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Loud and louder and then very quiet

I was that kid. The one with two volumes: loud and louder. I know I was that kid because my parents, my friends, my teachers all reminded me – sometimes not so nicely – to “lower your voice, Jennifer!” I wasn’t trying to annoy everyone. I didn’t even realize my ear-splitting decibels. I was simply enthusiastic.
On the – hang on let me count – fifth most important day of my life, my baptism as a teenager, I made my declaration of faith, and my then-boyfriend commented, “She is SO LOUD!” That is what I remember about that day. But he’s happily married with a beautiful family now, so I guess I can forgive him for that. Also for ripping out my heart and tossing it into a Cuisenart. So whatever.
But my poor friends. And my college roommates. I’m surprised they still love me.
Those who met me as an adult have a hard time believing I was that kid. “Really?” they say. “You’re so soft-spoken.” Yeah, well. I think at some point I realized that my mouth got me in more trouble than it’s worth, and I tasted my shoe one too many times, so I simply stopped talking and retreated into myself. Behold, the birth of an introvert. I’m not snobby. I just don’t speak unless I have something important to say, and I am hyper-aware of my volume level.
Of course, now I have a son who has stolen my crown as that kid. If he’s not singing or sleeping, he’s talking. And talking. And talking. And his volume can crack your ear drum. We daily remind him to “stop yelling” and “speak in a quiet voice, please” and “SSSSHHHHHHHH!!!!!” – but I’m questioning the point. He doesn’t realize he’s so loud. He’s more than enthusiastic – which, I suppose, is an embraceable quality. And, eventually, he’ll figure it out. He’ll embarrass himself enough that he’ll learn to lower his voice. Hopefully by the time he stops wetting his pants.
Last week, I avoided talking altogether – at least in public – because I had so much fluid in my ear that my entire head echoed and I had no way of knowing just how loud I was speaking. While hosting the 7th grade girls, I bolted upright at 5 a.m., panicked because I heard an alarm going off. But no, it was not an alarm. It was an incessant ringing in my ears. 
(I also woke up early one morning very clearly hearing the words and music to a David Cook song, and I thought somebody had turned on the iPod in our family room. Alas, that too was in my head – but I’m not sure I can blame that on ear fluid. I’m pretty sure that one happened because I’m losing my mind.)
The fluid hung around for about two weeks before my ear started to hurt. Then my throat hurt. Then my face hurt. Then my head hurt. Which wouldn’t be nearly as bad if I weren’t getting on a plane and meeting my verybestfriendintheentireworld for a weekend getaway. Ear fluid+sore throat+headache+airplane = very, very bad.
I don’t even have a primary care doctor. 
  1. I don’t get sick very often. 
  2. I live with an MD. 
  3. I don’t like taking medicine. 
But desperate times and all that. I went to the Minute Clinic at CVS one night, and the nurse practitioner lightly brushed fingers over my neck, peeked in my ears, glanced at my throat, and declared there was nothing wrong with me. “So why are my ears popping?” I asked. “Weeelllll…I don’t know, but I can tell you what it’s not. There is no fluid in your ears, and your glands aren’t swollen, and your throat looks fine.”
Um, really?
The next day, I walked through the woods to visit my friend/neighbor/pediatrician. I figure she sees more ear infections and sore throats in one day than Miss Minute Clinic sees in a year. “You have a lot of fluid in your ear,” she said, “and your throat is really red. Your glands are pretty swollen, too.” She didn’t think it looked like strep throat, but suggested getting tested anyway, just in case. And a mono test. “If you weren’t going out of town, I’d say wait another day or so – but you don’t want to be sick on your trip.” No ma’am, I most certainly do not.
Off to the doctor I go.
Or the PA, since the family practice guy at our church did not have clinic that afternoon. This particular PA talked interminably to the floor for fifteen minutes and blamed my predicament on allergies. He did not see the fluid in my ears or the white spot on the back of my throat that I found the night before in the bathroom mirror holding the light from my iPhone. He did not order a strep test or a mono test but suggested a nasal spray, a decongestant, and a Neti pot. Oh, yes. The Neti pot. Have you seen the Neti pot? It works. But it is very, very weird. Pouring water into your nostril and allowing it to flow out the other nostril is seven different kinds of wrong. I may have a slight case of PTSD.

Oh, my. Seriously. I can’t stop laughing.

(If you’re having a really bad day, please click on the link above for the Official Neti Pot Instructional Video. But empty your bladder first.)

So two days later, here I sit on a plane, flushed out and functional, heavily medicated and vertical – but still a little achy in my ear and throat. (And if you see me with an antibiotic, I have no idea where it came from. It mysteriously appeared in my toiletry bag. Really.)

But not achy enough to keep me from this:
When we’re going
How we’re getting there
 What we’re doing

My amazing husband conspired with Gretchen, and together they planned and booked a three-day cruise for the two of us – Gretchen and me. We’re meeting in Miami, sailing to Nassau, spending a day on the beach, and coming back. I am beyond excited.
So excited, in fact, that I might speak VERY LOUDLY to adequately express my joy.

One thought on “Loud and louder and then very quiet

  1. I came upon your blog while googling a random phrase about a corner, and I am impressed! I am LOUD too!! But unlike you, I still don't have volume control. Congrats! Haha!I quickly skimmed the pages on your blog, the one thing, that's just awesome, you put the facts out there for all to see. Awesome! Less eloquently and less often, but I also blog, stop by if you'd like…www.bubnsis.blogspot.com

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