Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tubes...the hopeful cure to our persistent ear infections

I've blogged about it before, but in case your just popping in, Asher, our sweet little sixteen month old has been battling ear infections since last spring.  He's had ear infection after ear infection, with little relief in between new rounds of antibiotics.  Every time I would take him in for a recheck, his ears were either still infected, or there was still fluid still present.
The ear infections seemed to subside a bit this summer when we tried chiropractic treatment.  Asher got adjusted by a local chiropractor two to three times a week.  That worked for a bit, but that too came to an end.  Soon, the crying in the middle of the night, the tugging of the ears, the trips to the Dr. and the constant supply of antibiotics in the fridge returned. 

Last week, Dr. Schilling, our family physician, said enough was enough.  Dr. Schilling referred us to Gundersen Lutheran's ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Redmann.  Dr. Redmann is based out of La Crosse, but travels to Decorah and West Union.  Dr. Redmann was so helpful and answered the many questions I had.  He put my mind at ease.  It was time for tubes.

So today, on Halloween, it was time.
Because Asher's ears were still so badly infected despite the latest rounds of antibiotics, we haven't slept through the night for several weeks.  Part of Asher's waking in the wee hours of the morning I'm sure has to do with pain.  The other part is habit.  This morning, Asher woke at 12:30 a.m. when we quickly greeted him with a sippy cup of milk.  We were hopping this would suffice his routine cup at 5:30 a.m.  We were advised not to let Asher have anything to eat or drink six hours before surgery.
Asher's surgery time was set for 7:30 a.m., and we were supposed to arrive at the hospital for paper work and prep one hour before. In a perfect world, Asher would have slept until our 6:00 a.m. departure for the hospital.  However, in true Asher fashion, he decided to throw any predictability out the window and wake at 4:45 am.  I was quickly greeted with persistent whimpering at the repetitive sign for milk.  Oh how I wanted to cave, but instead my mission became distraction.  Asher took a 45 minute shower with me (he LOVES showers) and we hit the road at 5:45 a.m. for a very long and detoured drive to Decorah looking for cows (he LOVES cows).  That's not so easy when it's still completely dark outside...

Asher was easily distracted and hammed it up with the nurses until about 7 a.m.  That's when all the paper work and prep was done and we were hanging out watching the today show.  Instead of him digging through all the latex gloves in the room, he was digging through my purse when he spotted the empty sippy cup.  Ugh, I thought I had it in the diaper bag!  The next half an hour was rough, but not as rough as the five seconds following when I handed off my screaming red head to the wonderful Dr.'s and nurses on the other side of the operating doors.

Asher was only out of my sight for about 25 minutes.  They warned me when he returned that he could be a little agitated and may even push me away.  Not because of pain or anger towards me, but because that was a common side effect of the anesthsia.  I was catching up on the today show when I heard Asher coming down the hall.  Just as any Mother would recognize the cry of their child, I knew that cry.  I was relived.  Asher was back in my arms, but he was mad.  Yes, he was very upset and in fact, cried for the next 30 minutes we spent being monitored.  Well, there was a three minute break when he downed a sippy of milk, but other than that, he was mad.  He wanted out of there and wanted nothing to do with those nurses anymore.
Dr. Redmann said Asher did great and should already feel relief.  His ears were terribly infected, but are finally getting the drainage they need.  Any pulling or tugging he is doing today is no longer because of pain, but because of his new sense of hearing and comfort.  A new normal.

On the ride home, Asher fell asleep and then got sick to his stomach.  He fell back asleep and woke when I pulled in the garage and began to clean him up.  He woke up happier than ever and signed milk and eat repetitively.  After some eating and playing, more eating and more playing, my sweet little baby boy is back asleep.
So here's to a new normal.  A normal of new sounds, new words and a new sense of comfort.

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