The Ear Chronicles | Ten Things of Thankful

To any of you parents whose children have had relentless ear problems, this is for you.

After countless ear infections, innumerable antibiotics, 4 sets of tubes (first set at 18 months old), adenoids removed and being poked and prodded more times than I can count, we discovered, about a year and a half ago, that my son had a permanent hole in his left eardrum. He also, at the age of 18, still had in his right eardrum, the tube which had been placed there when he was 8. Remarkable, I know.

It had begun to be an irritant to him, like an itch he couldn’t scratch way down in his ear canal. Very frustrating. The tube had clearly served its purpose and needed to go. And what’s more, once that tube was removed, there would be an even larger hole in that eardrum.

Let me state the obvious: Holes in eardrums are not good. Water can get in there creating a lovely little hot tub of a breeding ground for whatever bacteria might want to take a dip.

What? This doesn’t seem like a thankful post to you? Just hang on a minute. I’m getting there.

I am thankful that all those years ago, when he had functioning tubes in his ears, he would stay well. And, I am thankful that after the age of 8, he did not have any ear infections for the next 9 years—until last summer, when water got in his left ear at surfing camp and well, you can guess what happened. Not good times.

I am thankful that over the years, though we have had experiences with at least 5 ENT specialists in 4 different states, there was only one who was a complete butthole and clearly had no clue about how to deal with special needs kids—or probably just kids in general. Trust me, we only saw him once. I did not let that door hit me in the behind! Out of all of those docs, the most recent guy, Dr. “J”, has been my personal favorite.

During our first visit to see him back in early June, Jacob commented to Dr. J that he didn’t like the whole “digging around in the ears” business. Next thing you know, Dr. J opens a drawer, pulls out the most ginormous screwdriver I have ever seen and  says with a straight up deadpan face, “Well, I guess you don’t want me using this, then?”

In an instant, Jacob was put completely at ease and burst out laughing. Can I tell you how grateful I am for a sense of humor in a person?? Humor is a soothing balm. This was definitely a gentleman who understood that and clearly had experience with stressed out kids. A GIFT, I tell you! Thank you, God, for Dr. J!!

Dr. J determined that Jacob would need to undergo outpatient surgery to remove the tube that remained in his right ear and to repair both eardrum holes using a paper patch procedure, which would take less than an hour. (Read about it here.) This would be the first attempt to close the holes and if this did not work, a more involved procedure (about 3 –4 hours duration) would be necessary. Yeah, wanted to avoid that.

I think it is important to note here, that over the years, we have had Jacob’s hearing tested several times and it has always tested perfectly, even though hearing loss is a common result of multiple ear infections and surgeries. All the procedures and scar tissue, and his hearing is perfect? Yes, sure is. I am SO thankful for that. Now, selective hearing…that is another story…

Surgery day came in late June. Before the sun came up, we were headed out to the surgery center. Jacob seemed relaxed. (Yay! Thank you, God, again and again!) He was ready to have it over; he was so tired of the aggravation of the remaining tube. I prayed that he would not be anxious…that I would not be anxious. That we would have good nursing staff. That the phlebotomist would be able to get the IV in on the first go. That things would go smoothly and that Dr. J would be able to successfully accomplish what needed to be done. I had a lot of requests and I prayed with expectation. I know it was not open heart surgery or cancer, but these ear problems had been chronic and that was my baby. My boy who struggles with anxiety more than most people. And I wanted him to be okay. I wanted this to be the fix that Jacob needed.

And I believed God would meet us—He did that and more. I have so much gratitude for how well things went that day, how God answered our prayers.

IMG_4531Once it was done, all we could do was wait. Wait and see if the patches would take, that new tympanic membrane would stitch together across the patch and close the holes in his eardrum. We got on with our summer and it was fabulous! I am so thankful to have had that behind us and have Jacob fitted with some custom molded earplugs so that he would attend and enjoy surfing camp like we had been planning for a year.

The weeks have passed—11 weeks—and we had our third post-op appointment this week. And we heard the word we had been waiting to hear. HEALED. Both ears. Holes completely closed. No further surgery would be needed. Music to my ears.

Thankful. Heart-bursting, thankful.

