Friday, November 15, 2013

Ear Infections (aka the decline of our checking account...)

I wish I would have known in college what I know now because, if I did,  I would have gone to medical school.  While I have no desire whatsoever to be a doctor, I know, for a fact, that it would have been cheaper to go to medical school than it is to go the pediatrician every time that I suspect my child has an ear infection.

Hell, I wouldn't have even needed to get the degree.  I don't need the piece of paper on my wall or the MD / DO after my name.  I could have just dropped out after the class on "how to see fluid or swelling in a toddler's ear."

Damn ear infections.  Sigh.  If you have an infant or a toddler, I know that you know what I am talking about because they seem to be the Achilles heel of the under 3 group.  In fact, my Moose has had so many ear infections lately that she now routinely talks about the Doctor ("Doctor nice").

Every single time that Myra gets a cold, she gets an ear infection.  Every. Single. Time.  As soon as she blows her first snot bubble (gross, but true), I know that she will have an ear infection within 5 days.  I am currently batting 100% with her ear infections.

And that is the first thing that you should know about ear infections.  Your doctor will never actually diagnose your child will an ear infection.  Why, you ask?  Because you will always know when your child has an ear infection.  YOU will diagnose them with it and then bring them to the doctor who will confirm your diagnosis and write you a prescription.

The second thing you should know: ear infections are expensive.  Kiss goodbye any money that you used to spend on clothing or lattes.  Ha  That money now goes to co-pays.

Making faces while waiting for the Doctor to come in.

There are a few different ways that ear infections can play out.  The first is the way that it plays out for novice parents.  This is also known as the $100 ear infection.  This is the one where your child gets sick with a high fever and stops sleeping.  You immediately take her to the Doctor because she has never had a fever so high (and she is 13 months old, so she has had other fevers).  The Doctor takes a look and says, "eh, it could be anything.  Too soon to tell.  Come back in a few days if she isn't better."

Wooosh.  Hear that?  That is the sound of a $35 co-pay being flushed down the toilet.

Of course, she isn't better, so you go back in 3 days, and, what the hell do ya know, she has an ear infection!  The doctor asks you if amoxicillian is okay and you, being a new parent, say, "sure, whatever you think, Doc."

Boom.  $35 more dollars so that he could tell you what you tried to tell him 3 days ago.

Fast forward 10 days to the end of the antibiotic and your child STILL is not back to normal.  You go back to the doctor and he says, "yeah, looks like that antibiotic didn't quite take care of it.  Let's give you another prescription."

Annndd...we are now at $105 in co-pays.  For 1 ear infection.  Someday, when you see my pushing a cart full of my belongings down the sidewalk in the seedy area of town, remember this post and know that it was Moose's ears that pushed me into homelessness.

The good news is that once you go through that you get smarter.  Even when you know that your child is getting an ear infection, you wait to take them to the doctor.  You never take a toddler to the Doctor on day 1 of a fever.  It is like the Golden Rule of parenting.

That brings me to a personal story that will illustrate the other type of ear infection.  Myra wasn't feeling well (cranky, not eating well, stuffy nose, but no fever), but, as mentioned above, I followed the Golden Rule and waited 4 days until I was absolutely sure that she had an ear infection.  By this time, the only appointment left is during after hours at 7pm with the Doctor who I can't stand.  What can you do though?  Don't want the kid to suffer, so in I went, at 7pm.

Despite the fact that it is past most kid's bedtimes, the place looked like the DMV on the 1st of the month, which sat really well with my sick Moose.  Ha.  After waiting for 45 long minutes, I finally saw the doctor, who told me, "well, there is fluid in her ears, but it isn't infected yet.  Bring her back if she doesn't get better."

Boom.  There went $35, my sanity, and my entire f'in evening.  Just go ahead and name a wing in the office after me.

Next day, about 15 hours later, Myra's teachers came into my office and said, "I'm so sorry, but Myra has a fever."  Of course she does.  BECAUSE SHE HAS AN DAMN EAR INFECTION.

So, I called the doctor's office only to have the nurse tell me, "well you will have to bring her back in." And that is when I completely lose it.  Like bat-shit crazy lost it.  I literally went nuts, telling them that I was there 15 hours ago and I am not paying because I told the doctor that my child had an ear infection and the doctor saw fluid, but refused to diagnose her.  Here's an idea: maybe the doctor's office should pay me since I was the one who diagnosed her.

Thankfully my tirade caused them to call in a prescription.  Whether it was because they felt it was the right thing to do or because they were scared of the crazy lady of the phone is irrelevant.  It got done.  Sometimes you have to be the lunatic in the room.

And, finally, there is the 3rd type of ear infection.  This is the one where you are there for a well-visit and the Doctor looks into your chid's ears and says, "oh, it looks like Bernie has a mild ear infection" and gives him a prescription.  Your child never exhibits any symptoms and the antibiotic takes effect immediately, so you don't have to return for a follow up.

KIDDING!  That never happens, sucker.

The one upside to sick toddlers: the
unexpected and much-coveted snuggles.  

So there ya have it.  Everything you need to know about ear infections.  What should I take from this, you ask?  Well, let me put it this way, people always talk about saving for college, but college is cheap compared to the ears of a toddler.  Good luck!


