You put a burning candle in your ear?!!?

I went to the emergency room the other day and there were two receptionists manning the front desk.  My trip to the ER turned into a verbal adventure.

Me:  I was trying to clean my ears but the wax in my right ear is not coming out and is lodged deep inside.

Receptionist 1 (R1):  OK.  Let me have your ID card and then you will see the doctor.  You said you are a private patient?

Me:  Yes, I am a private patient.

Receptionist 2 (R2):  You have a problem with your right ear?

Me:  Yes, and I require an ENT specialist’s assistance.

R2 (making a gesture of clicking on a lighter and moving it to her right ear):  If you have a problem with your ear, why then did you light a candle and put it in your ear?

I did not understand what she was saying and confusion must have shown on my face.

R2:  You said you have wax in your ears.  It means you put a burning candle in your ear and ended up with wax in there.  Why would you do that?

Me: No, no!  I did not do that.  The dirt in one’s ears is called ‘wax’ in English and that’s what I am talking about.

R2:  Oh, OK.  I understand now.  I wondered why you would want to burn yourself.

R1, as she gave me back my ID card:  May I ask something?  For how long have you lived in Austria?

Me:  Four years.

R1:  That’s a long time.  How come you don’t have health insurance?

Me:  I have insurance through my employer, but not through the Austrian Government.

R1:  I see.  I am sorry for asking, but I am a noisy person.

I got my ID card and took a seat.

R1 (speaking to herself):  Noisy?  I am noise. I am nose. Aargh!  How do I say it?  Nose?  I am nose? Yes, I am nose.

I knew R1 wanted to say she was ‘nosey’, but I did not feel like running an English lesson at that time and so I left her to her conclusion.


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gallivanta
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:16:58

    Glad your ear is better.


  2. Sonel
    Jan 20, 2016 @ 04:41:04

    Glad to hear your ear problems were fixed. It must be difficult sometimes when people don’t understand what you’re trying to say or don’t know the words commonly used for these kinds of ailments. What do they call ‘earwax’?


  3. jedib
    Jan 18, 2016 @ 13:01:10

    Oh my! There actually are people who stick a candle in their ear trying to remove wax 😉 Just google “ear candling.” I’ve always been skeptical of this practice…


    • Zambian Lady
      Jan 19, 2016 @ 08:53:07

      Well, well, what a surprise. People are brave – I could not do that. It is surprising what remedies are out there. I have learnt a new one today, but I will definitely not use it 🙂


  4. Lori
    Jan 17, 2016 @ 20:56:28

    Oh boy, that truly was an adventure in communication. Glad to read that your ear is feeling better.


  5. earthriderjudyberman
    Jan 16, 2016 @ 18:00:53

    Zambian lady … Very funny. The communication break downs do offer some amusing moments. I’m glad your medical problems have been cleared up despite the “noisey” woman. 😉


    • Zambian Lady
      Jan 16, 2016 @ 18:12:30

      It was a funny conversation, but I am glad they understood enough to help me.


      • earthriderjudyberman
        Jan 16, 2016 @ 18:17:11

        I often wonder how I came across to a Parisian hotel owner when I tried describing being evacuated from a subway. This happened many years ago. I tried to tell her using my limited French and have to laugh at myself for that conversation.

      • Zambian Lady
        Jan 16, 2016 @ 18:27:07

        I can only imagine. It would be interesting to get her side of the story. Communication can be funny if either party can’t speak the other’s language.

      • earthriderjudyberman
        Jan 18, 2016 @ 13:32:11

        I was monosyllabic – mostly one-word sentences. For me, it was very funny. I was disappointed that the owner no longer ran the hotel when we returned to Paris in 2013.

  6. Cheyanne
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 22:49:46

    Ha! Well a common Mexican/Latin American folk remedy for ear aches/ear infections seems to be to roll a piece of newspaper into a cone, lay on your side on the couch with the uncomfortable ear sticking straight up, put the pointy end of a cone in your ear and light the other end on fire! My step-grandma was born in Mexico and she tried to do that to me when I was a kid. I FREAKED. No thank you. No one’s sticking a piece of paper in my ear and then lighting it on fire!

    Apparently it really works hough!


  7. dorannrule
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 17:57:29

    Good that you got the candle removed and that you were understood by the noisey woman. Hilarious story with a happy ending.


  8. masgautsen
    Jan 14, 2016 @ 16:00:44

    Did they fix your ear?


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