Last week Cole told me that his ear was bothering him off and on. I suggested some warm compresses and it seemed to be better. It was an intermittent ear ache.
My kid used to be the healthiest little boy in the world. For years we only went to the doctor once a year and only if it was required for school forms. Up until he turned 13, Cole had only been on one antibiotic—for strep throat. He occasionally suffered a tummy ache or had a virus, but it never required more than a little TLC.
In the last two years Cole has gone from being the healthiest boy in the world to a kid that catches everything. Trauma it seems plays havoc with the immune system. Thank goodness most of the illnesses have been the run-of-the-mill, garden variety colds, flus, and viruses, nothing serious but enough to put my kid under the covers for a couple of days.
It makes sense that a sudden trauma would be a blow to the immune system, but interestingly enough it was hard to find anything that confirmed my suspicions. Even my pediatrician was more inclined to blame Cole’s illnesses on the environment, “There is a lot of that going around.” Finally, another mother confirmed my feelings by telling me her son’s immune system had also crashed after his dad died. Moms sharing with moms is such a valuable resource, isn’t it? This, of course, also holds true for our parenting partners, but if I’m honest, I still believe that moms talk and share more about parenting than dads. This does not mean a dad can’t work a hair clip with the deftest of fingers, pack a lunch, or match an outfit—I just believe moms share more information with each other.
Anyway, when Cole came into my room at 3AM with his hand cupped to his ear and his face filled with pain, I knew we would be visiting the doctor. In the meantime, I settled him into bed with a hot compress soaked in salt water and a heating pad, finding it comforting to know that I was handling Cole’s ear ache just the way my mom would have done. Then, I stayed awake and watched my son breathe until I could call the doctor’s office. Ever wonder were it is written that children’s high fevers, unbearable sore throats, and painful ear aches always show up late at night?
The next morning we made it to the doctor’s office in time for walk-in hours. We were quickly seen, for a shocking change, by the pediatrician who drew the short straw and was in charge of treating the kids who had become sick in the middle of night with their parents whose hair and teeth had only seen a lick and a promise.
The doctor looked into Cole’s ear and incredulously announced that Cole had a giant boil in his ear. The doctor’s face showed enormous sympathy and I could see Cole sit up a little taller, proud that the doctor had confirmed he was not exaggerating when he wished his ear would fall off since it hurt so bad. A round of antibiotics, plenty of hot compresses, and a lap to rest his head in is the treatment plan. It should burst and ooze in a couple of days.
It’s midnight and I’m sitting next to a boy in a whole lot of pain. I called the doctor who suggested more heat or an emergency room visit; where we would wait for hours in a cold waiting room because, while a boil in the ear may be painful, it is not an emergency. Instead, I suggested to Cole we sack out on the couch in front of some mindless 70‘s television show. When Cole was a tot, a mom told me that nothing beats a good distraction, and years later she is still right.
I’m not sure which Karate kid movie this one is but the teacher never seems to age? Why is that? And the kids clothes are so dorky–why is that?
It is going to be a long night.