Getting your tonsils out is a pretty common childhood procedure. Or maybe you’re one of those poor unfortunate souls who had to experience that as an adult, if so – I’m sorry and God bless.
We took two of our boys to see an ENT a few months ago after a referral from our pediatrician for a few different issues. We knew that our 3 year old likely needed ear tubes after dealing with approximately 1 million ear infections over the course of the past couple years, but turns out he had “like, seriously huge” tonsils too and they needed to come out, might as well take the adenoids too. Makes sense because he was a major snorer. Our 6 year old was an epic mouth breather and could also out-snore a bear. Turns out, his tonsils were fine but the adenoids were to blame. WTF do we even have adenoids and tonsils for anyway? I dunno. Time for a tonsil removal and we'll just go ahead and toss ear tubes and adenoids in there too.
We killed two birds with one stone and scheduled them for surgery on the same day a few weeks down the road. The day before surgery we got a call from the hospital letting us know what time to show up along with some basic instructions for the next day. No food after midnight for both boys, report at 7 am.
We showed up at 7:30 am (of course) the next day with two sleepy and confused kids. A nice nurse took us back to same day surgery. We helped the boys get changed into miniature gowns and socks and then we waited for a few minutes before the anesthesiologist and doctor came separately to talk to us. I was glad that we were smart enough to remember to bring an iPad and kindle. The hospital had free wifi so the kids could watch cartoons and play games.
The anesthesiologist came in first to talk with us about the procedures, the order the kids would be going in, and also gave us a time frame of only about 30-45 min per procedure, and covered any risks and answered any questions we had about putting our small people under a general anesthetic. I’ll admit, I wasn’t thrilled about that idea but also knew that literally millions of kids had had the same thing done without issue and I should just chill the hell out.
My 3 year old willingly grabbed the hand of the doc and walked off like “SEE YA”! The procedure was quick; maybe 30 min and then the process repeated itself with the 6 year old. Both boys came out of recovery fine and we were all back in the same room shortly.
What you can expect after (based off our experience and a non-scientific poll of other parents carried out by myself on my Facebook wall):
- Groggy, confused kids - this can be very entertaining...
- Nausea – both boys puked in the hospital and several times the rest of the day. This isn’t a given, some kids handle anesthesia just fine. Ours were pretty pukey for a few hours after and okay the next day. The hospital equipped us with those nice portable barf bags and we stashed them everywhere around our house just in case and I even added a few to my car first aid kid, because I'm smart like that and puke is the worst.
- They’re fine! Until they’re not. – No lie, my 3 year old came home and ran around like a crazy person all hopped up on pain meds and he’s the one who had his tonsils and adenoids out and tubes put in his ear. Riding his scooter, playing with neighbors, chasing the dog, he was nuts. It all came crashing down later that night when he woke up screaming in pain. The 6 year old who only had his adenoids out was groggy and nauseated the day of, slept all night, and was mostly all better the next day. A little sore and swollen maybe but pretty much back to his usual self. Adenoids apparently have less nerve endings than tonsils and also aren't directly being irritated and annoyed all the time, thus - easier to recover.
- Stay on top of the pain meds – when we filled the prescription for the giant sized bottle of hydrocodone I laughed because why would we need such a comically huge bottle for a 3 year old? Jokes on me because we used it all. Even though he fought us on it at times, you could tell when he was uncomfortable and in pain and we were late on a dose of meds. So freaking ornery. STAY ON TOP OF THE PAIN MEDS, and get over the weirdness of dealing heavy narcotics to your child if you care about your sanity at all.
- Time Heals All Wounds – We never saw the bloody scabs from the tonsils healing that the doctor and others warned us about. I’m assuming he swallowed them, which is nasty. I'm also grateful I didn't have to deal with that because other people made it sound very alarming. So, watch out for that I guess? It really did take almost an entire two weeks before the 3 year old truly felt better, slept through the night and made it back to normal following his tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and ear tube procedures. No short cuts I guess.
Funny items of note: the nurse who told us to watch out for the scabs because our son could “bleed to death and die, I saw it on the news one time and he died from blood loss because he swallowed it all and the parents had no idea!” SUPER comforting coming from a nurse and all. Or not.
We are over two months post surgery with our boys and they’re both freaking fit as fiddles. The 6 year old isn’t a mouth breather anymore and the snoring has totally stopped, even his speech is more clear, crazy! The 3 year old is ear infection free, no longer snores like a linebacker, and isn’t at risk for any strep throat in the future. I’m glad we did it and have no regrets about scheduling both boys at the same time.
Tonsillectomies, ear tubes, and adenoid removal for everyone!
The more you knooooowwwww!!!