Alright, so when I left off I had shared all about pre-operation….
Morning of surgery we needed to be out the door by 7:15 and of course this was the morning Joshua decided to sleep in. We woke him up right before we had to leave and then headed to the car as soon as we had gathered all our things. The poor kid wasn’t able to eat or drink anything and since he is usually asking for breakfast before I even say goodnight, I was super concerned he would be really sad and frustrated that he couldn’t eat. But he never once asked for food or drink….I was really amazed.
Unfortunately we ran into really awful traffic (which we hadn’t planned on) and our 20 minutes of buffer time wasn’t even enough to get us there on time; we arrived 15 minutes late, checked in, and almost immediately we were taken back to Pre-Op…I guess being late isn’t so bad?!!? Less wait??
Once we were back in Pre-Op they took Joshua’s vitals, asked us some questions and then pretty quickly, they gave him an oral medication that made him relaxed and eventually really sleepy…again, I assumed he would give us a hard time because the medicine tastes really bad, but he drank it down like it was no big deal. He laid in the bed and watched TV and within 10-15 minutes he was pretty glassy-eyed and they told us they were ready to take him back. He looked over at me and I said “Hey buddy are you feeling sleepy??” to which he said, “Yeah, mama!” So I told him to close his eyes and take a little nap. He rolled on his side, cuddled with his stuffed kitty and his new toy car and off he went.
I held it together pretty well except for when the nurse was explaining some of the post surgery possibilities (i.e. some kids are so out of it after surgery that they don’t know who you are….) Thankful that Greg was there to not only support Joshua, but also me. After they wheeled Joshua back to the OR, Greg and I went back to the waiting area to get a pager so that we would be updated with when he was out of surgery. We ran down to grab something to eat (we purposely didn’t eat breakfast that morning since Joshy couldn’t) and then we went back upstairs to wait. Thankfully the T&A removal surgery is pretty fast; I think he was back in the OR for maybe an hour total? After he was out of surgery we were paged to meet with the doctor…she said that everything went extremely well! Before the surgery they had really only examined his tonsils (Which were enlarged)….they planned to remove the adenoids regardless (to avoid a potential second surgery in the future if they became an issue) but they didn’t know what his adenoids looked like until they were in there. Apparently his adenoids were more of an issues than his tonsils; the doctor said his adenoids were bigger than most any other she had seen…they were actually almost covering his nasal passage. Which makes total sense since he had such a hard time sleeping at night (snoring/sleep apnea/coughing). Before the surgery we were a little bit second guessing ourselves thinking, “well…what if it’s really not that bad; what if they get in there and there are no adenoid issues…” But the post-op consultation with the doctor really confirmed that we made the right decision for our little guy! We went back to the waiting area for another half hour or 45 minutes while he was in post-op waking up from anesthesia. My biggest concern was being able to be there right when he woke up and the assured me they were very good at knowing when to get parents to be there for their babies; sure enough they paged us, we went back, and he was just starting to move around a bit.
He was still sleeping and didn’t really open his eyes for a while, but we were there with him, which I was so thankful for. He woke up slowly but normally; he was itchy (from the medications) and you could tell that he was feeling it when he swallowed, but he was able to take a sip of water and a bite of slushy pretty quickly. They moved us to an out patient recovery space which is where he finally woke up and was able to stay awake. We just sat with him and let him just rest….he watched some shows, and really was doing super well!
He downed 3 Bomb Pops, drank some water, and was talking and feeling really well! I was shocked and so were the nurses! But since everything was looking good, they got us packed up and sent us on our way!
I was a little hesitant to leave so quickly but they said he’s doing everything he should be doing, so no reason to stay. Off we went! We were maybe 10 minutes into our ride home and all the sudden he vomited ALL over. I had even put the puke bucket away because he was doing so well…bad choice. We stripped him down while we were driving down the highway, got him as clean as possible, and continued home. We got home and he was sad and tired and uncomfortable and wanted a lot of mommy snuggles. Throughout the course of the day he threw up a couple more times which we knew was normal and nothing alarming. We kept up on the pain meds, tried to encourage him to drink when he could and he even attempted to eat a little bit. We tucked him into bed around 7 pm and around 9 pm he woke up throwing up again. We brought him down to the couch so we could sit with him and over the course of the next hour he threw up at least 8-10 times. We called back to the hospital to see what we should do; he basically didn’t have anything left in his body and he was so very weak. The nurses on call told us they wanted us to come in to have him checked out, so we made the trek back to the hospital Children’s ER.
Once we got back they took his vitals and between the time he was weighed earlier that morning (pre-op) to then, he had lost almost 4 pounds, which was shocking to me. They immediately knew he was extremely dehydrated so they hooked him up for some hydration, nausea medication, and more pain meds. We stayed there for 12 hours (well Joshy and I stayed; Greg went home to sleep a little bit) and in that time he spiked a fever which also needed to be addressed, but eventually everything seemed to be calming down so we were sent home once again.
That day after we got home, was when the reality of this recovery process really set in. Joshua was in SO MUCH PAIN….he didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want to take his pain meds, he didn’t want me to leave his side, he didn’t want ANYONE ELSE to help let alone look or talk to him….it was brutal. I assumed Greg would be able to get back into the office the next day, but that was a foolish thought! Greg worked from home Friday and then we had the weekend and then I was SURE by Monday we’d be good to go. WRONG again. Ha! Pretty much it was brutal from February 10th (Wed) until the 21st/22nd. Every day was a struggle and really more stressful than I ever anticipated…mostly because he needed me constantly and I also had two other kids to take care of. We did A LOT of watching TV. Joshua would perk up in moments but as soon as pain meds were wearing off he would go back to misery.
Around 8 days post surgery he started eating again….and this was about the same time we got a smile out of him since before the surgery. EIGHT DAYS. He slowly started eating but then once he got past the fear of it hurting, he couldn’t stop eating; like it’s now been almost a month since the surgery and he is still eating like he hasn’t eaten in years. That boy will eat 3 or 4 bowls of cereal, or a couple bowls of yogurt in the morning; asks for multiple snacks a day, gobbles up everything on his plate at all meals….as I have been saying, he’s making up for lost time.
The last hurdle we ran into with recovery happened a little more than a week post surgery? Joshua woke up that morning and I noticed he had drainage coming out of his ear. That’s strange. Called back to the ENT who said that was not a normal and to make an appointment with our Pediatrician. Hauled all three kiddos into the office to find out that Joshua somehow got an ear infection post surgery which then ruptured his ear drum. REALLY? That too?? We got antibiotics to attack that problem and I would say it wasn’t until a few days after the antibiotics started did we see improvement.
We sent Joshua back to school 2 weeks post surgery and I would say anytime earlier than that it would have been a disaster. They told us to expect 2-3 weeks of recovery but I assumed his recovery would have been quicker because he did so well before, during and right after surgery. Alas, we survived and even from the first night after surgery we were saying “Wow, there is such a huge difference in the way he sleeps; We are so glad we decided to do this surgery…” Around 3 weeks post surgery, out of the blue, Joshua said “Hey….my throat doesn’t hurt anymore…” I think he had gotten so used to the pain and was relatively shocked when he didn’t notice it!
This “routine” surgery is NO JOKE! But, all in all, we are glad we made the decision to do the T&A removal, and even more thankful that surgery went so well, and that we lived to see the other side of recovery!