Anyone who says differently is selling something

“I’m not sure I’d jump to taking the adenoids out,” the pediatrician told me yesterday.  “It sounds to me like chronic sinusitis.”

“Well, it’s sure chronic something,” I replied.

We haven’t seen this particular doctor before, although in the four months we’ve lived in New Jersey, we’ve seen pretty much every other member of the practice.  I like this whole practice; the pediatricians are smart, available, and reasonable.  I liked this doctor even more than the rest.

“Are you willing to get him a CAT scan to see?” he asked.

“Are you kidding?  He kicks me.  He breaks things.  He punches his sister for entertainment.  He has large dark circles under his eyes, green stuff coming out of his nose, and a bloodshot eye.  I’m willing to do whatever it takes to figure out what’s wrong.”

He looked up from where he was writing the scan order.  “I’ll write ‘STAT’ on this.”

We went in this morning to get the scan.  Benjamin was a little scared, but, as always in situations like this, he was extremely cooperative.  I can never figure out how a kid who completely ignores repeated requests to pick up his toys will lie perfectly still on a CAT scan machine just because the technician told him to.  Maybe she would be willing to come to our house and make him put away his things.

A few hours later, I got the call.  It turns out the child has severe sinusitis, swollen adenoids, and an anatomical makeup that most likely is leading to chronic infection in the sinuses under his eyes.

I guess that explains why he’s so grumpy.

We’ve always said that Benjamin is our surly child, prone to a rain cloud over his head.  The other adjectives that come to mind are wild, aggressive, and impulsive.  He’s wonderfully imaginative and affectionate, and he can be unbelievably exuberant, but he is definitely the child most likely to knit up his eyebrows, fold his arms, and grunt at us.

What kills me is that this physical problem has most likely been going on for years.  Years.  So, not only has he been in chronic discomfort punctuated by acute pain, he more often than not cannot hear well.  And we have absolutely no idea how much of his personality is due to a medical condition that he doesn’t even realize is not normal.  He thinks that life is pain.

Today, we start him on antibiotics for the acute issue, plus back on the Singulair and nose spray.  In a few weeks, we’ll go back to the pediatrician to see what our next step is on the chronic problem.  I don’t know what that will be.

But I’m really looking forward to getting to know Benjamin.

23 responses to “Anyone who says differently is selling something

  1. Whoa. Poor kid. Chronic pain is the worst, and especially at such a young age. But now you know what it is- that’s half the battle.

  2. Oh I hear you! I hope now that you know what’s going on, things start to improve rapidly.
    We’ve had some of the same questions with Hollis and his severe reflux. When it’s so bad they refuse to eat & have to be hospitalized, you know the pain has got to be affecting personality.

  3. Poor Benjamin. Poor you.

    And, while I don’t know if you want to hear other people’s vaguely-related anecdotes (skip the rest of this comment if not), we had a somewhat similar experience with Gray. He had his tonsils and adenoids taken out when he was three-ish. I can’t begin to tell you what an enormous difference it made.

  4. And, because I’m not sure I’m making sense, let me just add that I absolutely don’t mean to suggest that a T&A (as they call it) is appropriate for Benjamin.

    Just that the right treatment, whatever that may be, can make everything in a child’s life so much better.

  5. Yay for more information! Boo for the pain.

    The Snake also had T&A at 5. It definitely helped a lot. But he also has allergies, and I wonder about chronic sinus problems too, as we have intermittent bouts of behavior swings and the tell-tale raccoon eyes. Perhaps we will seek out a CAT scan too 😉

  6. poor thing…..hope you get some answers soon (by the way I heard that adenoids can grow back—that just blew me away!!!)

  7. oh, poor you & poor him. I’m glad you found out & glad it will be treated. I remember the dawn that came when we found out about Henry’s sensory issues – the level of stress he lives with daily is just a different ballpark than our other 2 kids – the understanding alone helped & then with treatment things got even better – better than I had been willing to hope for in a good long time.

  8. Oh, man poor kid. And you guys must just have been going crazy trying to figure it all out.

    Here is to hoping this is a new start for him, without pain

  9. Good to have some answers – here’s hoping things calm down for him.

  10. Oh, ugh. It just SOUNDS painful; I can imagine living with it as a little guy is even less pleasant.

    It sounds like you’re all on track for some relief, though, and that’s cause for celebration right there.

    P.S. “Princess Bride” title reference FTW! One of my favorite lines. 😀 Too bad it had to apply so well for poor Benjamin.

  11. OH WOW. The enormity of it all really struck me, reading this. Good for you for finding it out. Here’s to the start of a new life.

  12. oh i hope that this is the first step on a short road to relief for benjamin and you.

    when everything is dealt with medically and the problem is much much smaller, then a neti bottle can do wonders for preventing sinusitis.

  13. I’m so glad you have something approaching an answer. For you, and for Benjamin. Poor kid, living with this for so long.

    And I hear you on the cooperation for other people. I often wish my dental hygienist offered childminding in her off hours. Somehow, she commands a level of respect I could never muster.

  14. Hopefully that’s the nadir and now you’re on your way up – knowledge is so vital.

  15. That’s terrible. Poor kid! I hope you’re not kicking yourself – just focus on the good that is his mom finally figured out a way to get him some help. I hope they can fix this for him.

  16. What a testament to your tenacity for finding answers and your son’s for muddling through as best he can and still finding ways to be imaginative and exuberant.

  17. coldspaghetti

    Oh my, I feel for him! I had surgery in my teens to clean out pockets of infection that basically had been in my sinus cavities for years. POOR BOY. I’m really curious to see how all this turns out — and so glad you have a good doctor seeing you all through it!!

  18. Oh, boy — I know how difficult this can all be. I’m so happy I’ve found you again — used to read you when you were out here on the west coast. In any case, I’m wondering whether you’ve ever looked into osteopathy for your children. I have three and all have been treated since birth by an osteopath in addition to our regular pediatrician. An osteopath’s work is especially effective with sinus/ear/nose/throat, etc issues of childhood. In fact, both of my boys who are typical and now aged eight and eleven have never been on an antibiotic despite the usual colds and ear infections of childhood. I attribute it to osteopathy. I know it sounds nutty but at the very least, I’d recommend it as complementary care. I know of a very good one in NYC if you want to email me. Enough of my nosing around — I sure hope your Benjamin feels better soon.

  19. So sorry to hear he’s been in pain, and so glad to hear you’ve pinpointed the problem and are on the road to treating it!

  20. I’m glad to hear you now have some answers, poor Benjamin, I hope everything is worked out quickly, good for you for following through, he might have suffered with this into adulthood and who know how that might have turned out xx

  21. Poor guy. I can’t wait to find out what he’s like.

  22. Poor little guy. And poor family. He’s fortunate to have a mom who will do all of this to help. I hope you get it all resolved soon.

  23. I’m glad you’re finally getting some answers and moving forward in a positive direction.