We are in the middle of ear infection hell. Allergic to pretty much any effective antibiotic on the market, Wren has had the same ear infection for 10 days and the only change is it is now in both ears instead of just the one it originally started in. Not exactly the progress we were hoping for.
I realize in the grand scheme of things this is not the end of the world, but it has thrown ours slightly off balance this weekend. We now have to see an ENT to check for hearing loss, our regular pediatrician to start food allergy testing so we can pinpoint why a child who has never had strep, a respiratory infection or any other illness cannot shake ear infections, and we have to honestly consider the possibility of tubes despite how hard we have fought it for 20 months.
In the midst of this, I saw why Dennis and I balance each other out so well. This morning, a Sunday no less, when Wren was screaming, grabbing both ears and on the verge of hyperventilation, I was torn up inside. Dennis was too, but I think he handled it better. I didn’t handle it well because it was the waiting period. Wait for an emergency care center to open, wait to see what they say, wait to see what our pediatrician on call will say about what the emergency care center person said, and on and on and on. I don’t wait well. Dennis does. But the tables turned when I spoke to our pediatrician and we started making a plan. Within minutes I looked up all the ENTs she recommended, including their age, number of children, office hours, and the mood and temperament of their office staff. I had phone numbers listed, stats and risk on procedures documented and a slew of questions written in my spiral. I was armed. The illusion of control was intoxicating. Waiting was over. When phones are turned on in the morning, I will strike with a vengeance. By this point, Dennis was the lump of a mess I had been hours before.
It’s not that he wasn’t ready to act. He knows the food testing, poo collecting, and hearing test are all necessary to try to continue to avoid tubes but also figure out if there is any other viable option. It’s just that his mind went a different way than mine: are they going to puncture her eardrum this week to test the junk inside? How do they food allergy test? Is the new antibiotic she’s on going to cause her to be sick(diarrhea was pretty much guaranteed, so fun for the week we collect poo!)? How traumatized is she going to be after a week of probing, testing, and feeling sick?
All of this had crossed my mind and still does, but I saw it as doing something, a means to an end that will hopefully include the end of all ear infections forever. Yes, it will be a messy week or month or whatever, but we’re moving. I’m the person who would rather be going 10 miles an hour in slow traffic than just sitting even if it means I have to do the whole stop and start thing constantly. I like to measure progress. Maybe it just means I’m not patient.
Either way, I expect it’s going to take both of our personalities to weather whatever the ear future holds. Whenever one of us struggles, the other just seems to be okay or at least functional at that moment. It’s a nice balance in a situation that seems to have no balance right now. But I am afraid it may prove what I already feared: I haven’t learned much about patience. That illusion of control still appeals to me a little too much. Then again, I found an Indian proverb that says “Call on God, but row away from the rocks.” Maybe I’m the rower. While Dennis sits patiently in the boat seeking guidance, maybe I’m the one who feels better with paddles in both hands, praying but using what little skill I have to row. I don’t know. I’ll pray, I’ll row, and somehow, we’ll hopefully land in a place that doesn’t involve ear infections, allergic reactions, or words like poo and collecting lumped together.