I occasionally blog about this topic in passing, but I don’t know that I have ever devoted a full post to it, without adding additional photos and updates. Usually when one of us is sick I forget afterwards to blog about it because by the time I get back on the blogging wheel it is past the time. However, now that we are having to make some serious decisions about it, I thought I would share my thoughts.
Almost exactly a month after A turned one he got an ear infection. A bad ear infection, on our first road trip, to my husband’s parents’ house. Until I became a parent I never realized how distinctly you remember things that children often forget over time. I will never forget A holding his ears crying “no, no” as we drove around trying to decide between taking him to pediatric ER with a four hour wait, or a doctor friend of my husband’s parents. We went with the doctor friend and were able to get antibiotics for A, and he was on the mend within a few days. Then the ear infection returned. The problem with A’s ear infections is that they would recur but not consistently. It was about every two months that we would return to the pediatrician and after about the fourth time I began asking when tubes would be helpful. However, they told me the ear infections were not happening often enough and said he would probably grow out of it. So we did various antibiotics, occasionally they failed and we got other antibiotics and that of all things worried me the most.
As a child who grew up taking a lot of antibiotics, I know about antibiotic resistance. If you don’t think that exists please come sit with me for an hour and I can convince you that it does. My body now laughs at antibiotics half the time, and it wasn’t until receiving a pneumonia vaccine back in 2011 that I have had some success in being able to get a cold without it turning into a full-fledged bronchial infection that requires a heavy dose of antibiotics and steroids to knock out. That’s antibiotic resistance. However I had no choice but to take antibiotics when I was a child, because of my asthma. It was the only thing that would kick the infections I had then. So back to A.
A hit two and his ear infections seemed to subside. We had maybe one or two that whole year, nothing consistent and nothing that caused concern….then he turned three. The week (literally the week) he turned three he got an ear infection. And the antibiotics failed. And he had to get a shot of rocefin and another round of antibiotics. Then he got one the next month, then the next month, we skipped January (barely), then two more. So October, November, December, February, and now March, A has had an ear infection. With a round of antibiotics each time, and now the subject of tubes has gotten brought up again. However, now A is three and while he meets the criteria for tubes based on the number of infections, there is a possibility that he could grow out of it soon. Basically our pediatrician has told us it is a personal choice. After taking him in this last time I asked for a referral to an ENT just to see what they would say, and we are now waiting to have that appointment.
So now we wait. I am wrestling with the decision of A having surgery (as minor as it is), or the possibility of him continuing to have to take antibiotics. I know that the tubes wouldn’t prevent A from getting the viruses that cause the bacteria to build up, however, I also know that A doesn’t really get noticeably sick besides the ear infection. Sometimes he doesn’t even run a fever, or have a noticeable cold. Usually what happens is A gets a bit of a running nose, that looks similar to allergy issues. Then it goes away. Then he starts taking less naps, but sometimes he naps more. Sometimes he eats less, sometimes his appetite isn’t affected at all. We got an ear check monitor on recommendation from our pediatrician, and while it is fairly accurate it doesn’t seem to pick up the fluid levels until his ears are so bad, they are telling me not to panic if his ear drum bursts. My point being A’s symptoms are so asymptomatic it’s hard to tell if they are an ear infection or normal toddler behavior. I can’t tell if his hearing is being affected or if he is just ignoring me. However, the other day when he was in time-out in his room he asked if he could come out. I was down the hall in our room (which is about ten steps from his room). I called back to him “yes, you can come out now”. Silence. Ten seconds later he called again if he could come out, I called back yes. Then he called again…then I yelled yes. Then he called again. And at that moment I realized I definitely wanted to know what an ENT had to say. So I’ll post back when we find out more.
And since we haven’t had a lot of pictures of A lately…here is my sweet boy.