Monday, March 8, 2010

Hear Ye Hear Ye





We as mothers tend to be paranoid when it comes to our children. It is good to be paranoid. I had this huge fear that Ellie wasn't hearing as well as she was earlier in life. I felt like I have been talking more loudly to get her attention. Of course, I talk a lot and loudly in general so I just chalked it up to her being distracted by all of the new, fun, and exciting things in her world.
My daughter babbles. A lot. Loudly. Many people would think 'oh she hears fine if she is making noises'. Makes sense to me.

Ellie has also been very cranky over the past few weeks. It is like being revisited by the newborn period. "Crying-it-out" is not working. (see, I do practice what I preach) Teething remedies are not working. Still, I chalked up the disruptive sleep to teething and to her increased mobility.  Oh and I reread the entire Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.

Still being paranoid with a slight niggling sensation in the back of my head, I decided to moved up Ellie's ENT appointment. Ellie had cerumen impaction on both sides. I mean there was so much wax in her right ear that I could have make a candle out of it. Believe me, I have seen a lot of ear wax in my life. Dr. Z still couldn't see Ellie's left ear drum due to the narrow ear canal. Behind the right ear drum was tons of mucoid fluid. Yuck! Right mucoid otitis media. Uck! Try to hear voices through a narrow ear canal, a wax factory, and mucus. So I guess Ellie wasn't ignoring Mommy and Daddy after all (give it 13 or so more years).


Normal Ear Drum: Note the pearly gray color of the tympanic membrane and see the positioning of the ossicles (the tiny bones).  Beautiful.


Mucoid Otitis Media
Oto = ear; itis = inflammation therefore Otitis = ear inflammation
Media =  Middle
Middle Ear Inflammation with mucus
See the bulging ear drum with surrounding redness.  Notice how you cannot see the ossicles through the ear drum.  This ear drum would not move properly or conduct sound properly.

At my old job I spent hours providing pre-& post- operative teaching for kiddos with ear, nose, and throat issues. Yet today I found myself being the recipient. It felt surreal and bizarre.

So the Bear will get tiny titanium ear tubes placed into her ear drums in about 2 weeks. These ear tubes will allow mucus and other fluid to pass out of the middle ear, thru the tube, and out the ear canal. She will probably need these for a while, but given the size of her inner ear, smaller tubes will be used. These smaller tubes tend to fall out much earlier than other types of tubes. I guess that means more frequent surgery. While this is a simple 10 minute procedure, Ellie will have her operation at the Dell Children's Hospital rather than in the day surgery center. She should still get to go home the same day but she needs to be at the hospital due to the hole in her heart and her low tone. These things place her at higher risk for complications.


 Ear Drum with Pressure Equalizing Tube aka ear tube or PET
Ellie's will actually be titanium, but I could not find a picture.


My little Bear is a trooper and I am sure that she will do wonderfully. I am still nervous though.

Photos courtesy of http://www.earanatomy.com and http://www.emedicine.medscape.com and http://www.faculty.washington.edu

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