Thursday, March 4, 2010


That is a word I have been hearing waaaay too much of lately. And it is coming from our oldest son. Almost exactly 2 years ago, Pepe went in for t-tube surgery. They inserted tubes into each of his eardrums to help the fluid that was building up to drain. Most people's eustachian tubes bring in fresh air every time they swallow to the area behind their eardrum preventing fluid from accumulating. To put it technically, "its purpose is to equalize middle ear pressure with environmental pressure. When your ear "pops" on a high-speed elevator or in an airplane, the reason is that the eustachian tube has opened and equalized pressure". Pepe's tubes missed that message and haven't allowed the fresh air in, therefore the fluid builds up.

Already when he was just a little guy, I wondered about his hearing. His speech was quite muddled and he had to work hard to pronouce words correctly. When his younger brother started talking and was speaking so much more clearly, the difference became even more apparent. When he was 3 1/2 I went to a preschool screening day just to get his ears checked. After all, it seemed there were times he would read my lips in order to understand what I was saying. When the little machine that takes a "picture" of the inside of his ear flatlined instead of creating a bell curve, as is normal, my fears were confirmed. Something wasn't right. There was something wrong with his hearing and it wasn't my imagination. That started a long process of appointments with the audiologist to track his hearing and figure out exactly what was happening. Turns out, his middle ear is the issue. First of all, the pressure builds up, then fluid accumulates and eventually that fluid that started out liquid-like becomes more congealed over time. It is like hearing under water. Everything is muffled and low tones drop off the map. So, 2 days before his 5th birthday, he went in for day surgery and had the t-tubes inserted. What a dramatic difference. He was startled by how loud the toilet flushing was. He was overwhelmed by the sounds in the parking garage. The rocks hitting the bottom of the van as we drove down a gravel road were so loud to him that he actually started crying. Everything was so loud and so new. He found out soda pop fizzled and sizzled in a cup. He never heard it before. That surgery day was a horrible day emotionally. You must understand, Pepe hates anything new or different. This was WAY past the spectrum of comfortable. He had to go past those large doors by himself without his mom - he freaked. He was not a little boy then (over 50 pounds) so picking him up and carrying him was not an option. I guess he figured there was no way out so he might as well follow the doctor. So he was crying and I was crying and it was just a terrible day. I felt like my heart was getting ripped out. I know, I know, this is a VERY common surgery but that doesn't help. That was my little boy in a overwhelmingly terrifying situation and I couldn't do a thing but watch. Later when they called us to come to him after he woke up, he cried and cried and cried. He just wanted to crawl into my arms and go home. And we did go home. And we thanked the Lord that he could finally hear. Now, 2 years later, the tubes have come out, as they should, and his hearing has worsened considerably. We saw the audiologist in January and again today and the difference in that short time is amazing. Though he was having some difficulties then, it was horrible today. She was going to fax the results to the Ear, Nose, Throat specialist we saw last time and see where we go from here. Probably more ear tubes. Pepe already tells me he wishes he had them back in. Really, can you imagine hearing everything as though you were in a pool. Everything is muffled and unclear. I feel terrible for him. Thankfully, it is only a middle ear issue and not a bone issue. His inner ear works just fine, the sound just needs to get to there unhindered. So, my heart is a little sad again because I know that day is coming when he will have to walk past those doors again. And I will have to watch him go by himself again. He may be almost 7 but he will always be my little boy. I try to remember that the Lord loves him even more than I ever will and He will always be with him, never leaving Pepe or forsaking him. Yeesh, Chantelle, get a grip. It is only a minor day surgery for something so simple. Get a grip!! Yeah, I'm trying! :)


  1. O Chantelle, how hard!! I know when Gideon had his eye surgery it was so difficult and now his eye is turning in frustrating. You just want things to be perfect for your kids!! thinking of you guys!


  2. I can't imagine how hard that must be! I would be a wreck watching my child walk into a situation like that. Prayer, prayer and more prayer!

  3. Oi. I don't think anything involving our children (and their tears and ours!!) is ever minor. I hope that you do not have to wait long for appointments, etc. and that soon P has his gift of hearing back.


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