Clara's six month hearing screening indicated that she was experiencing moderate hearing impairment. She could hear sounds at higher volumes but not at lower volumes. The audiologist suspected that she might have fluid or wax accumulated in her ear limiting the vibration of the ear drum.
A visit to the ENT a week later confirmed that fluid was present in both of Clara's ears. Since the hearing screening indicated moderate hearing impairment, the ENT recommended insertion of ear tubes followed by another hearing screening. Given the effects of hearing impairment on speech and language development, the ENT felt it was important to determine if the fluid was the cause of the documented impairment.
We awoke early in the morning (4 AM) on March 23, 2009 for our trip to Children's Hospital for Clara's first surgery. Even though the surgery is quick and common, it is impossible to quiet the parent portion of our brains that ensures that we are always concerned about the well being of our children.
At 5:30 AM we were greeted in the surgical waiting room with the typical clipboard of paperwork and requisite hospital wristbands. Pre-operation exams and question/answer sessions were our reward for returning the clipboard and required paperwork. At 7:30 AM we entrusted Clara to the surgical team outside of the OR doors and took our place in the family waiting area. By 7:45 AM, the ENT met us in the waiting room with news that the surgery was successful, that he removed a substantial amount of fluid from both ears, and that it appeared that the fluid was infected. He was surprised that Clara had not been showing indications that her ears were bothering her. Shortly after 8:00 AM, we were reunited with Clara in a recovery room. She was mad, mostly because her morning feeding was now more than two hour late. After a quick confirmation from the nursing staff that breast milk was okay, Clara's thirst (and anger) were remedied. We left the hospital shortly before 9:00 AM and Clara napped during the 45 minute drive. By the time we arrived home, Clara was ready to play.
While Clara's hearing appears to have improved after the surgery, it is difficult to tell for certain with a 10-month old. She will have a hearing screening and a follow up with the ENT on April 21, 2009.