Thursday, October 05, 2006

His first ear infection

Not the thing I would have wished for him for his second birthday. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, at the age of practically-2, Luke has come down with his first ever ear infection. Now, I have been completely paranoid about his ears since he was born. I had horrid innumerable ear infections as a child, resulting in 2 sets of tubes. In fact, I still get them if I get any sort of water in my ears whatsoever, and yes, that includes in the shower and in the pool. I have to be extremely careful. So I have been extremely pleased that Luke has not had one. Until now.

I am not one of those moms who runs him to the doctor for every little sneeze and sniffle. As long as he's acting okay or it goes away within 48 hours, I'm good. Every time I have ever said "if he's not better by tomorrow, we'll call the doctor," he's been better. But he started daycare three weeks ago. And after only three days, he came home with his first cold that ripped through Luke and me, and that my husband is currently attempting to get over. But Luke was improving; he was almost well in fact. I figured he'd be totally fine by his party this coming Saturday (with the possible exception of a runny nose, which I expect to be practically permanent for the next several months).

Then I went to pick him up Monday from daycare. I happened to spot him peeking over the half-door in the infant room as I was on my way outside, thinking he would be with the other toddlers and two-year-olds. Odd, but the teacher said nothing to me when I picked him up out of the room. He was a little hot, but I didn't think much of it at the time. As I was walking out the front door, the director caught me. "Did she tell you he has a fever of 101?" NO! That would have been useful information, don't you think? The director said she was just looking up his file to call me to come get him. He has to be fever free for 24 hours before he can go back, so I knew he would be home at least Tuesday. I figured it was a 24-48 hour bug, and he'd be fine come Wednesday or Thursday. Little did I know!

He ran a fluctuating fever of 99-102 all of Tuesday and Wednesday. He clearly was tired and not feeling well, but I wasn't alarmed. Still, I felt it best to call to find out if and when he needed to be seen by the doctor. I called the nurse, and she said that 72 hours of an up and down fever was not uncommon, but if it went in to day 4, or if he started showing some other symptoms beyond fatigue and loss of appetite, I should call and make him an appointment. Good to know; we'll wait it out. By Wednesday evening, his temperature was normal and he was up and about playing for the first time in days, and I figured he'd be back to his tired-but-normal self by Thursday. Ha!

Thursday dawned, and he clearly was feeling poorly again, though his temp was only 99. He was also crying a lot, something he had not done to this point in the illness. I got him to eat a little breakfast (yes, I bribed him with Cookie Crisp), but he was clearly worse today than yesterday, which was odd considering the drop in temp. He only ate about 2/3 of the cereal, then started crying again. He cried most of the morning, actually. I could get him to stop briefly while we watched Finding Nemo and some of Empire Strikes Back, but it never lasted more than 20-30 minutes, and he would then cry for a good 15-20 minutes straight. He had also progressed from mearly being tired and lethargic to extremely listless. My gut told me to call the doctor, but I put it off for a bit to see if I could get him to sleep some. I know he didn't sleep well; maybe he's just really tired.

I let him sit with me in the recliner, and that helped, but he still started crying. After I changed his diaper (which he screamed through), he was just inconsolable. Then he climbed up onto the couch, curled up into a fetal position facing away from the television, and just started whimpering and moaning. I was totally alarmed! He has NEVER done that before in his life. I took his temp again, which was now reading 101.5, and immediately phoned the doctor's office. He was booked for an 11 AM appointment. That gave us just enough time to get dressed and get there.

He seemed to perk up quite a bit in the car. Maybe he was just really bored being home with me for 3 days? He seemed significantly better playing in the "sick waiting room" at the doctor's office (our first time ever in that room). Maybe I was over-reacting? As we waited to be called back, I noticed some redness and puffiness under his left eye. It had not been there yesterday, and with all the crying he had been doing all morning, his whole face was too red and puffy for me to see it before now. I'll just ask her about it when we get back there.

We were called back, and I ran down his symptoms with the nurse. She weighed him (30.5 lbs), but didn't measure his height (his 2 year check-up is Tuesday, so we can wait). Then she took his temp. Still 101.5. Okay, at least I'm not totally crazy. The doctor then comes in, and the very first thing she asks about is his eye. How long has it been this way? (Just today; it was fine yesterday.) How long has he had the fever? (Since Monday.) Has he had pink eye recently? (No.) She was clearly much more concerned about his eye than anything else. She listened to his chest, which sounded fine, then turned her attention to his ears. She checked his right ear first. "This ear looks perfect!" Yay! Then on to his left year. "And this ear is totally infected!" Joy. It is also his left eye that is pink and puffy, which is probably not a coincidence.

She said that the eye thing is called "pre-septal or orbital cellulitis," and it needs to be watched very carefully. The antibiotics she gave us are stronger than what she would normally give just for an ear infection to help with the eye as well. If he isn't better from the ear infection by the end of the weekend, we should come back Monday. But, if his eye gets any worse, AT ALL, we are to come back tomorrow. I'll admit, being the daughter of a medical professional, this alarmed me quite a bit. It is rare that you are given such a short window for "if symptoms continue," and her extreme concern of the eye over the ear/fever makes me very uncomfortable. I truly hope it does not come to that. She did say that we should see a remarkable improvement in how he feels by Saturday, but there is also a possibility that the ear infection will not respond to the antibiotic she prescribed (it never worked for me; I had to use something different), which means he will still be sick for his party come Saturday. I truly hope it will work for him. I'm not sure how much longer I can watch him feeling *this* bad.

Please send any good thoughts you can spare his way. This is the first time he's ever been really and truly sick, and neither of us is handling it very well.

Currently feeling: concerned and helpless


  1. I hope he is feeling better soon. Ear infections are so painful.

  2. Oh NO! The couch incident would have *me* crying. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. M got multiple ear infections his first year. Twice, he had one right after the other. I hope the somewhat strong antibiotics work!

    I wouldn't have thought the swelling under his eye could develop from an Ear infection! It's possible the bacteria transferred from the ear to cause this. This cellulitis thing seems nasty. You're right. That would make me very uncomfortable if they're treating this as more serious.

    Could you postpone the party? I know you said you'd decide about that. With out of towners, it probably isn't practical. I'd hate for him to not be 100% to enjoy his party! {{Erin}}

  3. {{{{{{Luke}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    You poor things, both of you. Ear infections are horrible things. Marcus has them all the time, and he gets so unhappy poor wee kiddy, so I figure Luke is the same.

    Daycare is horrific for kids' illnesses, especially at first. However, it does help build up their immunity over time. It's still horrible to watch them getting sick though.

    Hugs and good thoughts going out to you all.

  4. Sounds almost exactly like what McKenna's got...eye and ear infection on the same side. Many good thoughts and wishes that Luke recovers fast!!!


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