4/28/2006

A heaping measure of guilt

For several days recently I noticed a disturbing trend in Ethan's behavior. I found myself having to repeat myself more than usual and his ability to tune me out seemed to be increasing. When I made frustrated references to this, Keith agreed that he had noticed the same thing and we wondered together how to deal with this selective attention. Unfortunately, I really didn't deal with it well at all and generally just increased the volume of my voice. We began to punish Ethan for what we thought was just bad behavior. Knowing what I now do, I think back to this discipline and Ethan's genuine suprise at being punished with not a little guilt.

Two nights ago, Ethan was watching one of his favorites, Toy Story, and kept asking me to turn up the volume. This was pretty odd because generally he listens to movies at a very low volume and I'm always wondering if he can hear but he insists he can. Suddenly, something in my brain clicked. I began to try little experiments to test his hearing. He was sitting a few feet away from me and I turned to him and began asking questions, first in a whisper, then louder. "Ethan, do you want some ice cream? Ethan do you want a Spiderman toy?..." Louder and louder. Not a flicker of a response. I began to feel a little scared. Scared enough to turn to Dr. Google and brave the results of a search for "Hearing loss in children".

Some background info: last Monday Ethan woke up with pink eye and went in to see his doctor that morning. The doctor checked out his throat and ears and pronounced them fine. She gave him some eye drops (2 in each eye, every 3 hours for 5 days...not doing that again. Ever! And now Drew has it) and guessed that Ethan was fighting a virus which would clear up in a few days. All last week, he had a fluctuating fever and was just generally fussy and out of sorts. Occasionally he said his ear or throat hurt.

On Friday things were pretty much the same so I called the doctor again just to get some advice. In my world, this type of thing tends to suddenly get worse over the weekend and our only resort is to dip into our trust fund and head for the ER. I felt spectacularly fortunate because I was able to actually talk to the doctor over the phone and long story shorter, she said to wait it out and it sounded like a viral thing which should be better by Monday.

Indeed this seemed to prove mostly true and I even sent Ethan to school Tuesday morning. His fever was gone but he continued to be pretty fussy and a little 'off'.

TIME TO WRAP THIS UP NOW! So.....As I sat and chatted with Dr. Google and all his scary little assistants, I wondered could Ethan just have a bad ear infection? We've really been blessed along those lines. Ethan has only had one, maybe two ear infections ever.

Sure enough, the next day, the REAL doctor confirmed that one of his ears was bulging with fluid and the other was red. The antibiotics may or may not clear it up. If not, further intervention is needed but I'm not thinking about that right now.

Now, I just have a good excuse for yelling.

13 comments:

Claire said...

EWWW! "Bulging with fluid?" AAAAAA!!!!

I had to stifle laughter when you told the part about asking Ethan if he wanted icecream or a spiderman toy...It was funny ( b/c I could just picture you doing this) but I was also scared to death that you were about to tell us that he had gone totally deaf.

I'll be praying for him.

the Joneses said...

Poor Ethan, but ear infections do tend to clear up in general.

And poor Mama, because guilt never seems to. :)

-- SJ

DJ said...

yeah, all I could think of was Evan and his one deaf ear.

Glad to know he'll be ok...

Mrs. RF said...

Sigh. Ear infections are no fun! We will be praying and trust the antibiotics work.

Avalanche Cowpoke said...

The Cowpoke sympathizes with you and Ethan. For quite some time I was struggling with an ear infection too. I have rarely had such troubles. Only in recent days am I getting over the last bit of it. I had more than one Doc's visit with antibiotics administered and other remedies. It was quite sometime before my hearing improved... ...but be of good courage---it does get better!!! I shall be praying for Ethan and Mom!

Amy said...

Yikes! I was getting nervous for a minute. I thought the decline in listening and good choice making might be due to his recent exposure to that little Morris boy. Good to hear it is a pesky ear infection and not bad influence. I am sorry he is ill. No pink eye here... though I've been holding my breath.
Something unrelated to pink eye, but just about as exciting...I hear we will be working on a garage sale documentary in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to this.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I remember well the ear infections of my youth. On one occasion, I was sitting watching tv when my eardrum burst and blood and pus streamed down my neck. Needless to say, I eventually had surgery and the problem was largely fixed. I'm sure Ethan won't have to do that, but whatever you do, don't give him refrigerated drops to put in his ears. It takes hours for the cold black fluid to seep in, and half the time it dribbles back out again. As bad as the earache itself.

Pat

lis said...

Praying too!

karena said...

Poor Ethan! What awfulness...Will u believe-Arthur just got over conjunctivitus ,and gave it to me. I just got over it. Nice to finally wake up now and not have an eye glued shut. Never had to use the drops...must not have been that bad with Arthur. Hope the ear infection will disappear asap.

Keith said...

Pat, that wasn't really medication, it was just molasses I put in a bottle and told you to pour in your ear.

asaphat said...

I, too, suffered from chronic ear infections as a child...didn't seem to leave much permanent damage. Many hours lying on the couch with my ear against a heating pad, and warm olive oil in the ear, and...yuck. Hope he gets better!

gretchen said...

I'm so sorry: sorry for Ethan, but even more sorry for you. Ethan will probably be well recovered and have forgotten all about it long before your nerves recover and the guilt passes...

Wtih lots of sympathy, and prayers for healing, me

gretchen said...

PS
Pat: that was totally gross!
Keith: you are awful!

(but I like you both, really)