After "Mom and Baby Yoga" this afternoon, Jack had his second visit at the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doctor. I don't think I posted about our first visit to see him yet, so I'll catch you all up.
About 2 months ago, Robert and I requested a referral to a pediatric ENT here in town about whom I had heard wonderful things from other mothers in my DSNGG group. The reason we wanted the referral was just to check out his ear canals, which were too narrow for our pediatrician to visualize herself, and to get his airway looked at since he can be so restless during the night and we were concerned about his breathing. This particular physician we requested to see has a 23 year old daughter with Down Syndrome, so he is not only a great ENT doctor, but he is also sort of considered the local "guru" on Down Syndrome here in Greensboro. When trying refer Jack to this doctor, his front desk staff first told my pediatrician's office that he doesn't see babies as young as Jack. However, after talking with our pediatrician personally (and after bumping into who else but Dr. Hickling in the hospital parking lot one day), the ENT "coincidentally" had a cancellation the following Friday and wanted to see Jack. It appears that the doctor couldn't wait to meet our little man after hearing all about him from his doting grandfather. :)
Our first visit went wonderfully ... no fluid in the ears (just a lot of wax), good results of not one, not two, not three, but four hearing tests, and a full oropharyngeal workup, including a fiberoptic scope of Jack's airway. The ENT put our minds at ease by telling us that Jack was the picture of health with correct oropharyngeal anatomy, and that most of our concern with his breathing was probably just because he was our first baby (oops!). Nevertheless, he agreed that it was better to have our minds at ease rather than have us worry. And, even though everything looked great, he suggested that Jack return to him about every 6 weeks to have his ears looked at and have the wax cleaned out to reduce his risk of developing ear infections and, subsequently, any hearing loss, which can delay these children's speech development even further. (Great call, I thought ... gotta love a proactive doctor!)
So today, Jack had another visit to get his ears looked at ... and again, everything looked great. A little ear wax to remove, but no fluid. His ear canals actually got a little wider since his last visit too, which was nice to hear (although not surprising from the way this kid's been eating!). They also did a hearing test (Ci Ci got to hold Jack in the fun sound proof hearing booth for that one). Our little man responded a little, but a full response isn't to be expected until about 6 months of age. We'll try again next time.
Overall, what I really want to express here is that the absolute most wonderful part about going to see this doctor is the fact that he really takes his time to talk to us about his experiences with Down Syndrome on a personal level. He always spends about half our time on the medical stuff and then the other half on the personal stuff, having been through this with his own daughter. He always starts out by saying, "First off, just know that everything is going to be okay, and Jack is doing great!" He shows us photos of his wonderful family, especially his beautiful daughter with DS, bragging about all of her accomplishments. He gives us wonderful advice about how to raise Jack over the next few years in order to give him the most opportunities he can possibly have. After he's done talking, he then listens with intention to our needs and concerns. We really couldn't ask for a better doctor/patient relationship (and believe me, I work with a lot of doctors who desperately need to work on this!). Being parents to a special needs child truly creates a special bond between us, and we hope he knows how much his help has meant to us. We feel very lucky to have such a caring and compassionate physician on our team.