Huh? What?

Unfortunately, my daughter’s hearing is deteriorating rapidly.

If you’ve spoken to her in the last two weeks, you’ve probably noticed this. It would be really, really hard not to notice. If you are talking to her at a normal tone of voice, she usually can’t hear you well enough to even know you are speaking to her, much less does she actually understand what you are saying. This is absolutely not her fault, but it is very hard not to get frustrated with her. Then something happens to remind you that she is the victim in all of this, like when you say, “Evie! I told you three times to pick this up!” and she says, “Huh?” in such a way that you realize that she never heard you the three times you told her, and then you just feel bad all over again.

It’s not all bad, though, it has led to some funny misunderstandings.

Kid: “I went to a birthday party, and we jumped into a pit of foam.”
Evie, horrified: “A pit of bones??”

I got so used to speaking loudly around her, that I find myself talking loudly to everybody. Several times I found myself shouting to Sara when it was just the two of us alone in the kitchen.

I never really realized how isolating it is to not be able to hear, and how much you miss out on. Oftentimes when she doesn’t hear something, she just lets it go. I don’t know if it’s being a kid, being embarrassed about not hearing, something about her personality, or just the fact that you get tired of asking everybody to repeat everything all the time. I’m very thankful that she’s only in preschool, and thus is not really having instruction per say at school. I can clearly see how quickly one would fall behind academically.

Anyway, we could clearly see that she was experiencing some hearing loss, but we had her tested anyway. Her hearing showed normal to mild loss in one year, and mild to moderate loss in the other. It seems to have gotten a lot worse since then.

The doctors believe that it is temporary, and due to a large build up of fluid in her ears that doesn’t seem to drain, so they’ve recommended a third round of ear tubes (you can read about round 1 and round 2). The idea is that the fluid would be able to drain through the tubes, and her hearing would go back to normal. Long term, the hope is always that she will grow enough that her ears will begin to drain normally on their own, without requiring help. It hasn’t worked so far, but then again, third time was a charm with me and ear tubes when I was little.

So hopefully everything goes well and she will be able to re-join the conversation (side note, not being able to hear apparently doesn’t impede your ability to talk).

At least Ollie’s ears are okay, right? Wrong.

We always assumed that Ollie had no problems with his ears, because he had never had any ear infections. However, you only know your child has ear infections if he says he has ear infections, and if he happens to have the pain tolerance of a UFC fighter on PCP, then he probably just doesn’t mention it. Imagine our surprise, then, when he did finally complain about an ear ache, and the doctor found evidence of “chronic ear infections”.

Perhaps he inherited daddy’s ears after all, but just forgot to mention it.

Plague House

DO NOT ENTER!

I know it is that time of year, but at the moment we seem to be over our limit as far as infection goes.

We have all been snotty and coughing for quite awhile. Sort of run of the mill stuff, just colds. Starting yesterday, it really took a turn for the worst. Poor Ollie just got hit like a ton of bricks. Double ear infections and conjunctivitis (a.k.a. “pink eye”) in both eyes, on top of the cold he already had. It’s like his whole head just dissolved into a goo. He leaves face prints on everything he touches. It’s less like a sickness and more like being cursed by a gypsy.

I really thought there was nothing sadder than seeing a a little kid with a bad cold, but then I saw Ollie with conjunctivitis. Hoo boy! This morning his eyes had literally swelled shut. At dinner last night, Evie couldn’t stop sobbing just looking at him. “He doesn’t look like Ollie!” she cried. He really did look that bad. We had to keep her from touching his eyes, because she was determined to help him see by manually opening his eyes with her fingers.

If that wasn’t enough, when I went to pick up Evie from school yesterday, it turns out she has an ear infection as well! Keep in mind that I have been feeling terrible on top of all of this. So when I woke up this morning and my left eye was too gummed over to open, I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” At least my conjunctivitis is so far contained to my left eye. I can function on some human level, so I need only look over at Oliver to realize that I really have no right to complain.

Only Sara seems to be untouched. I can only assume she made some kind of deal with the devil for her good fortune. For the rest of us, we’re just trying to keep Evie from catching pink eye.

Tubes Round 2

On Tuesday, Evie went in for another round of ear tubes. For Sara and I, this wasn’t nearly the proposition it was last time. Aside from the fact that we have been through it once, she was so young the first time that it was very traumatic to think of her going off with these doctors to be put put under the knife (can you believe she was barely older than Oliver is now?). She just seemed so vulnerable. She doesn’t seem that way anymore! This time she took the hospital by storm.

