Thursday, March 25, 2010

It was a good run...

After two years of nearly perfect health and a grand total of only FIVE visits to the pediatrician (3 required check-ups and 2 ear infection visits; there was a time when we had 5+ appointments a month), Landon will be reentering a hospital to have his adenoids removed and new ear tubes inserted. Ironically, the surgery is scheduled for April 1, which is both April Fool's Day and the same date he got ear tubes for the first time in 2008.



my itty bitty patient on April 1, 2008


His tubes fell out sometime late last year and he immediately got a double ear infection. We went to the ENT where Landon charmed a nurse and failed a hearing test (though not because he couldn't hear). The doctor advised that we wait to see if he got any additional infections before we decided on another round of tubes. Given JP's long and tormented history of ear problems (short version: his eustachian tubes do not work, at all) we knew there was a good chance Landon inherited the same anatomical "quirk" (so much better than abnormality or evolutionary failure, right?). But many weeks passed and he stayed healthy and we started thinking that maybe he got my nice, properly functioning ears and wouldn't need another surgery after all.

Then, about two weeks ago, Landon started waking up an hour early. He didn't cry- he'd just walk downstairs and play quietly with his trains until we emerged from our room, but it was strange and he wasn't getting enough rest. On the second day he was a little clingy at night, wanting only to sit in my lap and cuddle. On night three he felt hot and had a 102 fever. We dosed him with Motrin and then, after some cuddles, he very seriously informed me that "the doctor needs to check my ear." "Oh really?" I said. "Yes," he replied with a slow nod, "there's an elephant in there... he's hurting it." I almost laughed, but then I remembered that when we saw the ENT (months earlier) the doctor had jokingly asked Landon if there was an elephant in his ear. Since Landon was feeling fine at the time, he said Noooo and laughed. But I guess it stuck with him, and now that his ears hurt, he knew that pesky elephant must be involved.

He got some extra cuddles and another dose of Motrin, and I called the pediatrician on my drive to work the next morning to make an immediate appointment, thanking god for a child who can now talk when he's hurting because he had no other symptoms of an ear infection. Then JP called from home a few minutes later to say that Landon's ear drum had perforated during the night. And sure enough, he had another double infection, one burst ear drum, and another looking like it would burst any minute. Poor kid- an elephant indeed.

So ten days later he was back at the ENT who said both ear drums had healed, but both ears already had a build-up of fluid just waiting to get infected. Landon was very good during the hearing test, but he failed anyway- this time on legitimate grounds. They found a significant amount of hearing loss in his left ear and a somehwat lesser amount in his right.

I'm certain the surgery is the right call and based on last time, getting the tubes put in will be far less traumatic for him than any ear infection. But it's a little harder this time around. He's older. He's more aware. We've been extraordinarily spoiled with his immune system of steel over the past 2 years. I've stopped thinking of him as a patient- he's just my snuggly, smiley little boy. For the first time I understand the parents who freak out over some minor procedure while I'm looking at them thinking, dude, calm down, s/he's going to be fine! So it's a little general anesthesia? The odds are totally with you!

I really did think that way. I think it was an inevitable mindset, at least for me, when your baby spends his first 12 days in a NICU and then too many more days in various specialists offices, emergency rooms, and ORs. He became clinical and I could write about it and deal with it only in that detached way. Plus, I'm naturally pragmatic and the odds are with you and really, ear tubes are just not that big of a deal. I'm also just not a worrier, even in situations that all but demand it.

Yet I find myself mildly worried about next Thursday. I have complete faith in the doctor and the beautiful new pediatric surgery center where we will be going. But Landon's older now- he might not head off down the hall so cheerfully with a stranger like he did at 9 months old. When he wakes up he'll wonder where I am, rather than just being excited that he's allowed to have his bottle again. Helping him recover will be a bit harder, I think, since I can't just strap him in a swing and forcibly restrict his movements. The adenoidectomy also raises new issues as we haven't experienced that one before. Have you? What was the recovery like for your child? Any tips or things I should stock up on? When were they back to feeling 100%

On the positive side, I am looking forward to solving Landon's elephant-in-the-ear problem, and introducing him to jello. I also really hope I can take another picture of him in mini-scrubs.

17 comments:

  1. I had an adenoidectomy when I was somewhat older than Landon (elementary school age) and I remember my throat was on FIRE for a few days afterwards- swallowing was a disaster. Ice cream helped. =)

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  2. JP has to have his adnoids out as well...we haven't scheduled it because our insurance just dropped all the anesthesiologists in Shreveport. Awesome. I'm hoping they will resolve their "contract disagreements" and get back on our insurance. *wishful thinking* Anyways, our ENT said it was really simple and that recovery was not that bad- most kids were up and moving around 48 hours later. Let me know how it goes, so I know what to expect now! ha! Good luck!

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  3. Mini scrubs!!! Adorable!