  1. Ugh, so frustrating!! Hope she feels better soon!

  2. I'm pretty sure Alexandra's Winter of Nonstop Ear Infections occurred before you were at the Nest. She was sent home 11 times that winter, NINE of them for EIs. It got to the point where when my phone rang at work, my hand would shake because I knew I'd pick it up to hear the news that she had a fever and that I had to come get her. But the absolutely most frustrating parts were a) her non-regular doctor who gave her an antibiotic despite me telling her that this particular one didn't work well for Alexandra and hey! guess who was right? and b) another of her non-regular doctors telling me she wasn't a candidate for ear tubes because there had been brief intervals between them. WHAT?!?

    Long story short, when she got her first one the following September, I marched her in to see her regular physician and told him she was having the surgery. I don't know if it was my facial expression or tone of voice, but he simply nodded, she had the surgery, all problems solved. SMH.

    Long story shorter: I felt your pain. Hang in there, Mama!

  3. Yes .. we love the cuddles and snuggles when they don't feel well. Until of course they look up at us with the snotty nose and sneeze directly into our face! Ugh ...

    And I know exactly what you mean with ear infections. Reagan got a wicked one {her first} right after her first birthday and that wouldn't go away for like four months. We finally got the doctors to give us some stronger antibiotics and that led to tubes. Rey hasn't had an ear infection since. But the copays and the doctors can all go to hell. If Myra has had that many you may want to diagnose that she needs tubes. They have a formula calculation {so many ear infections within a certain period of time} but if you holler loud enough {which I have no doubt you can do it!} than they will schedule the surgery. It's been an amazing difference and Rey can hear better too!!

    Trees are pretty bad ass. I see cactus everywhere now but I do have a big ass palm tree in my front yard. Trees are beautiful in spring and fall -- two things I will miss about living in the desert. But hey, not complaining. I'm enjoying my 80 degree weather while the rest of the country is freezing their asses off.

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  4. Death to all ear infections!!!! I feel ya. My son had his first one a couple weeks ago coupled with an upper respiratory infection. So for the record I hate preschool! Haha. I hope your little girl is feeling better!

  5. I want to laugh at this but I can't because we've been there too! Clay has had six this year! I just want them to go away!

  6. You know, the the funny thing about this post is my first two NEVER had ear infections. I think my oldest son had maybe one when he was a preschooler - but that's it. Even though I am breastfeeding my littlest, he has gotten 2, and it's only been 15 months.

    And yeah. Recently, I brought him to the doctor because he was clearly sick. He doesn't run a temperature - and acts as happy as can be - but I can tell.

    She said it was too early and we should wait. $20 bucks.
    I went back, because he was getting worse. No fever still, and fussy but nope, we should wait = $20 bucks.

    Back again. Clearly there is something not right. Still no fever. yep, bulging and red.

    Now, I told you he was sick and he wasn't getting better a week ago. I keep him at home for a week or so before going so I can try to get him better. If I can't get him better, he is sick.

    I totally understand not over prescribing antibiotics. I get it. However, my son was clearly clearly sick.

    It's annoying.

  7. I'm lucky as my children only have had one or two mild infections. Also, until this past year, we lived in Britain so healthcare is free for children (and adults) so we could go back as many times as we needed to the doctor or the baby clinic when they were younger and never have to worry about the costs.

  8. Thank you! The whole process is just so frustrating because I know when she has one, but it is always such a hassle to take care of it.

  9. What a nightmare! That was definitely before I got there. We had a winter like that at The Nest last year and I felt so bad having to call parents all of the time. And I swear that Myra was sick every week last spring. It was AWFUL! I try to keep in mind what I tell all of the other parents, which is that by the time they are 3, they hardly ever get sick. It is SO hard though!

    Myra doesn't fit the guidelines for tubes yet, so I am hoping that she just outgrows this soon. Wishful thinking, I am sure!

    Good hearing from you! :)

  10. Oh yeah, sneezes in the face are awesome. They are just one of the glamorous perks of Mommyhood.

    I can't believe that poor Rey had one for 4 months! That must have been so frustating for you guys. Unfortunately (or fortunately...I guess it must be a bit of both), Myra doesn't meet the guidelines for tubes quite yet. Her doctor said that the main reasons are because she only gets an ear infection after a cold and not just by itself, it always goes away with antibiotics, and it has not affected her speech / hearing.

    I am going hope that we just had a rough spell for the last year and that she will outgrow it. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

    If not though, you are right, I will raise hell. They probably already have Myra's folder marked as "crazy mother." :)

  11. Lol! Preschools are like breeding grounds for germs. My husband says that he has never been as sick as he has since Myra started in school. It is awful! Hope your little guy is feeling better!

  12. Ugh...that is awful! It is endless, isn't it?! Every single time Myra gets a cold, I just cringe because I know that it is going to turn into an ear infection.
    Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  13. Beyond annoying. Don't you just want to scream?! I think that doctors need to realize that Mothers have an instinct with their own children. My daughter also does not typically get fevers with her ear infections, but, as you said, you can just tell.

    So so frustrating. Ugh,

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  14. Wow! That is great. Our country falls behind in so many areas regarding health care of our children. That being said, I am so fortunate that I can afford to take my daughter to the doctor when she is sick, but it makes me feel awful for people who struggle to afford the endless co-pays.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! :)


Thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to hear from you, so please take a minute to leave me any comments, suggestions, funny stories, or advice about this journey called Mommyhood.

Becky :)