Thursday, June 17, 2010

Nolan's Panic Attack

Playing in the dirt requires frequent baths!

Last night, the boys were playing happily in the tub. "Swimming lessons" was the game, and they were twisting and "floating" and splashing with great delight. Then suddenly, Nolan became hysterical. Not just a little bit upset- he was shrieking with absolute terror and clawing his way out of the tub.

This induced much panic on my part, wondering what in the world could be wrong with the boy. I tried to pry his little wet body off mine, but he held fast. I tried to soothe him, to no avail. Finally, I managed to make out the words he was screaming.

"Ear is BROKEN!"

This set my heart beating a little faster, unable to process what he was saying. I wrapped him in a towel and tried to calm him, but he couldn't hear me. He just latched his arms around my neck and wailed, inconsolable for about 15 minutes.

Then it struck me. He was lying in the water, with his head half submerged. He had water in his ears! This happens to many children, but for Nolan, it eliminates all of his residual hearing. He had gone (temporarily) completely deaf. I picked him up, tilted his head to the side, and tried to gently tap with the towel to clear the water.

In a few minutes, he was right as rain. The water left his ears and he had his residual hearing back. He could hear me shouting to him that everything was OK, that it was just some water in his ears.

At least he was able to communicate what was scaring him, and we were able to (eventually) comfort him. I have a feeling he'll be less inclined to dip his head underwater in the near future, though!


Apraxia Mom said...

Oh my gosh! How scary for you both! And what an amazing little guy to be able to tell you what was wrong.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh, poor kiddo! How scary for him! And stressful for you.

Hope he can understand what happened and that it is temporary... and not fear the water.

Sweet boy!


leah said...

I hope he understands. We've talked about it today quite a bit, in very simple terms. I tell him the water goes in, the water comes out, and his hearing will come back.

We're having a water playdate tomorrow, so hopefully he'll be cool without his aids. He's been extremely attached to them lately- he doesn't even want them off at bedtime!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

That's so sad! I've been feeling really down about the water thing lately. I've just spent a week of Vacation Bible School modifying activities to keep water from being sprayed on her hearing aids.

I'm so glad you figured out what was bothering him. Showing him the easy fix will surely increase his confidence in the water.

xraevision said...

Yikes, that was scary! It never occurred to me that this would happen. X gets water in his ears all the time at the public indoor pool, but the noise level there is high and muffled to typically hearing people. I can imagine that getting water in the ears at home where the noise level is fairly quiet would magnify the silence. I will make a mental note about this - thanks! X is getting to an age where he likes to splash hard and goof around in the tub. . .

Terena said...

poor baby. and poor mommy. how scary. Queen Teen has those sort of panic attacks often and it can be tricky to figure out what's wrong. She's getting better at verbalizing now that she's older, but it's still difficult. And even though her panic attacks happen a lot, I never get used to it. Immediately my heart races and I feel my own panic set in. I don't give in. I stay cool and strong, but inside I'm scared.

Guess there's no getting used to it.

leah said...

His terror was so frightening- I was so scared something had gone terribly wrong. When they scream with that much intensity, you know something is very wrong, but they can't communicate what it is! Thank goodness we got it figured out and it was just some water in the ears, but it was a pretty scary 20 minutes.

Julia said...

Wow -- very intense, and very revealing. He *really* loves his sound. I'm sorry about the fear and stress on both your parts.