I have had a lot of chaffy thoughts this week. You know, those completely unproductive, unrelated bits of gunky thought that float around in your cranium and make it hard to sleep at night?

Oh, my chaffy thoughts aren't of great consequence. For instance, I've had a horrible cold-sinus-cough thing going on for over a week. I've done all the things one does for this -- antibiotics, sudafed, water, rest -- but its sparked an inordinate amount of thought about my.... eustachion tubes. Right now, they're terribly sore and feeling fully and blocked. They itch. I am acutely conscious of them.

I looked up some information about eustachion tubes online and discovered some pretty amazing things about my own body. I discovered that not everyone knows how to click their ears open. I can, using a small muscle somewhere near my jaw, click my eustachion tubes open. I've always been able to do it and I don't really know how I do it, I just do. I never realized that the sensation I used to get of my own voice echoing inside my head wasn't a symptom of teenage melancholia but of blocked eustachion tubes.

Here's another crazy thing I found out and I am hoping to follow up on. Our balance is maintained by our ears - there are tiny "stones" in our ears that "whirl" around and keep our bodies oriented in space. I discovered there is a strong link between vestibular (the part of the ear that regulates balance) disorders and anxiety. And that even when a person's balance seems fine, there can still be vestibular disorders and resulting anxiety - even panic-attacks.

My mother has pretty intense anxiety. So does my son, who is prone to panic attacks. We also all have terrible sinus issues. It makes me wonder how much of younger-self anxieties -- fear of the dark, social anxiety, panic over being late -- most of which I assumed were psychological -- how much can be reasonably attributed to my dang eustachion tubes?

Course I am now going to see an ENT, as is my son. And I am amused that my chaffy thoughts led to some wheat to chew on.