Friday, July 9, 2010

A Day of Journeys Ending Part 2

Almost exactly two years ago yesterday, my then 14 month old baby was going into hospital for surgery to have grommets inserted. Yesterday, he passed his final hearing test with flying colours after both the grommets came out a couple of months ago!!!

It has been a long road, but we are so glad he had the surgery even though I was so apprehensive about putting such a little man under a general anaesthetic. In the months before the surgery Elliot suffered from 'recurrent' ear infections (it was pretty much just one big, long ear infection) and severe glue ear in both ears. He was constantly on antibiotics until the GP decided that they were doing nothing and there was no point in continuing with them. That was a great day because I hated giving him medicine that I knew was doing nothing. His hearing test came back that he had a severe hearing loss in both ears and the fact that he had even a couple of words was amazing. The GP referred us to an ENT (an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon) and then we were on the waiting list. It was meant to be a 2 month wait but fortunately the next week the receptionist rang saying they had a cancellation and an appointment was available the next week!

After an anxious wait at the ENT's, she finally saw us and within about two minutes of being in the consultation room she told me that he would need grommets in both ears. She said normally they like to wait and observe with children this young, but his case was severe (when I told her the infections had been going on for at least 6 months she was a bit shocked!) enough to put grommets in straight away. She had an opening for surgery in a couple of weeks and he was booked in!

The day of surgery rolled around and as Matt had just started his new job he was unable to take the day off work. As Elliot had to fast before surgery, my Mum came with us. I was only a couple of months pregnant with Archie and Mum was concerned about how I would go not being able to eat for that long! I'm so glad she came with us because it was such a long day and it didn't turn out to be as smooth sailing as everyone had told us it would.

The fasting was really hard. Elliot was (and still is) a big eater. He loves food and not being able to eat for such a long time was difficult. They put us in a room that was not designed for children (they were renovating the kids' ward) and there was not even a cot for him, just a regular hospital bed. We didn't take many toys or books because we were told there would be a toy room but we couldn't access that either. He ended up getting massive cabin fever, but luckily he went to sleep in the sling once the doctors had done their consultations. Thank goodness for the sling!

When we were called for surgery he was still asleep and the anaesthetist said that was fine, she could put him under while he was asleep in the sling and then I could take him out and put him on the table. She tried to get the needle in one hand, but he woke up screaming and she couldn't get it in. She then tried on the other hand, but that didn't work either. By this time he was bordering on hysterical and she just kept trying alternating between hands. She ended up giving up with the IV and decided to put him on the table and put the mask on. Because he was so worked up it took four of us to hold him down while she put the mask on. Eventually he went to sleep and I walked back up to the room to wait for him to come back. I walked back the whole way shaking, in tears and covered in my little mans blood. It was horrible. I was so thankful that Mum was with me because I'm sure the nurses thought I was a bit crazy.

As I wasn't allowed to be in recovery when he woke up, a nurse came into the room, and then the surgeon followed. Surgery had gone well but he had an infection in both ears at the time of the operation (big surprise!) and as a result he'd have to have antibiotic drops. The ENT explained that this would cause him to be in more pain that normal after surgery. After a little while longer another nurse told us that he was on his way up from recovery. I could hear him crying from down the hallway so went out to get him, but legally they had to carry him until we got to the room so I walked along beside, rubbing his arm and trying to talk to him. He took what seemed like an age to calm down, but after some painkillers he did, but it felt like an eternity. After another hour or so we left the hospital and came home.

Due to the infection he had to have drops in every few hours and they were very painful because the grommets allowed the drops to go right into his ear drum. I couldn't do it myself because as soon as he saw the bottle he'd run away and start to cry and I couldn't hold him down and do the drops as well! Luckily we had some wonderful friends living across the road so I would take him over to their house and their lovely 3 year old daughter would distract him by singing songs while I put the drops in. The husband/Dad of said wonderful family was a 4th year med student at the time, so he was very patient with me ringing and coming over, asking him to look, answering my questions, was this amount of goo coming out normal? How will we get the drops through the goo and into his ear? When will the infection heal? Poor Rob even did some 'back deck doctoring' and got an empty syringe and sucked out some of the goo so the drops could get through! Completely disgusting but it did the job!

After a week or so the infection cleared and then we had the fun of life with grommets. He was not allowed to get any water in his ears so hair washing involved ear plugs, swimming involved ear plugs and a bathing cap, showers were a thing of the past and impromptu baths with friends involved the joy of me or other parents yelling "NO SPLASHING!" which makes baths with friends decidedly less fun!

Since the operation he has had one ear infection (about a month after the operation) and no other problems. His speech took off like a shot and it was amazing to see him be able to hear properly. We lived near a small airport and light planes going overhead was quite normal, especially on weekends, and one day not long after the post-op infection healed a plane went over and he looked up shocked. He'd never heard it before!!!

So we are all hoping that this is the end of Elliot's ear dramas. Fingers crossed that it is all over!!!

1 comment:

  1. What an ordeal Vicki!! :( I just hate watching my babies in pain and having no ability to make it better. We had a horrible hospital experience with Saraya when she was 4 - I'll tell you about it some time!

    I am SO excited for you with your new house. Cannot wait to come sit on the verandah and have a cuppa with you!! xo