Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Medicine's Dirtiest Job

Over dinner last night, conversation with a physician friend turned to the least appealing medical specialties. It turns out that – worse than even urology and proctology – otolaryngology, or ear, nose, and throat, is medicine’s ickiest job. Apparently, Unilever’s promotion of Q-tips for ear cleaning has unwittingly conned us into deafening ourselves. Our occasional cotton swab ear-drilling packs the wax into a wall that, over time, dams the ear canal and muffles the television. We're then subject to the indignity of the doctor power-washing our ears with, and I quote the good doctor here, “chunks of wax flying out”. This crude irrigation comprises a substantial portion of the otolaryngologist's day. Point taken.

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