Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ear Surgery

Rachel had ear surgery yesterday.  She has had problems with her ears since she came home from China.  She never showed any signs of ear infections (pain, fever, redness, estc.), but she failed hearing test after hearing test and was very slow to talk.  Two years ago she had tubes put in her ears and was soon talking and passing her hearing tests.  One year ago, the tube in her right ear had fallen out (as it was supposed to do) and the other tube was still visible.  This year, the left ear tube was still there and it was causing problems.  Rae was back to fluid in her ears, poor hearing in her left ear, and nasty yellow gunk draining out of her ear.  So it was time for surgery again.

Rachel loves the ear doctor and was happy to go visit him.  She was content to watch TV in the waiting/play room while we waited out turn, and was rather proud of her "special nightgown".  She may be the first patient ever who was excited about a hospital gown!  When it was time to head back for surgery, Rae happily followed the nurses, who had promised her a sucker.  (Yup.  Kids will do just about anything for a dumdum!)

Surgery went well and Rachel did just fine.  The doctor had thought he would need to do a "fatty tissue graft" to repair the hole in Rae's eardrum.  That meant he would made a small incision behind Rachel's ear, cut out a tiny bit of tissue, and place it over the eardrum, hoping it would grow over the hole.  (And yes, this sounds really gross!)  As it turned out, he was able to patch the hole with some sort of gel patch.  All of this is just amazing to me, as we are talking about an eardrum that's only a couple of centimeters wide and a hole smaller than that!

We were curious to see how Rachel would act as she was coming out of anesthesia.  After her first ear surgery two years ago, she woke up crying and thrashing around and was totally out of it (and impossible to hold) for quite a while.  A year ago, she had dental surgery and woke up happy drunk.  She was aware of everything and perfectly happy, but her speech was slurred and she had no balance or motor control for a couple of hours.  (But was hilarious to talk to!)  This time, her eyes were open and her motor skills intact, but she was a zombie.  She did not speak at all for an hour.  (Rachel not talking!!!)  She was quiet and content, happy to slurp down a big bowl of noodles and run some errands.  She was in no pain, but she could NOT stay awake.  Since we were in the city, we did some shopping.  Rachel napped in the shopping carts.  She dozed between stops.  She nodded off in our arms.  She slept any time she was still for more than 2 minutes.  She was the complete opposite of our usual energetic chatterbox!

Rachel was back to her usual self today.  She talked non-stop all day and fought every suggestion of a nap. She is not supposed to run, jump, swing, sommersault, etc. for a week to allow her eardrum to heal.  That will be a BIG challenge!

I have sweet picture to accompany this post, but Blogger is not cooperating!


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