Tuesday, February 5, 2008

High Threshold for Pain

The past few weeks have been quite the roller coaster ride of fever, congestion and medication. All four of us have had some form of illness, but we're finally in the clear. I went back to work yesterday, and Gracie finally went back to the sitter's house this morning. But not before we experienced just one more moment of drama and suspense.

Gracie still had a fever Sunday night, so we called Trevor's mom to see if she could take a day off from work to keep her for us. She agreed, and we made plans to go to work. Right before bed, Gracie told me that her ear hurt. No crying, no whining, just a simple statement. She had been slightly congested for days, but the MD had checked her ears last Monday and they were clear. I figured that she might be getting a bit of an infection, and decided I would call the MD in the morning for advice.

My first clue that something was amiss came when I was brushing her hair Monday morning, and the brush snagged on something in her hair. This is not unusual, because Gracie frequently gets food in her hair when she eats, so I grabbed wet washcloth to clean her hair. That's when I noticed the crust all over her right ear. When I checked it the night before, it was clean and pink. What I was looking at in the morning was not clean and pink. I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say that I called the MD immediately to make an appointment.

Trevor's mom called me after the appointment to inform me that Gracie had a ruptured eardrum from an ear infection, and that's why all the gunk had drained out. Apparently the worst of it was over because it's the pressure that hurts, and once the eardrum perforates, the pain pretty much stops.

Well, thank goodness for small favors.

This is not the first time that Gracie's superhuman pain tolerance has delayed a diagnosis. She has had one other ear infection before, and the only reason it was caught because I took her to the MD for a completely unrelated issue. The MD seemed really surprised that she had not been complaining of pain, but she had never said a word.

Another time, she broke out in a rash all over, and when the MD diagnosed her with scarlet fever I couldn't believe that she had not complained of a sore throat. Scarlet fever is a rash associated with strep throat, and she had a pretty nasty case. I had strep throat once, and drinking water felt like swallowing razor blades. Gracie was sitting in the MD's office munching away at a package of crackers as though there were nothing in the world wrong with her!

I suppose all that pain tolerance will serve her well in childbirth, but for now I wish she would tell me when it hurts so I can provide adequate medical care before her stinking eardrum perforates from the pressure of the infection!!! More importantly, adequate medical attention before my child reaches a point that looks for all the world like I don't take care of her!

So now we are back to our normal schedules with the added routine of antibiotics and ear drops morning and night. Did I mention that she hates the eardrops? Trevor's mom gave her the first round, and she did fine because she had no frame of reference, but last night Trevor had to hold her down so I could get them in. This morning, I caught her before she woke up, but that will only work once with Grace. Tomorrow morning I'm pretty sure that no matter how early I go into her room, she will be sitting quietly on her bed, fully dressed and waiting for me. "Fool me once, shame on you....fool me twice...."

It's hard to ever fool Gracie more than once! Any suggestion from all of you ear infection veterans for getting the drops in without a straitjacket and sedatives? She loves to take oral medication...she actually asks for it...but these ear drops are going to do me in before it's all said and done.


luvmy4sons said...

Oh Xandra! The poor thing. I understand though. I have one like that. He played an entire game of football with a broken arm. Went to bed, got up the next morning trying to eat his cereal with his left hand. When I asked why he says, "This one is not working so well." It was all colored and swollen. Fractured! Never said a word! It can be difficult. Puts a whole new perspective on how pain is our friend! Best wishes with the ear drops. I have no suggestions! I just put on my tough voice that says I am NOT messing around! LOL!

Mocha with Linda said...

Oh bless her heart and yours too! My son, too, always had an extremely high tolerance - we never knew he had infections either 'til he was almost at the point of rupture. Fortunately we always caught them just in time.

I tend to be a mean mom when it comes to medicines and drops - "you WILL cooperate". I figure they'll push us as much as they can and if I turn into a wimp, it just encourages them. I decided they need to learn that sometimes they have to do unpleasant things whether they like it or not.

Gee, I sound awful, don't I?! I really am a loving affectionate mom!! :-)

The Young's said...

I"m SO sorry!!! That is terrible!! I pray for creative ways of getting that medicine in the ear!! Bless your heart!!! We've never had ear infections on this end...so I don't have suggestions....but I'm praying for ya!!!

Karen said...

Wow, she is one tough cookie to handle all that pain. I've been known to straddle a child to get the meds in. Haven't had much experience with eardrops, but one of my kids hated liquid meds of any kind.

Joyful Days said...

Prayers for Grace. Owww, owww and double owww. Roo had a ruptured eardrum once. I felt so awful for him.

Drops of any sort used to be tag-teamed around here. One to hold and one to do the dropping. Actually it improved this summer with ear drops. We struggle with swimmer's ear in the summer--no drops, no swimming. Good motivation--in July!

Alana said...

I'd like to suggest bribery. It's for her own good, really. A few M&M's for every drop? Or something else that would motivate her to lay still and be patient. Maybe even a toy at the end of the whole ordeal if she cooperates.

Just a thought.

So sorry to hear about all the sickness. My oldest is the same way...has a HIGH tolerance for pain.

Andrea said...

Wow -- you guys have had quite the drama lately!

I'm so glad things have been calming down and life can get back to normal again.

Poor Gracie. But WOW -- you're right, she is one tough cookie!!

Heather C said...

No suggestions... but praying it gets easier for you. Love you!


Anonymous said...

Oh my - what an ordeal.

My first two were never a problem with medication, but the last one won't let anything go near or in her when she's sick - not even oral medication!! So I can relate somewhat...yeah try the M&M's bribery suggestion :)

And I agree - she's quite a gal!!