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:
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:
- A great set of 4 slides explaining the procedure in not-gross detail
- WebMD’s explanation of Tympanostomy
- KidsHealth’s information, specific to pediatric Tympanostomy
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.