We were advised by our pedia that the twins’ left ears—yes, both twins, but only the left ear—have a build up of earwax and would need cleaning by an ear, eye, nose and throat (EENT) specialist. Apparently the ear drops that she first advised us to try was not enough and at least in one twin’s case, the earwax has become impacted.
“Normal ear wax will find its way out of the ear canal and fall out naturally…Ear wax can become impacted if it is firmly lodged in the ear canal. When wax builds-up and hardens, it can block the ear canal and cause sharp ear pain, ringing in the ear, and partial hearing loss.” (Source)
Ugh. That doesn’t sound good. Fortunately, it didn’t look like the twins were bothered by the earwax, so before things could get any worse, we decided to have the twins’ ears checked out by a specialist.
Preparing for our first pedia EENT visit
The twins had just recovered from several days’ hospitalization, and I was worried that they’d be further stressed or even traumatized by another medical procedure. So I was determined to make their first EENT visit as hassle-free as possible by taking the following measures:
I researched and made sure that we would go to a pedia EENT.
Sure, any EENT specialist can perform the simple procedure of ear cleaning, but I wanted someone who’s really used to working with tiny ears attached to little people prone to literally jerking around and throwing their bodies up the air like one possessed when provoked, you know what I mean? I also needed to research for a specialist who’s accredited by our health card. There were a few options, but because of convenience/proximity, we chose one who holds clinic at The Medical City Gateway.
(Also, I found that it’s useless to look under EENT in the doctors’ directory–the EENT specialty is called Otolaryngology, as I eventually discovered. You learn something new each day, eh?)
I checked and double-checked on the doctors’ clinic hours, then made sure again that she would actually be there on that day.
A phone call made to the Medical City Gateway informed me that we couldn’t make an appointment but just walk in, making sure to bring our health card. However, I didn’t want to take the risk of hauling the twins over there only to find out that the doctor isn’t going to show that day, so what I did was get hold of the doctor’s secretary at the main Medical City hospital and get confirmation that she would indeed be going to Gateway that day.
Most importantly, I talked to the twins and made sure that they knew what was coming.
There have been times when the twins would even balk at stepping on the weighing scale at the pedia’s clinic, crying and screaming their heads off. But I’ve found that they’re old enough to understand and simply talking to them beforehand—the night before and again on the way to the clinic—would really help a lot. So for our most recent pedia visits, they knew that we were going to the clinic, they knew what would happen, down to the body parts that the doctor was going to check out (which, in a typical pedia check-up, would be at least the chest, back, eyes, ears, and diaper area for smaller babies). And lo and behold, there was considerably less fuss.
The same thing happened at our EENT consultation. Before we left home, I explained to them that we were going to the doctor who’d look at their ears and clean them. At the clinic, one after another, the twins calmly sat on my lap as the doctor went about the steps of checking their ears, putting some eardrops to soften the impacted earwax, and finally using a compressor-powered suction to get the stuff out. It also helped that in between those steps, there would be gaps as the doctor prepared the things needed. During those gaps, the twins would scramble off my lap and join the other twin in checking out the view outside the window. When the time came to do the actual procedure, they obediently went on my lap again and stayed put, and did not even get bothered by the noise the compressor made. One twin did start to kick up a fuss at some point because she had the worse case and her procedure took longer, but it didn’t really take much to calm her down again. The doctor also remarked on their good behavior.
Thankfully, the impacted earwax was removed successfully and pretty quickly (the doctor did not make any guarantees beforehand; saying that she wouldn’t force it should the earwax prove difficult to remove). And even now, I’m still amazed at how calm the twins were!
So after such a successful session, there was one more thing to do: reward the twins with frozen yogurt!
Also, for future reference, tips on preventing impacted ear wax in children:
Do not insert cotton buds, your finger or any instrument to remove your child’s ear wax.
Dry your child’s ears after a swim or shower.
Gently clean the outside of your child’s ear with a wet cloth.
Our next challenge: first visit to the pedia dentist. Now that I think would be a little more challenging. Tips would be much appreciated!