Friday, February 4, 2011

A visit to the ENT

So as many of you know Xander has been having issues with his ears pretty much since he was a baby. He often seemed to have ear infections and we attributed his speech delay to chronic fluid in his ears. So on August 31, 2010 he has PE tubes placed in both ears. After the surgery all went well for a bit- he saw massive gains in his speech. It wasn't overnight but the explosion in language has been truly impressive. So all in all I felt pretty vindicated that the decision to place tubes was the right one. Obviously the chronic fluid had been affecting his ability to acquire language so despite the fact that his gross hearing tests were all within the acceptable range (albeit on the lower end of normal) I think it is safe to say that his hearing was definitely affected.

What hasn't been going so well is the amount of ear infections. What were frequent ear infections became pretty much constant ear infections. He always seemed to have pus or fluid draining from his ears, but at least it was draining. He never had a fever and he seemed more discomforted by the antibiotic ear drops than the infection itself. We didn't have to do oral antibiotics which was a blessing b/c they just tear up his stomach. But in the last month that picture has unfortunately changed. Xander has now had 2 ear infections where he was febrile, did not have fluid draining from his ears, and he seemed bothered and in pain from his ears constantly tugged and pulling at them, especially the left. So after his ninth (yes NINE, 9th) ear infection since the surgery my mom took him to his PCP last week where he said he did indeed have an ear infection but the tube was still present in the ear (the same picture as the time before that) of course while at the Dr office he did not have a fever! But anyway they sent him for a tympanogram after which we we referred back to ENT. My suspicion at that point was that his typanogram hadn't been very good but the NP at our regular dr office would only say that the "results were hard to read." AKA he failed miserably! I have to be honest and say I wasn't that impressed with the new NP in my dealings with her over the phone but my mom said she was good in person so I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.

So on Tuesday I took him back to the ENT, an appointment for which we were terribly late due to heavy snow..again, but we made it. Dr Wilson looked in his ears and guess what he had an ear infection... maybe the same on or a new one who knows at this point! But the tube in his left ear is no longer in and based on Dr Wilson examination and the typanogram his eardrum is now intact with a fluid collection behind it. The right tube does still seem to be partially patent at least. So based on the number of ear infections that he has had since the tube placement (and Dr Wilson was the first one to agree with me that given the sheer number of post tube infections he was probably having more infections pre-tubes than we realized!) the recommendation would be to replace the tubes and remove his adenoids at the same time. Apparently the adenoids can become colonized with bacteria and since the Eustachian tubes exit near the adenoids it is easy for the bacteria to cause ear infections. I think it's just because Xander has such a pin head! So March 8th we head back to the OR for PE tubes and an adenoidectomy. Hopefully this will be the last time, luckily though e now have new insurance b/c I am still working on paying the bill for the last round! With Frank's new job though we have much better benefits and Xander's surgery will be free this time around- thank goodness! Now if only we can manage to stay relatively ear infection free until then....

1 comment:

Reba said...

hey whitney,
thanks for your comment at my place. i hope maybe someday i can make another little buddy for naomi and the boys too. :)

your post to deniz was so touching and sweet and sad. i am sorry she never got to meet your fantastic family.

and ugh! i am so sorry xander has to have his adenoids out. what a bummer! a little girl at daycare went through that a couple weeks before naomi got her tubes put in (a year ago today, actually). her mom said the hardest part was not letting her eat afterwards b/c she was starving. she was a lot younger than xander is so hopefully he will understand better. i'm just sorry he's still having problems with his ears. yuck!

has james had any hearing tests yet? any sign of ear infections or delayed speech on his end?