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Saturday, March 26, 2016


This brave boy handled surgery like a champ.
For the past several months, I have been worrying about Luke's ears.  He has had several ear infections including one that was bad enough that his ear drum burst before we realized how sick he was and took him to the doctor.  The infections were concerning, but the bigger worry to me was the fact that he didn't appear to be hearing well.  He would often claim to not hear us, and I noticed that he needed the TV volume up much higher than normal.  Several times he would tell us that it sounded like he had water in his ears, or he would ask about other sounds that he said he could hear in his ears.  I resisted making an appointment for him because I thought that I was just being a little over protective.  But when Ruby needed to go in to the ENT for a blocked tube, I decided to make an appointment for Luke as well.

When we got to the ENT's office, I explained everything that was concerning and then they put the camera in his ear to see the eardrum.  Luke was pretty fascinated with the camera and everything he could see on the screen.  Because of what he saw when he looked into his ears, the PA also took him in to the audiologist to have an additional pressure test.  Once all of the testing had been done, the doctor came in and explained that both of his ears had significant amounts of fluid behind the eardrum and that it had probably been like that for a long time.  He said that Luke's explanation of hearing water is exactly what it sounds like and said it is a very irritating sound.  Most concerning, he said that he was not hearing very well at all, and that if it wasn't fixed, it could lead to permanent hearing loss, and affect his ability to speak.  Well that was enough for us to make the immediate decision to get the tubes done.  He also recommended removing the adenoids to further help him. We talked to his assistant, and after finding out he had an opening the next Tuesday (this was on a Friday), we decided to get it scheduled as soon as possible.

In the days leading up to the surgery, we explained everything to Luke and talked a lot about what the doctor was going to do to make his ears all better. Luke really likes to know what is going on and seems to handle scary things best with a lot of information.  The night before the surgery Tim gave him a blessing and I think we all went to bed feeling pretty peaceful.  We had to wake Luke up early to get to the surgical center, and I think the combination of being sleepy, and a little scared, made him extremely quiet and shy.  It was strange to be back at the surgical center a month after my surgery (the fourth time total in the last year), but because of our prior experiences, I knew he was in good hands.  All through the check in and pre-op procedures, Luke was so brave, but it broke my heart to know how scary it must have been for him.  Once we talked with the doctor and anesthesiologist, the nurse came to get him and we had to send our baby away.  I have such a new level of empathy for parents of children who are seriously ill.  It was really tough to hand him over to strangers and watch him head out for a tough experience.  

As we waited together for the surgery to be over, it was all Tim and I could do to not get up and pace. This one took a lot longer than when Ruby had her surgery, and required full anesthesia and a breathing tube.   I had brought a book to read, but couldn't settle down enough to read.  They finally came to get us and as soon as they opened the door to the recovery area, I could hear him screaming. He was lying on a bed and still pretty sedated, but was thrashing and crying.  Tim picked him up and I sat and rocked and tried to comfort him.  It was seriously so heartbreaking to be unable to quiet him. While he was still so upset, the doctor came to talk to us and told us how full of sludge his ears had been.  He reaffirmed that his ears really needed the tubes which made it a little easier to bear the pain of watching my boy cry.  As we sat, he kept trying to pull out his IV and cried that he hurt.  The only thing that really seemed to calm him was when I sang You Are My Sunshine.  The nurses were great in trying to help us - especially Jill, our unofficial nurse.  Once he became a little more aware, we were able to convince him to drink some root beer and they were able to remove his IV.  He continued to cry and complain of pain and even when we left he was pretty upset.  I was so grateful that both Tim and I could be there together so that we both had someone to provide comfort.  

When we got home, Ruby and Grandma were excited to see Luke and help snuggle him until he felt better.  Within about an hour or two, he was almost back to acting normal.  I think it was the combination of getting the anesthesia worked out, and the Tylenol helping his pain.  He was happy to take a nap and slept for most of the afternoon.  

Over the past few days, Luke hasn't really seemed to suffer from any effects of the surgery other than some mild pain.  He has, however, noticed a dramatic difference in his hearing.  He repeatedly tells us excitedly "I heard that mama", or "That is so loud, I can hear that now".  It is pretty clear as we watch him that he is hearing so much better.  It makes me so sad to think of him hurting and not hearing well for such a long time.  We are just glad that we figured out the problem when we did so that he will not have any long term problems with his ears.  Let's hear it for good doctors and modern medicine!

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