I wish I could send this headline in to the National Enquirer! One of the things I have to do here is to come up with easy and inexpensive solutions for sometimes annoying or vexing problems that our beneficiaries have. And I don’t mean to make light of a problem by the title of this post. Not everything is fixable or treatable with medicine and some things just don’t need medicine, even though some of the beneficiaries think that I, the American, must have something better than is available here. But sometimes, something simple and generally available to everyone is the easiest.
Case in point. I saw one of our beneficiaries, Dinkenesh, a few weeks ago for a variety of problems. Some were easily treated, like a urinary tract infection. Numbness in her feet is a little less easy to treat as it is due to one of the HIV medications. But a big problem was her ears. Her elderly mother was with her and did most of the talking. The patient herself was very quiet, rarely spoke and just seemed aloof. A look in her ears showed that there was impacted wax–very common here. I’ve learned that trying to get this out with irrigation can be painful and it doesn’t always work–unless the wax can be softened up enough to come out easily. So, I’ve been prescribing a few drops of cooking oil to be put into the ear canal at bedtime, with a piece of Kleenex stuck into the ear to keep it in there.
Well, a few weeks later, we made another home visit to Dinkenesh and her mother. Mama was so happy that Dinkenesh could hear again and was convinced that a miracle had occurred. And the change in Dinkenesh was very obvious. She was interactive with us, conversant and was generally happier. And a look in her ears revealed they were clean as a whistle, with no wax and normal appearing ear drums! And the best part was I didn’t have to irrigate out wax!