Sunday, June 7, 2009

So Much for a Simple Hearing Test

On Tuesday morning, Little Guy was scheduled for his quarterly ABR. We know he has a progressive hearing loss, so we do hearing tests every three months to make sure we're keeping him aided as well as possible. Because he's a little bit older now, he had to be sedated using chloral hydrate. My other children have been given this drug before with no problem and we fully expected the same for Little Guy. When will I ever learn to always expect the unexpected with my children??

Within about a minute of being given the drug, the attending nurse noted that his oxygen saturation levels were falling. The continued to fall, and the nurse had to provide oxygen to him throughout the duration of the test. After the test, which showed a decrease in his hearing, he woke up and seemed quite responsive during his visit to Dr. Peters.

On the way home from his hearing test, we stopped off at Dr. Michele's office to adjust his hearing aids. We took a little longer than usual because we determined that his current aids no longer meet his needs, so we had to spend some time choosing him another model aid. While we were there, we all noted that his breathing was very loud and shallow and he was retracting.

I contacted Dr. Peters' nurse who instructed us to go the ER to get Little Guy's oxygen sats checked. The ER was across the street, so I went straight over figuring that I was probably just over-reacting and would be sent on our way. I was wrong. His sats were between 85 and 88 on room air. Not a good thing.

We stayed at the ER for about four hours during which time he had a chest X-Ray done showing nothing outwardly wrong. He stayed on oxygen the whole time we were there. A couple of times, they tried taking him off the oxygen, but his sats dropped quickly without the oxygen. The ER doctor wanted to admit him then and there, but the on-call pediatrician didn't feel comfortable having him there unless he was in the ICU. WHAT?!?!? ICU!?!? The ER doctor felt that it would be a better choice to trasfer him to the hospital where the hearing test was done. So, an ambulance was called and we were transported back to where we'd started to be admitted through the ER.

When we arrived at the hospital, the ER doctor removed the oxygen and monitored him for a little while. He seemed to be doing quite well. For a good 45 minutes, his sats stayed up where they needed to be. It looked like the chloral hydrate was finally out of his system, so we were released. The King came down to pick us up, and we were on our way.

We weren't driving very long when we noted that his breathing sounded labored and he was sputtering and coughing. We were back in the town where the audiologist's office was, and knew that the after hours pediatric ER would be open. So, that's where we went. We explained what had happened and Little Guy was placed on a monitor. Sure enough, his sats were variable but mostly staying well below 90%. The dr. there opted to monitor him for a while. He was doing pretty well when he suddenly lost control of his head, turned blue, and sort of passed out. His sats were down to 72% and the doctor had oxygen rushed in to him immediately. He contacted another hospital, which sent another ambulance to come for him.

So, we wound up all the way downtown at Children's hospital ER asthma unit. We got there just after midnight and sat there for six hours before being admitted. At that point, the King had to go home so he could work. He left, and I stayed behind with Little Guy. We were in our own room for about twelve hours before being switched to another shared room. I won't go into all the details of that, but suffice it to say we had no amenities on our side of the room and spent the night listening to Mexican opera and having a couple of little girls peek behind the curtain every time I tried to nurse. Little Guy began struggling again, and was moved back to a private room.

Two or three times they were ready to release us, and he'd bottom out again. So, a hearing test on Tuesday morning resulted in four ERs, two ambulances, and a hospital stay that didn't end until Saturday night. It did give us the information we needed plus some. We now know Little Guy is overly sensitive to chloral hydrate. We also know he needs $7000 worth of new hearing aids and will have some lovely hospital bills to pay in the near future. *sigh* So much for a simple hearing test.


  1. Wow! Your "simple test" sounds a lot like our life, too! I'm so sorry about the trips. I know how scary it can be to be watching OS levels in a little one. Glad he is better now and things didn't get too bad. Any suggestions on how they'll do the next ABR?

  2. Oh. My. Goodness! I can't imagine going through all of that from a "simple" ABR! We're lucky because our audiology clinic uses the Vivo Sonic system (no sedation required- the little guys can literally run around the room while the ABR is undertaken). And yikes on the cost of new hearing aids- is there a loaner bank you can borrow from? Ouch.

  3. Wow.. Thats alot to go through! Poor Little guy!(Poor MOMMY!! lol)