Awesome story!Oh, you people are going to be so sorry you got me started on cockroaches ...
My grandmother, born in 1914, had some weird habits, including, as I noticed when I was about 5, sleeping with cotton in her ears. I asked mom why she did this, to which she replied, "Grandma doesn't want roaches to crawl into her ears."
If ever an answer required elaboration, it was this one. "That can happen?!? Why??" I'm pretty sure I wasn't screaming.
"No, of course not. She's just being careful. You know how she is." And I did know, but still, being the budding scientist, I sought more data. At that young age, I was already aware of observer bias, and I had observed that mom thought grandma was crazy. I had developed my own hypothesis, viz; us kids were too damn loud. I had plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this.
"Grandma, why do you sleep with cotton in your ears?"
She looked at me as if to judge my ability to hear a hard truth. Then, "When I was a little girl, a roach crawled into my ear when I was asleep. I could hear it crawling around.:-) " She gave me a knowing look. "They do that to make you crazy. Finally the doctors had to pour poison into my ear to kill it."
I only tried to sleep with cotton in my ears for a few weeks, until I rationalized that she was, indeed, crazy-ish. It's really uncomfortable, and definitely a liability when trying to detect a little brother ambush.
Years later, after her death, I ran into my great uncle, and related the tale, expecting a chuckle or two. Uh, no. Very seriously, he explained her behavior.
When grandma was 8 or 9, a cockroach had indeed crawled into her ear. And, indeed, it had made her a bit crazy. Finally, a doctor making a house call (look that up on Wikipedia, kids,) poured mineral oil into her ear, either: a) flushing it out, or b) killing it in situ.
That uncertainty made me a bit crazy for awhile, too, also.
So, to get back OT, uh, I guess I'm saying, be careful about what questions you ask?