Ear Troubles

Unhealthy ears seem to be a pattern in our family. Both Stephen and I had multiple sets of tubes each in our childhood years and it seems that we have passed this gene down to our daughters. Julianne's ear infections began when she was just 5 months old and she had her first set of ear tubes in when she was 22 months old. The tubes did their job until they fell out when she was about 3.5 years old. Right before she turned 4, the infections and fluid started up again. She had two ear infections within three months and has had fluid in her ears for the past 6 months. Julianne has been such a trooper through all of this and rarely complains of discomfort. We did notice, however, that Julianne's hearing was impacted by the fluid on her ears. Ever since August she has not been able to hear when someone is speaking to her quietly unless she is looking at them face to face. The phrase heard most often from her the past six months has been "Wha'd you say?"

Lorelei waited a little longer and got her first ear infection at 9 months, but retained fluid in her ears for the next year, although most of the time it was not infected. One ear cleared up briefly in September, but the fluid came back by October. She, like her sister, has not seemed bothered by the fluid or the infections. One result of the fluid is that her language has developed much slower than her peers. She would often speak in grunts or by using repetitive sounds that she could make. Just in the past two months, she has begun speaking more clearly and putting two words together. When her language started developing a bit more I wondered if her ears had cleared up, but when we visited her pediatrician and two weeks later her ENT, both ears were still found to be full of fluid. It was at this ENT appointment that we decided that tubes were needed for both girls.

Which brings us to last Friday, February 10. We arrived at the SurgeCenter of Louisville at 7:30 a.m. and after about 45 minutes of waiting and filling out paperwork, we were escorted back into the pre-op room with both girls. Both girls received lots of stickers and much praise from the sweet nurses who prepared them for the procedures. Lorelei was first to go at about 8:45 and after some "happy juice"(some kind of sedative) Lorelei was rolled back to the OR on her bed with no crying at all. Her tubes procedure only took about 15 minutes and within 30 minutes she was back in my arms. While we waited for Lorelei's procedure to get done Stephen and I both stayed with Julianne, who colored and patiently waited to be taken back as well. As soon as Lorelei had woken up, I went to the recovery room to be with her while Stephen waited for Julianne to be taken in. She was taken at about 9:30 and had tubes put in both ears and her adnoids(tonsil tissue in the back of the throat) removed. Her procedure took about 30 minutes and she had to get an IV because of the anesthesia she was given. The way both of them came out of surgery was about as different as they are. Lorelei was upset, mad, and a bit confused, which is mainly due to the laughing gas that she received for her anesthetic. As much as I tried to comfort her, she just kept crying. Her one request during this time was "buh-buh"(blanket). When I told her that she had her blanket, she would say "two buh-buh" (two blankets). One was just not enough. Within an hour she was back to herself and when Julianne was brought back to us at about 10:20, Lorelei was running around the room. Julianne was not at all upset, but looked really tired. She didn't even cry when she got her IV out. The girls both received apple juice and popcicles and were pretty content for the next hour. We were able to leave by about 11:30 and after a few pitiful hours of Julianne laying on the couch and one time throwing up, she was back to herself. She had two requests for food: candy and oval crackers. We granted her the second request and got slushes from Sonic. By 4:00 both girls were playing normally and running around the house.