Need to hear from others that have gone through the same thing (not a debate)

MeMe - posted on 08/05/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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OK, my boy has been suffering from ear infections since October of last year. From October/11 to March/12 he had approx. 8 ear infections and went 4 months with pretty much continuous antibiotics. In March/12 the ENT recommended tubes but he gave me the choice, to either get them done then or wait and see if my boy grew out of the infections (often kids do by age 2-3yrs old). Since my boys problem is that his Eustachian tube is not fully developed (very common with infants and toddlers).



I chose to wait it out and hope he grew out of the infections. My reason is because my husband had the same problem as a boy and had 7 different tubal surgeries. Due to the amount of surgeries he had, he ended up with a hole in his ear drum and had to have skin grafts done. He now (at age 36) suffers poor hearing and severe pain when he gets a cold. He is afraid to get his ears wet when swimming, so we are always limited to the amount of water fun we can have.



So, with that, I am deathly afraid of getting tubes for my boy but he has now had two severe infections over the past 3 weeks. Which is accompanied with a fever of 102 and of course another round of antibiotics. We just got back from the walk-in clinic (because it is Sunday) and have to do another 2 weeks of antibiotics, when he just finished a round 1.5 weeks ago. I am also very afraid of him being put to sleep, since he is only 21 months. Although, I don't want him to become resistant to the antibiotics, either, since he doesn't do well on the others.



I know the best choice, right now, is tubes and I am going to make the appt on Tuesday. I am just looking for others that have experienced this with their little ones and getting a census on how well (or not so well) the experience was for you.



Side Note:

My daughter had enlarged adenoids and had to have day surgery and be put to sleep, when she was 3. It was a TERRIBLE experience. She ended up having to spend the night, due to the amount of "old" blood she was throwing up....hence, another reason for my anxiety. However, it did solve her problem of being deathly ill for 1.5 years, so, of course in hindsight, I am glad we did it and I do think, the tubal surgery is an easier and less complicated one.



Please tell me about your experience. Good or bad. Thanks in advance. ;)

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Meme, the EXACT same thing that happened to your husband happened to my husband when he was a kid, and he has the same issues today--poor hearing, and extreme pain if he gets his ears wet or gets a cold.
J had numerous infections as a toddler as well. They have made HUGE strides in the efficiency of this surgery--complications today are almost non-existent, whereas when our husbands were children, complications, while still not very common, were much more common.

While we were deciding what to do, these are some tips our doc gave us to prevent the infections:
1) Avoid smoke of all kinds--fire place, cigarettes, camp fires, etc.
2) Feed him strawberries, raspberries, and plums (the xylitol sugar prevents bacterial growth)
3) Do not clean the wax out of his ears--even if you can see it. Just use a clean, damp cloth with a little soap to wipe down the outside of the ear.
4) Use an air purifier in the house to keep germs out of the air, and us an anti-bacterial air spray on surfaces, light switches, and furniture about every other day.
5) And this probably goes without saying, but wash hands as often as possible, and keep his hands away from his ears.

We never could keep J's hands away from his ears, but when we did the rest, his infections dropped tremendously.

Kristi - posted on 08/07/2012

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MeMe--



So sorry to hear that your son has been so sick. It is so hard to deal with sometimes, as it gets tiring when they are constantly fussing and crying and with all the extra rocking and pacing to get them to settle down sometimes it's like give me a stinking break, already! But you know it is not their fault and they are miserable so you take a deep breath and hold them a little closer, rock with them a little longer, and let the housework wait til tomorrow. Beyond the frustration, you're a heart breaks a little more with each tear, knowing they are in pain and the extra love is the lonly relief we can give them.



I had tubes in my ears in the 2nd grade, back in the 70's. Things went well and I could finally hear! My daughter went through a bajillion ear infections, like your son. Her doctor said if she continued taking antibiotics she would quickly become immune and they would no longer be effective for anything, not just ear infections. So I opted for the surgery. I felt like I couldn't breathe and thought I was going to puke the whole time she was gone. They brought her back to me safe and sound.



