Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lilly & Thatcher: Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy

On January 19th, Lilly and Thatcher went in to get their tonsils and adenoids removed. Crazy is what you all may be thinking I know. However, we knew that it needed to be done and it needed to be done on both kids, so why not just be super focused with it one time instead of having to do it twice??? That's how we decided to do it the way we did, also with the advice of the Specialist.

It was quite the experience and I want to remember how it all went so if our other children need it in the future, I have reference to how we and the kids handle things.

Why the Surgeries?:
Although, we didn't really take Lilly into the doctor every time she said her throat hurt, she would complain quite often that it did. Only a couple times we actually had her diagnosed with strep and treated for it. Throughout her life, mainly the last 2 years, whenever she had her tonsils looked at, the doctors were floored with how big they were (even healthy, they were big). At one point, I remember that she was on antibiotics and we went in for a recheck and her tonsils were still HUGE, like they said there was only 1 cm space on each side between her tonsils and her uvula. Another reason for the surgery is that she hasn't slept a full night sleep since who knows when. This could be caused by some sleep apnea-she snores more than any little kid I have ever known. Lastly, not to embarrass her, but she also wets the bed often and they say that there can be a connection to wetting the bed, sleep apnea, and big tonsils. So all these things combined lead us to our decision for the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

Thatcher: Common with Lilly, his tonsils were just as big as hers. Again there was only 1 cm of space in between his tonsils and uvula. He never really complained of pain, though he never really complains about anything in life. His speech we felt like was not coming along as well as it should. When he talked, it really sounded heavy and full (kind of hard to explain). Also, he was a snorer too and ALWAYS only breathed with his mouth open. He was a very heavy breather. Like Lilly, he had been waking up in the middle of the night multiple times for a long time. I teased parents who had newborns that I wasn't even getting a full nights sleep and my kids weren't newborns.

Background Info:

I must first note that we tried to get the surgeries scheduled for the end of December, but they were swamped so we opted for January. We knew we were going to be visiting family at the beginning of January and with a 14 day recovery period, the 19th was the soonest it worked out in our schedules. We celebrated Christmas in Grundy Center until the 10th with the CA cousins catching the flu bug while we were there. I was crossing my fingers that with Lilly being in school, maybe we were immune to this bug. On Monday night (2 days before surgery I remind you) Thatcher ended up with the flu, but it was short lived. He threw up in the middle of the night and that was it, no fevers or anything. I was praying so hard that things were going to work out. Tuesday evening (the night before surgery) rolls around and poor Lilly starts throwing up. Her sickness lasted a bit longer, she was sick until about 11pm and then was finally able to get some sleep. All night long I wonder what's going to happen in the morning. Thatch and Lilly were not to have anything to eat or drink starting at midnight, so I guess we didn't have to worry about that for Lilly.

Morning of Surgery: I call the hospital right away, we were scheduled to be there at 8am. I explain to them that the kids had the stomach flu but that I think they were over it (Lilly had slept the whole night without waking up and Thatch was already fine on Tuesday). She contacted the surgeon and they said that it was my call. My gut feeling said that we'll just go ahead with the surgeries, but I was kind of second guessing myself at the same time. But I just had to trust my feeling and went with it.

At the Hospital: We showed up and did a lot of just waiting. They had 2 recovery rooms for us, but we all hung out in 1 room until the surgeries were over. Thatcher was very timid. He barely said 2 words the whole morning. Lilly was taking it all in. In fact, we had to use code words so she wouldn't get scared just talking about it. It was a delicate balance on how much I thought Lilly should know and how much to just keep to ourselves. She knew that once they took her on the really cool bed that she was going to "get" to smell the cherries in a little mask. She was actually kind of excited about that. I thought that I should at least prepare her for that much. I DID NOT mention that she was going to have an IV in her arm. Thatcher didn't have a clue about any of this.

After all of the paper work was done, they finally came in to get Thatcher first. His eyes just screamed "Mom, don't let them take me from you." I was so crushed and saddened that he was sad, but I knew that this all had to be done. The actual procedure takes just a fraction of the time that he was actually away from us. My memory has forgotten exactly, but I think that he was gone for like 1 hr or so and it only took like 5 min to do the procedure. The rest of the time is preparation and recovery. The surgeon came and talked to us about Thatcher and he said that his tonsils/adenoids were HUGE! He also said that he could tell that he had pretty bad allergies.

It was Lilly's turn next. I should mention that one of the checks that they did was listen to their lungs to make sure they are healthy and that are good to go for surgery. Since Lilly was just sick, she could hear some gunk in them, but it was low enough that it wasn't a problem. The surgeon and nurses also remembered that Lilly is a fighter, usually, so they were ready (even ready with some medication to sedate her if need be, good thing they didn't need to use that suff). Another good thing to note is that they wheeled Lilly off before Thatcher came back to his recovery room. I am not sure how she would have handled seeing him? The nurse who had been by her side the whole morning wheeled her off and usually once patients get to the surgery room the nurse doesn't even step foot inside, HOWEVER, she told us that Lilly's eyes were telling her "please come with me, don't you go anywhere." So, her nurse went in right by her side and comforted her (her nurse was named Gracie, and she is soooo wonderful, she actually knew us from church too). They got her settled and then she got to smell the cherries and she was good to go.

