You have officially joined the ‘no more tonsils’ club, along with your Papa, Grammy, Uncle Joe, Auntie Sheila, Grandma Sampson and Auntie Beca!
The whole process started about 2.5 years ago. I noticed you asking us to repeat things a lot to you or not reacting when I was talking to you from a distance, more so than what I felt was normal for the average 3-year-old. So the Dr. checked your hearing at a well child visit. You failed in your left ear, specifically for low tones. They suggested that we wait and test it again as sometimes the office is too noisy or young kids aren’t able to follow the directions.
It was tested again at 4 and same exact results and received a referral to an ENT. In between the well-child and the ENT, you were also tested at the early childhood screening with the same results.
So off to the ENT we went and they tested your hearing in a sound proof box and asked you to repeat words instead of raising your hand. Again we had similar results. You can hear great out of your right ear and high and mid-range noises in your left, but low tones are very gargly–similar to what things sound like underwater. To be sure you didn’t have any hearing loss, they checked the nerves in your ear to make sure they were reacting–pretty cool they can do that! All was good there, so we went to go meet with the Dr.
When the Dr. went to check out your ears he couldn’t see a darn thing in either one of them as they were full of wax. Sorry sister, looks like you got that one from your dad. Then he went to check your throat and chuckled and said, ‘you have some dangerously large tonsils’ and continued to ask if you snore (check) and joked he wondered how you could even swallow with those monsters. (Side note: your Dentist also commented on how large they were every time we went and even had said they would struggle to get a tube down your throat if they needed to do an emergency surgery for anything–which we had also brought up with the pediatrician)
Next we went into a little procedure room and they cleaned all that wax out of your ears (you were so brave!). Maybe a little TMI, but there were some pretty big chunks in there! After they were clear of wax, the Dr. peaked inside and sure enough your left ear was full of fluid, which to me kind of looked like a tiny mirror or aluminum foil in there, and your right ear was nice and pink. He proceeded to explain that you likely had an untreated ear infection and fluid never drained because your tonsils and potentially adenoids were blocking the tube in your ear. He suggested we remove those tonsils not only to help with the ear, but also the size of them wasn’t ideal and also suggested we put a tube in your left ear to help the drainage. He also explained how this is a very routine and simple procedure, but the recovery is a BEAST! It is a good solid 10 days of recovery with little to no appetite or activity. Given that I was 7 months pregnant with Baby Kate at the time, I asked if this was something we could do while I was on maternity leave. He said it was, but he wouldn’t recommend it as the recovery is tough and she’ll need a lot of attention and it might be challenging to also care for a newborn.
So that put a little wrench in our plans as we were trying to figure out when to schedule this with vacations and weddings and how we would use vacation time. Ultimately, we decided that Daddy would transition to contracting earlier than we thought and we would schedule the surgery on June 20th, 3 weeks before the Kate was born, so you wouldn’t have to go back to daycare and would be fully recovered by the time Kate arrived.
Driving home from the Dr., you asked me, ‘Mom, am I going to get my tonsils out?’ You had no idea what that meant, but you could sense that it was scary and you didn’t like it. We talked about why we were doing it and how it would make you feel better and hear better and how you would get to eat lots of ice cream and Popsicles. We even talked about all your aunts and uncles and grandparents that had their tonsils taken out. But you weren’t buying any of it. You cried on the way home and told me you didn’t want to have them taken out. You were pretty emotional about it for a good 2 weeks and would even wake in the middle of the night crying telling me you didn’t want them out. Finally, I told you that Daddy and I needed to talk about it and we might go see another Dr. and see what the recommend to help ease your worried little mind.
Little Kate decided to mess up my plans and I was diagnosed to Cholestasis and the Dr. wanted to induce me on June 20th, the day of your surgery. As soon as we learned this, we tried to see if there was any possibility to squeeze this surgery in before Kate arrived, but decided that we needed to wait until after she was born to do the surgery. Not ideal, but it was also too risky to do it before.
Once Baby Kate arrived and everyone was home and healthy, I scheduled your surgery for August 1st. It was right after Soccer/T-ball finished so you wouldn’t miss any of those, also after the 1st cabin trip and far enough ahead of the 2nd cabin trip so it wouldn’t be impacted.
Leading up to the big surgery, we bought a book called Goodbye Tonsils. It was a really fantastic book that walked through the different steps leading up to the surgery to help you understand what to expect and make it less scary. After reading the book, you seemed much more comfortable with everything and almost started bragging to people how you were going to get your tonsils out.
Before the big day, you and I made a special trip to the grocery story and you picked out two different kinds of ice cream (chocolate and mint chocolate chip), crayon Popsicles, fudgsicles and ice cream sandwiches. I also got you some special presents: clothes for your american girl doll, Tsum Tsums and new pajamas! Grammy also slept over as she was going to stay with the little kids while Mom and Dad took you to the surgery.
You surgery was scheduled for 7:45 that morning and we were asked to arrive at 6:30. Once we arrived, we filled out some paper work and then were brought back to a little pre-op/recovery room.
You took off your jammies and put on the little blue gown they had, and some fuzzy socks that had a smiley face on them. We talked to a couple of nurses as they confirmed some details with us. The anesthesiologist came by to explain how you would go under and then the ENT Dr. stopped by to talk about the ear tube, tonsils and a little about the recovery. Thankfully, they had a little TV in our room and you watched PJ Masks and the beginning of a Mickey and the Roadster Racers to keep your mind occupied.
When it was time to head back, Mommy put on some scrubs and held your hand as we walked to the operating room together. They even let you keep Giraffee with you so you wouldn’t be scared. We arrived in the room and I picked you up and put you on the table. Immediately, the anesthesiologist started asking you questions about who your pal was and if you had any brothers or sisters. You chose to have some strawberry scented stuff in your sleepy mask. They put it over your face and you took a couple of breaths and you were out and then Mommy left and went back to wait with Daddy.
