Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Of ears, teeth and peanuts

Last week was an appointment filled week for She-Beat and me. Following our relocation to Boston, one of the first bits of business once getting health insurance established locally was setting up appointments to follow up with ENT on She-Beat's cholesteotoma surgery and to get her in to see an allergist. In addition, I was very overdue for seeing the dentist for a cleaning due to my previous dentist having both limited hours and such frequent turn-overs in staff that resulted in incorrectly canceled appointments (one receptionist canceled, then another called to inform me that they were charging me $60 for a missed appointment. Quickly corrected, but still not good).

First up was the ENT. Following dropping both He-Beat and Grey off at their respective locations, She-Beat and I traveled into Boston proper to have her ears looked at. The hour we spent waiting to see the doctor passed quickly as she entertained the staff by pointing out all the different types of fish in the waiting room aquarium and commented on story after story that we read together. Finally the doctor was ready to see her and we found ourselves in a room filled with cotton balls, tongue depressors and all sort of shiny metal instruments. The ENT staff made note of all the mischief a toddler can get into in under 2 minutes when they finally came into the room and somehow managed to convince She-Beat that the pack of crayons they had located was far more interesting then all the instruments that were at eye-level.

The long and the short of it is that outside of some very minor scarring on her ear drum, She-Beats ears are normal. They look normal and her hearing is in the normal range. We have a final follow-up appointment for both her and He-Beat in June to see how their ears are doing following ear tube placement, but to get this news that all is moving in the right direction was a great relief. That and the knowledge that we now need to plan art projects with cotton balls and popsicle sticks.

On Thursday, I spent my lunch break getting my teeth cleaned and checked out. Since moving, I've noticed that one of my front teeth seems to be lowering, which is now affecting my bite, and that the gum is receding a bit. The hygenist insisted on x-rays as she was having difficulty getting ahold of my previous dentist for this information. What we learned is that overall things seem normal, my one front tooth seems to be lowering and I also have a bone spur on my upper gum that needs to be looked at. So in the new year, I have an appointment with the endodontist to determine if that tooth is even still alive and from there we'll for a plan of attack. Needless to say, when he began talking about a root canal I was far from happy, but we'll cross that bridge when we need to.

Finally on Friday, Grey and I packed up the whole family for a trip to the allergist. Due to unpredictable traffic, we arrived early than expected. This resulted in both Beats entertaining most of the floor as they played chase and ran up-and-down some empty hallways to burn off energy. One older gentleman asked if he could take He-Beat home after he saw what he described as a "giggling blonde blur" fly by him.

Prior to the appointment, Grey did some reading about allergy testing. Given what we know about the immune system, both of us are not enthused about skin testing due to the high false positive response and the potential to cause an adverse reaction solely by introducing a concentrated amount of the antigen. So when the allergist offered doing a blood test, looking for peanut as well as cashew and pistachio antibody levels, we jumped at it. This morning the results appeared in my inbox with completely unexpected news: She-Beat tested negative for all three allergies. The allergist immediately sent an email warning us that it didn't rule out a potential for a reaction, hence we need to follow up with a feeding study at the office, but the news offers so much hope.

The long and the short of all of this is that after almost a year of ER visits for chronic ear infections and an allergic reaction followed by 5 separate surgeries, physical therapy and constant fear about exposure that could trigger an allergic reaction, we may finally be in the clear. Sitting in the bathroom this morning with Grey as I read those test results, it was clear both of us were breathing sighs of hope. That all the advocating we've done may have finally paid off.

Beginning of January is when the feeding study happens. Around that time I'll be seeing the endodontist. And if the worst news we get from all of this is that I need a root canal, I'll take it.


  1. Wow this does sound like great news right before Christmas! Fingers crossed you won't need a root canal and everyone is happy.

  2. My grandson went through this whole peanut allergy thing until he was four. He was retested and found not to be allergic. The kicker ? - he doesn't like peanuts. Avoids them like the plague.

  3. What a whole bunch of great news! I hope the cherry on top is no root canal!!! Merry Christmas!

  4. That's great news about the allergies and the ears! I hope the blood test turns out to be definitive. Good luck with the endodontist, I hope you don't need that root canal. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  5. Sounds like a bunch of good reports from the various doctors! Hopefully the feeding study goes well and no root canal.


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