Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tonsillectomy on Children: Would Your Kid Benefit From It?

My second little girl got her tonsils removed, and she is only two! Apparently there are special cases where children can get them out younger, but generally they say the youngest is age two. I feel like it had been a long time coming just because I always had a feeling she would need them out since she was little. She has always had very poor drainage in her nose and her ears, and for some reason when she gets sick a nasty cough stays around for months on end. Honestly, had that been the only problem I probably would have either held off a lot longer or just never done it. But, one day I heard her breathing while she was napping, and it scared me. She was kind of propped up on the couch and her head had kind of fallen sideways and I heard her struggling to breathe. She was wheezing pretty badly, and she couldn't get any deep breaths. After a few minutes of that kind of shallow breathing, she would stop breathing, and then her body would jolt awake, and she'd quickly fall back asleep again, and it would happen repeatedly. After observing her (I'm not the only one who observes my children before freaking out, I know it!) I went to go move her head and lay her down so that she would be able to breathe better. I thought it was just the positioning of her head that was causing her breathing to be like that. I went and laid her down and straightened out her neck, but she kept breathing the same. No matter the position I put her head in, she couldn't breathe well or deeply and kept stop breathing and then waking up and falling back to sleep. I don't know if she had been doing this since forever (I don't think so), or if her tonsils had just gotten bigger since growing more. Either way, I wanted to get it checked out quickly because it freaked me out. My dad has sleep apnea, so I thought it could be that, but also, a lot of her cousins have gotten their tonsils removed for breathing problems and I actually have huge tonsils too, so I thought right away that it was tonsils. I contacted an ear nose and throat doctor and made an appointment. They said her tonsils were pretty big and that her adenoids(at the lower back of the nasal passage) were probably large as well. He said that if we removed the tonsils he would check out the adenoids and if they were pretty large too, he'd take them out. He also said that her breathing would definitely improve and that the duration of her sickness would probably go down. So, after thinking about it (for not that long), we decided to go ahead and do it. They scheduled her for a month out, which was so stressful trying to keep her healthy until the surgery date because she gets sick so easily and often! But, Heavenly Father blessed us and she made it to the surgery date without getting sick :)

When we got there, they had us give her a nasty mix of some medicine and weird juice that would make her loopy, so she wouldn't notice us not going back with her to the surgery room (so sad!) and so that they could put in her i.v. without her freaking out. I wanted to cry the whole time, and she was just so dang cute the entire time I wanted to huge and cuddle the living daylights out of her. The surgery only took about thirty minutes and then they had her stay back in a room for a little while she woke up.

I had the other two girls with me and I was going to go drop one of them off at a cousin's house for the day while My Man rode with my girly girl back to her recoup room (which was in a different building) in the ambulance. I am SO glad that he went with her instead of me, because he said that when he went back there after she had come to, she was screaming her little guts out hitting everyone and pulling all the cords and there were a bunch of nurses around her trying to calm her down and have her not rip anything out. She was absolutely terrified, and so My Man went and grabbed her right up and within a few minutes she had fallen asleep in his lap. All the nurses were pretty happy about that. Had it been me that went back there, I would have started crying and not been able to calm her down. Ha! What a tough mom I am, I know.

I met My Man and her at her recoup hospital room, and she started crying when she saw me and then I got all teary eyed and tried really hard not to cry because all the nurses were there and would have thought I was a lameeeee-o.  But I cried a little anyways and held her with all those tubes and she fell asleep. After her medicine started wearing off, she was really thirsty and chugged a ton of juice. Then she threw it up which was pretty traumatic for her. Then she chugged some more---then threw it up which was doubl-y traumatic for her. Then they gave her some nausea medicine through her i.v. and she started perking right up. She drank a ton of water, ate a lot of mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup at the lunch time and took a few good naps. By the afternoon (the surgery had taken place at like 6:30 in the morning) she was riding a little car all around the hospital hallways and wanting to just play in their toy room. Once the doctor came and checked on her and saw how she was doing, he sent us home at about 3:30! I was pretty happy about that and she was too because she wanted dad :)

The next week and a half of nights was insane and pretty much torture. She would wake up screaming and screaming and was inconsolable. She would just scream herself back to sleep. My Man and I would switch off shifts with her. But between her and my youngest baby's feedings, I was dying. And My Man was too because most of the time he would end up taking my shift because all she wanted was "Daddy!!!" One day she'll love me, one day.

They had me alternating her on ibuprofen and acetaminophen. At the beginning I was giving her some every 2-3 hours depending on which medicine it was (ibuprofen needs to be spaced further apart). After about three days of that I got a feeling she wasn't sleeping good and was going cuckoo ( I kid you not. She was extremely bipolar) because of the constant doses of ibuprofen. So, I stopped it and she got way more normal very quickly. She had also started complaining about her head hurting which I know was her body wanting more ibuprofen and getting hooked on that. So I was anxious to start spreading out the doses, lowering them, and then taking her off of it (that all happened in like a two day span). Her head stopped hurting when I stopped giving her ibuprofen.

Most of this time she ate otter ice pops, and frozen gogurts. I made sure to have some homemade chicken broth on hand for her to actually get some nourishment and salty satisfaction into her appetite, because believe it or not, it's not that fun to eat sugar all day (no way? Yes, way.). the day after she came home she drank a whole cup of it through a straw, but she didn't do that again for the rest of her recoup ha. Her body needed it though! She hated ice cream and I actually had read that most people that get their tonsils out find no solace in ice cream or shakes because it leaves a thick dairy coat in their throat that makes them cough. So, stick with sorbet if you are going to do an ice-cream type treat. She didn't eat yogurt either other than the frozen gogurts, and the only reason I think she ate those was because so little of it comes off at a time. She LOVED to eat pudding though. Chocolate vanilla swirl and tapioca. For about the last week, that was the only food she could feel fine eating.She also always wanted to try eating eggs in the mornings, and some days it worked out fine and some days it just hurt too bad. We also had bought a whole bunch of different types of juices and let her drink whatever she wanted whenever she wanted, because the most important thing is that they stay hydrated and that their throat doesn't get too dry because then it hurts more. We bought coconut water which was amazing. Both of my girls love it, and I felt better about her drinking that than all that awful juice (sidenote: I hate juice.).

Pain scale and day scale:
Days 1-2 went pretty good and the pain wasn't too bad.
Days 3-5 she was going cuckoo but her pain wasn't that bad
Days 5-7 she acted okay but the pain intensified. It was probably it's worst on day seven which stressed me out because I had been telling myself "just get to day seven. It will be better by then." I talked to my sister-in-law whose son had gotten his out at about age five and she said days 7-11 were the absolute worst for him. That was hard to hear, but I just told myself I could do it. The great thing about it all was that I knew exactly what was wrong. Her throat was healing. It wasn't some mystery illness where I'm normally like, "Should I take her in? Is that normal? What's wrong with her?! Is she slowly dying!?"That was my only solace in these couple of weeks.
days 7-11: She got much much better! In fact, on day 8 I was planning on another awful day, but it was better and just got better each day after. Now, she is totally herself and completely fine! I can already tell she breathes better while sleeping. She can breathe in deeply without waking up, and she no longer wheezes! We have yet to see about her cough not lasting as long when she gets sick, but I have a feeling it won't. For me, I definitely think it was worth it.

If you know that getting your child's tonsils out would be beneficial, I would recommend doing it as young as you can for them, because compared to all of the teenager's and adult's stories of recovery, hers was A CINCH. Children heal so much more quickly and don't have to go to work or school.