Tubes (7m3w)

A little backstory on Kieran’s ear infections…  He’s basically been congested since the middle of December with one cold after another.

  • January 12: 1st ear infection, discovered at daycare after Kieran had a 102 fever at school.  10 days of Amoxicillin (ending on 1/21) seemed to clear things up.
  • February 1: 2nd ear infection, fever of 101+.  Prescribed Cefdinir by Urgent Care doc, which caused what we thought were bloody diapers within 24 hours.  Next day, ER doc put him on more-than-double-strength Amoxicillin instead of the Cefdinir.  Amoxicillin finished on Friday 2/11.
  • Sunday, February 13: Kieran spiked a 102.6 fever and was pulling his ears again.  Saw someone at the pediatrician’s office on Monday 2/14 who put him on a Z-pack (5 days) and referred us to an ENT.  (This counts as a continuation of the 2nd infection, not a 3rd instance on it’s own.)

Monday we saw the the ENT while I was off work for President’s Day.  (I’ve missed a fair amount of work due to Kieran’s ear infections already, so I was thrilled that I could get into the ENT so quickly.)  He checked out Kieran’s ears and was surprised to see that they had so much thick fluid built up behind them both.  He said he has rarely seen ears looking like this in someone so young.  He offered to let us “keep going” with antibiotics until we were tired of doing that or we could go forward with tubes now.  He suggested going with tubes, as hearing damage begins when fluid builds up for more than 3 months, and we’re assuredly at 2 months now.  He said that usually tubes aren’t recommended for babies as young as Kieran, but the chronic build up of fluid coupled with the fact that fairly strong antibiotics aren’t seeming to knock down the infections puts him into a different category for treatment.  It’s not unheard-of to do tubes on an 8-month-old, just not the norm either.

So, this Wednesday (March 2) Kieran will be going in for a Tympanostomy to get his tubes.  We’re not thrilled with the whole idea, but we’re even less thrilled with the possibility of hearing loss, and we don’t want Kieran to have to suffer with ear infections like Paul and I both did as a kid.  (Plus, antibiotics aren’t fun for his little system – the Z-Pack last week made him throw up a couple of times a day.)  I’ve chatted with several Mama friends whose kids had/have tubes and they all agree that when they’re necessary, getting them is a godsend.  The procedure is done under general anesthesia, but all the doctors swear that it’s not a big deal, will take 20 minutes tops, that Kieran won’t even need Tylenol afterward and can go back to school the next day.

The more that Paul and I think and read and talk about this procedure, the more we realize that Kieran has probably been having trouble with his ears for longer than we thought.  It’s been suggested that he might sleep better afterwards, because he won’t have the (probably) constant painful pressure in his ears.  (We’re not daring to hope.)  We’re wondering if Kieran’s unique finger-chewing style (one finger shoved way back into his jaw, chawing away) is more about trying to relieve the pain/pressure back there in his ears than actually chewing on his fingers.  Case in point:

Mama loves her boy!Beautiful Boy.

As I finally finish this post on Thursday evening, Kieran again has a fever of 101.5 and is patting his ears.  He didn’t nap all day.  I’m calling the ENT tomorrow morning first thing, because I don’t know what he wants us to do at this point.  Kieran got Tylenol tonight before bed since he can’t have Motrin for 2 weeks before or after surgery.

Paul and I have done a lot of research in the last week or so about what this procedure is and what to expect.  Paul really liked this video to explain the procedure:

If you’re curious about it and don’t want to watch the video, here’s a few good links:

Prayers that this helps our little man as much as we hope it will would be appreciated.  We don’t know what time the surgery will be on Wednesday morning, but I’ll update with more info as we get it.


7 thoughts on “Tubes (7m3w)

  1. Oh dear, Kieran! With all the high fevers and ear problems, I was hoping it wouldn’t lead to tubes in his ears, but here we are. I’ll be praying for the little guy!! Olivia had to go under for her two surgeries at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego and she did just fine, so try not to worry, Momma! Hugs and kisses to Kieran!

  2. They never put tubes in Em’s ears. The doctors kept saying that it didn’t look like the infections were causing any damage. She had infections pretty much constantly for two years and her hearing is fine. You might want to double check for allergies because that’s what turned out to be Em’s problem.

  3. Kristy – How old was Em at this point? I asked the ENT about allergies, because Paul suffers prettily mightily with them as well. The doctor said that environmental allergies don’t kick in until 4-5 years old, so this current situation isn’t allergy-related at all. I asked if it could have anything to do with teething too. He said that teething will sometimes make a baby’s ears hurt, but it doesn’t cause infections or fluid build-up.

    Our concern at this point (especially after tonight) is two-fold: preventing hearing loss from the fluid build-up, and getting rid of that bacteria-laden fluid in general because it seems to just continue to fester regardless of what antibiotics we throw at it. We don’t want Kieran on a constant stream of stronger and stronger antibiotics, especially at such a young age.

    I appreciate the heads up though!

  4. Sounds like the right step to take! I don’t know anyone who has regretted getting tubes and you might be right that other issues could be attributed to the ears. Poor guy! I also really think that so many antibiotics are not good for the little ones. One of Leif’s dentists suggested that his hypoplastic molars may be the result of heavy antibiotic use at a young age. Who knows. We just want them to be well!

  5. Poor little guy. Let me tell you from experience, having fluid build up in your ears hurts! I have had tubes in my ears starting when I was very little (pre 2 years old) and up until my early teens. 6 or 7 times, I lost count. I had been without issues up until about a year ago when I got fluid build up on my right ear that would not go away. I had to have it lanced and the fluid sucked out. Then it took another 2+ weeks before I had normal hearing back (lost all sounds below 1K Hz).

    Hopefully he will only need them once but don’t be surprised if you find this is something you may deal with long term. I had them so often that my left ear never closed and I have to wear an ear plug for showers and swimming. I could have had it closed with surgery but because of all my past history of problems, I elected to leave it open, which has prevented most all of my problems in my left ear. Like I said above, even in my 40’s now, I had issues with my right ear.

    With the amount of pain and discomfort the fluid pressure does, I think you will find him a much happier boy after it’s all done and things clear up after a week or so. Here’s wishing all three of you much happiness and relief when it’s over.


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