Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Down the Tubes

I dreaded those words more than anything... "Liam needs tubes." Everytime a runny nose began, I would cross my fingers tight that maybe this time our ears would drain fully, and this time we would not need a prescription. It seemed like everytime I thought he had an ear infection, he didn't. Everytime I was for sure we would get a good report, we would either have fluid or an infection. We battled Liam's ears for months. And months... And months.

And even though he only had 4 true infections, that pesky fluid just wouldn't drain. So, it was time.

I dreaded everything surrounding tubes. I played the same fears and concerns over and over in my head:
I don't want to have to put my baby under surgery at such a young age
I don't want the stigma behind tubes
I don't want Liam to not be able to swim
I don't want to fool with ear plugs
I don't want to have to watch bathtime
I want my child to be perfect in every way

When I look back on it now, it all seems so silly. So un-educated. Because the truth of it is tubes have come a long way. The truth of it is...
You don't want ear infections to hurt your baby
You don't want to have hearing loss
You want your child to have perfect balance
You want your child to speak clearly, without speech difficulties
You don't want so much medicine to affect liver functions
You WANT your baby to have tubes

Your child can get their hair wet in the bath without plugs
In fact, they can even swim without plugs (even though we have them for percaution)
They are only under for 20 minutes tops with gas, no IV
Ear infections are treated with drops and not medication
and Liam could care less about his plugs when they are in
and this time, his runny nose has stayed just that... a simple, regular, runny nose!

But all that being said, I get it. I was there too. And even though tons of kids get them, and people tell you time and time again how wonderful it is, it is still scary. You still have concerns. They are all valid fears.

We woke up bright and early to make it to Texas Children's by 6:30 in the morning. We took the first appointment because our little guy doesn't miss breakfast and I surely did not want to start our morning in a fuss because I had to deny him cheerios and bananas! We met with the financial team, signed some papers and proceeded to the waiting area filled with all sorts of toys. After watching the bubbles in the fish tank and launching the latest Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode on the iPhone, I began to notice all the other children and their families. So many really sick kids. Kids with trachs. Kids with disabilities. And I began to be thankful to be there for a simple "out patient" tube surgery. Thankful that we were battling ear infections instead of a severe illness. So very thankful. Blessed.

When our name was called we took Liam to the holding area and changed him into the yellow short set as we waited to meet with our doctor, nurse and anesthesiologist. As they took him away, I was kind of expecting a small meltdown. I got nothing! Not even a look up from his toy as the double doors closed behind them.

And so we waited. Long enough to put my dollar in the coke machine and Bill to finish half a cup of coffee. Then, our name was called. I was a little nervous. Surely it was not that quick. Something must have gone all wrong.

"Everything went well and we are waiting to wake him up while you are next to him!" It was such a relief. Peering down into the crib with the mask on his face and the beeping pulse machine was the worst of it all. Again, thankful he did not have to be hooked up to machines for longer than the thirty minutes. I couldn't wait to scoop him up into my arms!

I had been warned by moms before that I would be waking a sleeping beast and that that would be our largest hurdle. Not to be alarmed if Liam is super cranky and even a little angry and dis-oriented when he came out of the anesthesia. He stirred a little. Popped the tongue suppressor out of his mouth and called out his list of demands: Apple Juice and Cookies! I burst into a fit of laughter. He wasn't tired or even the slightest bit upset. He was simply hungry and thirsty. Luckily I brought bland animal crackers, cheerios and saltines with me, and the nurse quickly brought us apple juice and a couple throw-up bags!

Which we totally did not end up using which was fantastic! Liam did so well. Everything went as smooth as it possibly could. And I am happy to report all is well. He doesn't walk with his arms up in the air for balance anymore and so far no infections! In fact, we started swimming lessons the week after and things have been great! What a champ!


  1. He came through it all like a champ. We are truly blessed. Great description of your ..... our fears. ILY!

  2. He IS a champ! So appreciate your articulation of what every parent struggles with at such times (been there, done that...multiple times!), but also your great perspective after seeing the other kids at TCH. We are blessed indeed!