Surgery Successful

Evie is now the proud recipient of two brand new ear tubes, at the expense of her adenoids.

Originally, the surgery was scheduled for 2:00. So the plan was for her to go to school in the morning, and for me to arrive at the hospital at about 2:30 or so before she woke up. However, on the morning of the surgery, they called and insisted we move the surgery up to 9:30 a.m.

So I missed the entire thing, but from what Sara said, I’m glad I wasn’t there. Evie woke up in a bad mood. This was expected, but quite a bit different than her reaction the last time. She was so angry with Sara, that she was actually damaging her already sore throat with her screaming. She was mouthy, and surly, and the only thing keeping her from swearing was that she didn’t know any swear words. She was also coughing like a chain smoker, further irritating her throat, and eventually needed a breathing treatment.

Ollie was such a good little brother, sitting quietly with her surgery doll in his lap and waiting patiently. He was also very concerned about the baby that came into recovery while they were there, wanting to check and be sure he was alright every few minutes. He was at the very height of 2 1/2 year old behavior, and impressed the nurses. For his efforts, he was rewarded with apple juice, a popsicle and 8 cookies. The funny thing was, several people asked if he and Evie were twins (I’m guessing probably based more on his size than his proper behavior).

By the time I saw her, she was pretty much back to normal. Her voice was a little scratchy, but that was about it. We snuggled under a blanket on the couch and read Christmas books until my voice was the one that was in danger. She was eating like normal, acting like normal, and didn’t complain one iota about pain.

Most importantly, her hearing was already *significantly* improved. I made sure to keep my voice pitched well below what she could hear only yesterday, and she had no problem hearing me. We even tried some whispering. She isn’t back to 100%, but it is night and day better. This is such a huge relief, you have no idea. Unfortunately, it means I’m going to have to get used to little pitchers having big ears again.

Certainly, seeing her hearing so much better with practically no recovery time really makes me feel like this was the right decision. Now we just wait and see if this helps her stay healthy.

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.

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.