Tonsillectomy at Ten

Tonsillectomy at Ten
Tonsillectomy at Ten

Reilly had tonsils the size of small golf balls. He always has. After having strep 7x one year, 9x the next and 7x the year after that I started to get worried that we were never going to have an easy winter with him. He was always fighting or getting something. His throat and glands were always swollen. The pediatrician was just keeping an eye on them with us but nothing had been too remarkable until about two months ago when I went to say good night to Reilly before I crawled into bed. I went in his room and he was laying there perfectly still – on his back. I got curious because I saw nothing… no chest rising, no mouth opening… nothing. I poked him and he did a choking apnea type thing much like my Dad would do. I did NOT like that one bit and called the ENT the next day.
During our appointment we spoke of the strep and then of the apnea. Once I mentioned the apnea it was no question, they were coming out. Tonsils and Adnoids. I wondered if I was worrying too much but also knew better than to mess with something like that. I was happy to hear an unwavering response from the doctor.

On Dec 26 we had both removed. The surgery itself seemed to go fine although I did not like one bit that he was under general anesthesia. Monica recommended I ask to go in as he fell asleep. They let me do so. It sounds silly but I was so glad I did. Awful to see your kiddo lying there in a forced sleep – especially after the month I have had. I fought back the tears and left the room to sit with Shad. It felt like only about 30 minutes when they called us in to see him in recovery.  I could see how groggy he was but otherwise he seemed good. I could see his reaction to having the drugs: confused, stunned, trying to focus and then he would lie back down and fall asleep.

They prescribed tylenol with codeine but the doctor said that we could go to tylenol alternating with ibuprofen. I found that a little curious because everyone I talked to ahead of time said to stay away from ibuprofen because of bleeding. Post op he mentioned it again, I’m pretty sure it was an effort to stay away from the narcotic which I appreciate that as well. But… if he did bleed as a result of the ibuprofen, that would be really bad as we would be in the ER for that.

Reilly responded to 1/2 the dose of the tylenol with codeine so we stuck with that for the first 48 hours. Along with everything I read and heard the key is to stay ahead of the pain. If we were even 20 minutes late, Reilly was miserable. We found that the jello go old quickly, the ice cream made him want to clear his throat or cough too much so we were on the italian ice kick in our house. It was a day later that he was eating tiny soft pieces of microwave (to keep it soft) chicken.

I had been told ahead of time that days 2 and 5-9 were the worst. I would say (we are on day 8) that she was absolutely right. Reilly wakes up every four hours but the past few days the ear pain he has felt has seemed so severe that I thought something else might be wrong. The nurse told us he may feel like he wants his ears to pop but she didn’t describe the holding his head and sobbing to do so. Totally not what I thought. He is a tough cookie but I feel for him with this ear thing. I don’t think the sore throat has been too bad because he is so used to having strep that he recalls the sharp intense pain in his throat. But the ear thing… ugh. I did read that sometime gum can alleviate that pain a little so I bought him a pack of gum. It seems to help but I don’t feel like he feels as thirsty when he’s chewing gum. So, if you try gum, remember to make sure they have a bottle of water too.

We are headed into the home stretch. I learned a few things. Get them off the codeine because they are so lethargic and miserable on it, they don’t even know it. The ibuprofen and tylenol as an alternating option made him feel much better. Drinking was key. We got straws, had talked about a camelbak, but the sucking motion was too much at first it just hurt more. I keep telling Reilly to brush his teeth because his breath is awful. It turns out that is totally normal because the white “scabs” that develop in his throat (before they fall off) is what causes that rancid smell and there isn’t really anything he can do about that. He and I joke that it smells like Nandi… the 13 year old dog. ICK. Sleep is huge but too much sleep and lying around makes everything else achy. And last, they don’t flex on the 14 day mark. He is literally not allowed at school according to our doc for 14 days. The fear is that he will pick up something. He even told us to stay out of those petri dish type places. I had no idea. It used to be that everyone got their tonsils out and I didn’t remember it being so long of a recovery. But, based on how much pain the nights have been with his ears, I have a new perspective.

Let’s hope the next few days are even less pain and we’ll be in good shape for some better rest for Reilly and some healthier seasons.

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