ouchy ears

just when we were at the end of the sickies (this round, anyway), and we thought the sleepless nights were behind us, jonah woke up just two hours after bedtime.  he tossed and turned, whining all the while.  i asked him what was wrong, but he didn't respond.  so i stayed with him and patted and rubbed his back in hopes that he would return to sleep.  instead, he put his hands, both of them, over his ears.  that was the confirmation of what i dread about every single time any one of my sons are overcome with congestion.  ear infection.

my family has been haunted by ear infections since the boys were babies.  i can remember noah's first time, he wasn't even three months old.  it was an awful, awful, excruciating night.  he was burdened with a mixture of a stuffy and runny nose, accompanied by a fever.  despite the tylenol, he could not sleep and fussed and cried throughout the night.  my heart ached because i didn't know what was bothering my child, and i felt helpless.  it's one of the worst feelings in the world to not be able to comfort and ease your baby.

we brought noah to the doctor the next morning and discovered that he had an infected ear.  little did i realize that this bacterial infection that was new to me would become notoriously common in our household. 

at one year, we resigned to surgically inserting tubes in noah's ears, which kept the bad guys away until he turned two. then he resumed having the infections repeatedly, although his last one was almost a year ago.  i'm crossing my fingers that he's out of the woods.
elijah was the next chosen one.  he began his battles with ear infection after he turned three years old and continues to have them to this day.  however, he's a tough little cookie, or at least a stubborn one.  he dislikes going to the doctor, so i believe elijah endures the pain and conceals it as much as he can so that i wouldn't necessitate a doctor's visit.

now it seems to be jonah's turn.  i took him to the doctor on saturday, and he chose to sit on the examining bed as soon as we walked into the room.  jonah sat there staring straight ahead, not allowing his eyes to look anywhere but at the wall across from him and, occasionally, at the door whenever he heard the slightest noise coming from the other side of it.  his hands debated whether or not they should remain on his lap or settle down to the sides of him.  i smiled to myself as jonah looked adorably anxious and nervous.  i tried to distract him with words and comfort him with hugs, but he preferred not to converse nor did he reciprocate any affection.  i quickly got the message and returned to my chair.  after a while, jonah fidgeted with his hands again, this time, tapping them on the bed, then keeping them still, and tapping them once more until finally, the doctor walked in.

of course, she confirmed the infection in his left ear, and there i was with a flurry of questions to follow.  i decided to make good use of the twenty minutes or so ride to the clinic by pre-evaluating and preparing for the prognosis that i was expecting. 

me:  i thought the chances of ear infections reduced the older a child became.  jonah's had a couple when he was about a year old and younger, but he's already had two in just the last few months alone.

doc:  yes, children are more prone when they're babies, and not as much at this age.  but there are individual cases like these that are the exception.

why do i feel like my kids are often "the exception"?

me:  i suspect jonah has developed allergies. could this contribute to ear infections?

doc:  yes, it could, the same way a cold can.

me:  could allergy medication help?

doc:  they could soothe his symptoms, but there isn't anything that has proven them to prevent ear infections.


so did any good come out of this situation?  certainly.  amoxicillin.  the pink antibiotic that my children enjoy taking because it tastes so yummy (as elijah once described it).  they all like it so much that elijah wanted some for himself after jonah had a dose and attempted to retrieve another bottle of the pink stuff from the refrigerator. the only difference is, it was much larger and labeled Pepto-Bismol.