In the hospital. I'd offer a prize for the correct guess, but these days that seems to be the most likely--and therefore not prize-worthy--option.
Oh. I won't bore you with the details. I will bore you with a story from my visit with an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor here. I had been given one hour's notice that I was scheduled for a sinus biopsy. Whaaaa???!!! Is that even possible? Can we please NOT!?
So I was wheelchaired to the department, totally not happy with my rapidly-approaching appointment with something being shoved up my nose and cutting something out. I met the doctor, who to be fair, was really nice. He was checking my sinuses, checking my nose, checking my ears. He decided upon examination that I probably didn't need the biopsy. I mouth kissed him where he stood. In my relieved mind, at least.
As he went about the business of checking my ears he said, "Oh. You've got some stuff in here; let's just get it out while we're at it." He spent a few minutes fumbling around in my ear canal and then pulled out--I sh*t you not--the largest quantity of ear wax I have ever seen in my life. Not just a q-tip full. I mean:
--two small tootsie rolls, squished
--8 quarters in diameter and thickness
--perhaps the shape of three large popped popcorn kernels
--about the volume of a toddler's handful of play-doh
I saw it and immediately blurted, "Oh my lord, is that for real?!!!" He answered cheekily, "No. I keep a stash of it under the chair just to freak patients out." I was stunned. Perhaps more stunned than I'd have been getting my sinuses biopsied.
I asked him how I could stop that from happening again. He said, "Ah. Don't bother. How old are you? 34? Come back when you're 68 and I'll remove it again." But seriously, y'all. If I take nothing else away from this hospitalization it will be the following:
Apparently, your ear canal has three parts: the first third you can see and wipe with a q-tip. The middle third is where the wax is created and which has enzymes/proteins/something that pushes the wax out toward the first third of the ear. The inner third is an area of the ear that has no naturally occurring wax--and no mechanism for moving it out if it gets in there. So, you feel like you are cleaning those babies really well, but you are actually stuffing wax all the way down the canal to the portion of the ear that has no mechanism for getting rid of it. Which is what I've apparently been doing for 34 years. Which is how I have been toting a couple of tootsie rolls in my ear canal without knowing it.
Learn from my errors, young grasshoppers. Fear The Sinus Biopsy. And do NOT put q-tips in your ear!!