What to expect: Glue ear & Grommets

May 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Daily Life | Leave a comment
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Op 1

On Monday our four year old son had grommets fitted to resolve problems with his low level hearing.

We had noticed he was missing things for about six months and in total it has been about a year between us first recognising an issue and him having surgery.  We initially put his lack of attention down to him being a typical little boy – easily distracted, excitable and a little telly deaf.  But hearing tests revealed that he had glue ear.  He had suffered with a few ear infections but nothing recurring.

I thought an account of our experiences would be useful to others about to start on this path.

What to expect – glue ear and grommets

Op 2

1. We tried cutting out cheese which is supposed to help with hearing issues – possibly an old wives tale as it had no effect.

2. We tried Ottovent, a nose balloon which is supposed to dislodge blockages in the ear.  Our four year old found it too difficult to inflate the balloon.

3. We let teachers and club instructors know that he was struggling with his hearing and they made allowances and gave him extra assistance.

4. We found the wait between diagnosis and an operation date frustrating – around three months, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.

5.  The pre op visit was really useful – Bear got to see the ward and meet the nurses so on operation day he was already familiar with his surroundings.  Starving him from 7.15am to 3pm was the hardest part!

6. The operation day was incredible – the staff at The Royal Berks were amazing – the children’s ward has it’s own play leader who offered all sorts of activities to keep Bear entertained including a bedside TV, DVD player and Wii!

7. A staff nurse, consultant and surgeon all saw our son before my husband took him down to theatre.  We also had our six month old baby with us which was no problem.  Everything was explained to us and our son and we had no concerns at all.

8. He had ‘magic cream’ on both hands to numb them.  In theatre a nurse read a book to him to hide his hands whilst they inserted a canular and he quickly went off to sleep.  He’d asked to have a mask instead and they listened to his requests and explained the options.

9. Around 45 minutes later I went to collect him from the recovery room, bright as a button, babbling on about LegoLand and demanding a ham sandwich.

10.  He waited, not very patiently to be allowed food and then devoured to packs of adult sandwiches, a yoghurt, a jelly, a packet of crisps and some sweets.  He asked for ham and he got ham! Nothing seemed to be too much trouble.

11. The operation was at 3pm and we left the ward before 5.30pm complete with a ticket to get our parking for free and a very happy boy with a certificate for bravery.

12.  We’d been advised that he would need a day or two off school but he went back after just one day off because he was so hyper.  We gave him Calpol when we got home but he didn’t need any more the following day.

13.  He was slightly alarmed by the new level of volume – noises like the washing machine, kettle and the baby crying made him jump.  We realised just how much he had been missing.  He was also aware of surrounding conversations that he hadn’t noticed before.  I let him stay in his pyjamas all day much to the disgust of some other shoppers in Tesco.

All in all this is an incredible and very simple surgery and I’d highly recommend any parent with a child who has glue ear look into having grommets fitted.  Really happy to answer any questions parents might have.

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