We have had numerous visits to the ENT doctors since Ally was born. From day 1 she has had sleep apnea and struggled to sleep. When she did fall asleep, there was always the chance that she’ll stop breathing and turn blue. Luckily she outgrew those episodes but we’ve been plagued with various other ENT related problems through the years.
Her sleep apnea has never fully resolved itself and in recent months I’ve become increasingly concerned. Here is some basic information about the effects of sleep apnea in children
- behavioural and mental effects
- diminished growth
- cardiovascular effects
- bed wetting
- hyperactivity during the day
At our last ENT visit, we were told that Ally is a “mouth-breather” which basically means, she breathes through her mouth instead of her nose. It may sound trivial but it isn’t. When we breathe through our nose, dust and foreign particles are trapped in the tiny hairs that line our nasal passage. When we breathe through our mouth, we are inhaling all those particles into our lungs. In growing children, mouth breathing affects their facial development and if left untreated, results in what is known as “long-faced syndrome”. There is a very comprehensive article detailing mouth breathing in children here. The first thing we need to do is to determine the cause of her mouth breathing. We know she has allergies, we just don’t know what exactly she is allergic to. Her nasal passages are extremely inflamed which makes it hard for her to breathe through her nose.
To cut a long story short, she is scheduled for surgery on Monday morning. Her doctor is going to use a non invasive technique to reduce the swelling of her sinus turbinates. We pray and hope that this is going to be the solution to her sleep problems. Due to her age, the procedure is going to be done under general anesthesia which carries its own risk in itself. Since she’ll be under GA, we’re going to insert a new set of ear tubes for her. I’m very excited about this prospect since it would mean she’ll be able to hear clearly! Her doctor will be taking her blood to try to find out what she’s allergic to. The lab results should come back in a few weeks since it’s going to be sent to a lab in Australia.
This time round we have chosen to go to a private ENT doctor. The children’s hospital has provided her excellent medical care since birth and we have no complains about it. Sadly, their ENT department is severely understaffed and getting an appointment will take months. The biggest advantage in going the private route besides the short waiting time is that the procedure doesn’t need to take place in a hospital setting. This will hopefully be less traumatic for Ally even though she is used to hospitals by now.
Monday is going to be a big day for our family, I pray and hope that by putting her through this surgery, it will give her a more restful sleep.