What started as a routine clinic appointment ended, unfortunately, in setting yet another surgery appointment. But as glib and sarcastic as we sometimes get about surgery, we do recognize it as a necessary thing. And it is necessary once again. Next month, Namine has to have her right ear tube removed.
Backing up a bit, let me explain why Namine has ear tubes. She was born with Pierre Robin sequence, remember, and part of its manifestation was a U-shaped cleft palate. (Doctors commented to us long ago on how rare that shape of a cleft palate is, but on further investigation, it turns out that it’s actually very common in PRS patients.) And because of that cleft palate, Namine needed ear tubes to assist with drainage. Without tubes, there would be too much fluid buildup, which could in turn damage her ears and cause hearing loss. (Another interesting sidebar: doctors thought that Namine would be hard of hearing anyway, due to her small ear canals. Thankfully, that turned out to not be the case.)
So what happened, so that Namine now needs the right tube removed? According to the ENT docs, the tube somehow became dislodged and moved so that it was up against the eardrum. The eardrum itself has now grown around the tube, so that now the tube is embedded in the eardrum. Crazy, right? So anyway, now they need to remove the ear tube. Obviously that requires putting Namine out, so that also may mean a night in the hospital. Since she is always a heart patient first, they always want to keep a close eye on her heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation for the first twenty-four hours after her waking up.
During the surgery, they’ll also be doing a couple scopes: a bronchoscopy and a laryngoscopy. The bronch is to check out her airway and the entryway into her lungs. When Namine was little (well, littler), some of the larger branches or her lungs (I forget what they’re called) were quite small, so they want to see how much they’ve grown. The laryngoscopy, on the other hand, is to take a look at her vocal chords. Another reason they’re doing the scopes is to see if they can find out why Namine is so prone to getting croup. We’ve got our own theories on that, but we’ll see.
It remains to be seen if Namine will need the tube replaced at some point. Since her palate has been repaired, it is actually possible that she may not need ear tubes. For a while, anyway, they plan on leaving that right ear tubeless. They’re content with just keeping an eye on her and addressing future needs as they arise.