    Sorry to hear about the tubes and infections. Charlie had tubes and was good as new the evening after the surgery. Not sure about the adenoids, though. The tubes made a huge difference in his overall health and speech development, though. Totally the right call for us.

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  4. Ok coming out of lurking again Landon is 7 years younger than my oldest to the day! Adnoids, stock up on NON red jello, popsicles, icecream, then you will need softer foods (we also had the tonisls taken with adnoids and tubes put into oldest she has the same estuachian tube issues) If they have not warned you now th smell post op ouple days down the road is gross very foul breath that can stink up a room.
    Oh and gum we were 3.5 when we had ours done they recommened chewing gum helps the pain and healing, as dose staying on top of the pain.
    The non red foods are a must they say since then any post op bleeding can be spotted (and red dye makes it impossible to tell the difference)

    if you have any other questions feel free to email me at grantmonkeycocomom at gmail.com

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  5. My daughter was 2 when she got her set of tubes. She did ok. Up and running around that night. As for the adnoids..sorry I can't help much I have never been around anyone with them taken out. I think they recommend lots of ice cream and popsicles though.

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  6. Our son is on his second set of tubes, and had his adenoids removed last time around as well. The day of the surgery wasn't a lot of fun. He wasn't happy waking up from the anesthesia, and that lasted for a couple hours. He was also nauseous all day from the anesthesia, and threw up a couple times. Make sure the doctor writes you a prescription for anti-nausea meds in case Landon needs them. However, Ethan was pretty much back to his usual happy self by the next morning. The throat hurts more with the removal of adenoids so lots of popsicles, ice-cream, soft food and liquids will help. Ethan did have bad breath for a week or two. It wasn't terrible, but it was definitely noticeable. Removing his adenoids made a huge difference in his health, and it was definitely the right call. Good luck! Landon should bounce back very quickly after the surgery.

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  7. Good luck with the surgery! Olivia is scheduled to get her adenoids and tonsills out in May. I am dreading it, but know its for the best. We were told that she should eat plenty of ice cream and popsicles...so she's very excited about the surgery. She keeps telling me that ice cream is not a meal unless you are getting your tonsills out.

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  8. good luck with the surgery!

    landon is such a smart little guy to tell you about the elephant in his ear. to think that the doctor's analogy stuck with him all that time!

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  9. I had my adenoids out when I was three. I remember it hurting a little but nothing too bad. My mom says I was up and about within 48 hours and got sick much less often afterwards.

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  10. I already supported you on the tubes, and I tell you, my 2 yo was sleepy and fussy for about 10 minutes until they brought the POPSICLES he had been promised! Within 20 minutes we were free to leave and we drove to Daddy's work. Within another 15, he was DANCING around Daddy and singing about the popsicles!

    This is late, but I hope Landon did fine. There are many, many fun popsicles out there. And when you use a popsicle to stir 7up....woo boy!

    Sending hugs for mommy and daddy, who are the ones who suffer the most!

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  11. bengali chick3/26/10, 6:47 AM

    Good luck!!! Feel better Landon.

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  12. He is so smart! I love kids that can self-diagnose. I'm mildly annoyed by kids who just cry when they're sick. A kid that can point out what hurts is much more efficient and I have a deep appreciation for that! Plus, I love that he has an elephant in his ear. I dealt with a lot of acid reflux as a child and I used to tell my mom that I had lava or fireworks in my tummy. I remember that when the medicine made it feel better, I was still left wanting to SEE the lava and fireworks inside me!

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  13. I had my adenoids taken out when I was about 9 years old. Definitely not one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life waking up afterwards.
    Godd luck Landon!

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  14. Poor baby. No experience with either, but hoping the surgery goes well.

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  15. My daughter got ear tubes in and adenoids out last fall. She was not quite three at the time, so I think about the same age as Landon. The only difficulty for me was that my husband and I had to help hold her down while they put her under the anesthesia because she would not let them put the mask on her. When she woke up, she wasn't happy and refused the popsicle that was offered. However, she took a four hour nap when we got home and was almost completely back to normal once she woke up. I only gave her soft foods that day, but she was back to daycare and regular food the next day. Hope it goes as well for you.

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  16. Sorry-- I had the dates mixed up. I will certainly "hålla tummorna" (hold my thumbs: the Swedish version of crossing your fingers for luck) for all of you. My son was brought to the recovery room before he'd really woken up; I was there to hold him as soon as he was awake and the room was lined with other parents and kids doing the same thing. He fussed just a moment as he was trying to wake up, and I had to dress him on my lap. I remember thinking, what do they do with a kid without a parent to hold him and help him recover? He was very happy to get his popsicle.

    There are "no drip" pops that contain a bit of jello and there is a very cool no-mess recipe I will send you if I can find it: gummy fish and stars "swimming" in blue jello popsicles you make by putting the jello in snack-sized baggies, freezing it, and cutting off one of the small ends. It became a "must have" at pool parties for our kids.

    Good luck next week!

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