The past year has been a hard one for our whole family, but not in a seriously horrible way. I had a baby, I went through depression, we’ve been frustrated living in our “temporary” home while waiting for our house to be finished, and my daughter had her own worries. My beautiful daughter, Chanel, who just finished first grade, went through a lot of things this school year.
First she adjusted to having a younger brother, which seemed great but there were jealousy problems here and there, just as I would expect there to be. Her teacher was new to teaching young children and none of us were big fans of hers, even to the point where I considered switching schools to get away from her. In the end we decided that even if we switch schools, we might run into another teacher that we didn’t like. And then main source of her problems with this teacher was her hearing.
The teacher would always talk to me, telling me that Chanel wouldn’t listen to her, that she had problems socializing – well, duh, she has trouble hearing because of her constant ear infections and a build up of fluid in her ears. I told teacher that numerous times, but apparently my words fell upon deaf ears, (I couldn’t help myself!) and I was constantly told that Chanel needed to pay attention! She would get in trouble for not listening to the rules of a game during gym – to which I said, “Well, are you sure she even heard you?” The teacher would blink a few times and tell me that Chanel should tell her when she couldn’t hear her.
Yes, ask a (then) 6 year old to speak up to an adult every time she doesn’t hear you. We had her hearing tested a few times throughout the year, at school the teacher received a microphone and speaker system so the children could hear her better, and Chanel was put up to the front of the class for the most part (as far as I could tell). We saw a specialist and made the decision to put tubes in her ears, again.
At 18 months Chanel had her first set of tubes. I still remember her cute little eyes and her Curious George toy and the little hospital gown they have for toddlers.
What are ear tubes? They are minuscule little tiny tubes that are inserted into the ear to create a drainage hole so the fluid has a better chance of escaping. They are a temporary solution in hopes that the head & ears grow and the problem will go away on its’ own.
This week my daughter underwent surgery for her second set of tubes, and at the same time the doctor removed the adenoids as well, which is something that is recommended when having to get tubes again. She’s older now, she understands more, she tries to listen to our conversations and make sense of the world around her the best she can.
She was excited that early morning, we all woke up at 5 am to get ready and leave by 5:30. Both kids were wide awake on the way there and singing and having fun, while I sipped my coffee and applied extra concealer at red lights. But as we walked around the hospital trying to get to the right place, she started to get nervous, she started dawdling and not listening to us, and that’s when Daddy comes in. When Chanel gets nervous I find Jay has a better chance of getting through to her than I do.
The hospital staff was great, all of them paid special attention to her, making her feel more calm and assured, on the outside at least. When it was time for the anastesia, I took Holland out in the hallway as he was having a little tantrum, and Jay went in the room with her. A little while later he came out with tears in his eyes.
He said that she was so brave. He told me that he could see the tears in her eyes, the tears she was holding back, not allowing herself to cry as they put the I.V. in her little hand. As the drugs were making her drowsy, the nurses warned Jay that near the end it’s a little hard to watch. They put a mask on her at the end, and she gave out a few little coughs, and then she was gone. She was asleep but Jay said it was as if she had died.
At that moment I was so glad he had gone in with her instead of me, because I knew I wasn’t as strong as either of them. If Jay was in tears, I knew I would have been bawling.
The surgery went perfectly. The doctor was happy with how everything went, and he was very proud of Chanel for being such a strong little girl.
We stayed in the hospital for a few hours so they could observe her and make sure there were no problems. We watched Pocahontas & The Parent Trap, on VHS, which just about blew her mind in itself. She ate jello and popsicles and was in heaven. While she was in surgery they put a surgical mask and a hair net thing onto her moose stuffed toy, who is named Moose, which delighted her when she woke up. Like for hours, she remarked, “They did this when I was asleep!”
It’s hard for me to look at that picture without tearing up. No one ever wants to see their child with wires and cables and i.v.’s coming out of them.
When we got home I made a bed for her on the couch and forced her to lie there, playing Wii, watching tv, and just relaxing.
From the moment she got home she kept expressing amazement at how loud everything was. My voice, the toilet, the running water, the laundry machine, her baby brother’s screams – everything was so loud. I was this close to breaking out in tears and grabbing her and hugging her and twirling around in a circle screaming – she can hear again! She can hear!
Her voice even sounds different. She’s not as loud as she was, but there’s a slight difference in her voice, something only her parents notice, I’m sure. I’m so happy that we went through with the surgery, and I hope her next year of school goes a lot more smoothly than this one. But I know that no matter what life throws at her, she’ll be strong enough to carry through.