Welp, they were no better, despite pouring Ciprodex into her ears twice a day. In fact, her right one was definitely worse. So I called ENT on Wednesday to make an appointment for Thursday afternoon. Dr. T. wouldn't be able to see her because he was in surgery all day, but the NP could. We went straight there from the feeding clinic at MWPH (a 10 minute drive with an extra 20 minutes of driving through the parking garage trying to find a space!!!)
The nurse practitioner took a look and agreed that her ear needed to be sucked out. She took us to the procedure room. Abby started crying as soon as she set foot in there. Nothing good has ever happened in the procedure room, and goodness knows Abby has been in there more than her share of times! Our awesome ENT came back to the clinic just as we went in, so he came in to take a look. I like the NP a lot and trust her, but Dr. T. is so protective of Abby that he makes me feel very secure. He knows she isn't your typical tubes kid, so I was glad he was able to take a look.
Good thing, too. He was pretty miffed at all of the build-up he saw. In fact, I believe his exact words were, "Gee, I just have no idea what is going on here!" He cultured it again and cleaned everything out really well. He uses a camera that projects the image onto a big screen television mounted to the wall, so it's actually kind of cool to get to see it as he sucks out all the gunk. If you've never had your ear vacuumed out using the same suction machine we used to use for her trach, you're not missing much. Abby was terrified. I can imagine that noise in her ear was really loud and painful! She's had it done several times before, but this is the first time she remembers! I don't think she will soon forget!
Then, Dr. T put in what he called a wick. It was a really skinny piece that went down into her ear canal. He put a new kind of drops in her ear so that the wick expanded and filled the ear canal, then put a cotton ball on the outside of her ear. The purpose was to help the medicine stay in her ear rather than drip out. I asked if she could hear in her right ear, and his reply was, "Oh, NOOOO. She can't hear a thing!" The packing filled the ear canal, and it was kind of funny to hear her say, "What? What?" over and over again. Thank goodness that is already her bad ear, because her left ear is good enough that she could somewhat compensate for it.
Dr. T said the wick should stay in for several days, but to take it out if it was still in on Monday. He said we may even have to go to the pediatrician's office to have him take it out, because it was pretty jammed in there.
Yeeeeeah...Abby pulled it out that very night, shortly after I put her to bed. She called my name and I went in there. She very dramatically announced, "It allllll came out!" I knew what she was talking about immediately, so I turned on the light. Sure enough! "Abby! That was supposed to stay in there so that it would help your ear feel better!" I lamented. With her arms out palms up for effect, she asked, "What??? It's just a french fry!!" I got a good laugh out of that one. And when I looked at it in its expanded form for the first time, it really did kind of look like a french fry!
Dr. T. is really hoping these drops work. When we find out the culture results later today , he may change or add medicines. But if this doesn't work, he may have to take the tube out. :( This is doubly bad because she would have to go under anesthesia again and her right ear is already the one that has the most hearing loss. She really needs the tube to help her hearing.
So please pray that these drops finally do the trick. She has been on ear drops for the past 2 months straight, and this is her third kind of drop. Thankfully, she is really good about getting them! I think they're just so much of her routine that she's just used to it! In fact, she asks for ear drops when we aren't having to use them! Lol, the life of a medically complex child!