“The Middles” (as we refer to our second and third sons) end up with an ear infection (otitis media) after almost every cold, resulting in multiple trips to the doctor and regular antibiotic prescriptions. And sometimes the first type of antibiotic doesn’t clear up the infection, so we have to switch to a more potent, broad-based antibiotic to fend off the infection. It’s been a frustrating, painful, expensive, and time-consuming ordeal. Not to mention our concern over pumping all those antibiotics into their young bodies. Eventually, both boys had surgery to place tubes in their ears (myringotomy and tympanostomy tubes) in hopes of reducing the frequency and duration of those pesky ear infections.
Surprisingly, even with the tubes in place, our ‘big middle’ still endured the same number of ear infections as without the tubes. But at least these could be treated with antibiotic ear drops rather than systemic, oral antibiotics (although I do recall at least one round of oral antibiotics for a particularly stubborn bug). Now that the tubes are long gone, he gets occasional ear infections, but it’s nothing compared to their frequency and duration when he was younger. He seems to be finally outgrowing them.
Our ‘little middle,’ on the other hand, seems to be taking a long time to grow out of his ear infections. His first set of tubes fell out long ago. As a consequence, he’s had six (yes, six!) ear infections in the past year… Some of these required multiple rounds of antibiotics, and the last one made the pediatrician cringe when she peered into his ear with her otoscope. Since his first set of tubes worked well (until they fell out), he got a second set last month. While the jury is still out on this second set, I’m optimistic. But if they don’t work, I might have to start paying rent at the pediatrician’s office. 😉
One real annoyance of ear tubes has been the need to keep water out of the ear canal. Washing our boys’ hair requires a combination of acrobatics and a steady hand. At first we bought a bath visor and turned it side-ways over a folded over ear. Eventually, my husband improvised with a hand to cup over the folded ear. Both ways seem to work fine, but it definitely makes bath time a bit more work than usual.
As a funny aside, our ‘little middle’ (who just turned four) was concerned one night that Daddy might forget to cover his ear. So he quickly reminded him by blurting out, “Daddy, don’t get my brain wet!” Those must be SOME tubes!