Do we need to learn sign language?

I am not sure if all of you know (Im pretty sure I have mentioned it on here before) but about a year and a half ago my son had to get tubes in his ears.  He had a myringotomy with tympanostomy tubes put it. At the time it was our best option. He had ear infection after ear infection. He was sick for like 9 months straight. He was sick all the time. He couldn’t hang out with friends because they were afraid they would get sick. He had to stay home from day care a lot which meant that I had a kid at home while I was trying to work, which in turn means less work mommy gets done.

So we got the tubes.

The tubes were great. Yes he had to wear ear plugs any time he was went swimming. And living here in AZ, we were swimming all the time. So ear plugs were just a part of life for us. And for about a year and a half he had no ear infections and he rarely got sick (other than the normal stomach bug that day care kids seem to ALWAYS get). It was great.

And in a normal world…the tubes are supposed to last for about 12 months in a kids ear then the ear drum attempts to heal itself by closing up, in turn pushing the tube out, and USUALLY the kid is out of the danger zone for ear infections. There are rare instances where you have to get the tubes again. But that doesnt happen often. So for us….18 months passes by and only one has fallen out. We have our 4 month appointment and he nonchalantly says “hum….thats a little weird. Usually they would be out by now but its ok. Maybe it will be out by out next appt. Other than that he is good.” So thinking nothing of it we go about our day to day business.

One month goes by and my boy gets sick. He catches one of those lovely stomach bugs that the day cares seem to carry in their soap. He felt sick Saturday night. (which has been his forte) For some reason his body says – “HEY…its 2 in the morning…I think you need to shit yourself! Oh wait! How about you throw up all over your bed! Ya that sounds GREAT!!! “ So……2 am came around and he was pooping everywhere and every 2 minutes. Poor guy. Bends over to pick up a toy and poops on himself. Stupid loose booty! HAHA. Sorry I know I shouldn’t make jokes but after cleaning up poop and throw up – it becomes a little less gross and a little more funny. Well a day goes by and he is still sick.

crying photo

Then that night he was laying on the couch and all of a sudden he lets out a saddening cry. “Mommy my ear hurts.” All we could think was oh great…now he has an ear infection ON TOP OF a stomach bug. Well the crying went on for hours. We tried everything. Cotton in his ear. Holding a hand to his ear. Giving him Ibuprofen. Hugging him and holding him. Reassuring him that we will see a doctor in the morning. But nothing was working.

Then 2 am comes around and his body had that little talk with him again…and BAM… Throw up EVERYWHERE!!!!! All over the bed and the carpet. Gross! So I am half asleep and I get some towels and clean it up. I change his sheets. And I lay him back down and he passes out.

Finally its Monday morning. I was a little worried because I knew that stomach bugs don’t usually last longer than 24-48 hours. And his ear was hurting. And his sister looks like she isn’t feeling to good herself. It looks like she has a yeast infection…so hey I will kill 2 birds with 1 stone and take them both to the doctor. I get there and the doc doesn’t even look at my daughter. He just says “Give her some probiotics.” And moves on to my son. And all I can think about that was “OBVIOUSLY you are not a girl and you have never had a yeast infection. That shit itches. Its uncomfortable. You want it to go away right away – not a week later!” But what can I do. And I digress….back to the boy.

He looks in my sons ears and says that “the tube fell into the ear canal and it has left a big hole in his ear drum. It should be closing up soon but its not closed yet. And I need to call his ENT to let him know.” So obviously I am a little worried. I look a little puzzled. And he says “well its maybe 30% of his ear drum so you want them to see it just in case.” Ummmm ok!!! So I get in the car and I call his ENT (ear doc). They make us the appointment for the next day.

Tuesday comes and its time for his ENT appointment. We finally go back to see the doc and he looks in his ear…”well….this is rare but it does happen. The tube fell out but it fell into the ear drum and not into the canal. He also has a massive ear infection called glue ear.” He then proceeds to vacuum out a bunch of thick gunk from my boys ear. The part that was weird to me was we saw his pediatrician the day before and he didn’t see the infection – just the tube. So you mean to tell me this infection happened overnight. Not likely. Something seems a little off. Then he says, “well there is about 35% of his ear drum missing. The hole did not close like it was supposed to. I will give him antibiotics and make sure you keep ALL water out of his ear. I will see you again in 2 weeks to make sure the infection is gone.” So now it was a waiting game.

2 weeks pass and its time to see the ENT again. We get to the office and he looks in his ear once again. This time he says, “The infection is gone. Keep using the ear plugs. No water in the ears. About 50% of his ear drum is gone. There will be some hearing loss. Most likely it wont be permanent.” So I interjected….”Ok wait. So now 50% of his ear drum is missing???? And how much hearing loss?? He is already asking to turn up the TV because he cant hear it.” Then he replied, “Yes 50%. And the hearing loss will only be in that one ear. He still has a fully functioning ear. We will see him in another 6 months to make sure everything is working right and to see if the ear drum is closing. If it doesn’t close by then, then we can discuss our options.”

So now I am a little nervous. Ok. A lot nervous. Is my son going to go deaf in one ear. Does anyone have any experience with having tubes and them causing ear drum damage? I know its only one ear…but did you have to learn sign language to make life a little easier? If so, tell me about it.



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