Make That a Double: Ear Infection, That Is…

When Jane got her first cold at a little over six months, I thought how lucky we were that she had been so healthy through her infancy. Talk about counting your chickens before they hatch!

In the nine months following that first illness, Jane’s nose has run more than someone training for the marathon this Sunday. She’s had a cough that that rivals one of an eighty year old pack-a-day smoker. And what’s worse, she has had three visits to the ER and one to the Saturday clinic to diagnose ear infections.

On our first visit to the ER in mid-November, the doctor on call said “Welcome to winter with a New Imagetoddler.” What?!?!  “This is normal?” I thought. I could not imagine seeing Jane in so much pain again. And it seemed to come out of nowhere!

It was a Saturday, and she had woken up kind of grouchy. I related it to her congestion and the fact that she was teething. Throughout the day, she would play and laugh and then snap into a crying, fussy mess. She seemed extra clingy, but I didn’t see signs of anything I thought I needed to worry about. I left her and Mark to play while I went to a committee meeting. When I returned two hours later, it was like a different child had taken over her little body. She was crying hysterically and couldn’t be comforted by any of our good tricks.

After about an hour of trying everything, we decided to take her to the Ochsner Pediatric ER. What a WONDERFUL place! We were processed in about five minutes and were in front of the doctor on call in less than twenty. When your baby is feverish and in complete discomfort, every minute counts.

The doctor took one look in her ear and confirmed with an “Oh my, yes that’s an infection alright” what we had been afraid of.  I felt like the worst mom EVER! How had I not acted sooner?! Why did I go to my meeting? My poor baby had been in pain all day and I missed the signs. The doctor comforted my guilt by telling me that often these raging infections can accelerate at a moment’s notice. Whew!

I had hoped I wouldn’t have to apply what we had learned from that first ear infection experience ever again. But, by the time Jane had wrapped up her ten days of antiobiotics for that infection, she was showing the same signs. We took her to our pediatrician’s Saturday clinic, and sure enough, she had a double ear infection. Ughhh!! Poor Jane!

Well, that was nearly three months ago, and here we are again. Sunday morning we found ourselves holding a very fussy Jane who seemed to be inconsolable. She had no fever, no ear tugging, no symptoms other than crabbiness. Oh, and the fact that she’s had an upper respiratory infection since what seems like the first of January. Do we take her in? I didn’t want to be the mom who takes her baby to the ER just because she’s having a bad day. We decided we didn’t have anything to lose other than a little pride if it turned out to be nothing.

Sure enough, one peak in each ear promised another round of antibiotics to cure another double ear infection. It seems like we caught this one fairly early on, so I suppose that the third time’s the charm. I just know that we’ll soon be having the “tubes” discussion. Our doctor said that we wouldn’t do anything until she had six in a year. Well, we’re three down and three to go…

I find the thought of Jane having surgery so scary. I know it is common place these days. And, I know that everyone whose child has them says that it was the best thing they could have done. But, it makes me worried to even think about. I suppose we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. And in the meantime, we’ll hope that with the arrival of spring comes a little relief!

Does your child have recurring ear infections? What signs do you look for? Has he or she had tubes put in? Has it helped?

10 COMMENTS

  1. Those ear infections are the worst! My oldest had them back to back to back. They literally never cleared up. My doc didn’t have the tube talk until the same time. We decided surgery was better then him being on intense antibiotics all the time. When they send us to the audiologist to check on his hearing it was pretty eye opening. He could barely hear! The thought of that surgery was terrible. Our ENT was great and helped put our minds a little more at ease. I don’t think they were in the OR 10 minutes. Since the surgery, over 5 years ago, he’s had one or two infections and the tubes fell out. That surgery was such a relief to him and he can hear perfectly fine! I’m just glad the hearing loss wasn’t permanent!

  2. We are headed to the ENT this Am for our follow-up from getting tubes in & adenoids out. This is the 2nd set of tubes for one of my 20 months old twins (first set was at 6 months old) and 1st set for the other twin. My older daughter had them as well.
    It was was scary, especially when baby A was just 6 months old getting them in, but the constant crying and misery they were in I was definitely ready to do something. Also I was very worried that with too many infections damaging their ears and causing hearing loss.
    For one twin we knew he had an ear infection because he was up all night crying. No fever. Just constant crying. The other twin would be a little fussy but would run fever. It got to the point that we would go in for the check-up after a round of antibiotics from the ear infection and he would already have puss in his ear.
    The difference the tubes made is incredible! They are talking, eating, and sleeping so much better!!! I am hoping now that Baby A is a little older getting this 2nd set that this will be his last set. The 1st time he was so young that the doctor warned us that the tubes would fall out and he would probably need a new set in a year. Sure enough, one year and 2 weeks later we were getting a 2nd set.
    The recover wasn’t too bad. They had lot so drainage (but I think they had a cold too) and only took one dose of pain of the pain killer they gave us and was on tylenol for a couple days.
    Would do it again in a heart beat!

