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The Midnight Earache.

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See? You do learn things when you go to herbalist school.

Back in 1998, when I was attending the SWSBM, Jonno taught us physiology for a week or three.

This is one tidbit that stuck:

Your (not yet talking) kid has been screaming his head off all evening, but as you are more or less experienced parents you didn't go see a doc: the kid will calm down by bedtime anyway.

Except that he doesn't calm down. By 2200 hours you get worried, by 2300 hours you get frantic, by 2301 you're in the car, kid bundled in, on the way to a clinic that's open at this time of day.

By 2400 or so a doctor deigns to see your kid (except if the doc is busy with more pressing things, in which case it'll take until 0300 hours).
Said doc looks at kid, check everything, comes up blank.
And takes out the thingy which docs use to look into people's ears and uses it to look into kid's ear, aha, it's all red: it's an earache. Here's your antibiotics, have a good morning. Next!

... of course the ear is all red. All of the mucous membranes in the ear/nose/throat area are all red - he's been screaming at the top of his lungs for hours, and those mucous membranes are all interconnected.

That's the midnight earache. The doc gives antibiotics so he won't have to send the parents home empty-handed -- parents do complain about docs who do that.
The parents want something besides a pat on the back for their waiting patiently for hours with a screaming kid in tow in a cold waiting room full of scary characters. If that's antibiotics then so be it: they've done something for their kid now and can go home to grab a few hours of exhausted sleep.

What was the problem, then?

It might have been a bit of cabbage that didn't agree with the gut. It might have been a tooth pushing a teensy bit too hard. It might have been a bruise from a fall earlier in the day. It might have been anything.
But an earache? Teehee, pull the other one.
And those antibiotics won't do a thing, except calm the parents' nerves ... and mess up the kid's immune system.

Related entries: Quick fix: earache - Earaches in kids - Ech for earaches