a bit of a moron for doing it - yes, everyone knew I was in pain, and no, the moaning wasn't making anything any better - but I just couldn't stop because it hurt so much and made me so miserable and something had to come out of me or I would die from the unfairness and pain of it all.
During my last one, I remember my father taking me to the clinic, where we waited hours in the waiting room, then were moved (only now do I think of the possibility that they moved us because I was driving everyone crazy) to wait for an even longer time on some chairs in the hallway. I remember just laying down across two of the moulded chairs, feeling the hard, cold plastic grow warm under my cheek, feeling the tears run sideways across my face and into my hair, wishing it would all just go away - when something gave way inside my ear. Suddenly, I could hear again, and the world was unnaturally loud. The pain subsided as if by magic - not gone, but at least I could see that it was losing the battle.
And that's when the doctor called me into the exam room.
It all came back just now, listening to the kid cry - I knew instantly what he was feeling, and my heart went out to him. I wanted to stick my head out into the hallway as they were leaving and tell him that I knew what he was going through, and how much it really, really sucks, but that what the doctor was saying was true, and someday he would have his last ear infection, and life would suck just a little bit less.
But I didn't.