Friday, June 3, 2011

Ear Tubes

When we went to the pediatrician on May 16th as a follow-up to Baby Girl's EIGHTH ear infection, we knew what we would probably leave the appointment with.  A referral to an ENT.

While this ended up being true, it didn't come readily.  Our pediatrician is pretty conservative and let us make the decision about whether to move onto the ENT or not.  He said that it was possible that Baby Girl would grow out of needing tubes (most kids don't need them after the age of 2) and because we were getting into the summer months, it was likely she wouldn't have as many colds as well.  We decided, though, that since she'd had two ear infections (both double, I think) within three weeks and STILL had fluid in her ears from the last one, we should go talk to the ENT.  Our pediatrician assured us that the ENT wouldn't push for tubes if Baby Girl didn't really need them (I was worried that if we visited with a specialist he would push to do his specialty).

I called for the appointment and we were able to get in just a few days later, on May 19th.  We met with the doctor, who was incredibly nice and great with Baby Girl, and after hearing our history and looking at her he told us that he'd like to put tubes in.  We asked him our questions about him being sure this was the best course of action and everything and he assured us that she'll be a lot happier and healthier with the tubes.  We talked about her vocabulary already being ahead for her age and he said, "But how much better could it be?"  The biggest selling point to me was that we could then treat any future infections with drops applied directly to her ears rather than systemic oral medications that she can build up a resistance to.

We were given the option of a surgery date of May 31st or June 14th (the doctor only does surgeries on Tuesdays and would be out of town on the 7th) and we chose May 31st.  Better to get it done as soon as possible.

I submitted information about Baby Girl's medical history.  About 5 days before the surgery was scheduled, Baby Girl's nose started running and a cough started.  I called the ENT's office, fearful that the surgery would be cancelled due to her cold.  They told us that generally a cold won't be a problem but that the anesthesiologist would look her over when we got checked on to be sure.  We got the call on Thursday the 23rd that we were set for a 7:45 surgery, which meant a 6:45 arrival time.  Early, but good since Baby Girl couldn't eat or drink after midnight. 

Monday night.  Insert sickness for Mommy.  Blech.  I was determined to be there for the surgery, though.

The Hubby and I got up around 5:30.  We needed to be on the road by 6:15 and were planning to just wake Baby Girl and walk her directly out to the car.  I went out to get the car running and The Hubby got her up--she looked awake and happy enough as he walked her out the car.  Thank goodness!

We drove to the center without any drama and got there and registered.  We filled out a little bit of paperwork and sat down.  I still wasn't feeling great, so I sat and watched some TV while The Hubby took Baby Girl to the play area.  He tried to change her diaper, but as has been the trend recently, she wanted "Mommy DO IT!"  So I did. 

By the time I emerged with a diapered child, the nurse was ready to take us back.  We walked into a room with 6 partitioned spaces--two of which had a hospital-type crib.  We sat Baby Girl up in the crib and talked to the nurse (who was fabulous with Baby Girl).  After just another minute, the anesthesiologist came in to talk to us and to take a look at Baby Girl.  She said she sounded good and that her cold was still just in her throat and therefore wouldn't cause any problems with going forward with the surgery (thank goodness).  She asked for a snack a few times and we just told her we couldn't give her anything and she returned to whatever she was doing (thank goodness--this was the biggest anxiety-producer for both of us that morning--we thought we would have a tantruming toddler on our hands when we couldn't give her food).  A nurse returned and asked how Baby Girl was at taking medicine and we told her that she typically takes it really well.  She handed me a large syringe with a red medicine that turned out to be a sedative (I knew it was coming, but wasn't sure that this was it) and Baby Girl sucked it down--I didn't even need to push on the plunger.

We sat Baby Girl in the crib and waited for her to get loopy.  We didn't have to wait long.  The first sign we saw was that she couldn't quite sit up.  Then her eyes started getting glassy and she started getting the stares.  It was really amusing, actually.  Not long after, a nurse returned to take her to surgery.  She went easily to the nurse and we headed back to the waiting room.  We had to pass Baby Girl and the nurse on the way out and I started to tear up, but we didn't let her see us.  We sat down and read the post-operative care booklet, talked for a bit, watched some TV, and then I went to pee.  By the time I was done, they'd come to get us.

