November 11, 2010

Of all the things...

First off, thanks for all the emails and messages this week! It really cheered Hadley up to know that people were reading and thinking of her.

After a second consult with Hadley's ENT, we left wondering whether Hadley had an about-to-emerge ear infection or TMJ in her right ear. It was too close to call, so we opted to keep a close eye on the affected ear, continue with ibuprofen, restrict Hadley to soft foods, and follow up with a dentist. By Wednesday night, Hadley was able to insert her hearing aid into her right ear (first time in three days).

It just so happened that Hadley had a dentist's appointment already scheduled for today, where the dentist agreed that Hadley had TMJ. While it's a relief to have a firm diagnosis in hand, it's still a surprise that this severe ear pain has nothing to do with her ear! I understand the physiology, but it's still amazing to think that it just takes a tiny bit of swelling to make it impossible for Hadley to insert her hearing aid into her ear. Hadley now knows to be cautious about opening her mouth widely (when, for instance, yelling at her brothers), is avoiding gum, and already received some suggestions for mouth exercises from her music teacher. She'll be seeing an orthodontist soon to see what might plans might be in her future.

It's been a long, exhausting week for Hadley as she battled an infection in one ear and unknown pain in the other. While it's temporary and certainly not life-threatening, a friend reminded me that it's okay not to minimize this to others. Yes, Hadley will get through this and will return to (her version of) normal, but it's still been a challenging week...for all of us. For two days, she didn't hear...and she made the best of it. She relies on her hearing just like any other "typical" person. I'd be tired, cranky and confused, too, if I suddenly lost my ability to hear (add -ier to all of that; Hadley made this week look easy in comparison). We're all looking forward to a return to life as usual, with perhaps a better appreciation for how hard Hadley works every day to keep up in a hearing, listening world.

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