It’s official: chronic ear infection

The face of a sick Thane
The face of a sick Thane

My dominant impression of my youngest’s health is that he’s healthy as an ox. (Also, he weighs as much as an ox, but that’s a separate complaint.) I don’t think I’ve taken a sick day for him yet (knocks on wood). But each time I brought him in for his well-baby appointments after about 6 months, he’d fail the ear check (it seems). I’d go fill the prescription, dose him with Amox-Clav and not pay too much attention. He’d get really fussy. I’d bring him in. His ears would have fluid. We’d recheck. His ears would have fluid.

But this never has seemed to BOTHER him much. Even Thane fussy is a sweet, fun little kid.

But. But but.

The 102.8 on Christmas Eve was a scary high fever, especially since I wasn’t sure of the direction. He stayed hot all through Christmas, before slowly cooling off. And then the crying jags. For 20 minutes he’d scream and writhe and scream and scream and scream. It was horrible. I’d be about ready to scream too. And then he’d notice his favorite toy: a milk jug. Or he’d just suddenly settle. (Of course, many of the screaming jags were punctuated by a dose of Tylenol, which let’s just all admit here and now, Tylenol is a wonder drug.) And he’d pull his ear.

By Christmas, I was pretty sure what was up. Two days after finishing antibiotics for an ear infection which had already drawn the “if this doesn’t clear this up I’m calling it chronic” warning from our pediatrician? No other symptoms? Ear pulling? It didn’t take a genius to figure this one out.

I begged the on call pediatrician for anesthetic eardrops, and waited nearly an hour in Walgreens while they attempted to figure out how to get them to me. And this morning bright and early Thane and his father went to see his doctor to verify our suspicions.

Thane is now on his last-ditch antibiotics and we’re supposed to be lining up surgery for him for ear tubes. Surgery. As in “general anesthetic” and “fasting”. For my baby. Oof.

So, in my role as “mom” I’m spending today fretting. Examples of my frets include:

  • Is my son’s hearing and verbal development compromised by his constant ear infections? Is THIS why he refuses to say nose? (I doubt it. Did I mention he said “Duck” and “Quack quack” yesterday? And that when I asked him what a duck said, he said “Quack quack”? But only when I can hear him.)
  • Seriously, surgery?
  • Doesn’t this mean he’ll have to wear ear plugs whenever he goes swimming?
  • And general anesthetic?
  • What sort of problems will we encounter due to the sheer volume of Amox-Clav the child has consumed? (He loves it!)
  • Has my son been hurting for months and I’ve done too little to help, lulled by his general good nature?
  • And how cool is it that Mass Eye and Ear is a very short walk from my house?
  • Answer: Cool. But surgery is uncool.
  • Oh, my sweet Thane. I’m sorry you spent your second Christmas hurting. I’m sorry that you might have to have surgery. I’m sorry, kiddo. I hope that in future years you’re shocked to learn this was ever an issue.