Friday, April 5, 2013


Spencer failed his 7 month follow-up hearing test last year. (It is actually 6 month, but everything has been a month off after staying in the NICU.) We spoke to the pediatrician about it and thought it might just be congestion. We waited 6 weeks and revisited the audiologist. Meanwhile, we started noticing the he wasn't copying any consonant sounds. He also yelled a lot back then. Spencer's second test was even worse. The audiologist couldn't even see his ear drums due to his tiny ear canals.

We went to see our Ear Nose & Throat specialist. He found a lot of fluid in Spencer's ears and recommended a very common procedure: myringotomy (tubes). Strangely, this procedure didn't scare me nearly as bad as the idea of a heart cath (which we narrowly dodged... for the time being). The procedure is so common that I had already researched it and was expecting the recommendation.

Spencer, awaiting his Myringotomy last November...

I took Spencer to the hospital with an empty stomach. (It is really hard to not feed a baby!) They checked his vitals and put us in a pre-op room (see photo above). The crib was so novel to Spencer, he'd never been in one at all! I had thought (because I'd been told) they would give him a drug to make him drowsy before taking him back, but he was too young. Eventually a nurse came to collect him. We were in the children's hospital where the nurse literally held him and carried him back. I think this is so much nicer than being rolled in a crib. I got to follow part of the way. Spencer has dealt with a lot of strangers in his medical appointments, so this sort of thing is rarely an issue.

Spencer fell asleep while waiting for his turn.

They did explain to me that the anesthesiologist would hold the mask close to Spencer's face (rather than put it on him) until he got drowsy, which alleviated my fear that Spencer would freak out about the mask. It was also reassuring to know that the anesthesiologist would be staying with Spencer the entire time (its often left to a nurse) because of his heart problems. His heart makes him a "special case."

I went to the waiting room and poked around on Facebook on my phone. I was anxious to have Spencer back, but not worried. The procedure itself only takes about 15 minutes. Our doctor came to see me and let me know that things went fine. However, Spencer's ear canals are so tiny that he had to put a smaller tube in one of his ears. He had planned to put a "12 month" tube in both ears, but one ear has a 6-9 month tube. (The time is an estimate of how long it stays, not of the child's age, I think.)

Next, a nurse came to take me back to Spencer in post-op. I could hear him crying as we approached. There was a nurse holding him, trying to console him. He was just starving and probably not happy to waking up to strangers. I sat down in the rocking chair provided and immediately offered the breast. He chowed!

Immediately after surgery and nursing

We were escorted to a recovery room (just like a pre-op room) to wait until we were released. Spencer was fussy. Once we (the nurse and I) decided that he did, in fact, need a little something for the pain, she went to get some Infant Tylenol. I requested dye-free and she checked, but they don't have any. Ugh. By the time she brought the drugs, Spencer had fallen asleep in my arms. We still felt that he would need it and started to give it to him with a syringe. Talk about a rude awakening! Still, we got the medicine into him and were soon released.

They drain the fluid in surgery, too, so hearing improvement is instantaneous. Other than resting a little extra, Spencer was his usual self that evening. We were told to return in 2 weeks for a follow-up, but had to wait 3 to get an appointment. Alas, another post...

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