Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ear Tubes, Breastfeeding & stuff

As I count down the days to Grant's ear tube placement....the reality slaps me around a bit. I mean...this kid was exclusively breastfed for 5 months and is STILL getting daily breastmilk. Sometimes I feel like my milk isn't good enough or something stupid...but of course the truth is that he would have just been sicker and had a harder time these past 19 months without mama milk. Its just hard to think about sending your child down the dark dank (ok I made that up)institutional hallway without his mama...to be sedated, poked and prodded.

They say the procedure is quick and relatively painless. He should be in and out within 15 minutes. She is going to suck all the fluid from his ears and send a sample to the lab. We will finally know what the hell has been growing in his ears. Is it bacteria or a virus or even fungus? I read that merely 30% of all ear infections in children are actually bacteria....even though almost every one (at least those that Drs are monitoring) is treated with antibiotics. Hmmmmm..and why again are we having super germs and a generation that antibiotics do not work on? Everybody say "over prescribing".

What irritates me to no end...is that I did not demand a culture months ago when his ear was draining like a river. Unfortunately I did not know to do so. Here is my advice to all parents....if your child is uncomfortable and has draining ears...go ahead and get it cultured. It is a painless, non invasive process. They just need to collect it and send it away. Wouldn't it be nice to know what you are dealing with? Why guess? Its as simple as that. When you know who/what you are at war with...you have more leverage. Take charge of your family's health care. Be the advocate. Do your own research (I know it is time consuming...but do what you can).

I have been warned that when the child is detoxing the sedative...they can scream and cry for up to an hour! This can be the worst part of the whole experience. I admit that worries me. Why do they scream? Does it hurt? Are they hallucinating? Are they afraid? What the F%#*K? Hopefully little Grant will just nurse and nurse and eventually be fully awake and be able to go home very quickly. That is my mantra.

Oh...and they tell you that the child is to have no food or drink after midnight. However, there is plenty of literature that states that breastmilk is ok 2 - 3 hours before anaesthesia. So I will be going against standard protocol and little Grant WILL have milk till 3:30AM (and clear fluids aka water till 4:30). Then however, I must restrict him. This will be the first time EVER in his life that he has been denied milk for a long period of time. Sure there are times when we are out in public that I say "NO not now". But even then if he would persist I would find a place and make sure he got what he needed. So in order to make this situation less stressful for both of us...I am planning on not being around. Ideally I sleep in a different bed after 3:30am...and then I stay in a different area at the surgery center (wont be easy) until he is in recovery (Dad and Nana will be with him in the waiting room). Sounds terrible..and even tricky...but I just think it will be easier on him if he doesn't feel denied. If they aren't around...he has nothing to be denied. Right? Ugh...this sucks.

I would love to hear your experiences with ear tubes. Anyone?

9 comments:

Christina said...

I, very nearly, had an experience with ear tubes. Luckily, the second option was antibiotics...so I took them and it worked. I was about 12 or 13 and was having bad earaches. I also had too much fluid in my ear canals. Sorry I am no help, but I do wish you and your little one good luck!

Charlie Wolfe said...

Great article and very informative. Your information is good and any parent could benefit from reading this. I, too, had to send one of my little ones into surgery and as heart wrenching as it can be, rest assured that he will be taken very good care of.
Good luck and you and he will be in my prayers. :)
Charlie

Beth is wfg said...

I've been an advocate for cultures since antibiotics caused problems for my second child (that's a really long story, I won't get into!). He also had to have ear tubes, but he came through surgery fine.

I found it helpful to wear multiple, hard to remove layers when I needed to make sure the little one didn't get any mama milk. (I can't even remember why it was being denied at this point...testing for reflux, maybe?)

Best of luck with the surgery! HOpe he's feeling 100% soon!

Jess said...

This is so aweful that he has to go through this! I so agree with what you said though. My daughter was only fed my milk...and she still got sick. There is no for sure answer. I found out through trial and error too. He will be fine. All it takes is a few times and we Mom's realize we have a voice, and a say. One we get that we are able to be confident in our decisions. Let us know how it goes.

Paula said...

Thanks mamas for your encouragement and support! :)

Anonymous said...

My son had more ear infections than I could count until he was about 16 months. Luckily we never needed tubes.

However, he did have surgery at 12 months. It was EXTREMELY difficult to watch them cart him off (though he was smiling and flirting with the nurses!) and watch him wave to me all smiley. He woke up and we were there to greet him and rock him...all was well. Some children do react with screaming and crying, but every child is different and they have to let you know all the possible outcomes beforehand.

He'll do fine with no fluids after midnight. Please don't look at it as denying him milk, but helping to assure he doesn't have a problem. As a mom though, you have to go with your gut.

Prayers for little Grant!

Cheers!

renee - 21st Century Parenting said...

We have Grant (and you) in our prayers! I hope everything goes beautifully. And HATS OFF mama, for sticking to your guns about nursing him. It makes SUCH a difference. I truly believe that if I was not nursing Twilli, she'd be a colicky mess!

Fortunately, we have no experience with tubes... But it's scary sounding.

Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...

I was also shocked to realize the ratio of ear infections to bacteria. Doctors are so quick to prescribe antibiotics when they are not even needed. One thing I would suggest to you is to look into chiropractic care for your little one. I breastfed all 4 of my children and didn't have an issue with ear infections until my oldest was 18 months old.
She went through 3 rounds of antibiotics and they were talking about tubes. That's when I started to do some research. I had heard about chiropractic care for ear infections before but it sounded pretty quacky to me. Well, I decided to give it a try and guess what? The ear infection went away and none of my children have had one since (we go to the chiropractor as a family now about once a month).
I know it may sound a little strange, but the research I found was pretty astounding.

Paula said...

Hey Cassie,

I meant to write back to say that Grant does get adjustments by a chiropractor on an as needed basis. I do believe in it and wish I could take him on a more regular basis. You have inspired a new post! Thanks.