It turned out to be the best decision for her. Although all the wax (not ear wax) and cotton in the ears during bath time was a pain in the ass, she no longer suffered from ear infections. If I'm not mistaken, she has not had an ear infection since. That made us both a lot happier! : )



Just to add a little more, she had to have her tonsils and adenoids out in 3rd grade. She was a real trooper. Again we had great success. No more strep throat for us, so far. The specialists we had both times were wonderful and I trusted them completely, which made the tonsil surgery much less stressful.



Ironically, I shamefully, had a good laugh at her expense. After they gave her the drugs to keep her calm, she was a loopy and "happy" and was making all sorts of silly jokes and her head kept bobbing around like an apple. It was kind of like she was buzzing! It was so funny! (how bad is that?!)



Anyways, my point is that if you trust your doctors and you believe in your decision, you should find a little comfort there. Both of her surgeries were in the early 2000's and as Kelly said, there have been so many advancements since then, it has become an even more effective, quick way to get our kids back on track health-wise.



You'll both be ok. Just bring your smartphone and chat with us until he comes back. ; ) I will keep you both in my prayers.

[deleted account]

Meme, In response to your ear wax question. If your son's wax is dry and cracked oil is often used to "moisturize" it....that sounds weird.

Basically, the wax is there as a barrier to germs, but if it is too dry it will not catch anything anyway, so you don't really need to leave it. Also, if it is too dry, it doesn't cling to the walls of the ear the way it should, instead it flakes off and gets caught in the more moist wax creating a barrier. We only had to use it briefly before J's ears cleared up. This is what we did.

Have your doctor clean the ear well, then put the drops into the ear, and wash the outer ear with a warm, damp cloth--no soap. The skin will absorb the oil and the new wax should be more "waxy". Never put anything into the ear to try to clean it yourself, always let a doctor clean the inner ear. J's doctor was cleaning his about once a week while we had the dry wax issue, but it cleared up really quick (less than 3 weeks) once we did the oil thing.



Hope that helps some...



ETA: We didn't use Olive Oil though, our doctor gave us the oil drops. I don't remember exactly what they were. I could ask one of my neighbors.

Momof2 - posted on 08/06/2012

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My son got tubes in his ears when he was 2. he had constant constant ear infections that werent being helped at all by the antibiotics. in fact he wasnt showing any symptoms of having an ear infection at all. he wasnt tugging at his ears, he didnt have a fever, he didnt seem sick at all. we discovered the infection when we took him to the hospital with pink eye. thats when we first discover the infection. w took him back to the dr as a checkup after he finished his antibiotics and he still had the ear infection. every time he finished his antibiotics we took him in for a checkup and every time ithe infection was still there... anyway we decided to get the tubes in because he had ear infections that werent going away even though he seemed fine and didnt show any symptoms at all.
the surgery was a little scary for us a well. we stayed with him until the nurses came to get him to be put to sleep. they dont bring the kid back out to the parents till they wake up. that was the scariest part for me not being there with him, not knowing exactly what was happening, if anything was going as planed or not. that was probably the longest hour of my life. after he got the tubes put in he started talking a lot more (he had a good vocabulary for his age but the tues still made a big difference). he went to his 6 month checkup and everything was fine but they want to see him again in a few months to check on them again andevery 6 months until the tubes fall out.

i know its scary and stressful but it worked out for us. i still hope to never have to go through it again but would make the same decision if i had to. good luck and i hope it goes well for your daughter.

Rosie - posted on 08/06/2012

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my son had tubes put in at a little over a year old. the procedure was less than 5 minutes long, and he also had his tear ducts opened at the same time (they were blocked). he was my only child at the time, and it terrified me, but he was fine, it was so quick!
after that he did stop having as many infections. i'd say he had a couple more (but not the continuous months long marathon like before) the first year or so after the tubes, and he hasn't had but maybe 3 since then and he is now 12.

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Kristi - posted on 08/08/2012

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Please forgive the typos...I'm on my mobile and the window to type in is very limited.



It's *only* not lonly, not sure how that slipped through spell check.



