Illustration: Ear Exam (Image credit: Wix)
About nine months into my aliyah (immigration to Israel), I woke up one morning with the most incredible ear pain in my right ear. There was no doubt in my mind that I was dealing with an unusual ear infection, so I immediately went to the doctor.
When I walked into the physician’s waiting room, I crouched my head down and used the base of my palm to pinch my ear, hoping it would alleviate the pain. It didn’t. I then sat down and began to cry hysterically, since I didn’t know what else to do with myself.
As I looked around the waiting room, I noticed that there were a few people ahead of me — I showed up without an appointment. But thank G-d, they all let me go before them since they could see that I was in such agony. Do you see why I love Israel so much?
The doctor took a look at my ear and throat, and then told me that he could not see anything wrong. What? That was impossible!
The physician told me that he was going to refer me to an ear, nose, and throat specialist, who would be able to see me as soon as I got there. Did you know that they are called “otolaryngologists"? Well, yeah… so did I…
I took a cab and went straight to the otolaryngologist, however you pronounce it. I cried almost the entire way, until the pain began to move into my cheekbone. At that point, I had to limit my crying because any movement of my mouth began to cause extreme tenderness to my cheek.
The specialist checked me out. He was very tall — I think over six feet — slim, and probably in his 80s or so. Apparently I was checking him out too.
After examining me, he gently touched the right side of my jaw and the following conversation ensued (Keep in mind that he had an extremely thick Israeli accent):
Israeli Doctor (strong Israeli accent): "Okay, young lady, I see the problem."
Me (it hurt to speak, but I couldn’t shut up): "What is it?"
Israeli Doctor (strong Israeli accent): "When you go to sleep at night, you grrrrrrrind your teeth. And because your teeth are connected to your mouth, which is connected to your jaw, you have done some damage to your jaw."
Israeli Doctor (strong Israeli accent): "And because your jaw is connected to your skull, which is near the front of your ear, you are feeling the pain in your ear. And this, young lady, is your problem."
Me: "I don’t grind my teeth at night! I know I don’t grind my teeth at night!"
Israeli Doctor: "Okay,young lady. The next time you go to sleep at night, ask the person next to you if you grrrrrrrind your teeth."
Me: "I don’t sleep next to anyone!"
Israeli Doctor: "And this, young lady, is also your problem."
Spoken like a true Israeli.
Eilleen worked as a writer/producer for Cable Television promotional copy in the US. She fulfilled her dream of making Aliyah years later. She uses her energetic, creative, fun and quirky style to be an advocate for Israel. This article is reprinted from the author's blog. Click here to read more of this writer's work in The Jerusalem Herald.