Of course, nothing can go smoothly. In this case, they forgot to put us on the surgery schedule. So we had to show up at 11:30 and wait for an opening, which didn’t come until quarter till 4. For an adult this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but for a kid it’s a little hard to not have anything to eat since 6 p.m. the night before, and nothing to drink since 9:30.

Evie was such a trooper though. There was no complaining, no whining, no bad behavior. She was just so excited and so patient. Evie got a “She looks like Reese Witherspoon” from the doctor this time, not the Shiloh Pitt that she usually gets…I guess she’s maturing? She was cracking everybody up at the hospital: telling jokes, singing, shaking her booty in her surgery outfit singing, “Look at me! Look at me!”, and finally, skipping down the hall to the operating room. I’m guessing that is not the typical response to being stuck in a hospital all day with no food, leading up to knives in your ears. Nobody could believe that she was so excited, so they kept saying things like, “It’s not going to hurt at all…” Why would you say that?? She’s obviously not thinking it’s going to, but now you’re planting the idea in her head. A girl like her is going to pick up on the fact that everybody keeps telling her it’s not going to hurt and start to wonder why they keep reassuring her.

I will give them this, the child-life specialist gave her a really nice blonde haired, blue eyed “buddy” doll, dressed in a gown/hairnet/face mask that was ‘just like her’. It’s a really nice, high quality doll (way better than all the junk they piled on us later, like the plush Donald Duck). Evie took to it right away, and took it to school the next day to show it off. She really cares for this doll, putting her to bed, reassuring her she’s not going to have any more surgery, etc. which is a lot more than I’ve ever seen her care for any of her other “friends”. It’s like they went through a shared experience together or something. I’m sure by next week it will just be one of the endless parade of stuffed animals.

I had a doctor’s appointment at 4, which seemed like it would be no problem when we expected the surgery to be in the morning, and even after, when we were told to come in at 11:30. As it was, I left immediately after she went down, and didn’t get back until she was already awake in recovery. I had to take Oliver with me, because we weren’t sure he was going to be allowed in the recovery room, and if Sara had him we wouldn’t have had any choice (ultimately, he was allowed in).

By the time I got back there, Evie already had them eating out of the palm of her hand. The nurse said when she woke up she just said, “Hello!” I imagine this was a bit unusual based on some other examples I saw in other recovery rooms of people waking up from anesthesia. Of course, at some point she ended up singing the “State Song” for a packed room of nurses (and by the way, go click that video and watch her singing it when she was only 2 1/2…ADORABLE!). Her performance garnered her $5 (which was $3 more than she got singing it at karaoke the other night). The nurses wanted to know what her youtube page was, so there’s the link.

One of the best parts of surgery is that you get a lot of popsicles. Evie was munching away on them in the recovery room, and poor Oliver couldn’t take it anymore! He just started crying until he got a popsicle too. We had brought some food for Evie to eat when she was done. Her special “after-surgery lunch” that she picked out was pretzels and a peanut butter and jelly bagel. However, when she tried to eat it, she got a little sick from the anesthesia. So she had to wait until she got home to eat anything.

So that was it, she slept a lot at home and was back to her old self in the morning, no worse for the wear. Hopefully we’ll get rid of those ear infections this time!

Surgeried

We’re back from the hospital, ears freshly tubed.  Evie is fine, you would never know anything happened at all.  At first they said that we wouldn’t be able to be with her when she went to sleep, but they ended up letting Sara go back with her.

Here’s to no more ear infections!

And, as usual, a nurse said she looked like Shiloh Pitt.

Baby’s First Surgery or A Series of Tubes

First, let me just say 😦

So, in addition to just being generally sick every week for the last year or so, Evie has been dealing with a rash of ear infections.  As you recall from my other posts, this originally started back on Halloween.  So it has been over 2 months, several antibiotics and many, many doctors appointments, and after all of that time she still has fluid in her ears.

The surgery to put tubes in her ears is scheduled for the 13th.  It is a pretty simple procedure, it supposedly only takes 5 minutes, but you always have risks with anesthesia and stuff.  Still, it really isn’t much to worry about; I myself had tubes put in 3 times when I was little.  They should fall out by themselves in about a year, so the hope is we make it through this winter and next with them.

As I’ve said, I had many, many problems with my ears when I was little, so I should have seen this coming.  But it stinks and I don’t have to like it!

 

In regards to the title of this post, I have always been enamored with the way the titles of Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes always had “blah blah” or “blah blah”, usually involving a pun or two of some sort.  Something hilarious like “Axe Me Another or Heads You Lose!” I would title all of my blog posts in such a fashion except I am not nearly that clever.  And as for the series of tubes thing, perhaps you don’t live on this planet (planet nerd I mean) and you missed the whole series of tubes meme.  Why in god’s name am I spending so much time explaining the title of this post?  Who knows.  But just so you know it is this sort of agonizing that causes me to spend hours and hours to bring you high quality posts such as this.