It's simple *your heart* not you're heart and not you're a heart! I hate that one, your and you're!



It's *was loopy* not a loopy



Who knows what other errors are there that I may have missed...I just hope it was helpful in some way!

; )

Paula - posted on 08/06/2012

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I would advise you see a Chiropractor that works on children. Chiropractic works wonders with ear infections. It works because of the shape of a child's ear canal (which is different than adults) and the upper bones of the neck.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/06/2012

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MeMe, feel confident that the olive oil is an ok thing to do. Infact, one of the doctors my sister saw for her son gave her this incredible drops to sooth the infected ear, and it was pure olive oil with garlic infused. It really helped. She has never found the same stuff again, and she has tried. I really like Kelly's advice about the strawberries, raspberries and plums. I am gonna pass that one on to my sister.

MeMe - posted on 08/06/2012

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Thank you guys, so very much. I definitely am terrified of having to do this but I know it must be done. He is sooo cranky from not feeling well, lately. He won't eat and just wants to be held. I am going crazy! LOL

Your guys words of advice is great and really, truly, helps me.

Kelly--- 3) Do not clean the wax out of his ears--even if you can see it. Just use a clean, damp cloth with a little soap to wipe down the outside of the ear.

You know, I have been wondering about this. Since, my gut agrees with your doctor. You would think that leaving the wax alone would help protect the ear. The only problem is that my sons ear wax is sooo dry, that they cannot see in his canal to check for the infection (whether it has worsened or bettered). So, my pediatrician recommends putting oil in his ears (just olive oil at room temp), to loosen the wax. Honestly, I do not like doing this. It just seems so foreign to me, to do. My boy, hates it too. He says "ooouuucchhh", every time I do it. I think I will ask the ENT about this, although, I think I did, I just can't remember. Perhaps, his answer was no different, than our doctors and is why I can't recall. It does seem wrong to me to do and if they could see in there without, I would definitely keep from doing it. We don't take the wax out, the doctor does, though. hmmmmmm

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/06/2012

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Oh man. I personally suffered with ear infections when i was a kid. So did my ex bro inlaw, and he has difficulty hearing, and still suffers from ear infections. My nephew (his son) suffers with constant and severe ear infections. He has had tubes in his ears 3-4 times. He is constantly on antibiotics, I mean he barely is NOT on them. he is 7 now. I know with every tubes he has received some relief. (And what is great about having the tubes, if he DOES get another infection while they are in, you can put drops in the ears to get directly to the infection. I know my sister was able to avoid antibiotics a few occasions with the tubes in place). He cannot have them anymore, to old. He is surely to have permanent hearing damage due to all the infections. My sister was scared every time also. It is such a quick procedure though. I would say go for it since the antibiotics are cutting it, and he needs that infected fluid to drain from his ears. Some kids suffer like my nephew, and some kids get one set of tubes and it fixing the issue. Ear infections are so painful. I burst my ear drum last year, OMG! That was awful. I hope this really helps your son.

Jodi - posted on 08/05/2012

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I haven't had any experience with tubes, but my when my son was very young, he ended up with a few burst eardrums, and the last time it didn't heal. He had to wait on microsurgery to create a new eardrum, and the reason we had to wait was because his eustachian tubes were not sufficiently mature. Apparently, it is not uncommon for them to lack the maturity to avoid this type of infection until they are 6 or 7 years old. The doctors waited to do my son's surgery until he was nearly 7, so as to ensure the graft would not be a problem for him later in life for this very reason. His hearing isn't perfect, but it is damn close, so the effects on him were minimal.

I can understand your dilemma. It is one of those situations where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

But I'll tell you my step son was on constant antibiotics when he was young, and he is essentially now immune to them, and his immune system is quite weak. I believe his immune system has weakened over time because of the constant antibiotics, and now, when he gets ill, he has to be put on rather strong steroids. I believe his lowered immune system was a big factor in his viral meningitis.

Which is the best of the two evils? I'm not sure. It's a tough one. If it were me, I'd probably give the tubes a go and see if that helps. Probably not, but that would be my decision when I look at the two sides of the coin I have seen.

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