Thursday, April 9, 2015

Inside Details of a Tonsillectomy

Our oldest got his tonsils and adenoids removed ten days go. Everything from the procedure to the recovery has been quite, well, we'll say interesting. Much like the childbirth experience, everyone leaves out little details that you only learn after you go through it.. For example: prior to this experience, what I knew about getting your tonsils out was you got to eat ice cream after. Lots and lots of ice cream. Imagine my shock when we were told ice cream (dairy products in general) wasn't the best idea 24 - 48 afterwards because it can cause a build up of phlegm in a healing throat. What the what??!!?

Here are a few other notes I've taken about the experience:
  • The actual procedure takes maybe 15 minutes at the most. Checking in and coming out of the anesthesia take the longest.
  • Your child may not be completely with it and he/she comes out of the anesthesia. Awake, but not totally together.
  •  We were told to have him drink, drink, drink and drink some more. Eating wasn't as important as long as he was drinking tons. Our doctor informed us he could eat soft foods when he was ready. Imagine our surprise when he asked for a hamburger on the way out of the surgery center!
  • Which brings me to the soft foods only diet for 10 days. Also during this 10 days: very little to no physical activity (this includes recess and gym at school), no lifting things, no climbing, etc. This has been just awesome (please not sarcasm here) with an active, meat eating little boy.
  • I had spoken to a lot of parents who's children didn't want to eat or drink after the surgery, got dehydrated, and ended up in the hospital. We were lucky enough to have dealt with the other extreme: eating and drinking A LOT and wanted to eat all of the foods he couldn't eat. It was difficult coming up with meals all five of us could eat, but we made it work with a lot of pasta meals, soups, and soft crock pot meals. Scrambled eggs were his savior because they provided a lot of protein for my meat loving boy and soft enough that he could eat them.
  •  Fevers are common afterwards. We didn't get to experience this one thankfully, but kept up on pain meds faithfully for the first few days.
  • The first 24 hours afterwards are the easiest, days 2-4 are typically the hardest. For Max, the first 2 to 4 days were great. The roughest days were days 6 and 7. That was mostly from tummy issues created by the pain meds and amoxicillin combo. 
  • Speaking of pain meds, things got real interesting with those around days 4 and 5. When the extreme emotions (crying one minute, laughing the next, and then anger all while sitting on the floor doing absolutely nothing) set in, I took him off of the pain meds. Often times pain medication can cause constipation, however Max was also getting an antibiotic to keep him from getting any infections. As the pharmacist said as he handed us the prescriptions "you could be in for a real fun time with these two together." He wasn't kidding.
  • Max experienced an abundance of energy the first few days after his surgery. I had a very difficult time keeping him calm and entertained. 
  • That whole no dairy 24 - 48 hours're smart to stick to that. We let Max drink milk 24 hours after his surgery and found him coughing a lot and sounded very congested all of a sudden. Coughing is not something you want to get going as the throat tries to heal.
  •  Max missed 6 days of school. Plan for at least a week of missing school, daycare, work, whatever. 
Now that these ten days are behind us, we've got requests for pizza tonight "with Italian sausage on top. Extra spicy please" and a long hike this weekend. 
Have you or anyone you know had to have a tonsillectomy? I'd love to hear other's experiences with the surgery and the recovery afterwards. Now we're hoping for less cases of strep because I had my fill of it!