Dear Online Diary:
It's been a while, hasn't it? I feel as though we barely know each other anymore. I'm pretty sure it's me; not you. That whole thing where I went away for a month, and then took a month to recover from the trip really took a toll, didn't it? Let's say we start over. Can we? I'd like that.
I know I've got a lot of vacation to discuss, and that'll come. Honestly, at a month in the past already, what's it really matter if I discuss Heidelberg or Amalfi today or in yet another month? I'm going to talk, instead, about Micah's bionic ears. That poor boy.
So back in April (of 2015, future me; remember this year), Micah had ear tubes placed for the 13th time in his 12 years of life. His left ear had cartilage taken from his outer ear and used to make a grommet to insert his shiny new 13th ear tube into. This is pretty much a technique to make his ear drums retain an ear tube for a minimum of 1 year, but hopefully for as long as 4. Or 10. No, really. Ten. That's not a stretch for some kids. With Micah, we're thinking that 4 years (not months) is going to be a miracle, but we're nothing if not optimistic here.
The good doctor who performed the surgery would only do one ear at a time like that. Micah's right ear, then, had the 13th tube inserted normally. That one came out in the typical 4 months. Of course. Micah's ears are skilled at expelling tubes. If Ear Tube Expelling were an Olympic sport, he'd be gold every time. Without practicing.
We got news of Micah's ear tube being out a mere week before we left for that month long vacation. Of course. The doctor said that it would be okay to wait until we got back, so we did. It was easier that way. We were home a week when Micah went in for surgery. Micah is growing up in so many ways, and being cognitively aware of things is one of those ways. He knew that we were going for surgery, and there is no heartbreak in the world like having to tell your son that he's going to have to face his worst fears again. You can't tell him that it's going to be okay, because you know that it won't be. You can't tell him that it won't hurt, because it will. All you can do is hold him and cry with him. That's hard, right there.
My heart hurts for those parents who actually go through big things with their children, and not just ear tubes. I'm so sorry.
Despite Micah being quite distraught over impending surgery, he made us ridiculously proud by drying his tears, tucking his fears away, and facing nightmares head on. I am saddened, however, that counting failed to work with him this time. When Micah is having a hard time focusing or coping, I count with him. I'm hard pressed to explain the magic of this, but it was a real thing. In April when I went into the OR with him to help them sedate him, I told the docs, as I always do, that counting is his happy place. I'd count with Micah while they masked him, and it would be the easiest scenario for all involved. Micah was screaming and writhing as I calmly went over the steps that we'd take together, and when I held his hands and looked him in the eye and started to count, it was like a switch flipped and another boy took Micah's place. He stopped fussing. He looked at me. He focused on what I was saying. I could see him counting along with me in his head. He was still stressed, but he calmed himself down enough to stop fighting and listen. The doctor was so amazed that he forgot to give Micah the anesthesia. I had to re-explain the steps and start counting all over again.
This time, counting did not work. At all. Micah didn't even pretend to listen to me as he fought his way to sleep, trying to avoid yet another ear surgery as best as he knew how. We broke our child, and probably his trust in us as well.
Micah's right ear is now bionic just like his left ear is, and the very good news is that his ear canal didn't need widened like the other side did. That was a painful surgery which we didn't expect going into the day. The other good news is that the Bionic Left Ear was, indeed, retaining it's 13th tube quite firmly. We're very happy about that. The right ear has Tube #14 in it, and hopefully this will be his last in that for a few years.
The countdown is on. I'm remembering that 2015 is the year we placed tubes that are going to last for years and not months. I'm remembering that 2015 is a magical year. And I'm really, really hoping that we don't have to hold Micah and cry with him as we head into surgery for a very long time.