I can’t believe it.
Something so small, yet almost as evil as The Evil Cough.
Something capable of bringing anyone to tears.
It brought a new level of understanding to motherhood.
You see, I have an ear infection.
I woke up on Saturday night around 1 AM. At first I thought I simply had to pee, but then I breathed and became aware of this incredible pain in my right ear.
I wear earplugs and thought perhaps one had become lodged too tight. Removing only reduced the agony slightly. I rolled over, noticing it hurt less if I laid on my right sight.
Less. But not by much. My sinuses throbbed with weeks of congestion and I could only breathe through my mouth.
I swallowed some Advil in hopes it would allow me to sleep.
I slept, but in one of those horrible, fitful ways where you wake up in worse shape than you fell asleep.
I had blissfully forgotten the torture of an ear infection (I was under the age of four during my last one).
Each time I tried my best, soothing them, giving them what medication I could until we could visit a doctor. I wished countless times for an otoscope (which, yes, I had to Google the name of)—the thingy doctors have with a light that can look into your ears.
The Tackler had so my ear infections as a toddler, we had to get tubes in his ears at 18 months (best decision ever). Lil Diva’s were more spread out, but she had quite a few as well.
But through it all, my exhausted mommy brain thought, “Please, please go to sleep. It will make you feel better.”
I am here to say today that I was wrong. 100% full of sleep deprived bull.
Sleeping with an ear infection is agony. It hurts. It makes you want to curl into a little ball and cry. All you want is for the pain to stop and sleep and yet you try to sleep and the pain worsens.
I was “lucky”. It was just one ear. I could sort of sleep on one side.
The kids have both had double ear infections.
My poor, poor, babies.
I get it now.
I get the screams. The tears. The reason I would have to sit upright in a chair or on the couch and have my child sprawled on my chest, head on my shoulder for most of the night. Why they would scream when laid in bed.
I soooooooooo get it.
I spent most of Sunday reclining on the couch, careful not to bend my head. I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment until 1:30, and it was the longest four and half hours (from when after-hours care opened) of my life.
I have drugs now. My ear is still sore, but no longer in agony.
I still can’t breathe.
But my new insight into ear infections will live on. I will never think of their cries as overly dramatic, or beg them to stop whining.
And I am so glad my children are old enough to tell me, “Mommy, my ear hurts.”—before we get to the inconsolable screaming stage.
For those of you who don’t remember having an ear infection, here are some tips for your child who does (who cannot articulate why they are screaming):
Why Your Ear Infected Child is Screaming Inconsolably
1. It hurts to bend forward/look down.
2. It hurts to lay down.
3. It hurts even more to lay down on the opposite side of the ear infection. My guess is this is because any drainage from the ear infection is trapped in your ear and makes the pain worse. So whichever ear you think is infected in your child, lay them on the opposite side, or keep them upright on your chest as much as possible.
4. It hurts to blow your nose because your ears can pop.
5. Ibuprofen helps… barely.
6. Blocking the infected ear way (by rubbing ear or having doctor look) cranks up the pain.
7. This pain is impossible to ignore. Employ any distractions available (I read two books).
8. They need antibiotics. See a doctor as soon as possible. I know sometimes kids can get over it on their own, but I wouldn’t wish that torture on my worst enemy.
Good luck, and may you be ear infection free.