Monday, May 9, 2011

Using Prince Phillip as Justification for Surgery

Sitting with both girls on my lap was uncomfortably snug. 

It was storytime before bed, and we were reading Sleeping Beauty, the Disney version, in the light of the closet bulb.  Lauren seemed to be following along mostly well, as usual. 

Even though she's had some trouble hearing for the past several months, it's not severe.  It only manifests itself in some situations, of which I can never be certain.  Something in the atmosphere or her nasal congestion or the surrounding noise makes her squint and question.  She'll say, "What d'jou say, mama?  Say it louder."  And then as I do, she'll watch my mouth to see what I'm saying. 

Nobody else seemed to notice, but I followed my hunch anyway.  I scheduled a hearing test, which confirmed my worries: she's having some hearing loss.  Follow-up appointments happened, and now we're preparing for tubes this week, which will hopefully cure the problem.  (I mentioned the tubes several days ago...yes, I'm still dwelling.)

As we read about Prince Phillip meeting the singing princess in the forest, Lauren stopped me. 

"Why is his name Prince Pull-up?"  Being three, she often mispronounces things -- sometimes I correct her, and sometimes I let it be, just to soak up her cuteness. 

This time, I smiled and answered with his correct name: Phillip.  Again, she wasn't sure.  "Prince Full-up?" 

I bent down and kissed her head before giggling out a response.  "Never mind, sweetie, it doesn't matter."

But Mia caught my eye, and she was laughing like we do when Lauren is being silly on purpose.  When she does something completely toddlerish and hilarious, we laugh, and this seemed similar at first.  We laughed together for a second or two before I noticed Lauren's face again.

She didn't get the joke.  She looked back and forth between us, not upset, just confused.  "Mia, why are you laughing at me?" she asked. 

I don't know if this was another cute mispronunciation, or a manifestation of the hearing difficulties, but it felt like the latter.  I snuffed out the laughter, reassured Lauren (partly by redirecting her attention...), and went on with the story.  Later, I told Mia that we need to be more careful with our laughter -- pay attention to how it might make somebody feel about themselves -- but I still felt awful.

My darling Lauren has been going through quite some time in her life without hearing the world as it really is around her.  Is her world muffled?  Garbled?  Just confusing?  Is this part of her shyness?  Not being able to understand the words someone speaks to her would definitely make her feel uncertain...

I want her world to be clear and simple in so many ways, and at least in this one way -- the hearing way -- we might be able to make that happen.  It's worth a little bit of worrisome (yet relatively common and safe) surgery if it means my sweet girl will be able to hear.

I'm all hopeful expectation.  Or, mostly hopeful expectation.  There's still a measure of worry in there, because it's surgery on my baby with anaesthesia.  She's three, and she'll know that she's in a weird place, with strange people, and no mother to hold her hand before she goes under.  (So maybe my measure of worry, here, is quite large.  Prayers, if you have any to spare, would be appreciated.)

But if it means she'll be able to tell the difference between a Pull-up and a Phillip, I'm on board.

I wonder what her world will sound like in a few days....


  1. This broke my heart just a teensy bit. I hope the surgery goes off without a hitch and your girl can hear the birds in the trees and her sister's snorts!

  2. Will say a prayer that all goes well ~ and her recovery is smooth and happy

  3. On my knees for you and your sweet girl, in hopes that soon her birds will sing crisp and you will rest well knowing she is all right. Beautifully written as usual!

  4. I hope the tubes help! A friend's little boy didn't speak at all until one hour after surgery, and then the words flowed with ease.

  5. Praying for you all. Randy just got his tonsils out a couple months ago and even though it's a fairly routine and safe surgery, I fretted (as mamas do). He did awesome though and I think what helped the most was that we talked to him about his surgery a lot before hand so he would know what to expect. He knew that he would have to say bye to mom and dad and go with the nurse, and I think just having the knowledge before-hand made it less scary for him...not even one tear (from him anyway)! Actually, he was propped up on the bed as he was being wheeled away giggling about riding on top of a racecar. We also got some latex gloves, masks, and hairnets from the hospital to play with for a few days at home so that when he saw everyone wearing that stuff before his surgery it wouldn't freak him out. Just some ideas that might make it a little easier for Lauren, and by extension everyone!

  6. Poor little sweetheart! Our daughter had the same problem--the hearing problem even rolled over into her speech. I was SO nervous, but I can't tell you thankful we are for ENT's! She had surgery--it went so amazingly well! We talked about it for days in preparation. She also got TONS of presents and now wishes she could have "tons of surgeries!" The hearing problem cleared up and so did her speech! We've now done this with her brother who also came through with flying colors! Even though it is scary, it is safe and so worth it! Prayers for your mama heart and your little girl!

  7. I don't have any direct experience with this, but I would definitely make the same choices you're making. You're doing the right thing, honey. And I'll be praying for you both and sending you lots of love and supportive thoughts along the way. Give Lauren extra snuggles from us this week, okay? I'm thinking of you, sweetie!

  8. Oh, poor sweet baby! I hope the tubes help!!

  9. Poor Lauren! I know how you feel - we have been fighting the tube battle at our house as well (too many ear infections) and are feeling skittish about surgery. I hope the tubes help with her hearing. I will say a prayer!

  10. This is EXACTLY how I felt when I took E for his hearing tests -- awful that I'd missed it for awhile. BUT you don't know. And you can't feel that way. Because it's mistakable. And this experience, it might just be a great part of her life story someday. Or yours. Prayers cotinuing, friend.

  11. Tess got tubes...and they helped tons. The surgery was ridiculously fast...but i think they should have given me an IV too!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?