About Those Medicated Ear Drops

For four years, there were medicated ear drops sitting atop the dark wood dresser in my bedroom. I was four when I had an ear infection which was also where the ear drops came from. All I remember is that they stayed on my dresser and I knew they were there. Sometimes, I would randomly request that my mother give me the ear drops so I could put them in my ears. I don’t know why, other than I must have thought having medicated ear drops sitting on my dresser was cool. “You want to use those ear drops?” she would always ask me in a voice laced with surprise. Since the drops were no more than a cleaning solution, she saw no harm in letting me use them. Yet, she always remained surprised in a motherly way that attempts to guide you towards second-guessing your desires and actions. Whenever she handed them to me, I would happily drop the oil into my ears and lay on my side as the thick liquid slipped downwards, blocking out all sound save for an ocean of air humming louder than sea shells.

Eventually, I found ways to reach the ear drops without commissioning my mother’s help. It didn’t take long before I discovered how easy it was to reach the top of my dresser by creating makeshift steps out of the bottom two drawers. I would boost myself up high enough to reach whatever object I wanted, and then jump off just as the teetering dresser threatened to topple onto me. One day, in an effort to reach the medicated ear drops, my fingers brushed against the cap of the bottle and knocked it farther back. I stretched my arm as far as I could and blindly felt around for the bottle. Again, my fingers lightly brushed against it and I could feel the cool plastic vial reeling even further away from me. Determined, I jumped off the dresser and pulled the third drawer outwards just enough for the toes of one foot to curl around the rough edge. The dresser teetered hazardously the instant I raised one foot higher, but I paid it no heed and sank my toes into the dark denim jeans stuffed in the drawer. The dresser tilted forward, and I quickly tried to shift my weight to balance it. However, I was only five at the time and had another year before I learned the subtle art of balancing the dresser with my weight as I climbed it to precarious heights. In a roaring crash, the dresser pushed me into the carpet and dumped dust and various bottles and medications I never knew I owned onto my head. Among the legion of mysterious bottles of pills, there was the oft used bottle for my yearly head lice infestations (daycare will do that to you), something for the chickenpox I had when I was two, something else for the skin rashes I randomly developed from the ages of three to four, and a bottle of the pink children’s flu goo of the 80’s that was made to taste like five-minute old Bazooka.

“What happened?!?” my mother shrieked as she threw open my door and found me squashed beneath my dresser, my face covered in a layer of dust and outdated medications.

Despite being full of clothes, my dresser was made of fake wood and therefore was pretty light and easy to squirm out from under. I had fully wriggled my way to freedom by the time my mother came over to lift the dresser up and reposition it. “I wanted something,” I answered after she asked me what happened a second time.

“Why didn’t you just ask me to get it for you?” she asked.

I shrugged, not possessing the proper vocabulary to express that I simply wanted to be self-sufficient. She stuffed my clothes back into all the drawers and then shoved the drawers back into the dresser. She then scooped up all the medications and dumped them haphazardly back atop the dresser, sans dust. “Don’t climb that dresser,” she warned me, “you can kill yourself if that thing falls on your head.” I sat mournfully staring upwards at the invisible ear drops that had returned to their resting place atop my dresser. Unfortunately, this time they were in a place I had not put them, which meant that I had no idea where to blindly reach my hand when standing on the second drawer.


  1. "Wha happen?!?"

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