Monday, August 20, 2012

The Story In Which The Crazed Lady Walks Into The ENT

I'm sick with a bad cold today and I'm handling it in an unusual fashion.  I am allowing myself to be sick.  I know.  Weird.  I am lounging on the couch with my computer (duh), a book (George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans), ads from the Sunday paper (tracking down best prices for school supplies--we need a LOT!), and watching a movie from the library (18 Kids and Counting).

It's kinda nice to be sick when I actually have some extra time.

Patrick brought in a bottle of Gatorade and suggested it might help.  I agreed.  He then eyed that 32 oz. jug and said it sure looked awfully big.  And tasty.  I was guilted into suggesting all the kids be given a little cup first.  Patrick happily obliged, skipping off into the kitchen with it.  He returned a few minutes later. 

There was one-inch left in the bottom. 

Moral of the story: Sharing is over-rated.

I might be sick because of all the trip craziness, including this day, driving from Billings to Spokane.  By this point I was so, SO tired.

And I'm sorry to report, this IS NOT a dramatization.  I'm doubly sorry to report that coffee had little effect. 

Being sick reminds me that I haven't yet shared our "how to find an emergency ear, nose, and throat doctor in a strange town" episode.

The Story In Which The Crazed Lady Walks Into The ENT

Vu started complaining of ear pain mid-trip.  I treated him for swimmer's ear and kept him out of the pool, and that seemed to solve the problem.  A few days later his ear drum burst. (Note to self: don't forget that Vu has a high pain tolerance and might not complain--even when he has a severe ear infection.  Note to other adoptive parents: this is common in children who have suffered neglect--they learn to ignore pain.)

Anyhoo, after some hit or miss trying to find an urgent care in South Dakota, we spent one morning and $140 for some ear drops.  Diagnosis: swimmer's ear, double ear infection, ruptured ear drum.

Sidenote: Dr. CrazyForKids (me) thought he also needed an oral antibiotic.  I am usually anti-medication, but I felt his complicated double ear infection needed more than just ear drops. 

The doctor didn't seem impressed by my self-appointed medical degree on ear infections. 

That night was HORRIBLE. 

Vu started running a fever and his ear canal was swelling shut.  (BTDT with James who had to have a wick forced into his ear canal for swimmers ear--NOT FUN!)  Vu's ear was draining pus and he was in so much pain!

I was in a strange town, in a strange hotel, with six not-so-strange-but-still-youngish kids.  I was alone.

What to do? 

I knew I could go to the ER, but I also felt I needed an EXPERT.  I needed Superman.  Super Doctor.  Super Ear Doctor.  I needed an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist).

But I knew that wasn't possible.  I mean, I've waited months for an appt. with an ENT. 

But Vu's ear canal was fiery red and he said it felt like there was a dragon war going on inside. 

It was 5 am.  I was trying to comfort a crying kid.  I was exhausted.  My brain was whirling with crazy ideas.

What if we just walked in to the office of an ENT.  Would they see us? 

I knew what the answer would be if I called first.

So, I did some google searching, loaded up the motel room with three plates of donuts from the free continental breakfast, left five kids sleeping (Kim knew I was leaving),

and showed up at the ENT, 8am, right when they opened.

Billings, Montana is my new favorite town.  And I have a new favorite ENT.

Yes, they listened.  Yes, they saw the wild look in my eyes (see pic above for reference). Yes, they had mercy on my sweet crying boy.  Yes, they let us see the ENT.  He suctioned the infection out, gave us different ear drops AND an oral antibiotic (the ENT confirmed Dr. CrazyForKids prescriptive diagnosis!), and we were back at the hotel before the other kids had even started waking up.  

Soon we were off to Spokane and off to healing for Vu's ears.

Moral of the story.  Be bold for your child.  It never hurts to ask.  And don't downplay your pseudo medical degree. 


Shonni said...

Mohters really do know. I’m glad our dr. knows this and listens to me.
Praying that you feel better soon! I also give myself “permission” to rest when I am sick. If I don’t, then I will just keep going and get sicker. Besides, even though I hate the being sick part, I love the lying on the couch part!!!

Mamita J said...

You go, Girl! And Dr. Mom is usually right!

DFNY said...

I've just recently started reading your blog and I love how vividly and compassionately you write (and funny, too). In this entry, you were downright courageous and I commend you. Your poor child--the pain must have been excruciating. Thank goodness for his mamma. All the best to you and your family.