Monday, January 18, 2010

What to Expect when your Child needs Tubes in their Ears

I have wanted to do this post for a while now, just have not gotten around to it. This is the time of year that most kids and parents have to make this decision or have this surgery though.

After the cold flu season, and many many colds or ear infections - the doctor will say "Well, ONE more ear infection and they are going to have to get tubes" Then your heart sinks, and you have this awful feeling in your gut that says....SURGERY!!! I have been there- 5 times in fact!!

Here is the procedure that we have gone through. I would like to mention however- This is our story, all stories & hospitals are different and have different ways and procedures of doing things.

When T got his first ear infection he was 6 months old...then by 9 months when the doctor said that the fluid had not gone away and nothing was changed.... he needed tubes!! After many months of prayer and seeking what we thought would be the best option- He had his hearing tested and we found his hearing was at 20% loss....that would explain his speech was very good- but you could not understand much of what he was saying. Thank You was "Nock New" the Doctor told me that if was if he was hearing underwater!! Imagine that when you are in a pool and you go underwater- if someone were to talk to you THAT is how he was hearing!!

Well, that was our deciding factor- we decided that HE MUST get this surgery. He was 18 months old by the time we had it done. I did not want my emotions and my selfishness to interfere with his hearing and speech for the rest of his life. I also had prayed and even fasted for months for his healing, I know that GOD has a plan and a will for everything- he created men to be doctors to help people with simple things like ears and difficult things like Cancer.

These pictures will help explain how and what we went through. Like I said not ALL hospitals & surgery centers are the same.... T's first 3 surgeries were at another hospital and they were a bit faster- they were a smaller scale and had less patients.

We had C's surgery at Children's Hospital in Little Rock, AR. He was 20 months old. That is where theses pictures were taken. I was told I could not take a picture of staff- or actual procedures, I was glad that they let me take these to help other parents understand and overcome fears, that I had when I went through this same thing. When the doctor tells you that your child needs the surgery, you might set the date that day- or you will get a call from scheduling to set the date & time of surgery. It is however VERY important to listen carefully to the time & also they will tell you what your child can and cannot have to eat before surgery. Each one is different depending upon the time of surgery- WRITE IT DOWN!!!

The first thing that you will do when you arrive for your child's surgery is usually go to the hospital is check-in or register. I have found it VERY helpful to have the office to fax or mail the papers to me and I fill them out prior to that day, emotions can sometimes make you write crazy stuff- when I had C in the hospital I wrote that my husband was born in 1999... for example. If they don't allow you to do that- you will fill out papers and talk to a financial office. Sometimes you must pay a co-pay or money up front... just depending upon insurance.

Then you will sit and wait...... and wait.... sometimes it is long and sometimes it is fast. When we had T's first surgery, SUPER FAST- they took him back actually just carried him and he kinda teared up, I waited until he was out of site to let my tears fall....they took him back and gave him gas...immediately. Then it was over in 15 minutes!

The times we have gone to AR Children's Hospital they have called us back quickly, my husband can go- as long as there are NO OTHER CHILDREN... two adults per child. Let me add one minor note... the black eye was not due to the ears- We had a outdoor party that weekend and he fell on the sidewalk....looks bad- but he was OK and it went away very quickly!!

They will check their weight, height, and put a gown on them and socks.....and the lovely plastic bracelet- that kids HATE!! Now, girls might not mind- neither one of my boys like it!

Next step- they will take you to a room and have you to wait there. There is a TV in the room, so we watched cartoons. Which was great for our little couch potato!! It was very early in the morning- we had to be in Little Rock at 6am.... we live 3 hours away. So early in fact Daddy fell asleep in the chair a few times....
To TRY to keep him entertained I brought some cars, trucks, color books, books & a BRAND NEW toy for being BRAVE!!! That is always fun to get a new toy, instead he was trying to figure out how the bed worked.

Then while you are in room- there will be many visitors- Nurses, Doctor, Anesthesiologist, honestly I didn't know who was who half of the time. And the all ask the same questions- What was the last time they ate, drank? Have the had a cold, fever, cough? Have they ever had surgery- anesthesia before? Many, Many questions, all for the safety of your child....just be patient- they are doing their job.
I will mention however, we did have to cancel C's surgery and put it off a month due to a cold/cough- IF THEY HAVE CONGESTION- it could interfere with the medicine or your child could have complications- SO keep that in mind. I would much rather put it off and have a healthy child than to keep the appointment and have complications.

You will be in this room until they come and wheel your child away- The thing I LOVED about ARCH... they came in about 15 minutes before surgery and gave him some "goofy Juice" I have no clue what it was but let me tell you, I have NEVER seen C more still in my life. It made him go from crying and restless to calm as a cucumber and mellow.
When they gave T his before surgery he was on his knees on the bed and said "Getter Done!!" Thought the nurses were gonna pee their pants.... It was SO FUNNY!!! T can remember rolling away from me and he cried- C didn't have a care in the world.....each child is different, I don't think they gave T as much- I told them this was his 4th surgery and he usually didn't get to emotional.

Once your child is back in surgery it will be just moments that seem like hours and they will be done. T had tubes & adenoids out first time.... it 15-20 mins. and he did have an IV. Which they don't put in until they are OUT and unaware of it. T's second surgery was tubes & tonsils out- that was about 20 mins. with an IV also. His 3rd & 4th Surgeries were just tubes only which is gas only, no IV's and it was 5 mins. C's was just tubes so his was only about 5mins. Just depends on the doctor & child.
Your child will be in a recovery room when you go back- they will give them juice or sprite. You can rock & hold them as long as you want, and then they will tell you you are free to go home.
I usually wait at the entrance and B goes to get the car. Much easier than hauling a kid whose it dead weight across the parking lot. Once you head home you can sit in the back with your child- I always strapped them in their seat belts & just sat next to them. C watched CARS on the way home- he never moved, or went to sleep.I will tell you I have NEVER been more aware of HOW BLESSED we are when you visit ARCH each time or any Children's Hospital- You will be humbled!! Here we were worried about some tubes and sitting in the waiting room with parent's whose kids are in surgery for their hearts, and cancer, You can tell by the crowd and the presence of pastors and friends praying the severity of the surgery. If you ever need a reality check just go sit in the front entrance of a Children's Hospital.
I hope this post helps any of you parent's that have wondered about the procedure- from a mom's perspective. I know I was told by many parents- "it is nothing, so easy, so simple!" And really it is- but it is also my baby!!
If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me!! I would love to answer them.

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