Last night Gwen and I were watching "Dr. Krane" (Frasier) together. She was sitting across the sectional from me, playing with a toy. As we watched she moved closer to me, and was yanking on her earlobe. Every time she would tug on her left earlobe I could head an audible POP! Now if she was more than a few feet away I couldn't hear it. But it happened over and over. Tug. POP! Tug. POP! It didn't seem to bother her, so I tried it, gently pulling her ear lobe. POP!
Oh course as an internet junkie as soon as I put her to bed I googled "ear, popping" and "ear, popping, toddler." But I only found information on flying with a child. I found an article from BBC News about a boy who was deaf, and at age 11 he heard a POP! and a piece of a cotton swab fell out of his ear and he could hear again. Nothing that really explained what was going on. So I worried.
Earlier that day we had been in the car and she asked me to turn off the singing (The radio) because it was hurting her ears. And over the past few weeks she has mentioned that her "ear is not working!" a few times. But these were quickly followed by her running off and saying it worked again.
These three incidents made me worry. Worry enough to call the doctor as soon as the office opened to schedule an appointment for her. You see, she didn't have a fever. So I knew it wasn't an ear infection. So what if it was something worse? A blown eardrum or she was going deaf. My over active mind kept me awake most of the night worrying about that and then I had this dream in which Will meets a "British chippy" yeah that is what he called her- and wanted to be with us both. I tried, but kept getting jealous. It was horrible. I would wake up from that dream and wish I could call him, but then I would start thinking about Gwennie's ear all over again. Needless to say I did not get a good night's sleep.
In the morning, Gwennie was constantly tugging on her left earlobe. She did it so much that her ear lobe was rather red. I dropped Rhayn off at school and headed to the doctor. Gwennie was crying about not wanting to go to a doctor. She was scared about it for some reason. We got to the office a little early, but there were very few people there. She actually was taken back before her appointment time.
The nurse and I talked, apparently she remembered me, but thought my older child was a boy. Maybe she saw us after Rhayn's haircut last summer. The doctor came in and she looked in Gwennie's right ear and declared it fine. Then looked in the left. She said she couldn't actually see if it was inflamed, because it was so full of ear wax.
Another nurse comes in with this syringe thing, a towel, and two bowls. She proceeds to fill one of the bowls with hot water. Then asks me to hold Gwennie on the table while she flushes out the wax. We cover her with the towel and hold the second bowl right under her ear to catch the drainage (one of those little pink bowls they give you in case you throw up, you know the ones that barely hold anything.) Gwennie does not like this. She moves away, squirms, tries to push the syringe out of her ear. Finally the nurse looks and sees a huge chunk of wax sitting in the external ear. She gets a little plastic swab thing and pulls it out. Then she asks Gwennie if she wants a book and hands her a board book about Spot the dog and counting.
The doctor comes back in and looks in Gwennie's left ear again. It is fine. Nothing going on there. Apparently the waxy build-up had blocked her ear so she could barely hear out of it. It caused her a little discomfort, too. But now she is fine, and has carried her book around all day.