Thursday morning, Em told me her ear was feeling funny when she woke. She had tried to gently clean it out, she used a Q-tip (just the tip, didn’t even insert the cushioned part all the way) but heard a big pop and it hurt a lot. She couldn’t hear out of that ear, so, although it seemed unlikely, I was concerned that she somehow managed to perforate her ear drum or that it was infected.
So, we talked about it and waited a little while to see if it got better and discussed it some more. And, decided to head to Urgent Care. Her ears were filled with wax so they had to clean them out.
(We had an entertaining moment when the nurse casually mentioned she was going to “shoot” water into Em’s ears, while holding, what looked to Em, to be a gigantic hypodermic needle. It, of course, was not a needle, but Em thought it was. I don’t know which she was more concerned about – getting “shot” in the ear with water or getting “a shot” in her ears. The nurse hastened to assure her there was no shot of any kind forthcoming – it was not a needle but soft plastic and the water would be gently squirted into her ears. We all got a good laugh out of that little misunderstanding. It is possible that I thought it was funnier than Em did but she did laugh.)
At that point, I was hopeful that her ear drum was fine, there was no infection and just cleaning out the wax was going to be the answer.
But, once the doc was able to look in her ears, the painful right one was infected. At 16 years old, she can now say she has had an ear infection. For all of her issues over the years, one thing that was never an issue was ear infections – I am pretty sure this is her first. And my son only had one – when I was in the hospital recovering from my hysterectomy, my husband brought him to visit and he confided that his ears hurt. They trooped down stairs to Urgent Care and, sure enough, he had a double ear infection at the most inconvenient possible time. So, this ear infection thing is a little foreign to me – I didn’t even deal with Luke’s because I was in the hospital.
Seems odd, having an ear infection out of the blue like this, at her age. Is it just a one off , a fluke accompanying some virus? Is it an indication that her immune system is down? Is it a sign of problems to come? Who knows.
All I know is that she feels awful. Her ear hurts. Her head hurts and noise is painful. She isn’t sleeping well. She can’t eat. The antibiotics are making her more nauseated that usual. It has been 4 days and she still feels absolutely terrible. She is being referred to an ENT and I think that is probably a good idea. She is just so complicated and this is just one more thing to deal with on top of everything else.