The Medical Machine

Last year my son had his tonsils out. He’d had strep throat, the flu, many sinus infections, and a ruptured ear drum…I was starting to lose my ever-loving mind and by September I wanted to know if my son had an auto-immune disease.
Eventually, one pediatrician suggested a very strong anti-biotic to kick everything in his system, followed by a visit to an allergist and an otolaryngologist.

It’s an ear doctor. Go ahead. Try to pronounce it.

All these doctors agreed that Abe needed tubes put in his ears and non-stop allergy medications because he didn’t yet have specific antibodies indicating what he’s actually allergic to. I feel like we are still teetering on the edge of sickness all. the. time. But he has not been on antibiotics since December. That’s a huge accomplishment.

Since his last surgery 6 weeks ago, he’s developed a throat-clearing tick. His post-nasal drip creates a phenomenal little tickle all day everyday and poor Abe can’t get through a sentence without clearing his throat. His allergist agrees that it’s post-nasal drip coupled with habit. It’s SUPER annoying, but I’ll take it over a middle-of-the-night scream any day.

rotary-die-cutting-machine-high-tech-systemThis past week we visited the otolaryngologist for a follow-up and while everything was “great” and “perfect” and “just as she’d hoped”, she was concerned about his throat-clearing. “Acid reflux” she suggested. She offered to put a scope up into his nose, down his throat, and into his esophagus to check for signs of acid.
Let me frame that up for you.
After a tonsillectomy, strep throat, ruptured ear drum, and ear tubes, a doctor now wants to stick a scope down my child’s throat while he is awake in order to check for signs of acid reflux.
“What are the repercussions of just trying an over the counter acid-reducer and seeing if that makes a difference in his throat-clearing as opposed to another procedure?”
“There are side-effects of any drug,” she responded.
“Sure. But is there a reasonable explanation for why he may have suddenly developed acid reflux?”
“Eating chocolate, mints, tomatoes…”
My ex-husband, also in the room, looked at me with a He doesn’t eat those much with me, does he with you? face. I shook my head no.
“He doesn’t really eat chocolate often, nor mints at all. He doesn’t like tomatoes. I am really hesitant to have him scoped.”
“Yeah, well, I would recommend it but you can think about it and let me know when you’re back for another follow-up.”
This doctor is incredibly smart, excellent bed side manner, very clear communicator…I felt baffled. To me, it seemed so obvious: he has chronic post-nasal drip due to allergies and that causes him to clear his throat. Why would we assume there is another, separate issue when, after an admittedly novice google search, there don’t seem to be any lasting side-effects of trying an over-the-counter pill?
Could it be the same Medical Machine that Dr. Busy was in? The idea that there is ALWAYS something else medicine can diagnosis, treat, and cure? It was just two weeks ago that Dr. Busy ate his words and acknowledged the rod in my leg did NOT need to be replaced. I did my research and followed my intuition on that…seems like that’s the least I can do for my son.

My ex-husband and I chatted about it briefly afterward and both agreed that we’re going to follow our intuition and allow Abe the chance to outgrow this tic or, if we eventually see it as a possibility, offer him the over-the-counter acid reflux medication. It’s a HARD decision. It’s not one either of us take lightly. But it feels like common sense.

I should mention that he is brilliant, funny, charming, kind, and crazy-smart. He enjoys each and every day to the fullest. He is the absolute LIGHT of my life! And if he clears his throat one more damn time…

So I put it to anyone out there who has an opinion: another procedure, another nasal scope? Or follow my gut and maybe try an acid-reflux medication?

Either way, I want out of the Medical Machine for a while…

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