Wednesday, 21 January 2009

More Cheese Grommet?

Husband and I took the 2 year old to the hospital today for his ear appointment. For some time now I have been aware that he has trouble with his hearing (see the 2 year old's update here). When he is being spoken to he either doesn’t hear or has to concentrate very hard on the face of the person speaking. His speech is delayed and unclear. Funnily enough the 4 year old can understand every word.

He had a hearing test six months ago which said that his hearing was down and that he would need to return for a further hearing test. He was never recalled and it took a further three visits to the Dr to get referred to a specialist.

I took husband with me because I knew that if someone else told me there was no problem I would probably grab their white coat lapels and weep uncontrollably. By the time we got to the hospital he was about ready to chain himself to an NHS professional should we hear that there was nothing wrong.

Usually children’s waiting areas are colourful and bright but lacking any toys. There is always a tatty
‘Take A Break’ with some horrendous ‘Murdered by my mothers, husbands, sisters brother’ headline across it.

I nearly collapsed in shock. There were tables laid out with paper, colouring books and colouring implements. The rest of the areas were sectioned off with chairs but had books and toys in abundance. The best bit was a lady volunteer ‘Doris’ who was doing a good job of keeping the children entertained until their appointment. The 2 year old opted for playing with the pedal on the bin in the corridor.

I sat nervously whilst his hearing was tested and his eardrums were checked for fluid. What if they told us to go away and come back in six months? In six months the then 3 year old would be revving up for morning nursery at school and still unable to hold a conversation with his peers.

We were called to see the consultant. She sat him on a big metal swivel chair, which he promptly swivelled with gusto. She told us his hearing was below normal, he has reoccurring fluid behind his eardrums (otherwise known as ‘glue ear’), which means he’s been living in and out of a bubble of muffled noise for the last 6 months at least.

I felt elated, which seems wrong, but it meant that something would finally have to be done.

She gave us three options … 1. Do nothing (I don’t think so) 2. Take antibiotics and come back in three months (even she was shaking her head at this option) or 3. Have grommets fitted.

We are going for the latter option, which is something my husband and I had already investigated. The waiting list is two to three months.

We went from arriving at hospital thinking we were going to have to fight for our boy to having everything handed to us on a plate. What’s the catch?

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I would love to hear from anyone with experience of grommets!

10 comments:

Kitty said...

Oh well done on finally getting someone to take some notice. You're going to think I'm mad now, but a close friend of mine had exactly this problem with her daughter. Whilst they were on the waiting list for the grommet op, she took her daughter to a homeopath. After a couple of weeks of treatment, the daughter was reporting hearing 'popping' noises in her ears, and that she could hear better. When they went for the grommet assessment, they were told it was no longer necessary.

Total coincidence, or did the homeopathy *do* something? We'll never know I guess. I know lots of people think it's a load of old tosh, so please don't think I'm trying to 'sell' it - just relaying the story.

Take care :-) x

jinksy said...

The grommets should work fine - I know a 22 year old who had similar ear problems in her youth, and now she's fine and dandy. But what got me visiting today, was the title of you blog. I think I've just discovered what my today's post will be.

Laura said...

Thanks Kitty - someone else suggested 'hopi ear candles'. My first reaction was that my 2 year old won't stay still for that but I shall investigate!

Jinksy - Welcome and thank you. I am curious now and shall have a look at your posting today!

The Dotterel said...

I'm no medic, but all sorts of things (apart from grommits) might appear to 'cure' the glue ear because the symptoms can spontaneously remit. Trouble is they can equally easily return, at which point you're back to square one. Still, who said the NHS is creaking at the seams? We had a similarly impressive experience at the Evilina (part of St Thomas's) last Friday. More like a super-duper nursery than childrens hospital!

Robert said...

My local hospital (Taunton) was similarly kitted out when I took my 2 year old (now 3) there last year (for reflex anoxic seizures - it's on my blog). She wanted to stay & play!

Glue ear usually clears by itself (as it probably did in Kitty's friend's daughter's case) which is probably why your doc was reluctant to arrange an appointment with a specialist (but he/she should have explained this to you & have given you the options). However, if it was affecting my child the way it's been affecting your 2 year old, I would opt for the grommets too.

Btw, I had grommets as a child. There's some scarring on my eardrums which has has not affectled me adversely in any way.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel! My son developed a terrible ear infection at the age of 5. Six months and 4 different antibiotics later, the specialist decided to put in the grommets ("tubes" as they're called here in Canada) He had them in for about 2 years. All my research told me they'd fall out on they're own. His didn't. But it was no trouble having the specialist remove them. Your little one will be fine! Good Luck! P.S. Love your blog!

steenky bee said...

Okay, that haggared barbie picture as your profile picture had me rolling. Just rolling!!

The Book Chook said...

I've taught kids who had grommets and don't recall any cautionary stories.

My experience is with ear candles. My 21 year old son has been complaining of ringing in his ears. Naturally, he scorned my suggestion of a doctor visit, and took himself to that storehouse of authentic medical wisdom, the internet. He decided to try ear candling. Correction, that WE would try ear candling. This involved his lying still and reading, while I got the task of kneeling nearby, holding a lit taper in his ear. For what seemed like an hour but was probably ten minutes, I made sure the taper stayed still in each ear. At the end of the time, we had some melted wax drawn up into the taper. And I had aching knees.

The outcome was the ringing remains. I suspect it has more to do with wearing headphones all day than wax build up. But my point is, the candles are basically for melting and removing solid wax, from what I understand. Is that the same as glue ear? Also, the "victim" does need to lie still. The candle is slender, taper-like, but it has a lit wick. Would Batman be up for the challenge? The candles cost about $12 a pair in the chemist in Australia.

One more thing, just have to add how pleased I am for all of you that you are being listened to.

The Book Chook said...

I've taught kids who had grommets and don't recall any cautionary stories.

My experience is with ear candles. My 21 year old son has been complaining of ringing in his ears. Naturally, he scorned my suggestion of a doctor visit, and took himself to that storehouse of authentic medical wisdom, the internet. He decided to try ear candling. Correction, that WE would try ear candling. This involved his lying still and reading, while I got the task of kneeling nearby, holding a lit taper in his ear. For what seemed like an hour but was probably ten minutes, I made sure the taper stayed still in each ear. At the end of the time, we had some melted wax drawn up into the taper. And I had aching knees.

The outcome was the ringing remains. I suspect it has more to do with wearing headphones all day than wax build up. But my point is, the candles are basically for melting and removing solid wax, from what I understand. Is that the same as glue ear? Also, the "victim" does need to lie still. The candle is slender, taper-like, but it has a lit wick. Would Batman be up for the challenge? The candles cost about $12 a pair in the chemist in Australia.

One more thing, just have to add how pleased I am for all of you that you are being listened to.

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how is it going? Hope all is well.