Thursday, January 04, 2007
What we feared...
This is long, and mostly I'm writing it here so I can remember it. I didn't expect the situation to be this extreme, so I just want to remember how things went.

Haleigh had an ear infection a few weeks ago, and at the recheck appointment her doctor couldn't see the ear drums clearly to be sure the infection was gone because of some wax. She sent me home to use drops and flush them myself. A week later, the wax was still there so they decided to try flushing them at the office. I don't know if I posted about this before, but for 45 minutes the MA flushed and flushed and Haleigh screamed and screamed. It was rough and I had to finally stop the nonsense and ask what else could we do.

We were referred to an ENT to check her ears and he is the greatest doctor I've ever met. Very good with kids. Haleigh loved him. He easily pulled a hunk of wax out of her right ear in 10 seconds with only minimal discomfort to her. The left ear though, the one that was flushed at the other office, was so impacted and the wax was millimeters from her ear drum. He didn't feel comfortable trying to remove it there in his office because if she merely flinched, he could damage her ear drum. Haleigh was fine with that, as she was already trying to open the door and get the heck out of there.

So this morning, my mom and I took her in to the surgical center to have the ENT examine her ears under anesthesia and remove any wax. She was upset that she couldn't have any milk this morning, but overall she was in a GREAT mood. She was so excited about our matching paper bracelets, said hi to every single person that looked at her, said thank you to anyone who talked to us, and was just very pleasant. As I stood in the prep area with her, her little naked self dressed in yellow scrubs and hospital socks that were too big, she started belting out the ABCs for all of the staff and the few other patients waiting to be wheeled back for surgery.

One by one, doctors and nurses and the anesthesiologist stopped by our little area to say hello and explain what all was going to happen. She listened to each one so intently; I knew she didn't have a CLUE what they were talking about, but she was so polite anyways. A nurse came by to take her vitals, and after trying the oxygen sensor (pulse ox?) on my finger myself, she eagerly stuck out her finger to try it on too. Finally a young male nurse came over and knelt down to her level. He listened to her heart one more time and asked if he could hold her. She shocked me by putting her arms out for him and giving him a big hug! He picked her up and collected her blankie and pacifier from me and began to leave. I kissed her and said I'd see her in a few minutes. She didn't cry, as far as I could tell, just watched me as if she'd never see me again.

A few minutes later, the doctor called me back to chat. He said he got the wax out fine, but in both ears there's gummy mucus. They're not draining correctly, and he'd like to put in tubes. He said with that mucus in there, she has probably been experiencing at least a 30% hearing loss. I couldn't believe it, but I see her every day. She doesn't sound or act any differently to me. But upon relaying this info to my mom in the waiting room, she admitted that she has noticed a change in Haleigh's speech over the past couple of months, pretty much since the first ear infection. She doesn't speak as clear any more. I feel bad for not noticing that.

She was still under anesthesia so he went ahead and put in the tubes. A few minutes after that, he called me back to chat some more, give me a script for ear drops, and just explain about not getting water in her ears for the next year while the tubes were in. He said her hearing will be normal immediately, so keep things toned down for the rest of the day. (figures as we left a huge tow truck was running next to my car and it was sooo loud, but it didn't seem to bother her) While I was waiting for him to see me and go over all of that, I could hear her waking up. She screamed and screamed and I just wanted to run back there of course.

We finally were able to join her in recovery and she was cuddled in a chair with a nurse, just sobbing her little eyes out. They said she wasn't in pain, and probably wasn't even scared, it was just the effects of the anesthetic making her feel crummy. She went to me immediately, but was just uncomfortable and had bouts of screaming for about half an hour. We just talked to her and offered her a popsicle (nope), tried not to laugh at her because she was having a tough time staying awake. Then she'd get angry about it and cry some more.

Finally got her dressed and in the car. She just stared blankly on the drive home and cried some more once we got inside. I gave her a half-dose of tylenol and some water and we laid down on the couch to watch Nemo for a bit. About 1/2 hour later, we got up and had some peanut butter toast, played with Legos, and now she's down for a nap. Seems like she feels back to her normal self now. I think I need a nap now too.


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