The surgeon came in to talk to us about Lilly. He said that Thatcher's went as smooth as can be, by the book he said. With Lilly, there was a lot of infection in there and whenever there's infection, more blood vessel like thingy's (that's a technical term by the way) attach themselves to the tonsils and so it was VERY difficult to get her tonsils to come out. Her surgery was much more traumatic than normal. Which also put her bleeding risk at a higher %. (Oh great is what I was thinking.) He also said that her's were just as big as her brother's.

In the meantime, we see Thatcher come rolling by so I scurry to his recovery room (right next door to the one we were hanging out in-joined by a bathroom). He was so lethargic looking. He had his little arm wrapped up so he wouldn't bother the IV. I got down real close to him and he looked so confused, I am not sure he was quite with it yet. Eventually, he reached for me so I cuddled him on my lap in his bed. At this point, he was trying to talk but couldn't really. He was really horse sounding. He kept trying to ask for something, but none of us could make out what he wanted. We offered him some popsicles and he ate lots of them over the course of the next couple hours. He even asked for chocolate popsicles since his dad told him he could have those after his surgery. For now, we only stuck to orange and purple popsicles and ice chips. He LOVED the eat the ice chips. After a while, he took a little nap. He continued with the ice chips and popsicles.

After I got all comfortable with Thatcher, we know that Lilly is done too. We know this because we can hear her screaming down the hall. Picture this: Thatcher comes back, all calm and just laying back while riding on his bed to the room. Lilly is the complete opposite. She's sitting up screaming at the top of her lungs. Adam went into her room to comfort her while I stayed with Thatch.

One of the things that they told us to watch for during the time that we were still recovering in the hospital was for them throwing up the blood and such. Thatcher never threw up once, however, Lilly was more coughing up junk then throwing up, but nonetheless was much more uncomfortable than Thatcher. I couldn't see what was going on with her but could hear her. It sounded much worse than it actually was after talking with Adam about it.

After the kids proved that they were doing well-they took their medicine well and it stayed down, we finally got to come home. It was probably around 2 or 3pm.

The first day home was not so bad. I have to mention that my mom was hear watching Tucker and stayed with us for 6 days and Adam's mom came to help out for 3 days or so. That was so nice to have them there to entertain Tucker so we could focus on the other 2. Day 2 & 3 were really hard. Thatcher was great. He LOVES chocolate milk so that's what he lived on mainly and so his throat never really tightened up like Lilly's did. Lilly's throat began to hurt so she would stop drinking and that would just make it worse and so a vicious cycle would begin. I had to resort to telling her that if she didn't continue to drink that we would have to go back to the hospital and get a needle in her arm so she wouldn't get dehydrated. That scared her enough to suck it up and drink or eat popsicles or do anything like that. Neither of them fought us in taking their meds which was a HUGE answer to prayer. Usually Lilly doesn't take medicine so good, but she was a champ. Even after the good tasting stuff ran out-she did awesome. I think she understood that if she took the meds that she would feel good. Throughout the next few days, they would have low grade fevers on and off but nothing that we had to go back in for.

I need to note that Adam ended up getting sick too the first night we were home so I sent him to sleep in Lilly's bed and had Thatcher in bed with me with Lilly on the floor. Lilly only got up once or twice the first night and I just had her drink some water and then after that her sleeping habits were already better than before surgery. Praise Jesus! Thatcher really struggled the first 3 nights or so. He would wake up in so much pain. I just comforted him and told myself that the next day would be better and that helped me get through it. The first night (or maybe it was the second night, I can't remember which) Tucker also ended up throwing up so while I rocked Thatcher back to sleep in my bed, I would run downstairs and change Tucker's bedding and such and put him back to bed (my mom helped me out since Adam was down for the count). This pattern happened for the next 3 days, so night 1, 2, and 3.

Their diet for the next 14 days consisted of any liquids (we would dilute sprite so it would burn their throats), popsicles (any kind you could think of), go gurt, and eventually we even could do soft meats (like sloppy joes, taco meat, mac and cheese). We had to be careful to not give them hot things.

We sent Lilly back to school on Day 6, I think. The doc. said she'd be fine if she didn't overdo herself. So she stayed in for recess and had special snacks at school.

They said that once they started feeling good that about the time that their scabs would start falling off and they would be in some more pain. That did happen in the second week of their recovery but it wasn't that bad. Adam and I kept looking at their throats with flashlights, because it was really a site to be seen. It looked so disgusting! As time went by, we could see the white film move back further and further inside their throats. After the white goes away, then the Doc. said that little pink bumps will form and it could take up to 2 months for it to completely smooth out.

We went back for checkups on Day 13, and they both looked wonderful so they were given free reign.

Today 2-23-11:
Lilly and Thatch sleep so quietly (despite Lilly's teeth grinding, that's another post). Lilly hasn't wet the bed for at least 2 weeks. She can go the night without waking up but sometimes still wanders into our room, I think it's just a habit now that we have to break. Her voice has also changed a little bit. Her cry has definitely changed, it's kind of a squeal now. For Thatcher, I remember when he went down for his first nap, he was so quiet, it was crazy. His voice changed immediately. He can pronounce words so much clearer. His voice isn't so heavy sounding now. Even though he's sleeping much more quieter, he is still waking up in the middle of the night. He probably sleeps without waking up three nights out of the week. I think it may be a habit too, but we'll see. Now that we're all healthy, it's time to break those nasty habits :)

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