Following Up

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So we had Max's post-op appointment at the ENT last Tuesday, to make sure his new ear tubes were doing well and that his hearing had improved {you can read more about our journey to help Max hear better here and here}. And... well, and it was possibly the worst experience of my life. {And possibly I'm being a little bit over-dramatic.}

I think it all came down to a big huge mistake that I made, which was trying to take all three kids with me to the appointment. I should have just gone by myself and said, "Don't worry, doc, I would know if anything was wrong with his ears." But I didn't. I felt like probably Max should be there, and I was in a mood to prove that I could be super-mom and keep three kids happy during {what I was sure would be} a very short outing.

Here's how everything went down: we arrived at the ENT and it was raining. I had to take Maggie and Lucy out of the car and buckle them into the double stroller in the rain, then take out Max and have him hold my hand as we walked through the parking lot in the rain. {Usually when I take all three kids out of the house, I put the twins in the stroller and I wear Lucy, but since this was Max's appointment, I figured he would need to be out of the stroller more than once, and I didn't want to make Maggie jealous if she couldn't get out of the stroller too. I was trying to think three steps ahead, as always.}

We checked in, I had to fill out a ridiculous Patient Update form, and then we went to the playroom to wait. We waited a long time. A long long time. A time so long that Maggie was already getting irritated with other children who dared to touch "her" toys and "her" books, Lucy had decided that there was nothing interesting enough to keep her awake and she'd like her second nap now, please, and Max was just everywhere {but mostly touching Maggie and her toys and her books}.

Finally a nurse called us back to an exam room. I think she had fun watching me try to hold Max's hand and push the stroller through the hallway and then pick Max up because he was fussing and carry him in one arm and push the stroller with the other. She must have had fun, because she certainly didn't offer to help me. In the exam room, we waited for another long time. Long enough for my kids to finish eating the snacks that I had brought for them and for Max to fall off the exam chair and hit his head on the floor when I wasn't looking. Long enough for me to hear our doctor in the next room yakking it up with people who clearly didn't need his services anymore.

Seeing the doctor took about two minutes {he literally came in, shook my hand, looked in both of Max's ears, said, "Well, they're both open. Do you have any questions?" and left}, but it was only the first part of our appointment. The second part was to visit the audiologist and have another hearing test. So we walked with a different nurse down the hallway {this one did offer to help me, bless her} to a different waiting area; she stuck our folder in a plastic bin hanging on the wall and left.

While we waited, we played a fun game where Max sat in one of the waiting area chairs and played on my phone, and Lucy and Maggie {in the stroller} and I {pushing them} would say, "Okay, bye bye, Max!" and walk away from him, and then turn around and say, "Oh there you are!" and walk past him in the other direction saying, "Okay, bye bye, Max!"

It was a completely boring game, but it kept my kids happy for ten minutes until a lady came out of an office and said, "Oh, didn't they tell you? We only have one audiologist here today and she's backed up. There are at least two people ahead of you." It was then that I said, "I don't know how long we can wait" and planned to pack my kids up in the car and go home lalready. But I still really wanted someone to tell me that my son could for sure hear perfectly, so I let the lady talk me into waiting in the playroom. She said it would be twenty more minutes at the most, which seemed doable.

Well, it was not twenty more minutes. It was thirty-five. Thirty-five minutes of trying to keep my kids happy in a room full of toys they were bored with and other kids who kept taking their Munos and Foofas. But we stayed. We stayed until the audiologist came to collect us, and the poor lady seemed even more tired and frustrated and just done than I was, which made me feel a little bit better. Better enough that I talked myself into the possibility of Maggie and Lucy staying happy while I took Max into the testing room by myself.

Maggie and Lucy did not stay happy while I took Max into the testing room. I tried to ignore the sounds of my two screaming girls and keep Max's attention on the puzzle I had in my hands while the test was going on. After a few minutes, however, the audiologist came back in and admitted that she couldn't get a completely accurate result because your kids are too darn loud. {That's not exactly how she put it, but that's what she meant. She then referred to Lucy as a boy, which made me not like her anymore.}

So then we left. I didn't get the reassurance that I wanted: "Yes, definitely he can hear all the way better now." Instead I got a "probably he can mostly hear better," a tension headache, and a nine-month-old who fell asleep as soon as I turned the car on. I'm thinking of going back with just Max and asking for another hearing test; I'm the kind of person who second-guesses everything until I get an answer that's for sure for sure, and I'd like this whole big event in my kid's life to end happily.

If you're still reading this post, thank you. I hope you don't mind that I spent eleven paragraphs complaining about a single afternoon; it really wasn't the hardest thing that's ever happened to me {obviously}, but it was an incredibly frustrating hour and a half.


  1. i'm a total second guesser too...esp with doctors, i always think they seem rushed, so i want to be sure sure of everything (maybe i just have bad doctors though?). sorry you had such an awful waiting period for an inconclusive answer! i say go back alone with max and get another test...otherwise you'll be doubting it constantly! (says a fellow second guesser..)

  2. Oh Mary....I am so frustrated at this doctor's office. I know the feeling of running out of snacks *just* when you need them. You really are a wonderful mother. I'm one who likes to double check everything as well..so I say leave the sweet girls with someone so you can take Max back! Hoping that you had lots of chocolate to recover from a stressful afternoon. :-)

  3. Oh this is bringing back a flood of memories of the same kind. Oh how I hated it, if it took forever, when nurses wouldn't help me when I was desperate, the kids screaming, running out of snacks, the kids hurting themselves or the kids getting bored of those toys. I would cry after those appointments.

    But they were great learning experiences and now I will cancel appts if I can't get a babysitter b/c I know the result if I don't.
    Oh dear... Mary you can make. Don't worry:)

  4. I can barely make it an hour with Tate. I am so sorry it was so frustrating, & even more sorry that the tests weren't conclusive!

  5. That is the pits. Sorry mama.

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  7. Bless your heart! I try to avoid the doctors office like the plague! Your well written entry made me laugh as in conjured up the memory of a recent visit with my four kids while 9 months pregnant. It is always nice to know others go through the same thing!

    Let me watch your Lucy and Maggie so you can take Max alone!