Leon’s First ENT Appointment

​​Now that Leon’s recovered from his fourth ear infection since November, I asked his pediatrician for a referral to an otolaryngologist. We started our appointment this morning with a hearing test; Leon and I sat in a soundproof room with speakers in opposite corners, and I was instructed to stay still so I didn’t bias the test. Through the speakers, the audiologist called Leon’s name and played high-pitched beeps at low volume; when Leon turned his head to look at the source, she played a video of a dancing toy to serve as positive reinforcement. I was so tempted to congratulate him when he correctly turned his head to the noise, and I wanted to prompt him to look when he didn’t respond to a few of the beeps. Then the audiologist stuck some little bud things in his ear, he got mad, and we read a bunch of Dora the Explorer books as we waited for the doctor.

The doctor came in, and, after asking me about Leon’s health history, said he is a great candidate for ear tube surgery. She explained that his eustachian tube is too small to drain effectively and the tubes will allow that fluid to drain. I felt really assured learning about the procedure. The biggest takeaway was that Leon currently has fluid behind his ears (not an infection anymore, though he’s still finishing his antibiotics) and is actually experiencing some hearing loss/muffling due to all that fluid. She said now is the time to do the surgery since he needs to be able to hear us clearly to pick up on language. It might even help with his poor balance too, but I’m not holding my breath because maybe he just inherited my clumsiness.

Minh was concerned when I mentioned hearing loss, but I explained that the doctor didn’t see any signs of nerve damage so his hearing should theoretically return to normal after the surgery. I felt like I was able to reassure him immediately after the appointment, but as the day wore on I started getting anxious myself. The procedure would take place in a surgery center and they’d be putting him under general anesthesia. What if he reacts negatively to the anesthesia? What if they accidentally OD him? He’s the first surgery of the day — what if their coffee hasn’t kicked in yet? Didn’t Joan Rivers die due to complications with anesthesia?

I know it’s a super common procedure for them, but with it being my sweet baby boy and his first time under anesthesia I’m feeling so nervous I could throw up. I believe 110% that this is the right decision; I just there was a way for him to lay still and not be in pain without having to use anesthesia. I did do my due diligence to request clearance from the pediatric cardiologist due to his mild stenosis, but I have yet to hear back. Since my freakout earlier in the day, I’ve read a doctor’s FAQ about how anesthesia works and I feel a little better — it said that the likelihood of a healthy person having issues with complications with anesthesia is 1 in 300,000, but still…someone’s gotta be that 1. No matter what, I won’t be completely at ease until he wakes from the procedure.

Thankfully, I only have a week left to freak out and Leon only has a week left of fluid in his ears, because the surgery will be next Thursday. Crossing my fingers and toes that it goes well.


Thank you to the wonderful Allison Dittman 🙂

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