Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Second Guessing

It's ironic that the times that I feel most like a parent is when I am doing the worst job of it. At the best of times, I am a terrible decision-maker. That's the problem with seeing the world in shades of gray. Generally, it's a very inclusive world view, but it sucks when you are called on to have an opinion or make a decision.

Tomorrow, the Boy goes to the hospital to get ear tubes put in. In some ways, I am relieved. On one hand, it will (hopefully) be an end to the non-stop ear infections that render the Boy miserable. On the other hand, it's been some time since he's had an ear infection, so I'm starting to wonder if the whole ordeal is really necessary? Theoretically, the Boy would have more earaches in the winter, because they are caused by non-stop congestion that turn into infection. I would kick myself if I turned down the surgery and the poor Boy went through another winter like the one that we just had. If we had to "well days" in a row, I was jumping for joy. That's not a way to live life when you're two.

But after the surgery, he will have to wear earplugs every time he takes a bath, and a special ear band or cap whenever he goes swimming because he can't get water in his ears while he has the tubes in. That's no fun, either. Since the Boy won't wear sunglasses for longer than a second at a time (and he asks to wear them!) - I'm thinking that ear plugs will not go over very well. And I'm a little freaked out because just as things have finally started to get "easier" and "routine", they are suddenly complicated again.

I know it's not the end of the world, and that many people would think that there are far more serious things to worry about. I agree. What's causing this second-guessing is the simple fact that, in the end, the decision came down to us. I don't want to be doing this surgery for unnecessarily. It is our decision to do the surgery. But surely the specialist would not recommend the surgery if it was not needed..?

I belong to the camp of people who trust doctors (most of the time), and take their recommendations at face value. If a hearing specialist tells me that the Boy's hearing has been comprimised because he constantly has fluid in his ears that never drains completely, then what should I really say to that? I'm no hearing specialist, after all. I haven't noticed a hearing problem. He speaks well. He's got a great vocabulary, and 99% of his words are understood by people outside the family. Apparently, though, kids are supposed to have super-sonic hearing or something, and he doesn't hear things at super low levels. He hears like he's underwater. How could I not have noticed something like that? It makes me question my instincts. And I am already second-guessing them.


Christine said...

Don't second guess yourself too much. Go with your gut, as hard as that sometimes is. As far as more serious issues out there. . . Your little one is the most important thing to you, so that makes it completely serious . Good luck!

metro mama said...

All we can do is our best, right?

I second guess myself too.

Kyla said...

My son had chronic ear infections until right around the time he turned two. He hasn't had one in close to 3 years now. We were close to getting tubes, but we never did.

We all second guess ourselves, its part of being responsible for another human being...go with your gut, it is usually right.

NotSoSage said...

Don't beat yourself up for not noticing. As you said, you're not a hearing specialist.

It sucks when there are no easy answers. That's one of the hardest things I've found about parenting. I hope that tomorrow goes well and that you can feel confident in your decision.

Beck said...

How could you have noticed? He wouldn't know to tell you. I've known LOTS of kids who have had ear tubes and it's never been that serious an ordeal, honestly. You're doing a good job, the best job you can possibly do.

Bon said...

sometimes i hate having the power to make those decisions, the ones where there's no real way to know if it's the right one unless time proves it was the wrong one. particularly when it comes to my child.

so you have my sympathies...and so does he, cause i had tubes numerous times as a kid. i'm not sure the rules were as strict back then, but i know i generally didn't find them a huge handicap in terms of doing things...had 'em until i was eight, wore a bathing cap, felt a bit dorky...but i was a bit dorky so that wasn't the tubes. :)

my son is at about the same place existentially with sunglasses, though, so i can see how earplugs might be a bit unlikely.

all that to say hi. hi. glad i came.

crazymumma said...

He's gonna be just fine and the tubes will help.

We all second guess ourselves all the time...but you know...if he has had that many infections, then you are doing the right thing.

breath ok. s'gonna be ok...he's gonna be happy cause you love him to bits and that is all that counts.

Gabriella said...

Second guessing happens to me all the time! As for you not noticing, well our kids really can't tell us things just yet! So don't worry, he'll be just fine and he'll get used to the tubes. A friend of mine's son had to wear glasses at 14mths and it was hard at first but now it's routine.
You'll do fine and he'll do fine too!!

ewe are here said...

I have no advice except to agree with everyone else: don't second guess yourself. However, that being said, a second opinion from another ear specialist might not be a bad idea, especially if the problem seems to be resolving itself as you head into the warmer months.

Mimi said...

Ah the second-guessing is terrible. I think you're right that the hardest part is knowing that YOU have to make the decision.

But you're making it with love, and from the best infomration you are able to get.

Good luck.

Susanne said...

You already decided, so the decision-making process is over. Period. I think those tubes are something that nobody really knows about. How do you measure ear infections your child hasn't had? I've never heard of anything going wrong.

Don't blame yourself for not noticing. When his speech was normal you couldn't have. I have a friend who's son spoke as if he never heard a consonant in his life. When I heard him talking the first time ever (he was 2 1/2 at that time) I said, "There has to be something wrong with his ears." She said she had it checked and that everything had been fine. Only it hadn't. The next doctor told her to have him operated...

kittenpie said...

It must be so hard to see your baby go in for surgery, I can imagine. I feel for you, poor mama!

But I will say also - this is, for the doctors, fairly routine stuff, and I'm sure it will be fine. I had two eye surgeries as a kid and have a friend who had three sets of tubes as a toddler, and kids get through more than we think they can. They are resilient little critters.

I might suggest the silicone ear plugs, as they come in smaller sizes, don't go down the ear canal (which I find VERY uncomfy myself), and just mold to the ear to create their seal. They are the only kind I can handle.

Good luck to you and the boy!