You were so brave and didn’t cry and tell me you were scared at all, but Mom was. I even cried a little bit as I was walking out of the room. Of course I was worrying about so many things going wrong, but mostly about how you would react to anesthesia as I have never been under so I don’t know if there is any weird reaction I have to it. Fortunately, your Dad is pretty funny and kept my mind off things.
About 30 to 45 minutes later, the Dr came back to us to tell us you were out of surgery and in the recovery room. Everything went well. You adenoids looked good so they didn’t take them out, but he did say it was a really good thing they removed the tonsils because they were infected. They were hard and lumpy opposed to healthy tonsils that are soft and squishy. We talked a lot about your recovery and the importance of keeping you hydrated. He also suggested to medicate with children’s Advil or Motrin before using the prescription as it causes upset stomach, constipation and vomiting.
A few minutes later, you started to wake up and the nurses wheeled you back to Mom and Dad. You were pretty out of it, but had your giraffee with you to help you be brave. When you arrived in our room, you said you felt like you might throw up, but I really think that is because they kept asking you. In general, you were pretty sleepy and just cuddled against my arm and dozed in and out. You ate a couple spoonfuls of ice chips and a freezie and then asked to go home.
You asked to sit on my lap in the wheelchair on the way down to the car, and I sat in the back seat with you on the way home and you complained about it hurting and wanting to sleep and see Grandma. When you got home, you fell asleep for about 30 min, took some medicine and within 15 min, said you felt all better. You were up, walking around and talking.
You ate a couple Popsiclea, bowls of ice cream and ice cream sandwich and complained about how you wanted to eat pizza with the rest of us. Throughout the day, you played lots of Tsum Tsum’s with Daddy (you got 3 new packs) and watched a lot of YouTube on the iPad. Although you took your first round of meds good, each subsequent round was more challenging. We were giving you Motrin every 8 hours and Tylenol in the 4 hour gaps between. We tried mixing it with water and apple juice and jello and you sort of bought into this as you would take it, but there was lots of complaining and procrastinating throughout the process.
That evening, you slept on the couch with Daddy. There was lots of moaning throughout the night but for the most part it went well. Daddy woke you up to take your meds and you took them, but complained about it.
Day 2 was pretty similar to Day 1 with the medicine battle becoming more and more challenging. At one point, I was so desperate for you to take the meds, I promised to get you a Splashling (your new favorite toy learned from YouTube). You played lots of Tsum Tsums, watched YouTube and just hung low. When you did talk, you had modified your voice to sound like a baby as you said it hurt less to talk like that and even mentioned that your voice was playing tricks on you sometimes. On this day, a fairly normal appetite returned as you ate a jelly sandwich, more ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, Popsicles, noodles, starburst and Tootsie rolls.
Day 3 you straight up refused any medicine. We tried to syringe it into your mouth but you spit it out everywhere so we quit trying and just let you go. On this day, you ate soft pretzels, more noodles and also took a nap for the first time since daycare ended.
Day 4 you started to complain about ears and throat hurting. Daddy blended up a freezie for you with the immersion blender and mixed some medicine to help give you some relief and you really seemed to like that! As long as you were medicated, you were pretty good. I could tell when the medicine was starting to wear off as you would get really clingy and just want lots of hugs. Although you were taking medicine through the slushies, it was challenging to get you to finish the whole thing. You only wanted to take a couple of sips and then be done so we had to sit there with you and bribe you to drink it all.
Day 5 was supposed to be the worst day, but you seemed to be doing well as long as you were medicated so all five of us headed out to Mitch and Teresa’s for a day on the lake. You floated around on some floaties and went for some kayak rides with Daddy and were very content with not wanting to go swimming like the other kids. However, that night was rough. You woke up several times crying in agony, even though you were medicated.
Day 6 & 7 were pretty similar. You had low energy and didn’t eat much. You complained a lot about your ears hurting but refused to chew gum like the Dr recommended. The only thing you would do was put ice packs on them. Apparently, this is normal for your ears to hurt as the nerves in your ear are interconnected to your tonsils and they swell during the surgery causing the pain. The next few nights, I let you sleep in my bed as those were the hardest points of the day. You would wake up crying and request slushies and ice packs. Poor thing. There were a couple of times that you said, ‘I’m scared mommy’ because it hurt so bad and my heart just broke for you. While giving a slushy, you insisted on watching YouTube to help keep yourself distracted, and always wanted to watch a show about people opening up these little toys called Splashlings. (You’re going to laugh at this one day when you’re older because it is as ridiculous as it sounds to watch videos of other people opening toys, but no joke, it is one of your favorite things to do).
Day 8 – You only took 1 round of medicine in the slushy but still had pretty low energy and complained about your ears hurting a lot. I can’t remember what day(s) it was, but you did eat Fritos, which is pretty remarkable considering they are crunchy and have TONS of salt on them, but seemed to do just fine eating them as long as you were medicated. During the night-time, you only woke up once and were able to go back to sleep with just a couple of snuggles.
Day 9 & 10-You were pretty much back to normal, occasionally complaining about your ears. You knack for the dramatics kicked in and you would pretend things hurt so you didn’t have to eat what we were eating or just get attention. You even admitted to doing this my super honest little babe 🙂
And that is it my sweet little girl. You (we) made it through this and I am so proud of you. I read from other people that during those tough days, it feels like glass is in your throat and is very painful–and you were one tough cookie. Bonus: you no longer snore when you sleep and hopefully your hearing is all good now too (although, there are still several times where you ask ‘what’ 3 times and tell me you can’t hear.)We head back to get the hearing checked in early September so we will find out then.