Friday, May 09, 2008
Eyes & Ears & Mouth & Nose...
Off to the ENT she goes! (hey, it rhymes)
Cara had her follow-up visit with her ENT doctor today. First, we had a comprehensive hearing screening down with a pediatric audiologist. She stated that Cara has really narrow ear canals, some of the narrowest that she's ever seen. She had a heck of a time getting the little ear pieces to fit in Cara's ear, she had to use a newborn size! Cara tolerated the probes, responded to her name being whispered to her and glanced right & left at bears lighting up and playing the drums. The conclusion at the end of the battery of tests was that there was significant fluid behind the eardrum on her right ear, which is the side of her head where her VP shunt was placed. This is a very common occurrence with children who have hydrocephalus as the drainage tube for her shunt runs right behind her ear. I'm not sure how the two are related, but they seem to be. This fluid explained why no active vibration could be obtained from that eardrum. Her right ear also showed a moderate deficiency in certain frequencies...again, a result, we hope of the fluid.
After the hearing test, we had a visit with Dr. Werle. He discussed the results of the screening in more depth and then talked about what he felt needed to be done to alleviate the fluid and deal with the deficiency in her right ear. He recommended ear tubes to drain the fluid, then a hearing test done under sedation called an MER. It conducts a hearing screening by measuring the brain's response to sound stimulus. It is the most comprehensive screening out there. He will conduct the test after the tubes have been put into place to see if having the tubes gets rid of the deficiency. If not, we may be looking at hearing aids, down the line. After the MER, he will remove her adenoids to help with her breathing and hopefully, get rid of the snoring and snorting that she has a tendency to do. All three procedures will take no more than an hour. Cara will be under sedation briefly but will be able to go home the same day. She will just have a mild sore throat from having her adenoids removed and should have no pain associated with the ear tubes. Her ENT showed me both diagrams of where the ear tubes go and an actual ear tube. The darn this is no bigger than a bead! The miracles of modern science!
We do not know when the surgery will be scheduled yet as I am awaiting a phone call from the scheduler as she had to check with the hospital to coordinate a time. Hopefully soon! Dr. Werle feels that if it is indeed the fluid that is causing the hearing problems, that the tubes will help and hopefully, Cara's speech will improve. He thinks that part of her reason for her lack of speech is because things sound somewhat "muffled" to her, especially on the right side.
Only time will tell. That said, please keep Cara in your thoughts as she goes through yet another surgery.