Ethan's had a history of ear infections pretty much since he was two months old. For the first 2 years of his life he had an ear infection every single month, without fail. After having 3 sets of tubes put in and his adenoids taken out, the infections don't come nearly as much. They're pretty much limited to only when he gets a really bad cold. So a couple weeks ago when he was plagued with one of the bad ones, I took him to the doctor to get an antibiotic. Since we've moved far from where his regular doctor was, I decided to find a doctor in our area.
During our appointment, I explained Ethan's history to the doctor. I told her that he's prone to ear infections when he gets sick like this. In addition, because he's had so many ear infections and his eardrums have been perforated so many times, he's become desensitized to the pain until it's too late. Basically when most kids get an ear infection, they get fevers and have ear pain. Not Ethan. His body has gotten so used to having them that he's a perfectly normal kid until his eardrum is so full of infected fluid that it's ready to burst. By that time, starting an antibiotic cycle is too late and will not prevent his eardrum from rupturing.
I also told the doctor that he suffers from eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD). When a person with normal eustachian tubes gets a cold, there's usually some fluid that builds up in behind the ear drum. This fluid will usually drain and isn't harmful. However, in a person with ETD, this fluid gets trapped behind the eardrum because the eustachian tube won't allow it to drain properly. The fluid will sit there until it festers itself into a nasty infection.
After I told the doctor his complete history of his ear problems, she told me to get him an OTC medicine to help dry up the fluid. I explained to her that this will not work because history has proven that it never does. I told her that it's guaranteed that he'll get an ear infection and I asked her for an antibiotic. She said she didn't want to give me an antibiotic because right now he doesn't have an infection. She said that I should bring him back once he started to show signs of the infection and she would give me an antibiotic. Under normal circumstances, that's how it should be done. Ethan's circumstances are certainly not normal. So I repeated to her that he does NOT show signs of infection and I wasn't going to wait for my son to get an infection when I knew for sure that he'd get one. Since we were new there, she told me that she wasn't familiar with how his ears were and she wanted to see them when they were infected. However, she gave me an antibiotic and asked me not to fill it until his ears got infected and bring him in so she could see them. I reluctantly agreed.
Yesterday morning around four there was a quiet knock on our bedroom door and the sound of Ethan's crying voice saying, "Mommy. I need you." (break my heart!) Missy (our dog) was in our bedroom crying at the door letting us know that Ethan was in distress. I jumped out of bed and there was my boogie holding his ear with tears pouring down his cute little cheeks. I gave him some Tylenol to attempt to ease the pain and got the heating pad. There I was with this useless prescription that I couldn't fill until the pharmacy opened. I got his pillow and blanket and laid with him on the couch trying to comfort him the best I could. I knew I couldn't make his pain go away and I knew that the antibiotics wouldn't help much either. It was pretty much just a waiting game until that sucker popped. I explained to him that once the eardrum ruptured, he would feel a lot of relief. Around two that afternoon it finally broke and he felt better.
The problem is that the perforation causes scar tissue. Scar tissue = hearing problems. When he was four the ENT performed a hearing test on him and he had already lost 5% hearing in one ear and 9% in the other. Ethan heard me telling Joe this and he got worried that he was going to go deaf. I reassured him that he wouldn't and I wouldn't allow that to happen. But still, it's scary for him I'm sure.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that I know my child. I know how he operates, I know when he's fibbing, I know when he's sad, happy and tired. I know him better than I know myself. I made it very clear (in medical terms) to that doctor that I knew what was going to happen. I knew not only because we've been down this road a million times in the past decade but because I am his mother and I know my son. I followed what she said and still got the end result that I was trying to prevent in the first place. And it happened on a Sunday when they weren't open. Go figure.
Other than that, my start to 2009 was fantastic! We hung out with a small group of friends, played games and drank. I got to kiss the sexiest, sweetest, bestest man on the entire planet when the clock struck midnight! We also played Taboo which was so much fun. The best was when the girl next to me on Joe's team had to describe the word bagel...
Girl: Umm, I eat this in the morning...
People: EGGS! BACON! CEREAL!
Girl: Ok...I eat it in the morning and it has a hole in it.
Deep Throat of the Day: If you're playing Taboo and someone tries to describe their word by saying, "This is another name for my ass." You will look like a complete ass when you yell out, "DONKEY BUTT!!" and you find out the word being described is 'caboose'. Trust me on that.