Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Fearless Rabid Racoon

Andi had an appointment with her pediatric ENT (who is fantastic) yesterday.  She had severe reflux and swallow dis-coordination as an infant and after a choking spell when she was a few months-old that warranted a call to 9-1-1 we landed a referral to one of the top ped ENT's in the cities.  Not only is this guy skilled, he "gets" children which is a refreshing thing -- especially when it comes to dealing with a child like Andi who some uneducated,  ignorant assholes have written off as a "brat."  (Yes, I'm having an issue right now.)

Andi's voice is the reason we got sent back to see our favorite ENT.  In June -- out of the blue -- she had a screaming fit in the bathtub causing her to lose her voice completely for a few days...and then it never really has come back fully.  She remains hoarse.

Questions arose: Was this due to her history with reflux and choking spells?  Is there a growth on the vocal cords?  Or is this due to her screaming -- but what 2- year-old doesn't tantrum?

Yesterday we arrived and Dr. ENT decided he needed to "scope her."  "To avoid psychological trauma to her sisters, I'll have our front desk entertain them in the front lobby."

The twins left the area and we were escorted into a procedure room with the ENT, a resident ENT, and ultimately a nurse.  A noodle with a lighted camera on the end was to be inserted into Andi's nose down to her voice box, "it will be uncomfortable, but it won't hurt her."

Andi was angry even before we got to the doctor, "I don't WANT SEE DOCTOR!" she had shouted at me numerous times.  By the time we got into the procedure room she was like a rabid raccoon.  Three of us used all of our strength to hold her down; the scope  procedure was done in under 3 minutes.  We let go and she slapped and kicked at anyone too close to her.  The stickers Dr. ENT presented to her were flung back in his face with a scream of anger.

He didn't even flinch, "Yea. Stickers just aren't that great, are they?"

He continued, unphased by the rabid raccoon in my lap, "Let me show you this video of her vocal cords.  This is all very impressive, I have to say."  He paused his video on a frame of Andi's vocal cords while he and the resident threw back and forth medical jargon and my anxiety rose. 

Was Andi ok?

"She has hemorhaged her vocal cords, there is scarring, calluses, and severe inflammation.  I mean...this is really impressive.  She has a hyper larynx and is severely abusing her vocal cords."

My heart was racing and my throat constricted as I concluded in my mind, "It is her screaming...and I don't know how to make her stop."

Dr. ENT continued, "I can tell that Andi is a very strong-willed child and just witnessing her screaming here where she tightens her whole body and goes deep into her throat to scream leaves no doubt in my mind that the cause of her hoarseness is behavioral.  We could do voice therapy and train her to use her voice...but that probably won't work on a two-year-old."

Oh lordy what am I going to do?

Dr. ENT smiled at me, "She's beautiful.  There's nothing wrong with her mentally or neurologically.  She's completely normal. In a couple years, we'll all look back at this and laugh.  The damage should heal -- once she stops screaming -- and her voice should be fine."

While I knew I needed to get serious about addressing her behavior issues and come up with a whole family plan for dealing with her, I was relieved to know she wasn't causing permanent damage.  I know we aren't going to have a quick fix here.  Especially after our trip to the park last night...

"She could be a security guard," the father at the park stopped to shake his head, "she's fearless."

Three boys, twice Andi's size wanted to run across the bridge.  Andi; however, narrowed her eyes, and blocked one side of the bridge.  "Andi, let the boys come across the bridge," I urged her.  The one boy finally came across and there stood Andi and the boy -- nose to belly-button.  No one was budging.

I relented my firm footing on the ground, scaled the ladder made of tires and manually removed my hoarse-voiced little security guard from her post, relieving the congested line of 8-year-old boys and wondered, am I really going to be laughing about this in a couple years?

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