“Mommy! Mommy! I need help. Fix it!” Emma cried out. ”Have to go to nurse Mommy. Mommy gonna fix ears. Unplug. Mommy unplug ears.” Emma came to me and waited expectantly. ”Ohhhh, sweetheart. I know. I know,” Emma said as she stood in front of me, waiting for me to magically remove her pain. I massaged her ears and glands and throat, I encouraged her to blow her nose. I showed her how to yawn with the hope that something, anything might work. But it almost never does. ”Mommy! Please help me!”
I would if I could. In a second. But I can’t. Nothing I do ever alleviates the pain.
Emma sat down next to me whimpering. ”You have to call the doctor. Go to new doctor. But listen, that table is for babies. You can’t sit on it. That’s a baby’s table,” Emma said in reference to the metal table in the doctor’s office, just big enough for an infant.
The pain in Emma’s ears is an ongoing issue. One that, I think, also scares her because the pain can be relentless. I am left feeling impotent and helpless. Last year Richard took her to a number of doctors and specialists. There was her regular pediatrician, then the eyes, ears, nose and throat doctor several times and finally to yet another doctor, except that after examining her, they all said the same thing, “There’s nothing wrong with her. She needs to stop pinching her nose and blowing. Give her this antihistamine and see if that helps.” And we were sent on our way.
When Emma was a toddler, she had chronic constipation. I pursued any number of doctors and alternative “healers” with the hope that someone would be able to help her. At the time, her constipation was my primary concern. I remember going to a cranial-sacral therapist and pleading with him, “Help her with the constipation, just make her constipation better.” I said the same thing to the QiGong Master and the homeopath and the GI specialist up at NY Presbyterian Hospital and her pediatrician and the developmental pediatrician, and the nutritionist, the DAN doctor, and, and. We put her on the GFCF diet, we began giving her supplements, tinctures, omega 3 fish oils, epsom salt baths, but nothing we did helped. Nothing. After three years of hell, we fly up to Boston to see a famous, GI Specialist. It took me more than 6 months to secure an appointment. She was given a colonoscopy and endoscopy. The results showed scarring, inflammations, ulcerations, and I remember thinking – She’s five-years old. How is this even possible? And yet, it was.
We left Boston with photographs of her inflamed GI tract and a bottle of Miralax, something we’d tried many times in the past with no positive outcome. It’s amazing what you’ll do when your child is suffering and in pain. It’s amazing the things you will try, over and over, hoping that this time whatever it is will work, the leaps in logic you will take, the faith you will put in dubious practitioners all with the hope that maybe, just maybe one of them will do something to help your child. As we flew home, I sat next to Emma and as the plane gained altitude I felt despair flood my body. Despair that anyone would ever be able to do anything to help her.
Once more we were on our own to figure it out. Eventually I came up with a “treatment” that did work. I’m not going to write all about it now, but have provided links throughout this piece for older posts on all these subjects.
As with Emma’s constipation, something that I despaired would never change, and yet it did, her ears, over time will, most likely change too or her tolerance and ability to cope with the discomfort will increase. Because of Emma’s ongoing issues with her ears, I am hyper-aware of my sensitivity to the changing air pressure. Yesterday as I made my way home my ears were hurting, a kind of throbbing pain, a pressure in them that felt as though my ear drums might burst. It was all I could do to get on the subway and head home. Have I always been sensitive to the air pressure, but have learned how to block it out? My guess is yes. By the time I got home I was freezing cold, my skin ached and my ears felt as though any noise was too much. Is this a version of what Emma experiences? I can’t know that, but I know she’s in pain. And I know that other than call the doctor and have her go in to see him, there aren’t many other things I can do. But this feels wrong. I should be able to make it better. I’m her mother. I’m suppose to be able to help her. That’s my job. That’s what Moms do. Right?