Today was a great day!
We arrived at the hospital at 5:00am with a hungry and exhausted Hunter.... keeping ANYONE from eating after midnight is rough but keeping a 10 month old from eating is nearly impossible! Still, he was in a really good mood and even managed to flirt with his admitting nurses ;-)
When the tube insertion was finished, Hunter's ENT came out to fill us in. He said that Hunter had what he calls 'Volcano Ears', meaning that his eardrums were overflowing with thick fluid.
As strange as this sounds, this was the BEST news we could have asked for!!
The ENT feels so strongly that this thick fluid explains Hunter's inability to sleep, poor balance, delays in his language development and probably another whole list of other things! He also compared the pressure in Hunter's head to the pressure you feel when you're ascending in an airplane.... except that Hunter could not relieve the extreme pressure by yawning or swallowing.
Even though we know that doing this procedure any sooner would not have given us the same answers, it's so hard knowing that he has been so uncomfortable and where it was coming from...
Without yet knowing the results of the hearing test, and taking into account how much fluid he removed and how long it had been there, Hunter's ENT felt strongly that he would have some permanent (conductive) hearing loss.... how much, we won't know until he recovers fully from surgery.
The ABR (hearing screening) took about an hour after the tube insertion. When the test was over, the audiologist came out and took us to see Hunter in recovery.
Hunter did SO well throughout his surgery!! He maintained a stable heart rate and got through the procedure without any apneas or bradys. The anesthesia team knew our concerns about Hunter's asthma and instead of keeping him under general anesthesia the entire time, they brought him up to sedation for the ABR test... and this was a HUGE relief to us!
The audiologist gave us a few minutes to reconnect with our groggy boy before she debriefed us on her findings....
She explained that Hunter failed his ABR test again this morning but that it wasn't unexpected due to the extreme amount of fluid that was removed from his inner ear. Removing that much thick gunk that had been there for so long left his ears sensitive and inflamed, making the ABR results less reliable.
This was actually great news!
The audiologist was able to do a bone conduction test which they have never been able to do before because of our wiggly, active boy ;-) This test measures how sound travels directly through the bones in his ears and how well his brain is sending signals to his ears. The results of this test for both ears was excellent, meaning that his brain is sending the proper signals to the nerves in his ears!
Praise the Lord!!
Regardless of the results of this morning, we would have just been happy to find some relief for Hunter.... to come out of today knowing that he does hear and will hear even more, that his pain and discomfort will soon go away, and that he did have fluid in his ears is more than we could have asked for!
Our plan from here is to follow-up with Hunter's ENT next month and do another behavioral hearing test. Depending on the result of this test, we will know if we need to try a hearing aid or just give Hunter a little more time to adjust to his 'new ears'.
We can't thank you enough for your prayers and support! We have been inundated all day today with texts, calls, messages, emails, and comments.... to know that there are so many people who invest their time and prayers in our family means more than you know...
We are truly blessed!
And once again, God has held our precious boy in His strong, capable hands!
We have been told to give Hunter a few day to recover from surgery before we start analyzing any changes in his behavior or habits but I couldn't help a little analyzing this afternoon when Hunter took a THREE HOUR NAP with me! This is the longest nap he has ever taken...
and even if it only lasts for today, I'll take it!!
Going home with a sleepy boy :-)