“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.