This has not been my Bear's week.
A few months ago, I noticed Cole was having a few spells of sleep apnea. I rock him to sleep in the recliner in his room and noticed he would stop breathing. I do NOT do well when my children don't breathe, so I moved him around and rubbed his back. He would start breathing again (and so would I!). It didn't seem to be related to anything- he didn't have a cold, for example. It didn't even happen every night but on the nights it did happen, he woke even more frequently and was even more restless in his sleep.
(And that says something, because the kid rolls around, sits up, flops like a dying fish and tosses and turns in his sleep.)
About a week ago, I noticed he was grinding his teeth in his sleep. Although, for me, that is less worrisome than sleep apnea, it still worried me (and set my nerves on edge!). I asked my mother about it and she said that sometimes toddlers grind their teeth as a habit, from stress or from teething. That made sense and Cole is right on track to be getting his 24 month molars in. (But I refuse to stick my finger in there and check!)
Then on Monday, he woke up will all sorts of goop draining out of his ear. It wasn't the normal wax (which he has plenty of!) but was red/brown/black and in copious amounts. He refused to let me touch his ear and kept saying, "ow." I thought his ear drum had burst and called his doctor. Apparently saying, "I think my toddler is bleeding out of his ear," will get you called back PDQ. Because he wasn't spiking a fever or withing in pain, the nurse said to keep his WCC for the next day and call if anything changed.
Adam was super worried, though, and suggested I take him to the chiropractor to look in his ears. Our lovely Dr. A couldn't see anything because of all the goop and drainage but she adjusted him. She told me not to put anything in his ears and to see his doctor the next day.
Cole was not thrilled with his WCC. He began crying the moment the doctor walked in the door. When he went to look in his ears, I said, "It's pretty gross in there. You're going to need your little scoop to clean out the ear wax." He laughed, but got the scoop. When he looked in Cole's ears, he said, "Oh dear. That one is clearly infected. I can't see the other ear drum well enough to tell if it is ruptured but it is not moving well." Then he half smiled at me and said, "You know what is next, right?"
"Which ENT do you want us to see?"
Yeah, my poor Bear has had an ear infection every time we have gone to the doctor since October! He is a pistol to get medication into and I don't think he gets the full dose that he needs because he spits it out. (Yes, we have tried EVERYTHING- every method, everything!) He is on antibiotics AGAIN (and probiotics) and we are headed to the ENT next week. I am not sure what they are going to want to do. It's not just because of the ear infections- the infections coupled with the apnea and the teeth grinding are a whole ball of trouble. The doctor and I were laying bets on whether or not they would want to do tubes or tubes, tonsils AND adenoids.
To cement the problems with his ears, we had Infant and Toddler out to our house to evaluate him. Cole is showing no signs of apraxia but he clearly has a speech delay. We all think it is because of the reoccurring ear infections, which mean those need to be treated in order for him to speak. The good news is that he has qualified for services and our old speech therapist is ready and willing to come work with Cole.
Normally, I feel very confident in our choices to go either the natural or medical route. Right now, I am not confident in anything. He isn't speaking well. I don't want to risk damage to his hearing or have him fall farther behind in speech by waiting. He's not sleeping well, which leads to problems growing (he's small, even for our family) and development. Yet I don't want to subject him to surgery. Many people have said that tubes really help with speech (combined, of course, with speech therapy) and I have only heard one negative story about the surgery. I am not sure if my own neurosis is playing into this or not.
Regardless, something needs to happen. I am going to wait to see what the ENT says and recommends before we do anything else.