Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The better to hear you with, my dear!

When you grow up in China in an orphanage or a foster home, bodies of water are seen as a convenient place to do laundry, not a place to swim.

When I adopted Grace and while we were still in China, the second hotel had a swimming pool. After finding suits for everyone, we made our way to the swimming pool, and Grace jumped into the deep end, with absolutely no experience in swimming, and proceeded to come close to drowning. But she loved it so much it was almost impossible to get her out!

For Annabel it was a similar situation, but I was a little more prepared and had a floatie to keep her head above water. Within a few minutes though, she jumped out of the pool and started jumping around on one foot, shaking her head, trying to get the water out. She would jump back in and back out, trying to work the water out of her ear.

Later that night I put some swimmer's ear drops in her ear to try to help alleviate the water trapped in her ear.

Oh my goodness, the pain she felt was so intense, and I was very glad I had our guide right next door to translate through this terrible situation.

Before you leave China on an adoption journey, one of the last stops is a physical exam. I requested that the doctor check her ears. He reported that she seemed to have an infection, but nothing was prescribed.

When we got home, one of the first stops was the pediatrician, who immediately made a referral for an ear specialist. One look by him and we were sent to a pediatric otolaryngologist, who quickly set up surgery to repair the hole in her ear drum caused by extensive ear infections that went untreated, which was difficult to explain, since she had NO English, but went without a hitch, and quickly enough healed, and taking a shower, swimming, all those things became much easier since water did not get through the hole in her ear.

The other ear also has a hole.

This one has affected her hearing.

The doctor hoped it would clear up on its on but 2 1/2 years later, it is still there.

We set the surgery up for July, far enough into the summer that by then I expected she would be bored, and the timing was just right. I hated for her to face the beginning of the summer still trying to keep a plug in her ear for any swimming or any time around water. What I really hope too is that the improvement in her hearing will assist her in hearing the sounds of the different English words that are still difficult to master.

Unfortunately the doctors plans have changed and now the only time available is next week for the surgery or put it off until next fall. Wow! That certainly changed things up. I was sure we could make this work as she can go back to school on Monday, but there would be restrictions. She could not participate in physical activities for three weeks! Wow! I started a nervous little laugh but finally just exploded into laughter knowing how impossible that will be. We will just have to see. The benefits of course, far outweigh this inconvenience, but still!

Keep her in your prayers. Oh and me too while trying to keep her quiet for three weeks!

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