Tube Infection

by Kayte

Lola’s pediatrician wanted us to follow up with him after a week or so of breathing treatments for her cough. These past few days have been fever- and cough-free, so we thought today would be an easy visit. I should know better than to think anything medical with us is simple. As the nurse was checking vitals, she noticed Lola had a fever. Upon further examination we found that Lola’s newly-tubed left ear was gushing liquid. Ear infection.

img_5333

We were a little bummed because we thought these new tubes would help to prevent ear infections (which they do, to an extent) but the upside of the tubes is being able to administer antibiotics locally (e.g. ear drops) rather than orally. The other bonus is that all the yucky infected liquid comes out instead of building up in the middle ear and causing pain.

img_5334

The pediatrician did think that the ear infection in combination with the frequent fevers and on-again-off-again coughing was a little suspect. He thinks maybe Lola has a sinus infection that is wandering around her ENT (ear-nose-throat). In addition to the antibiotic ear drops, he also sent us home with a prescription for oral antibiotics in case her fever doesn’t clear up in the next few days. I’m ready to kick whatever this malaise has been and get on with a healthy December.


ENT Post-Op

by Kayte

Lola had her post-op followup with the ENT today, three weeks after her tube surgery. It might have been the fastest doctor’s appointment we ever had. The doctor came in right away, looked at both ears, declared the tubes perfect, and sent us on our way. We’ll go back every six months to keep an eye on the tubes until they fall out. In the meantime if Lola gets another ear infection, we will be able to treat it locally with antibiotic drops directly through the tubes (vs. general oral antibiotics).


Post-Op Recovery

by Kayte

We are 3-days post-op from Max’s hemangioma and Lola’s ear tube surgeries. Max is doing so great that sometimes we forget he had surgery and accidentally pick him up by the armpits. But he says otherwise it doesn’t hurt and hasn’t asked for any pain medication. He’ll be good to go back to school tomorrow.

img_5131

Lola has had a pretty persistent cough since Friday, and over the weekend she developed a fever that spiked at 103.8* – yikes. We called the ENT doctor on-call at the hospital, but he didn’t think it had anything to do with the ear tube surgery since it is such a simple procedure. The degree of fever doesn’t necessarily correlate with degree of sickness either, and her fever responded well to Tylenol, so we’re just watching for now. Lola’s been sleeping more during the day, but super alert and acting like herself when awake, so we’ll see. Doctors always say to look at the patient, not the numbers.


Double Surgery

by Kayte

Today was the day of Max’s hemangioma and Lola’s ear tube surgeries. We weren’t sure if scheduling them on the same day was crazy efficient or just plain crazy, but it ended up working out really well. They were both scheduled for around two in the afternoon, and we were able to all stay together during pre- and post-op. Surgery was an hour late, Max slept for two hours post-op, and we ended up driving home in rush hour traffic; so we’re really glad that we only had to do this whole thing once.

img_5097

img_5098 img_5099
Max and Lola were both amazing – there was no fuss and they both just went along with the flow. They each drank a shot of Versed (a sedative, aka “Happy Juice”) before surgery so that helped when it came time to take them away for surgery. Max’s medicine took effect right away and he got pretty goofy. Meanwhile Lola got super agitated and kept trying to climb out of bed (which she couldn’t do because the medicine makes them tippy). Different personalities shining through.

img_5102

img_5103 img_5104
Lola’s surgery only took a matter of minutes – we had barely sat down in the waiting room before the doctor came to talk to us. He said everything went well and they got a lot of thick, syrupy liquid out of Lola’s right ear. She’s on antibiotic ear drops for a few days, but otherwise back to normal activity. Max’s surgery took a little longer, but only about a half hour. The doctor said the incision ended up being a little longer than he anticipated, but it still shouldn’t be too bad of a scar. Max’s incision is closed with absorbable sutures, medical glue and covered in a skinny piece of derma-bond so we can’t see much, but it should be pretty healed up in two weeks when we go back for our follow-up appointment. Max is supposed to stay home from school tomorrow and take it easy, but back to regular activity after that.

img_5109

img_5110

Very glad to have these two surgeries out of the way with relative ease!

Max
Weight: 37lb 8oz
Height: 41 inches

Lola
Weight: 29lb 11oz
Height: 40 inches


Secretory Otitis Media

by Kayte

Lola had her follow-up appointment with the ENT today. It’s been about three months since her first ear infection, and she still has water behind her right ear drum. The doctor said after three months it is very unlikely that the water will resolve on its own, so we are going ahead with the tube surgery. Even though only one ear is affected, we are going to have tubes placed in both ears: it’s better to go under anesthesia only once rather than risk another infection in her left ear and have to go through surgery/anesthesia again.

I’m a little disheartened because Max also has to go in for a general anesthetic surgery for his hemangioma this month. These are both very minor procedures compared to everything we’ve been through, but I’m just sick of medical stuff at this point.

img_4918


Ear Nose Throat

by Kayte

We went to our second ENT appointment today to discuss Lola’s ear infections. Her ears looked good today – no sign of infection. The right ear still had some water behind the ear drum which can take up to three months post-infection to resolve. The doctor said that with four ear infections this year Lola is a borderline candidate for tube surgery (although he would have scheduled it today if we had wanted to). We decided to make an appointment in two months to see if the water in her ear has resolved; if it hasn’t she will need tubes to clear the water. If in the meantime she gets another ear infection, she will also need tubes. So we wait and see.

IMG_4899


Re-check

by Kayte

We took Lola back to the pediatrician today to have her ears re-checked. They looked better, which means the infection responded to the antibiotic shot so it isn’t MRSA, just stubborn. They gave Lola a second antibiotic shot to try to clear the infection once and for all, and they also gave us a referral to a different ENT at CHLA to consult about tube surgery. The doctor said even if the shots clear this infection, she will be more susceptible to future infections so tube placement is still on the table. In the meantime at least she is feeling better, as you can tell from the photo below. 