We walked back toward the room where we'd first taken Baby Girl, but were told to turn another direction.  We were meeting with Dr. K.  He told us that they found a double ear infection while they were in there (the way he started to talk, it seemed like he was going to give us bad news...I felt my heart skip a beat as he started) and that we would need to give her ear drops to help clear that up.  I asked if everything was okay otherwise and he said she did great.  He confirmed that she can swim in the ocean (we're currently trying to decide what to do for a vacation and this was a concern we had) and gave us some instructions about what things we need to do to care for her ears while she has the tubes.  Then we were sent back to wait for awhile longer.

We talked to another couple, who was actually someone I'd gone to high school and played in band with--what a small world, as neither of us lives in the same town that we went to high school in!  They were called back while we were sitting there and we just watched a little more TV.  We probably waited about 5-10 minutes before they called us back and said she was just starting to wake up.

When we walked back to the room with all the partitions, I saw her laying in a blonde nurse's arms, just starting to stir--so sweet.  I was so glad someone was holding her--they didn't move that bed at all, actually.  I took her from the nurse and sat in the rocking chair with her.  As a nurse started to talk to us (I honestly don't remember what she said), Baby Girl was waking up and fighting to get down onto the floor.  She could barely hold her head up, so I knew I couldn't let her try to sit or walk on her own yet and she didn't seem to understand that she didn't have control of her body.  We eventually got her down on the floor with The Hubby, but she still wanted to walk.  She fell over two times from a sitting position and her head hit the floor both times--ouch!  She still wanted to walk and wouldn't let us help her ("SELF!!!"), but we knew we had to.  This lead to a really big battle.  We finally got her to sit still by giving her something to drink.  She couldn't hold the cup up to her mouth well, but refused any help I offered, so we just watched her struggle.  She eventually got it, though, and guzzled about eight ounces of apple juice pretty quickly.  She said she wanted a snack so we gave her some Cheerios (which she also struggled to get into her mouth, much to the amusement of her daddy and me) and some pieces of cereal bar. 

She drained what apple juice we'd brought her, so I went to get her something else to drink.  They had juice available, so I put more into her cup.  And then she got sick.  Poor kiddo.  The nurse was in there with us and helped us get her cleaned up and was so sweet to her.  My kid, though, had no idea what had happened.  She just wanted to get up and go some more (puke and rally, as my husband would say....).  Can't keep this kid down!  The nurse told us that if we felt comfortable taking her home, we could, so The Hubby went to pull the car around.  Baby Girl and I went walking since she was really restless and another nurse offered her a Thomas sticker.  Since Baby Girl was topless at this point, the nurse was putting her sticker on the teddy bear they gave us when she vomited again.  It mostly got on the floor, but I took her back to where we were...and then she got sick again.  Ugh.  This can't be good.

The nurse went and told The Hubby that he should just park and we wouldn't be leaving yet and then went to talk to the anesthesiologist.  She gave her a suppository for the nausea (ugh...not an experience I want to remember).  We were just trying to keep Baby Girl contained, but she REALLY wanted to peek at the other kids in the room.  One was someone that sounded younger than her and had a baby in a carrier with him ("Baby!  Baby!") and the other was a bigger girl who she did successfully intrude upon.  The nurse saw what a struggle we were having and, knowing we were going to have to hang out for awhile longer, put us into a room with a TV. It also had a couple of trucks that Baby Girl played with on the floor and we watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (one of her favorite shows).  We got in there right around 9:00, at the start of the show.  When we entered the TV room, she still couldn't walk well, but by the end, at 9:30, she was doing the Hot Dog Dance with pretty good balance.

We had cleaned up a poopy diaper (which used our last diaper...) and watched half of another Mickey when they told us that we could go.  The Hubby got the car and a nurse walked us out.  Everyone we dealt with was WONDERFUL--they were all so incredibly good with Baby Girl and told us how sweet and adorable she was. 

The drive home was uneventful.  I sat with Baby Girl in the back and we called my mom and we sang Mary Had a Little Lamb (Baby Girl will say the parts that repeat like "little lamb little lamb" in time), The Wheels on the Bus, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider.  She was totally normal by the time we got home. 

It was a good day.  It wasn't as easy as many people had led me to believe (we waited longer than most people told us we would, it seems), but it wasn't bad at all.  So thankful for the great people who helped us out.  And now we know not to let Baby Girl drink so much after anesthesia :)


Sarah Dee said...

Poor little girl, getting sick. But, so much like her Daddy to puke and rally.

Cassie said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry she got sick. That's awful. I remember they warned us that could happen after Will's surgery, but he was luckier than poor Baby Girl. I'm glad she's back to normal now, though, and hopefully you'll see a major difference.