Monday, May 2, 2011

When it is louder than a whisper…

When a whisper in the back of your mind becomes louder than just a whisper, you need to listen. 

In January Mikayla developed a whopper of a double ear infection.  It lasted 5 long weeks.  She ran high fevers, she tried 2 oral antibiotics, she puked from the pressure and fluid build up, she was an insomniac.  It was brutal and the infection ultimately was kicked by a three day course of an antibiotic shot.  When the infection was seemingly gone and we had our toddler back things went back to normal. 

And then I noticed it.  She stopped adding new words to her vocabulary.  She has always been a very verbal little girl so it took me a while to realize something different was brewing.  Receptively she could understand everything we said.  Get your shoes. Go upstairs and find your socks. Where is your nose, ears, eyes?  etc..  My concern continued to grow as the weeks went on and Mikayla’s vocabulary consisted of a whole bunch of daas and baaas and not very many shoes and more.  I tried to push the whispers that something may be wrong aside by telling myself not to compare siblings as Mallory was such an early and advanced communicator.  I tried to tell myself that all children develop at different paces.  But something kept nagging me… This is not being over-reactive this is being proactive. Finally I gave into the whispers and I made two phone calls.  The first was to set up an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor.  With a simple “She has had a bunch of ear infections and the last one lasted 5 weeks”.  I was scheduled for 2 weeks out. It was done.  the second phone call was to our school districts Birth to 3 program’s speech and language pathologist (SLP).  This was a great phone call…

The SLP and I had a really good conversation.  We both could see that the ear infection in January probably played a key role in her lack of new words and her struggle with forming the words correctly.  She wanted me to see the ENT and she would meet with me afterwards to see what we were dealing with.  She was under the assumption she probably went through a language explosion during a time where she wasn’t hearing correctly while the infection was healing and the fluid was draining. She assured me she would give me some great advice on how to re-teach her the words she was saying wrong.

When I headed to the ENT appointment two weeks later I figured it was just a formality.  I was pretty sure they were going to tell me everything was fine and that we should go about our business on teaching Mikayla how to talk now that she could hear correctly.  I thought maybe there would be some scar tissue from her doozy of an ear infection.  Well slap me silly I was wrong.  After a look in her ears the ENT saw a bunch of built up fluid.  Her last infection was over 3 months ago so he figured it has been there, unresolved, for three months.  “Let’s check her hearing and see if that is affected.  Either way I am assuming we are heading towards tubes.”  And then they ushered Mikayla and me into a small sound proof room and tested her hearing.  Five minutes later, I walked out shocked.  With a noticeable hearing loss, I felt like I got kicked in the gut.  Fifteen minutes later I walked out to the van with a plan to schedule ear tube surgery within the next two weeks.  Surgery yes, but a solution to a problem that needed to be fixed.

And that is when I realized that those whispers add up to be what most call a mother’s intuition…  It should never be ignored. 

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