Miserable

by Kayte

The first words out of Lola’s mouth this morning were “Will you take my temperature?” She wasn’t able to articulate her pain, but she woke up with a low-grade fever, feeling miserable and inconsolable.

Our awesome pediatrician was able to get us in on a Saturday and a good thing too. Lola’s ear infection is back and worse than before; both ears this time, red and oozing pus. The doctor said this is definitely not normal to have either a thrice-recurring infection or three separate infections within a month. They’re suspecting it may be a methicillin-resistant bacteria, which would explain why two 10-day courses of antibiotics haven’t cleared up the infection yet. We’ve certainly had our fair share of exposure to MRSA.

IMG_4426

The doctor gave Lola an antibiotic shot to give her some immediate relief and give us better insight into which antibiotics to take next. Monday we will go back to the pediatrician and hopefully be able to get a second opinion from another ENT. We are definitely still candidates for tube surgery. The doctor also drew a blood culture and will specifically be looking for any signs of a fungal infection; it’s unlikely since we think the fungus in February was a contamination, but it could also explain the low-grade fevers she seems to be getting weekly.

I was reflecting back on 2016 and realized that Lola hasn’t been healthy since January: pneumonia in February, recovery in March, sinus infection in April and recurrent ear infections in May/June. We’ve had our fair share of worry with the constant trips to the doctor and I’m sure she’s sick and tired of feeling sick. Let’s hope the doctors can figure this out soon and get Little Miss healthy.

IMG_4427


ENT

by Kayte

Lola visited the ENT today and got the all-clear; it looks like her ear infection has healed and we are not tube candidates [yet]. The doctor said a child needs to get ~five ear infections within a year to qualify for tube surgery. Lola has only had two so far…so hopefully this was just a bad spring season and we can move on from here.

IMG_4339


Tympanometry

by Kayte

Unfortunately Lola spiked a fever last night after we set up camp, and was still feeling warm (and miserable) this morning, so we decided to bring her back home from our camping adventure a day early. I needed to take her to the pediatrician anyway for a follow-up urinalysis (because her last urine culture came back borderline), but I also decided to make an official appointment because of this fever and the fact that she had had a random fever last Saturday/Sunday (while still on antibiotics). Turned out our parenting instincts were on point because Lola’s right ear was still not cleared up from the previous ear infection after ten days of antibiotics. Not only was the ear still red, but the doctor also performed a tympanometry which revealed very little vibration of the ear drum. I asked him if that could be the reason she doesn’t listen to anything we say, but he said no that’s just because she is four years old…ha ha He sent us home with a different, stronger antibiotic and a referral for an ENT to see if this is a more serious, chronic problem that might require ear tube surgery. Ugh.

IMG_4205

The initial urine culture looked clear, but there were some contaminants that indicated possible vulvovaginitis which could explain the frequent peeing (which she was also doing at camping). We’re supposed to administer vinegar sitz baths 2X/day for the next 5 days.


The Toll

by Kayte

Lola has had a fever for the last 36 hours and was crying inconsolably this morning so we took her in to the pediatrician. I thought maybe it was a UTI because she asked to go potty ten times in a row after breakfast, but it turned out to be an ear infection. I had the pediatrician check out Max while we were there too just in case, and his ears were also red. Antibiotics all around! Our pediatrician said this was the price we pay for our weekend/week of epic adventures. He also mentioned that he used to take his family to Legoland but they came home sick every time and eventually stopped going. Must be all those bins of unwashed legos.

IMG_3915

On a sickness side note: on the drive back from Legoland we were almost home when we heard Lola start throwing up in the backseat. We were in the carpool lane on the 405 in rush hour traffic and there was no way we were going to be able to pull over. So I hopped in back and cleaned up as best I could with wipes and a plastic bag. Judging by the amount of throw up it appeared to have been everything she ate since dinner the previous evening. Guess all of the rides and motion and stimulation were too much for her digestion. We made it home without further incidence and went straight from the car to the bath. Whew.

IMG_3916


Yay Sinus Infection!

by Kayte

We were sick all weekend. Fevers, coughing, runny noses, goopy eyes. Brody and I feared the worst after our Pneumonia February. So when I took the kids to the doctor today and he declared a sinus infection, I exclaimed “yay!” haha Simple, non-respiratory, treatable with antibiotics. Yay. I think this will be good for us to have a good, old-fashioned, normal sickness to get us back on the bandwagon. Hopefully everyone will bounce back in no time – and in time for birthdays!

img_2702.jpg


Ear Infection

by Kayte

Lola’s fever continued throughout the night and into this morning, spiking at 101.+° a couple times and coming down in response to Tylenol. The fever itself wasn’t high enough to be alarming, but trying to figure out the cause of it was. This morning we were all worried: not sure what it meant for her well-being or going home. The doctors were collectively trying to figure it out, when the intensivist decided to give Lola a thorough physical examination. He found that her right ear looked infected, which would be a totally reasonable explanation for the fever. She’ll get a couple more doses of IV antibiotics, and if she responds well to it over the next 24 hours they’re still planning to send us home Saturday. Rooting for simple ear infection, please! Something normal!

We didn’t get much sleep last night. In addition to the fever, Lola’s IV went bad during her 4am flush so they had to replace it. We were lucky it lasted this long; Amphotericin is really hard on the veins. Lola didn’t get a chance to go outside today due to low staffing. Grandpa came to the hospital to say goodbye before he gets on a plane tomorrow. Lola’s moods alternated between her happy self and feverish tears, happily ending on a good note towards the end of the day. Really hoping tomorrow night finds everyone comfortably sleeping in their own beds.