When we got in the car to leave the doctor’s office, I looked at Jacob and said, “So, how awesome is that? Your ears are completely healed!” (I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!)

He pursed his lips, nodded, and said, as only he can, “Pretty good. When is the last time I had whole eardrums?”

“You were a little baby,” I said.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well, I’m glad I don’t have to have any more ear surgery.”

Me too, buddy.

And that is the biggest thank you of this week, this month, this year. 


Today I am connecting with the Ten Things of Thankful Blog Hop to celebrate all the things I am feeling especially thankful for this week. You can join in the gratitude at Lizzi’s blog—Considerings.


Ten Things of Thankful



Filed under Gratitude, Kids

21 responses to “The Ear Chronicles | Ten Things of Thankful

  1. That is really something to be thankful for! I’m so happy for you and Jacob and so happy that you found a doctor who knows how to put people at ease. Found you through Tell Us Tuesday. I’m your newest follower on BL.

  2. rickd3352013

    Shhhhh….can you hear me now? 🙂

    Schweet is the best way I could put it. I love a doc with a sense of humor, I hate ear problems (goes with depending on them as an ear-trained musician), and I hated when any of the kids had infections or medical issues. SO good to read this 🙂

  3. Holy cow. That was quite a long, hard process. I bet you feel like you’ve crossed a marathon finish line. That was a great post and such great news.

  4. I am so glad that your son’s ears are now well. We thankfully don’t have issues with ear infections; Lily had one so far, and dealt well with it.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful week!

  5. Hurray! That is terrific news!

  6. That Dr. J is awesome!! You can really tell when a doctor enjoys what he does, and to be that good at it? It’s a calling I’m glad he listened to.
    We had one child who needed tubes when he was almost 1. The amount of gunk that leaked out of his ears when he got the first cold after the tubes was completely disgusting. The thought that all of it used to just sit in his ears made me feel so bad for the kid. Knowing how badly he and I felt, I can only imagine how you and Jacob felt with all of these ear problems.
    I’m glad everything, after all those years, is finally healed and he can live without that irritation.
    Surf camp?? I want to live somewhere where my kids can go to surf camp. Not that any of them would be brave enough, but it would mean we lived close to a beach. 🙂

    • Thanks, Christine! We do love us some Dr. J and some surfing camp! Yeah, you are pretty landlocked out where you are. When we lived in Iowa, people would talk about going to “the beach” and they were referring to the gross sandy edge of the local reservoir. Gross. SO not the beach…but hey, they didn’t know any better. Just had to shake my head and be sad for them, you know? LOL. The thought of never having laid my eyes on the ocean? Or put my toes in the edge of the sea?? So so sad.

  7. Oh, if your Dr. J could do something about selective hearing, he’d get the Nobel Peace Prize!

    If you son ever wants to get dials put in his ear lobes, remind him that he said he never wanted to have any kind of ear surgery again!

    Love the picture of him with his surfboard.

  8. Awwww that is WONDERFUL! I got goosebumps at “HEALED” and I’m sitting out in the sun. So sorry he had to suffer all those years and so glad you found the right doctor. Love his sense of humor.

  9. What a great thing to be thankful for! I can’t imagine having to watch my child deal with such pain- glad its over for you!

    • Thank you, Kate! It has been very hard at times, on top of other issues my son was dealing with as well. But, through it all we have learned so much and we are so happy to celebrate Jacob’s healing! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. This is such an amazingly awesome list of Thankfulness. I’m dancing right alongside you in spirit – I’m so pleased that the procedure went so well and healing has HAPPENED. What an incredibly positive way to end a frustrating and complex chapter of your son’s life. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Also, surf camp sounds really cool – I’m glad he got to go 😀

    • Thanks, Lizzi!! It is so great to be able to share the news and to have others to celebrate it with us! 🙂

      Surf camp is awesome! My daughter is not so fond of it, ha!, but my son has had a blast the last two years going. It has been a blessing for him! And they guy who runs it is a professional surfer and such a sweet, humble guy.

      Heading out now, but later tonight I will get over to read everyone else’s thankful posts! Looking forward to it!

I always love hearing from you! :-)

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