Gracie had her first ear infection at only 4 weeks old. Four weeks old?! Seriously. And that was only the beginning of 2 years of almost monthly ear infections. The first year, you knew when Gracie had an ear infection. She cried and hollered and was generally unhappy. By the beginning of her second year, it was as if she had accepted the fact that she was going to have to live with recurring ear infections. She gave up fighting the doctors who looked in her ears and I was always stunned when they told me she had an ear infection (as if the cloudy green goo coming out of her nose wasn't clue enough). In a way, it made me terribly sad that my little girl had learned to live with pain, of all things.
In March, Dr. A threw in the towel and decided to refer us to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. At that point, Gracie had had 6 ear infections in 6 months and had a double ear infection. Dr. A knew that if we let Gracie go much longer, she might start losing her hearing, much like happened to me when I was a toddler. Gracie's situation was made more frustrating by her allergy to the Cillian Family of antibiotics.
Dr. A referred me to Dr. B (I'm not being alphabetical, his last name really starts with a B) and it took me 3 months to get an appointment. We met him at the end of June. Gracie had just finished a 21 day antibiotic series for an ear and sinus infection. When he looked in her ears, the infection was still there. He immediately recommended ear tubes and sent off a referral.
This morning, I woke Gracie up at 5:45 am and drove her to the out patient surgery at Huntington Hospital. Somehow, having our routine differ confused the little Whoville, who a) forgot she always asks for a cracker before she says "hi" to me in the morning, and b) was giggling every time she looked at me. She was hysterical. She giggled and talked and played as we waited to be called in. She was totally at ease while we waited the 45 minutes before her surgery. She even played with a little boy, named Brandon, who at 6 months older that Gracie, was also there for ear tubes. They were adorable together!
They took Gracie and me into the pre-op room and while I answered the nurse's questions, Gracie pilfered items from the nurse's pockets and used her pen to color all over the surgery paperwork. Luckily, she did not color over anything important and the nurse was very patient with her. Before I knew it, they took my Whoville from me and she went back to have her tubes put in. The only things she had with her to keep her comfortable were her Winnie the Pooh jammies, her binky, and her puppy dog that Nana bought for her.
I went back out to the lobby to wait and, I'm not kidding, less than 15 minutes later, they told me to go back. She was already done. I did not make it to the first door before I heard an all too familiar sound: Gracie Lu Who in full tantrum. The anesthesiologist had warned me that Gracie would be disoriented and would be very angry when she first woke up. I don't think the nurses realized what disorientation would do to Gracie. She screamed and thrashed around, spit out her binky and cried for it to come back. I held her and whispered to her and replaced her binky about 20 times. Dr. B came by and told me that when he went in to do the surgery, Gracie had puss on her ear drums (we just finished our latest round of antibiotics on Friday). He still inserted the ear tubes, but prescribed ear drops to kill the infection. After about 15 minutes, the nurse
I held her, wrapped in her favorite blanket, and carried her to the car. She continued to cry and thrash around until I was able to get her into her car seat. That part was not fun. I finally got us on the road and turned on her Barney CD. By the time we got on the freeway, all sound from the back seat had ceased. When I looked in my rear view mirror, she was passed out, her head hanging forward.
She stayed asleep for 40 minutes while I drove around. Eventually, we stopped at Target to get her prescription filled (thanks, Target, for not having your pharmacy open at 9:30 am!). When I got her out of the car, she was still asleep, but by the time I put her in her stroller, she was wide awake and giggling again. And who does she ask for? Does she say "Momma!" to me? No! She asks for "Papa" and "Uckie." She then proceeded to giggle through our entire trip in the store!
After we were done, we came home and got her dressed. Because she wasn't supposed to play outside, I kept her with me today instead of letting her go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. She was very hungry, so we went out to breakfast, where she ate exactly 2 pieces of bacon and drank half a cup of chocolate milk. That's it. She kills me!
After that we headed home and kept everything calm. She watched every Barney movie known to mankind and finally passed out around 4:30 for a nap. Two hours later, it was more Barney until Daddy and Lukie arrived home.
Most of this may seem pretty boring, but to me it was a miracle. The nurses kept telling me that she would be crazy all day and she just wasn't. But the biggest miracle was this evening when we had to put the ear drops in her ears. Rather than just hold her down and put them in her ears, I showed her the bottle and demonstrated putting drops in my ears. I told her the drops would make her ears feel better and asked her to lay down. She did it without a fuss and stayed perfectly still while I put the required number of drops in each ear, followed by the requisite cotton ball. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
I don't have a single picture of today. Primarily, because I can't find my camera to save my life. But also because today wasn't about pictures. It was about Gracie and helping her recover from a scary experience. She isn't even 2 and handled today beautifully. I'm so proud of my baby girl! She is already proving to be very brave!
We'll just forget how she is afraid to watch the part in Barney's Big Adventure where the boy steps in the poop, and how she crowds up next to me because it scares her.
Yeah. We'll just forget about that.