In about 7 weeks, Little A will be 10. In his lifetime thus far, he has never had to drink antibiotics, something I consider a huge win since a) he has so many other challenges already that we are extremely thankful that he generally enjoys good health, and b) as a perpetually sick child myself, I had taken numerous nasty medications too many times to count before I hit the double digits in age and hated each and every dose so was even more grateful not to have to subject my child to those same traumatic experiences.
But then a perforated eardrum came along. A cold combined with one too many swims must have done it. One afternoon when I collected him from school, Little A kept poking at his ear. At home he picked up the plastic tub of cotton buds and asked me to clean his ear, something we have never done in his life before.
Thinking he might, heaven forbid, have stuffed something in there, I gave the ear canal a very shallow swipe, and the cotton bud came away dark grey. I swiped again until the dirt was gone. The other ear yielded nothing. Apart from the poking, Little A showed no other signs of discomfort.
I asked Big A if it might be an ear infection, something he and his brother suffered in quantity during their young years as national swimmers. He replied that with no fever and no indication off pain, it was unlikely. We kept an eye on him, but our son otherwise behaved as normal.
Two days later, Little A had a swim class. That evening, while I was at a meeting, Big A reported that Little A had fallen asleep on the couch at 7pm and seemed listless. Maybe it was his ear. That night, he woke up crying several times with a low grade fever and indicating his ear hurt.
The next morning his ear was red, swollen, and weeping liquid. The fever and listlessness continued, and Little A even typed "Doctor ears", showing he wanted medical attention. But Doctor Ears had no clinic hours on Wednesdays so we had to wait until Thursday morning to get him checked out. By this time, after constant applications of immune boosting essential oils, the fever was gone and the ear less red, and no longer weeping.
Doctor Ears confirmed a small perforation in Little A's right eardrum and prescribed drops and oral antibiotics to be administered twice daily for a week, followed by another visit.
So just shy of his 10th birthday, we embark on his first antibiotic journey. May it be his last as well.