When I got home from Hoggies on Saturday Night, I was elated to discover that I had won an Ambe Rocks necklace from a competition run by Kate Says Stuff. Obviously anything free is good, but there was a particular reason I was hoping to win this one.
I had been looking at these necklaces a few weeks ago on line, and I discovered that not only are they helpful for teething babies, (I think they work by reducing the acidity of the skin? Something like that.) but they can also help reduce ear infections, which is something we know all about.
Prior to just after her second birthday, Bridie had never had an ear infection in her life. Then one morning at playgroup, I noticed that her ear was caked in dry puss. Taylah had had a few ear drums burst as a baby, so I immediately knew what had happened.
Obviously I took her to the doctor, but not our usual one because it was short notice. After two weeks of no improvement, he referred us to the resident ENT, who, I kid you not, looked like he could of got his medical degree back when dinosaurs roamed the planet. Even my own GP said, ‘if you were going to call anyone old, it would be him.’
For the next five months we visited him, once, if not twice a week. She was almost constantly on antibiotics that whole time. We would get the all clear, and then a week (if we were lucky) later she would have puss pouring out her ear drum again. The only break we got was during a three week holiday in SA, where I assume the drier weather helped.
Within ten days of being back in the humidity, her drum had perforated again, and this time I took her to my GP who wrote a referral to a southern based ENT. He diagnosed her with thrush.
Yep. Thrush in her ear.
And you can bet all the antibiotics hadn’t helped.
After that she was free from infection for a while, but I had some minor hearing concerns, so as much for my own piece of mind as anything else, I had her hearing checked. Despite months of no infections, and the fact that the ear drum had been in tact when we visited the ENT, it had deteriorated, and she now had a large hole in her ear drum. As a result she was suffering a minor hearing loss.
Back to the ENT, and she was booked in for surgery, and about a year after the whole thing started, the doctor performed a Tympanoplasty on the right ear, and put a grommet in the left, to make sure the same thing didn’t happen.
The hole healed, and we had a blissful almost six months of no infections, and no loud voices because a little girl couldn’t hear properly.
Then it ruptured again.
Since January last year we have had at least 12 infections that I can remember, and each time the only clue I get is her getting louder about a day before, and then pus pouring out her ear. No fever and thankfully, very little pain. (It has been hurting more lately. It’s horrible knowing it’s about to burst again, and not be able to do a thing.)
Last year she had thrush again, and had to go under a general anaesthetic to get it vacuumed out.
This year she has spent one week out of every four, on antibiotics. Every month since January, I could almost pre book the doctors visits.
Last month we went back to the ENT, a few months before our scheduled visit, and I was ready to do my best Mama Bear impression, and demand something be done. All those antibiotics can not be good for her.
Thankfully I didn’t have to. The hole is half the size of her ear drum, her hearing’s not great, and there is nothing we can do to stop the infections. With a hole that size, bacteria is going to get in. It’s like sand bagging during a flood. At some point it becomes kind of useless.
So today we see an audiologist so we can get a better understanding of her hearing, and then in October, she will have a skin graft to repair the hole. Usually he wouldn’t even think of doing a graft till she was seven, but she has broken all the normal cases. The ENT has finally realised what we have known all along; our Bridie is exceptional.
I’m nervous about the audiologist. I know things aren’t good. Her volume is always loud. She doesn’t understand what ‘quiet voice’ means. There are times when I get cranky at her for not listening, and then I discover that actually she didn’t even hear me.
I’m not sure if the hearing loss is permanent, or if it’s just because of the hole. There is a part of me that thinks this has been going on for so long, surely there will be some kind of repercussion.
But there is another part of me that has hope and faith. That this can be a miracle story, and the Bridie, with her strong will and determined nature, can ignore the stats once again.
I have been wanting to write this post for a while, to explain the ear thing. I know I have alluded to it before, and it’s only fair to let people know what’s going on.
But after our gorgeous date night on Saturday, to coming home and finding out we had won Kate’s competition, it had to be more than one post.
Because Bridie is more than just an ordinary little girl. She has fears, and insecurities, and yucky allergies, and half an ear drum in her right ear. But she is beautiful. And strong, and she makes me want to do anything for her, buy everything for her, and be better for her.
She is my Bridie. And I just love her.