Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Battling ear infections

I am a working mother. This means that during my work day my children attend a daycare “or school” in our case. My son Logan has been attending daycare since 3 months of age and since that day, he has been sick. Now I will say that my children attend an extremely nice and clean childcare center. Due to their curriculum, it is considered a school and not a daycare but no matter what you call it, my kids are in the confines of small rooms with other children and they are exposed to germs and illness.

My daughter started daycare at 6 months of age and at that point began getting sick. After taking about 9 different antibiotics and never really healing from ear infections; she had a Myringotomy (ear tube surgery.) Once Lily had ear tube surgery, she was a new child. No more ear infections and really little to no illnesses.

Fast forward three years later and I swear I’m having déjà vu. Except this time I have a baby boy and he is much younger. After Logan took 9 different rounds of antibiotics, we went for ear tubes. I prayed that after the tubes our chronic doctor’s visits and sleepless nights would stop.   I wish I could tell you that was the end result but no such luck. Logan continued getting sick, continued getting ear infections. Sometimes it was obvious as I’d see yuck draining from his ears, other times I would be surprised at the well child visit when the pediatrician would say his tubes were clogged up and ears were infected.

Since I work in a hospital I have working relationships with many physicians. One day I encountered Logan’s Ear Nose and Throat surgeon. In a casual conversation she asked me how Logan was and I told her about his continued illness and ear problems. She demanded that next time I suspected ear problems to bring him in.  A few days later I picked Logan up from school and noticed yucky drainage coming from his ears. I panicked. I knew what the ENT had said, but I love my pediatrician and felt like I was being disloyal. I put aside my doubts and paid the $50.00 co-pay (which is double that of the pediatrician fee). Once in the office the ENT said sadly that Logan’s ears were in bad shape.   She warned me that the next step would be sad and uncomfortable, but not painful and that she would unclog his ears.  I stood by helpless as they strapped Logan to a table and sucked the infected and clogged fluid from his ears. He screamed so loud that I’m pretty sure every person in the office building heard him.

On my way home I felt glad that I had taken Logan to a specialist but at the same time I was frustrated that I hadn’t done it sooner.  We are still battling illness with Logan.  My hope is that as Logan grows his immune system will also grow and soon this will all be a distant memory.  My advice to new parents is to trust your instinct. If you think your child is ill and needs medical attention, get it. I also highly advise seeking treatment from a specialist if it’s available. In my experience, the specialist was able to treat the symptom in a more direct way and I had a healthier, happy baby sooner.

Mindy Seals works in the information technology division at Texas Health Resourcesand is balancing work, married life and raising two kids.

1 comment:

  1. Have you looked into allergies? We battled infection after infection after infection with my daughter. And they even continued as she got past the age of 3 and supposedly was supposed to be "outgrowing" these issues.

    When we went to see a specialist he said he wanted to try one more thing before we put tubes in her ears -- he put her on Flonase, a nightly nose spray to battle infections. He suspected that allergies were causing the drainage and the drainage was causing the infections.

    Sure enough, within 3 months (about the length of time it took for the medicine to really start being effective) the infections stopped! And, knock on wood, we haven't had another infection in nearly a year! Granted, she just turned 4 last week, so maybe she would have outgrown them. But last winter, we were in a vicious cycle of infections and antibiotics for weeks on end.

    Good luck!