  3. My son has had 2 sets of tubes and it absolutely helped. It’s scary thinking of your baby being put to sleep and of course there are risks although few, but their hearing is more important. Prayers!

  4. My 14 month old foster child just had tubes inserted and her adenoids removed two weeks ago at Ochsner. She had constant ear infections since October. About a month prior to procedure her nose was always clogged and the poor baby was just not feeling well. Including wait time and prep, procedure and recovery, we were in and out in 3 hours. Very impressed with her ENT and the hospital staff. Within a few days of the procedure, her constant runny/clogged nose cleared up and she was back to normal. Plus she babbles much more than before the procedure too.

  5. We just went through our first double ear infection (and that same upper resp infection since January 1!) with our 10mo. Went to the doctor this morning and one ear is infected again! Although this is the first for our baby, I had ear troubles as a kid. Double sets of tubes, adenoids out, constant strep/ear infections and finally tonsils out at 21! I remember how bad the ear infections hurt. After that last set of tubes it got so much better! And after the tonsils came out, I started sleeping so much better. I don’t remember much about surgery as a kid, but I do remember getting treats when I got home… And my ears didn’t hurt 🙂 Keeping fingers crossed for our little guy!

  6. All three of mine have had tubes, but 2 of my 3 have immune deficiencies. Google IgA deficiencies a lot of kids who get throat and ear infections have this, but many doctors do not test for it. My allergist/immunologist is dr. David Schneider on Danny pkwy. I went to see him after my oldest had tubes, tonsils, and adenoids removed and was still sick. Also ask for them to culture your child’s sinuses ( he will always do this) because the antibiotic may not work on the bacteria that is causing the ear infections. Only one antibiotic works on my son, and I never ever let them prescribe an antibiotic for any of my kids without a culture first to make sure it’s the right one. IgA is extremely common, but it’s good to get tested because if they do have it, they have to be careful if they ever need a blood transfusion- they can only have IgA deficient blood. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions— I’ve done a lot of research on this subject and have seen many doctors.

  7. My baby was just like yours – 6 months with no sickness then all the sudden ear infection after ear infection. The Pediatrician mentioned that we “may” have to have the tube discussion… 2 more ear infections after that I asked if I should see the ENT. We did. Diagnosis – tubes and adnoids…

    The surgery happened in mid-December. We STILL are battling ear infections. The only difference now is that the ears drain out.

    Sending your baby in to surgery is hard. BUT when you see their face in recovery after the quick surgery it’s all better.

  8. Thank you so much for this entry…my son is about to get tubes (on his 2nd bday…happy bday!). He has had about 8 ear infections in the past 8 months. I have been on the fence but ultimately am going to do what is recommended and the ENT recommended it. As a Speech Language Pathologist myself I know the importance of having clear hearing for speech and language development. Although my son is not delayed (yet) with his talking, I wish he was talking more than he is. I am hoping the tubes help with this. I am dreading the day of surgery when he goes under and is away for me but I know it will be short and I have heard only positive things from friends whose children have gotten tubes. I hope Jane’s ears stay clear!!!

  9. My baby, a seven month old also experienced the same treatment. He had tubes inserted and adenoids removed one week ago. He had fluids coming out from his ears. I was really worried then. That’t the worst thing I experienced being a mother. The doctor said that there was a high chance he heard a humming sound in his ears. I was very glad that the doctor and nurse were able to treat his conditions. By the way, it’s Tinnitus, an ear infection. Based on this site http://www.tinnitusgoaway.com and other doctors I know, this infection is curable. I imagine how it feels like hearing something in affected ears.

  10. Our oldest whom is now going on 5yrs got tubes at about 2.5yrs, after having 8 infections in one year. Due to the fact that we were not able to keep oral meds in her – this meant injections at Ochsner every day for 3-4 days per infection. Add that to the fact that she walked late (balance issues) and we decided it was time for tubes. We decided against having her adenoids removed and the addition of the tubes has seemingly cured all for her! She has only had 1 infection since the tubes (about a month after she got them in) and has mostly been a picture of health since. We just had tubes put in our sons ears (15mo) after he had his 3rd infection since the start of 2015. For him we had the adenoids removed as he is much more prone to congestion etc. Has helped already and we are only 3 weeks in! Has helped his hearing, verbal skills, balance and hopefully the infections too (although still a bit early to tell). Figured there was no sence in waiting around this time, wanted to be more proactive as we saw sucH a positive difference in our daughter. Hope this info is helpful!

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