Friday, September 14, 2012

Today is Tubesday

When we got back from our Michigan road trip/vacation, the day after Walter finished a course of antibiotics for an ear infection (his fourth) he started getting sick again.  As we geared up for the fifth ear infection and another round of antibiotics, we started talking tubes.  Our pediatrician was all for it, as was the ENT.  Even when he was ostensibly healthy in the few days he had between infections, Walter's ears did not look good. We scheduled the surgery to happen right away, a week after our appointment with the ENT (today.)

And then ... Walter got sick again. We called the ENT and got another course of antibiotics prescribed, hoping to head the inevitable infection off at the (very small, not very well-draining) pass. We spent four days nervously (and goopily) awaiting today ... and it all went really, really well.

Walt's Easter lamb assisted with surgery
Sure, there were rough spots. Walt had to fast after 2:30 am, which is kind of hard to explain to a 10 month old who loves to nurse upon waking.  Getting him up at 2:15 to nurse actually went really well, and getting him up again at 5:30 to go to the hospital was bad but not too too bad. He listened to his beloved magic lullaby cd from Aunt Audrey and Uncle Curtis and clung to my hand and arm which got us through the ride there.  Curiosity and stranger anxiety kept him occupied for a little while during the pre-op check in, but soon he started getting insistent about breakfast, which was after all right there in front of him.  After an hour or so he started to angrily pinch and claw at the skin on my neck and chest, at which point Sean pried him away and took him on a tour of the pre-surgery area.  We'd arrived at the hospital at 6 and surgery was supposed to start at 7 ... but the ENT was late.  He'd slept in/forgotten/thought it started at 7:30 (kind of depended on which nurse was delivering the news).  It was just 30 minutes but that makes a difference for everybody: hungry hungry Walter and his increasingly desperate parents, the four year old who was scheduled to go into surgery after us and had to wait even longer, the surgical staff who were then running late all day ... no good.

But for us, it was mostly OK.  As we walked down the hall with him to the OR we worried about the handoff at the door ... until the door opened and there was an especially pretty nurse standing there, smiling at Walter and holding out her arms.  He practically leaped.

We were in the family waiting room long enough for me to drink a small decaf coffee and not long enough to finish a sudoku. The ENT came in and told us Walt's ears were full of pus and really inflamed.  Four days of antibiotics, started right when he was first getting sick, and he still got a raging ear infection. The tubes, they were a good idea.  They drained the pus and put the tubes in with no trouble.  The ENT prescribed antibiotic ear drops to keep the tubes from getting clogged up.  4 drops in each ear twice a day ... he's done that twice now and has been incredibly brave and good both times.

Speaking of brave ... Sean and I did great.  The only point where I started to lose my cool was when they told us he would meet us back at the pre-op room and when we got there he hadn't arrived yet.  I knew he was fine, but I wanted him right then and no later.  A nurse came into view wheeling a bed with his things on it ... I completely ignored that nurse's friendly smile and wave and strained to see the nurse coming in after him, the one holding Walter.  The friendly nurse turned out to be one of our neighbors, and once I had Walt in my arms and registered that I was very grateful indeed to know that a kind neighbor had been taking care of Walter.

After nursing and some vitals checks we got to take him home, arriving around 9:30, greeted by a rather worried dog.  We gave him his medicines, nursed some more, and got him (and us) to bed until he woke up at noon, famished again.  We'd been warned about crabbiness, but for most of the day he's been very happy and chatty and active (and hungry.)  He got a little sad around 4 ... we figured his pain killers wore off about then, gave him some Advil, and he perked right back up in time for dinner and a polka or two at the Polish festival.

Our boy loves, loves a good polka.  For the rest of the night, he'd start dancing again randomly, keeping time to a polka beat I can only assume was stuck in his head.  On the way home from the festival I gave him a serious case of the giggles/snorts/hiccups and kept making him laugh until I realized it might make him lose his cabbage roll.  As strange and sometimes difficult as this day was, it was pretty wonderful to spend it together, and pretty wonderful to think of all the laughing, learning and growing he'll do more fully now with fewer ear infections.

Look out, world.  Here comes Walter.  He walks, he sings, he polkas, and his ears are draining.

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