This morning I took the boys for their 6-month follow-up with audiology. The visit went about as I had expected but not as I was hoping. All in all it was not good news; we have no more tubes left... Both boys have lost both of their PE tubes. Xander has a significant loss of hearing in his right ear while his left appears to be working normally. James seems to have bilateral, but less significant loss of hearing. The good news for James at least is that he was cooperative enough to do some bone conduction testing and his nerves all seem intact so there is good evidence that his hearing loss is conductive rather than sensorineural, which is better for his long term prognosis. So.. where do we go from here? Back to the ENT.
I'm very conflicted about this whole situation. I know the ENT is going to recommend replacing their tubes. So on the one hand I know that new tubes will fix the problem, at least temporarily, but on the other hand it is surgery...AGAIN... and the fix is only temporary. So here's where we have the tough job of weighing the risks vs benefits of surgery for our children yet again. The tubes have been beneficial. When the boys have ear infections, which they still do very frequently even with tubes, they are less sick and have less pain. However, the tubes haven't helped the frequency of their infections. They have improved their hearing temporarily in between falling out, which has allowed both of them to develop more normal speech. In fact they have now both been determined to be age appropriate. And yet here we are again 9 months later with the thought of surgery looming. So while the logical part of my maternal brain is saying that obviously the tubes are a good idea because they will improve their hearing and prevent any future speech delays, the emotional side of me is cringing at the thought of sending Xander to the OR for 3rd time in 2 years. To be fair part of my emotional conflict is probably related to the fact that when James had his tubes placed last year the little boy that went before him had an episode of SVT in the PACU; so while I was sitting in the waiting room I am hearing them page the pediatrician and a code to the PACU thinking that it was my kid they were coding.
So now that I have hashed it out here and bored you all to tears we will have to wait till May 2nd when we see the ENT again.