Getting an earful

Otolaryngologist Nate Page, M.D.

Nate Page, M.D., is one of the Valley’s newest otolaryngologists, which means he specializes in the diagnosis and management of all diseases of the ears, nose, throat and sinuses.

That makes him an expert on the subject of ear infections, which is why multimedia journalist Vicki Balint and I were in his office yesterday at noon, video camera in tow, prepared to drill him on questions we — and Raising Arizona Kids readers — have about that pesky, painful childhood malady. Vicki will post the video, part of a family health series we are co-producing over the next year with Cardon Children’s Medical Center, on our website next Wednesday.

Sarah, Nate and Jimmy Page. (Daughter Grace was in school.)

Nate and his wife Sarah moved to the Valley from San Diego just six weeks ago. He has been busy establishing a private practice through Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants, P.C., which has hospital privileges at Cardon Children’s. Sarah has been busy getting 8-year-old daughter Grace settled into third grade at Cochise Elementary School and 4 (excuse me, )-year-old son Jimmy comfortable in his preschool routine at Chaparral Christian Church. The family is renting a home in Scottsdale’s McCormick Park area. Jimmy loves trains, so they are looking forward to a visit to nearby McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park when the weather cools off a bit.

Nate’s parents live in Peoria, so the family had visited the Phoenix area often. After growing up experiencing Chicago winters, Sarah was an easy sell when the job offer came in from Phoenix. “We were visiting Nate’s parents one Christmas and we were out in the hot tub on a beautiful, sunny day, cool drink in hand, and I thought, ‘I could do this!'” she says.

Nate and Sarah met during their freshman year of college; they’ve been married for 12 years, which means they’ve navigated the challenges of medical school and residencies while sustaining a marriage and starting a family. It must be a tremendous relief to get to this point. Nate is excited about building his practice, which currently involves patients of all ages but will eventually focus solely on pediatric cases.

Dr. Page's colorful tie, with illustrations of a teddy bear doctor and various medical instruments, was a gift from his in-laws.

He didn’t set out to be an otolaryngologist. He wanted to be a surgeon. But after doing an ear/nose/throat rotation he found himself captivated by the field and the range of surgeries it offered — from a 10-minute ear tube insertion to complicated reconstructions that saw surgical teams working far into the night.

His decision to focus primarily on pediatrics came about because “that’s where I found I was happiest. I loved working with the kids. That’s where I always felt the best.”

Vicki asked Nate if Grace and Jimmy had experienced any difficulty with ear infections. Grace, we learned, escaped with only one. Jimmy had a lot of them between ages 1 and 2.

“He fit the profile,” Nate explained. “He’d be okay during day and then he’d be screaming and irritable most of the night. ” Thankfully, his son responded well to treatment with antibiotics and hasn’t had any problems since then.

It was onJimmy was a gracious and well-behaved model for an ear exam demonstration that will be on our video. So it was only fair that he got a chance to try out his dad's equipment after the shoot.

As they were preparing to come to Daddy’s office for the video shoot yesterday, Jimmy told his mom that he wanted to wear one very specific blue plaid button-down shirt. But when Sarah pulled it out of the dryer just before they left the house, she realized some of the buttons had popped off.

“Nate’s the surgeon; he’s the one who does all the sewing in our family,” she said. “But Nate was already gone — he had a surgery early this morning. So this was a shirt emergency.” Mothers, as we all know, are willing to make any sacrifice for their children. So Sarah pulled out a needle and thread and Jimmy got to wear his blue shirt to the video shoot.

Explaining to Grace that she would not be included was another challenge. “You could take me out of school…?” the Pages’ outgoing daughter suggested. Not surprisingly, her parents said no. Sorry, Grace! Maybe next time.

Dr. Nate Page uses an anatomical model to explain an ear tube surgery for our video, which will post next Wednesday.

No visit to Daddy's office is complete without a good spin around the exam room on the rolling stool.

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