halie ellis [ Coast Mountain Mama ]

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy (T&A)

We learned a whole new meaning to T&A this past year; tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. A little over a year ago, our family doctor commented about the unusual size of our child’s tonsils. Apparently tonsils and adenoids are two peas in a pod, which meant that little man probably had some giant sized adenoids as well.Thinking he was probably just sick, we let it slide. However, those tonsils never did seem to get smaller. At no time, did it occur to us that this could be the cause of a greater issue, until this past Christmas. My in-laws were here and we slept in our son’s room for the first time in years. WOW! That boy snored like a grown man and was gasping in his sleep to the point of waking himself. We were accustomed to hearing fussing through the night but sleep training had trained us to stay out of his room. Now that he was 3, we didn’t think it would hinder our efforts. Of course it didn’t, it only made us question sleep training and ourselves. Could this be what has been waking him through the night all these years? Hell yes! An immediate referral was made to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist and after an unusual amount of time everyone agreed the surgery was a necessary evil.

Pre surgery:

We read the really lame, stapled surgery story the ENT gave us to better prepare Dryden for surgery. Fortunately, a friend gave us a great alternative story to help little man mentally adjust. If surgery for a wee one is your reality, I strongly suggest purchasing this book. It’s a mindful story about the process of going into surgery and is called Franklin goes to the hospital.

We also wanted to get something special for Dryden to shed some light on the situation. He eagerly suggested a bumble bee transformer and so, we found one. We gave it to him the day before to make sure he knew how to transform it and didn’t get frustrated in the heat of the moment. We packed an overnight bag for the two of us as dad was going to pick us up in the morning. In the bag: a few chapter books, a special stuffy, a blanket, the ipad with some quality games and a few of his favorite shows.

No food after midnight no water four hours before surgery, we were ready for the inevitable.

Surgery, Day 1:

Little man seemed fine on the way to the hospital, no hunger or worries of thirst. In fact, upon arrival he was so thrilled to see that the real bumble bee transformer had flown down from outer space to wish him a speedy recovery. This was not at all staged, it was simply an incredibly fortunate coincidence that will remain in Dryden’s memory until the end of time. This happenstance really put all our minds at ease.

We arrived at the appropriate time, everything was on schedule and we waited patiently to be admitted. Once admitted, they brought us to a little room adjacent to the surgery room and we met the nurse, anesthesiologist and the surgeon, separately. I think this is when Dryden lost his bravery. I won’t go in to detail but he wasn’t interested in having the surgery any more. To make matters worse, neither one of us was allowed in the room with him before he was put under. Nor were we allowed in the room until AFTER he woke. This did not sit well with any of us but in an attempt to alleviate Dryden’s fear we played along.

I was waiting very impatiently in the waiting room, for Dryden to wake. All I could think was how scared he would be to come out of the surgery without us. It shouldn’t have been, but rules are rules. Sure enough he was very disoriented and pissed off when he woke, to say the least. As you could see from the first photo above, he had an iv to keep him hydrated and sticky things on his chest to monitor his oxygen levels. He hated every last one of those wires.

The nurses were lovely, they hooked us up with some free cable and stocked a nearby fridge with all the sweet cold stuff. They gave him tylenol every 4 hours and an anti inflammatory medication called celebrax, twice a day. The day was ok, we diffused from the situation as he drifted in and out of sleep and miraculously slept through the night.

Day 2:

Imagine having your airway obstructed 4 different ways and then having those obstructions removed? Day 2, no snoring!! I felt like a new mama again, waking up to make sure he was breathing cause I couldn’t hear a damn thing.

Something you should remember at this point is DO NOT wait for the onset of pain before you give the prescribed medication. You WILL regret it. I loathe pharmaceuticals and try to use homeopathic remedies where I can, but they simply do not apply in this situation. Every 4 hours, it can be tricky, especially through the night. Fortunately, we had our trusted iphone’s to help us remember!

Altogether, day 2 was pretty smooth sailing, just a lazy day of quiet activities with minimal pain and/or discomfort. Other than keeping up with the medication, it is just as imperative that you keep them hydrated. Water, coconut water, popsicles, just keep em’ coming and you shouldn’t run in to any huge issues. Anyone who has been through this will assure you, medication and hydration are key to everyone keeping calm and healing comfortably.

Day 3,4,5:

Day 3-5 seemed like somewhat of a breeze, considering the situation. We stopped using the celebrax day 4 and continued with the tylenol every 4 hours. With his regular dose of medication and consistent hydration, he seemed to be in good spirits. He was even eating some mashed foods by day 3, without difficulty. The nurses really stressed that keeping him hydrated would significantly minimize discomfort and prevent any complications. We took it seriously until the end, with our trusted cooking timer. We let Dryden set it every 30 minutes, when the timer buzzed, he drank an ounce of water. In between we gave him as many freezies and cold liquids as he would tolerate for an extra boost and to keep the swelling down. The timer lasted a few days and was definitely worth the effort.

Day 6,7:

Day 6 and 7 were hardest for everyone, a bit of a fall back in the recovery. Apparently this is not uncommon as it’s when scabs start to form and fall off. He was a little more lethargic and whiny. His scabs really started to bother him, he would cough and gag and say he had something stuck in his throat. The next few evenings were also a little more uncomfortable. We simply kept up with his meds, kept him hydrated and went back to liquids and popsicles so that food didn’t get stuck in his scabs. Ewe. We went to our post op appointment with the ENT on day 7 and she said Dryden was healing nicely and that he should hit a corner very soon.

Day 8:

The ENT wasn’t kidding, we hit a turning point the very next day, day 8. We stopped giving him his meds, just like that and he was absolutely fine. His appetite was back with a vengeance and we really felt like we made it through. We were all smiles day 8!

Day 9-10:

We really had our kid back, no sign of regression. Dryden went back to preschool on day 10 and did great!! Our road to recovery was not nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. Fortunately, Dryden’s voice didn’t change much and was back to normal by the second week. He was sleeping soundly through the night 10 days after the surgery. Now two weeks post-op, we have our kid back and better!

October 11, 2012 | Filed under Blog, Inspirational Talks, Wolfgang.

One Response to Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy (T&A)

  1. I really enjoyed reading this Nat. <3

    Your blog makes me even more excited about starting a family. (not yet, but soon)

    This made me cry very happy tears. It made me think about how lucky we are to have good parents in these situations. Makes me wonder how things went when I had my big operation. What my parents were thinking, how hard the recovery was, how aware I was of the impact/importance of the eye removal… Crazy how life works, and how we learn to see the same things differently, as we grow and gather more awareness.

    Miss and love you! Keep sharing!

    Ta petite cousine,


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I am an incredibly fortunate stay-at-home mommy, who has decided to share her passion for children’s learning online. (read more)