If you were to ask me how I would be spending my morning on the first race day of the IndyCar season I probably wouldn’t answer with “at Med Express.” Yes, us Wheelers have our fair share of random race day medical traumas. There was the time I broke my toe the night before a season ending Texas race and the time where my little brother, Chris, choked on a corn dog on the spotters stand in Chicago and had to under go emergency surgery to get it out. And how can we forget when I got an earplug stuck in my ear when Dixie won the Indy 500. And didn’t realize it until the February after the race.
So, although I decided to forgo the first race of the season, leave it to me to have a random medical mini drama before 9am on race day.
[Gorgeous race day morning in St. Pete]
photo by Daniel Incandela/via IndyCar.com
Let’s momentarily go back a few months, when the IndyCar season was ending, and Jurassic Park-esque bugs started to appear in Pittsburgh (aka stink bugs). Seriously, these things look like they are straight from the movie. Stink bugs have become my nemesis. If you thought I was terrified of spiders I wish you could see my reaction when I realize a stink bug has snuck into my apartment.
By now you’re probably thinking “Why doesn’t this girl just crush the bugs and call it a day? Whats the big deal?” I’ll tell you what the big deal is: you can’t kill them easily. No smash, smoosh, stomping or vacuuming. If you violently kill stink bugs they give off a scent that attracts more stink bugs. Since these bugs absolutely terrify me, there is no possible way I would voluntarily pick one up with a tissue and flush away.
I had to come up with more creative ways to kill them. Think premeditated murdering of bugs. In plotting my plan of attack against the stink bug regime, I learned their central nervous system can’t survive ingredients found in dial soap. Bingo. Immediately I filled up a squirt gun, yes I keep squirt guns on hand, with peppermint soap and water. No, I don’t keep dial soap on hand, but I figured Bath & Body foaming peppermint soaps had to be just as deadly.
Turns out it is. Since the end of the 2010 IndyCar season I have been squirting dead any stink bug that intrudes my apartment. Still paralyzed at the thought of picking up a dead stink bug with tissue and flushing away, I have invested in a pail and shovel to scoop up the dead pests and place them in a second deadly soap bath to confirm they don’t survive. Sounds cruel, but I’m that terrified of them.
Back on track to the morning of race day, I woke up with a weird vibration sound in my right ear. Once I was fully awake I wondered why the hell my ear was buzzing. Two thoughts later I had absolutely decided a stink bug must have crawled into my ear while I was sleeping. I honestly convinced myself that one was stuck in my ear and wrote it off as karma for murdering countless of their kind. Of course this was my payback. Suddenly an ear plug nesting in my ear for nine months didn’t seem so bad.
[The results of my ear test]
This would be when I raced to Med Express at 9:00am on a Sunday morning, when I was supposed to be getting ready for my big IndyCar kick-off brunch. Just great. After telling the to the doctor I definitely had something in my ear, I explained that it sounded like someone was blowing in my ear, and not in a good way. Seconds later she took a peek and told me my ear was free and clear. One precautionary pressure test later I was advised I has eustachian tube dysfunction, aka: my ear tube stopped working. Nothing a little Sudafed and R&R wouldn’t fix.
Since then, the wind-like noises in my ear have ceased and I’m back to normal, if not extra paranoid about stink bugs entering my apartment. The Indy Car kick-off brunch was a success and several mimosas were consumed, toasting to a stink bug not inhabiting my ear. Beware stink bugs, this is war and I mean business.
[Hooray for Indy Car season!]