Monday, January 7, 2013

Tubes and Adenoids

Kayla and Alexis have always been prone to ear infections.

As babies, they had them frequently and gave no sign until their doctor's checkups when the doctor would look in their ears and pronounce: "And they show no sign? No crying or tugging on their ears? They're pretty red and infected!" They were promptly put on medicine and checked 10 days later, saying they were fine.

As they got older, they became less frequent, and Alexis eventually outgrew them. She gets them every now and again, no more than one a year. Kayla on the other hand, well, she's still getting them.

She had a tympanogram a couples years ago as part of a early-childhood screening before the year before she went into 4K and it came back abnormal on one side. They said it was most likely caused by fluid behind the ears from an oncoming cold, so the recommended that she have another screening when she was better.

She saw her regular doctor a couple months later at her 4-year checkup and the tympanogram came back abnormal on one side again. We were referred to an ENT in Eau Claire a couple months later. The tympanogram and hearing test came back fine, but with her history of ear infections, the ENT recommended tubes, but wasn't sure if they would make that much of a difference at her age. He said it was up to Andy and I to make the decision. Andy wanted to wait as he didn't want to put Kayla through surgery unless it was necessary. Since he didn't want them and I did, we couldn't agree, therefore it was decided to wait and see.

For the first 6-9 months afterwards, things were great. No ear infections or major illnesses, so we thought we were in the clear. Then it picked up again. She ended up getting one every other month or so, then finally there was a pattern. She kept talking about how her right ear hurt or itched, so I took her in and the right ear was slightly red while the left ear was pretty infected, but she didn't feel that ear hurting. She got treated with antibiotics for the 10 days and all should've been done.

A couple weeks after her treatment, she complained of the itching and hurting in the right ear again. I took her back in and sure enough, same thing as before: The right ear was a little red and the left ear was infected. Her right ear was also clogged with wax and draining. She was treated with another antibiotic and told to come back and have it rechecked after 10 days.

Corey took her back for the recheck and it was STILL infected, so she was put on yet ANOTHER antibiotic and was told we'd probably be referred to an ENT. He took her back again after the 10 days and was told that the infections were finally clearing up, and that the ENT appointment was made.

The ENT appointment was this past Friday, the 4th. The diagnosis: ear-tubes and an adenoidectomy. It seems that Kayla has enlarged adenoids (which runs in my family, my sister and nephew both had theirs out as they were enlarged) which are preventing her Eustachian Tubes from draining fluid, causing infections. It's also causing dark circles under her eyes as she snores (and her tonsils look fine) and she's not getting enough good sleep.

Kayla is not excited about this, even though she knows she'll feel a ton better once it's done and she can hear properly, as it seems there is almost constantly fluid behind her right ear drum, so she's not hearing everything she is suppose to, which is why the tympanogram was coming back abnormal so often.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to calm a 5-almost-6-year-old's fears about surgery? I know she knows she'll be okay and that she won't even know it's happening, but I also know it's a scary thing for kids to go through. I have a little time to prepare for it, and to prepare her for it, but I'm not sure how to go about it...

Any ideas?


  1. Poor little bug :-( Wish I had some great words of wisdom for you, but she is such a sensitive child that I'm not sure anything I say will help. Since I've been thought it with your sister, all I can say is you being strong will help her be strong, and in the end she'll fell much better. If you can convince her of that, you've done your job. {{{hugs}}}

  2. Love my middle namesake and I know things will get better and you are a GREAT mom!! Surgery sucks, but if it is the best for the bug...then that is what is best for her. Obviously with myself and Brayden, I know. I only wish Grandma Larson were there for them like she was for me. Erik and I are sending our love to our niece!!!

  3. Well, Whiskey always worked for me........but probably not too politically correct these days. Honestly though there is not too much you can say to alleviate her fears. Be truthful with her, that you are not intimately familiar w/ the procedure and that the doctors and nurses are well trained and that she will be out of there, healing up, in no time! Then Tell the munchkin "Hi" from Grandpa.