My ten-year-old recently had her tonsils and adenoids removed, and let me tell you, it’s no walk in the park – for child and mama. She was the first in our family to have the surgery – her three younger brothers had tubes put in as babies, but no one had needed a tonsillectomy until now.
Despite all the movies, all the friend’s warnings, and what the ENT doctor said (love Dr. Mair from Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat!), I didn’t really think through how jostling the surgery would be to everyday life – hers and mine. It seems so common for kids to get the surgery – plus it’s outpatient and barely takes up a morning. I just didn’t prepare mentally for what the couple of weeks after surgery would look like – it’s not horrible, but it definitely takes planning.
If one of your kids is prepping for the surgery, take these tips as what they are: little tips based SOLELY on our experience. I am not an MD; I am not a nurse. My daughter and I worked on this together – we are just a mom who took care of a ten-year-old AND a ten-year-old!
The week before the surgery make sure to stock up on:
– Different kids of liquids – Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water, bottled water, etc.. My daughter ended up only drinking water but it’s good to have more variety on hand just in case.
– Bendable straws
– Ice cream, Popsicles or sherbert (although my daughter didn’t want anything to do with these things when the time came to eat them!).
– Small pasta (like the alphabet pasta, mini stars or orzo). Buttery noodles were the only thing my daughter wanted to eat for a week post surgery and the small pasta shapes were easy to eat.
– GoGurt yogurt tubes, applesauce pouches, and fruit pouches.
– Advil and Tylenol
My daughter’s advice:
– Go out to a big dinner with all of your favorite foods.
On surgery day make sure to:
– Bring a sweater for yourself because it might be freezing in the waiting room.
– Ask for (or maybe demand) anti-nausea medicine because some kids do not react well to anesthesia.
– Line up playdates or childcare for your other kids. Surgery takes most of the morning, and you won’t want to deal with a bunch of other screaming kids when you bring the patient home. Same goes for the days after the surgery – especially if surgery is close to a weekend and you are looking at entertaining your other kids AND nursing a patient back to health.
– Make dinner for the next few nights ahead of time or beg friends to act like you just had a baby so they’ll bring casseroles. My daughter didn’t want me to leave her side for days after the surgery, and I remember telling my husband how nice it would be if dinner was delivered to us.
– Rent movies, subscribe to Netflix, or DVR your favorite shows. There will be a LOT of TV watching. We watched so many episodes of “Fixer Upper” on TV, this surgery is going to cost my husband WAY more in “uninsured” Home Goods purchases I was inspired to buy after watching countless hours of other people’s dream home decor.
My daughter’s advice:
– Bring your favorite stuffed animal.
– Don’t plan to eat for at least two hours after surgery.
– Make a bed on the couch and get comfortable.
Post-Surgery make sure to:
– Do EVERYTHING the doctor says to do – they’ve got this down to a science (no pun intended).
– Stay ahead of the pain.
– Keep a journal of when you give medicine and what medicine you give. Trust me – it’s impossible to remember if you gave acetaminophen or ibuprofen last when it’s 3 AM. I kept a notebook and it saved my life (and I guess hers, too, because there’s no telling what I would’ve given her had I not written it down).
– Close your nose around Day 5 or so. Your child will have the breath of a dragon. Disgusting.
– Expect it to get better, then worse, then better. Days #11-13 were the worst for us. I’ve heard some people say #9-11 were bad or #2-3 were bad for them. Our rough patch was bad, but now it’s like it never happened. Truly amazing.
My daughter’s advice:
– You might want pizza, nachos, and Bagel Bites, but trust me – you don’t want to try them.
– Expect Popsicles for dinner.
– You might want to go back to all of your favorite activities, but you can’t. Just rest!
Good luck to all those headed to surgery soon – add your tips in the Comment section below! We want to hear them!