Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Totally Tubular

My absence in the blog-o-sphere has been driven by an overwhelmingly busy fall. I'm pretty sure this has been the busiest one on tap...even compared to last year when I started my hospital "stints" with contractions at 24 weeks.

My lack of posting has also been punctuated by a tragic incident with a mandolin, organic sweet potato, and my right thumb.

Opposable thumbs rock.

Don't ever underestimate the value of your dominant hand's thumb. Especially if your professional job requires you to type 90% of the time. And don't even begin to ask about how involved your thumb is with kids. (Don't they always find a way to bump you where you hurt?)

I cut off the tip a few days ago while making sweet potato chips. I'm not talking about a slight nick or sheering off of the top dermal layers. We are talking about full on chunk hanging off, drowning in blood while I distribute apple pieces to my boys in their high chairs to occupy their own hands...at the same time inventing a dance to make them laugh that allows me to keep the shredded thumb above the head hoping that the hour run my husband just left for will only last all of 10 minutes. I prayed no one would download in a diaper or scream to be picked up, because those boys could not be maneuvered until Mr Reinforcement got back to help them and allow me to properly dress my wound.

Typing has not been on my list of priorities recently.

And then we've been preparing for Felix to get ear tubes, which really just involved a few doctor appointments, hearing tests, and me spending my nights obsessing about researching myringotomies.

There is no question the tubes are warranted...we were on our last antibiotic option, and he still was not responding to the medication. My concern really rested in the idea of anesthesia. And I also had this unfounded concern that this was somehow my fault...poor nursing positioning? It didn't help that my co-worker told me this week: "I told my husband how I thought it was ironic that you are like earth mother, breastfeeding guru, non-toxic patrol...and your kids have all of these problems. That's why my kids are going to eat dirt." I wanted to first tell her that Felix ate a leaf in the car the other day and that I didn't care, but I just smiled. It's true that breastfeeding and breast milk can help mitigate myriad infant problems, but I'm pretty sure this is just an anatomy imperfection.

So--how was the surgery? Totally fine. And all of 3 minutes.

The worst part? The night before when Felix wasn't allowed to have anything by mouth after midnight and was up pretty much all night screaming at Eric to get him some boob. I wore ear plugs, but my mammary glands and heart can hear my children scream from miles away. Eric took Felix duty 100% of the time so that Felix didn't think I was imposing my own nursing strike, but all I wanted to do was go in and help out. He finally settled around 5am...and then I had to wake the poor child at 6am and toss him into the car, PJs and all. And then the hour at the Children's hospital waiting to go back to the OR was delightful. It's tough to distract a 9 month old. I finally brought him into the OR and then put him on the table and had to hold him down while they put the anesthesia gas mask on his face. They warned me he would scream and perhaps squeak, and in about a minute, he was dreaming of milk and avocado mash. I walked out, was brought to the recovery room with Eric...turned my head, and the surgeon was back in the room.

All done! No ear infection, but they suctioned out lots of mucus.

What? All done? That was it. And then we waited for what they warned us to be a screaming, disoriented baby wheeled back from the OR. Great, seeing him scream in the mask was enough to make me want to puke. We had seen a few previous babies wailing on their way to recovery, and I was ready. But Felix came back completely asleep, spread out on an adult sized gurney, as peaceful as can be. And he stayed that way for over 10 minutes...until the nurse and I sort of disrupted his sleep by moving his blood pressure cuff. I swooped him up, waiting for the screaming...

...and he smiled and laughed. Leave it to Felix. The nurse told us to buy a lottery ticket on the way home because we were incredibly lucky that he didn't react at all. (Except he threw up the pedialyte on Eric in the elevator on the way out).

The rest of the day, he was completely normal. Not even a bit of discharge. And Eric and I are convinced he can hear better and that he is vocalizing more. COMPLETELY imagined, but we are acting like he couldn't hear more than his own thoughts before the surgery, and now hears our voices for the first time.

We both stayed home, and it was a nice day with just Felix. Was it really that quiet with only 1 child? You don't realize how "noisy" life is until you have more than one child, and get the rare occasion to spend extended time with just one (of course, the non-verbal one). It doesn't help that Miles's new favorite word is "WHYYY-EEE???" (Repeat ad nauseum)

I'm hoping our time with ear infections is over. Or at least reduced. And now we can combat them with topical ear drops.

I'm hoping this might help his crooked neck. Torticollis is still raging, but I've convinced myself the ear infections have exacerbated it.

I'm hoping he starts sleeping from 7pm-7am. Okay, that's wishful thinking, but I'll take 7pm to 5am on most nights--please?

I'm also hoping this is our last ENT surgery. At least we can say that we have worked with some of Atlanta's best adult and now best pediatric ENT surgeons. (And strangely, Eric's doctor and Felix's doctor look alike).

Here's to better hearing, straight necks, restful nights, clear middle ears...and fully functioning opposable thumbs.


  1. Here, here! And second those emotions! Also, don't listen to that co-worker. Things just are what they are, and children needing ear tubes is very common. At least there is that remedy nowadays! Judging by the happy baby I saw on Skype this evening, he has totally forgiven and forgotten the withheld nursing! He may well be hearing better, too.
    Last, I keep forgetting to inquire about your thumb. How awful! I'm so sorry, honey!

  2. Go, Felix! Hoping the tubes will take care of everything.
    FYI-too-late, breastmilk is supposed to be considered a clear fluid and ok for pre-anesthesia.

  3. ali - you should try that liquid band-aid stuff for your thumb. it's basically nail polish, but I've found it works really well for cuts on your fingers. Waterproof.