Sorry to leave you all hanging with my last blog entry. It’s just that we were going through some serious internal conflict about our decision at that point. Seeing that your son’s ear has been detached and reattached is extremely traumatic. And then watching it turn every shade of dark dark purple. Horrible. So, in all, I’d say this surgery has been way more dramatic, traumatic, and problematic than we’d previously expected. Indeed, I had to pull Josh from school and daycare for the next three weeks because a cold, especially one with a sinus or ear infection, would place the potential success of the tympanoplasty in jeopardy. Moreover, Josh is under lifting, bending, and exercise restrictions. I am not sure how his school or day care would enforce this especially since the weather is nice and both places take the kids outside to the playground every day (in the case of my Aunt and Uncle’s daycare, their whole yard is like one big glorious play ground). So, I’ve definitely had to make some quick adjustments in my schedule and no subbing yoga for a couple of weeks. I still need to squeeze in the preparation of a yoga workshop, which I am presenting in two weeks, on using yoga to support life transitions. Hmmm. Funny how the subject of this workshop plays directly into my own life right now. Fortunately, Hannah finishes her first year of college in two days and will be home to help. Yay!
All of this ear drama has sure made Josh’s eight crowns and root canal seem like a cake walk. I was brushing Josh’s gums this morning and he started to cry. I was like, “oh yes, he just got eight crowns placed below his gumline three days ago–of course it hurts to have them brushed.” But we still have to do it. Just as we have to place ear drops in Josh’s right ear three times a day even though he cries and says “no, I don’t like that” whenever he sees the toothbrush or bottle of ear drops come out.
As far as the tympanoplasty goes, we did opt for the titanium prosthetics to replace Josh’s incus and malleus. This decision was done without any internet research or careful weighing of the benefits and contradictions. I remarked to Chris yesterday that it is ironic how I spent three weeks diligently researching alternatives to silver crowns for a toddler and yet, I just go ahead and approve a dramatic replacement of middle ear bones on the fly. This decision, my friends, was purely based on a “strong intuition” (and not mine, necessarily but Chris’s–definitely more reliable as Chris has some uncanny sense for finding “true North”). And so rather than running around second-guessing the decision (like I’ve done for the past few days), I am instead going to embrace the decision and stop focusing on what could go wrong and instead switch to focusing on what could go right. Positive thoughts.
Since the procedure, I’ve also spent much time researching the pros and cons of a tympanoplasty itself. Another decision that was only made on the Monday prior to surgery (although hole needed repairing, we maybe could have put it off a few years). I am realizing that the recovery from a tympanoplasty is rigorous, if not grueling–as well as lengthy . . . up to six months. And just adding in the titanium prosthetics didn’t do much to increase the difficult road to recovery. It seems that one of the critical issues is whether the graft takes and allows a covering to form over the hole in Josh’s tympanic membrane. The cartilage graft came from behind Josh’s ear and I see a dent behind Josh’s ear where this came from. The graft works like a lattice, allowing Josh’s skin to bridge an otherwise unbridgeable gap. It is so fragile over the next few months that a bad sneeze could dislodge it. So please keep the prayers coming for a full recovery.
I am updating this post to include this link to a fantastic site on Typanoplasty recovery.
My other concern in all of this is the flying prohibition. I am not sure yet whether this puts our John Tracey plans at risk. I am waiting to talk to our ENT at our May 24th post-op. Until then, praying for no colds and trying to keep Josh pretty still (which goes against all of our OT work–sigh). Also, while Josh’s right ear is recovering, no hearing aid in right ear and his ear is filled with so much blood and packing material that when his left ear is down in the pillow, he has virtually no hearing right now. So I guess its two steps forward, one step back. But overall moving forward.