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!