Funky Monkey Ear

First look at the Funky Monkey Ear

Jackson was born perfect, except for a little bit of a folded right ear, which we lovingly call  The Funky Monkey Ear.

I have taken Jackson for multiple ear tests, only to have them all confirm that it is just a cosmetic “deformity” (as the doctor’s lovingly call it).  I was told by our family doctor that if we chose to have it fixed, we would have to make a request when he was around three years old.

When Jackson turned three, The Man and I decided that we should have his ear fixed.  We both knew how cruel childhood taunts and teasing could be, and even though fixing Jacksy’s ear would not prevent that completely, it would hopefully prevent him from not liking something about himself.  Something that was so much more physically obvious to the eye and then quite a process to change when he was older.

Jackson is now six years old and we were just contacted by the paediatric specialist for an otoplasty consultation about Jackson’s ear.  I don’t know if it took so long due to our doctor’s now-replaced MOA incompetence or because of the Canadian MSP process, that always includes extended wait times for specialist surgery appointments.

I had to take a LOA:leave of absence no pay day to attend this appointment because my work does not have any special leave for children’s appointments.  I definitely wasn’t going to wait another three years just to get another consultation appointment.

There was a lot of nervousness in the air about the appointment.  I made Jackson aware that we were going to this appointment to have a new doctor look at his ear.  I tried my best to let him know that he has a unique looking ear the “funky monkey ear” and that the doctor would be talking about it.  I was scared that my sensitive boy would start to feel uncomfortable about his ear or ask questions about certain terminology, especially when this doctor would probably be throwing around the word “deformity” and “normal”.  We have never created any focus about Jackson’s ear, and really it hasn’t been an issue with children, it been more of an issue when adults notice it.

In the waiting room, there was a 3 month old baby that the doctor commented on as his first patient, then a boy younger than Jackson with a bandage around his head, clearly coming in for a follow-up.  My Mom and I hunkered down with a surprising up-to-date pile of trash magazines, expecting to wait a while to be seen.  I was only into my first flip of celebrity gossip goodness, when Jackson was called into the room.  I was only into the first chapter of Jackson’s new Stink book when the doctor waltzed in.

Jackson was a fidget-monster.  He tried his darnedest to stay still while the doctor measured his ears and threw around “deformity” & “missing flap”.  Then he dropped the bomb, he told me to “make an appointment in a year”, as Jackson was clearly too “immature” to have this procedure.  The doctor wanted to wait until Jackson “was invested” in the surgery, this would occur when Jackson came to me to tell me that “he wanted his ear fixed”.

The assessment appointment was over after 5 minutes.

As I tried explaining to my Mom about the doctor’s concerns about performing the surgery, the emotions started to surge.

Confused and upset. This was not the appointment I was expecting.  A three year wait, for a 5 minute appointment.  Only to find out that we would have to wait another year, and then even more if they did accept him for surgery.

Angry. At first I was angry at the doctor for making such a quick judgement.  Then angry that I didn’t inquire as to his definition of “maturity” for the younger children in his waiting room.  Was there not a baby in the waiting room and another younger boy that clearly had the surgery?   What are the strategy’s for these children, to prevent them from wrecking the surgery?

Sad.  That the doctor wanted me to wait until Jackson was “invested” in the surgery.  So do I have to wait until he’s ridiculed, harassed, and embarrassed by other children about his ear before the doctor will consider correcting it?  I think waiting until he’s sixteen is just defeating the purpose, don’t you?

Blank.  I left knowing nothing more than I went in with.  I should have asked about the surgery.  How long does it take? What is the procedure?  How long is recovery?  What if it needs to be corrected?  What about the surgery process, do they use the skin already there?   Do they graft or put anything in the ear?  Will Jackson be completely medicated out for the surgery?  And what would those medication risks be?

I came home more puzzled, confused, and upset.  I decided to call the doctor’s office and see if I could either make another appointment or get some questions answered.  It was about 2:00pm when I called.  The doctor’s office was closed for the long weekend and then would continue to be closed next week for vacation.

I now had more questions.  Was I rushed through my assessment appointment because the doctor was more concerned about his vacation?  He was talking about the upcoming weather and was hoping it would stay sunny.  Do I really want THIS doctor to perform THIS surgery on my son?  I am not sure.

It just didn’t feel like Quality Patient Care.







  1. I can totally feel your frustration. My 5-year old son’s second pair of ear tubes has just come out again, leaving him not able to hear, incapable of using an “inside voice”, and in a lot of discomfort. Despite having gone through this twice, we still have to wait 4 months to see his ENT, and I’m sure another few for the next surgery. It sucks knowing the issue, knowing how to want to deal with it, and still having to fight the system. 🙁

    • Naomi Jesson says:

      Thank you for understanding Stacey. I can’t imagine what you are going through, as Jackson’s ear is only cosmetic, I would be even more upset & frustrated if it were causing him pain or discomfort :(. Yes, the system and the red -tape of it all, almost had me wishing to spend our savings on lotto tickets. As, having all the money in the world would leave us with more options and the doctors would have to basically sell me instead of me selling them the idea. Luckily we have a fabulous family doctor, and our family doctor is advocating for us, as he also was concerned with our appointment experience. Take care Stacey, I hope that yoru son gets his surgery ASAP!

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