::sigh:: Okay, I’ll stop now.

Thanksgiving update is in there somewhere

So, I haven’t really given a life update in a while, so I’m going to throw a bunch of stuff in here.

The Saturday a week before Thanksgiving, we participated in a parenting first: taking our child to the emergency room.  It wasn’t really an emergency per say, but Evie was showing a lot of signs of an ear infection which she had just gotten over (so we thought) and we were supposed to leave that day for a week of vacation.  I thought this was a rite of passage because when I was little we had to go to the emergency room like a million times (mostly due to ear infections), but Sara said they didn’t go very often when she was little.  Anyway, it took a while but everybody was nice and it wasn’t the horror story I was envisioning.  The doctor said the ears were a little pink but she couldn’t say for certain that she had an ear infection.  Luckily they gave us the antibiotic anyway since her eardrum ruptured less than 24 hours later!  They also gave us a handy sheet with information on it such as how to say some of the tougher medical words (in FECT shun in case you were wondering).  The second antibiotic gave her bad diarrhea for a week (“thanks dad!” – future Evie) but seemed to clear things up.  However, at her follow up it looks like there still may be a problem, we were referred to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor.  The result of that appointment was yet another round of antibiotics and the possibility of tubes in her ears come January.  Everyone in my family has ear trouble.  Apparently we have small ear canals which makes fluid sit longer which is a breeding ground for bacteria.  So it looks like she has a legacy to live up to, unfortunately! 😦  

So we went to MI where I deposited Sara and Evie for the week before coming back to work (hence the temporary bachelor-hood).  I thought I would have lots of time to relax, but I had quite a list of things to do, so it went pretty fast.  I did catch up on a lot of sleep though.  While she was gone, Sara got her haircut really short and donated it to Beautiful Lengths.  She’s super cute. 🙂

I caught back up to them at my mom’s house where everybody (including Sara’s family) came for Thanksgiving.  Good times, good eats, and Evie learned a new religion:

We also managed to hit up my dad’s, where Sara collected many sticks and pine cones which can be hard to come by in Chicago, and Science Central.  Science Central suffered an unfair comparison since we had just recently been to the Please Touch Museum, but it was actually a pretty good time.  We spent longer there than we expected to.

Evie tried her first taste of bacon, which was a momentous occasion!  She liked it of course.  She also tried something else:

You probably can’t tell from this picture, but she really liked that as well.

Although she is still sleeping through the night, she has had some setbacks after vacation.  She has woken up once a couple of nights and also seems to have decided that 4 a.m. is a pretty good time to get up.  Although we don’t let her get out of her crib until 5:30, sometimes she just stays awake and plays or cries.  Which means I am back to sleeping on the floor sometimes.  Hopefully we are done with that and back on track though after just a few nights.  Last night she slept until 5:30 (whoever thought I would be happy to “sleep in” until 5:30?!)

She knows well over 200 words now and she’s making 3 word sentences.  She is especially into Christmas words at the moment like pistmas tree, santa, snowman, angel, reindeer, snowflake, sled, etc.  She can recognize about 6 colors; blue, green, pink, orange, purple and brown but she doesn’t always get those right.  She can “read” (i.e. recognize) about 6 written words; stop, zoo, Evie, mommy, daddy and taxi.  That part is the most amazing to me.  I know that she’s not really reading per say, but it still seems like you aught not to be able to recognize words by 16 months.  The doctor said she is speaking somewhere between a 2 year old and a 3 year old level.  

I try not to brag about my daughter or get too excited about things, especially since I don’t have any frame of reference about how much a kid is supposed to be doing, but I suppose writting all of that on my blog is bragging a *little* bit. 🙂

Happy Halloween

This year for Halloween, we got something kind of scary…last night, Evie’s eardrum ruptured.

Now apparently it is not as bad as it sounds, and it is actually quite common.  In fact, it is apparently the best thing that could have happened to her because before it happened she was in a lot of pain and supposedly when it ruptures it releases the pressure causing her to feel better.  The doctor said it should re-seal in a day or two.

Anyway, she has severe infections in both ears.  I feel really bad for her since I had chronic ear infections when I was little.  I had tubes in my ears 3 times and probably had hundreds of ear infections through childhood.  As a result I really really hate them and know what she is going through.  I’m really hoping that this is just an isolated incident and she didn’t inherit my tiny ear canals.

Saying she has her daddy’s ears isn’t necessarily a compliment.