5.28.2008

Recovery for Toddler Tonsillectomy

[UPDATE: Note to commenters - because of the heavy traffic this post generates, I moderate comments to weed out the advertisers who try to promote themselves/their products on my blog. Sometimes it takes me a day or more to get to your comment to read and post it, which means there may be a bit of a lag between you posting your comment and me getting it on the blog. I've had some folks post their comment multiple times - rest assured, each one makes it to my inbox. I promise, I'll get to your comment and I'll get it posted as soon as I can. I truly appreciate the global community of support that you parents and caretakers have formed around this one blog post. Keep it up! Much love, TypeAMama.]

We were really taken by surprise by how difficult this has been and how much pain our little guy has been dealing with, so I thought I'd post about our experience in case any information here helps someone else preparing for a tonsillectomy for a 3-yr old. A tonsillectomy is considered major surgery. It may just take 20 or 30 minutes (depending on whether you're also taking the adenoids, adding tubes), but it is major surgery. In an adult, it takes a month for full recovery. In a young child, it's a little over 2 weeks.

I think because most people don't remember how much pain they were in when they were this young (they usually just remember the ice cream) and because the doctors forget that we have no idea what we're really in for, we weren't adequately prepared for this. Because it turns out that what we're in the midst of is ten days of round-the-clock pain management. Actually, I'm hoping it's just ten days. Today is day 7. We'll see.

So, Griffin did great during the procedure itself. In the recovery room, he drank some water and ate a popsicle. He stayed overnight in the hospital, as that's their protocol to make sure the pain can be controlled just by the prescription meds that we'd be using at home. After the surgery, as we sat in the family consultation room to hear from his doctor how the procedure went, his ENT told us that Griffin's were the second-largest tonsils and adenoids he had ever removed. The only ones he'd seen larger had been so big that they crossed over each other.

Upstairs in his hospital room, Griffin ate 4 cups of ice cream in a row. Still doing fine. Then the drugs from the procedure very suddenly wore off before he got his first dose of hydrocodone and it all fell apart. I ran to get a nurse and then tightly held him and rocked him in the bed as he sobbed and choked and watched his heartrate race to 189. We gave him the hydrocodone orally using a syringe, but he spat a lot of it out and cried and yelled more. Turns out the hydrocodone can sting a little. I managed to get the rest into him by feeding it to him bit by bit with spoonfuls of ice cream. It took about 20 minutes for it to start to soothe him, but then an hour later he just went to pieces again. This time the nurse called the doctor and got permission to give him morphine. Finally he relaxed and was woozy but comfortable. Once we were finally "ahead of the pain" again, we were able to maintain with the hydrocodone, and we went home the next day.

It was a good thing that I hadn't pressed to have his IV removed early, as is my usual preference. While he was doing a good job of staying hydrated, the morphine was administered via the IV. So if you're anti-IV like I am, this might be one occasion to leave it in as long as your child is tolerating it well.

This is what we have learned since then:

Toddlers are all-or-nothing when it comes to pain management. While they're on painkillers, your child will act completely comfortable and care free. Don't be fooled. As soon as it's time to give them the next dose, do it, or you'll be dealing with 3o minutes of sobbing and clinging while you wait for the next dose to kick in.

If your prescription says to give the painkillers every 4 hours, but you need to give it to them every 3 hours to adequately control the pain, check with the doctor, but ultimately, do whatever you need to do to keep your child comfortable. I told our ENT yesterday that I was dosing Griffin every 3 to 3 1/2 hours to keep his pain under control and his doctor didn't even blink.

Have a humidifier going full-blast in your child's room whenever they're in there sleeping.

Make your child fill up on fluids before they take a nap and before they go to sleep at night.

Your two big objectives for your child will be pain management and hydration. The less your child drinks, the harder the pain is to manage. Keep them very well hydrated. While they're sleeping, they lose fluids into their bladders and into the copious amounts of sweat that will pour out of them while they're healing, and they aren't drinking any more while they snooze, so their throats dry out. As much as Griffin drinks, he still sometimes wakes up coughing and choking and crying just 2 1/2 hours after his last dose. I've heard the dry throat when waking described by an adult as feeling like you have a bunch of glass in your throat. Ooooowwwww. And then the hydrocodone stings. You'll be doing a lot of rocking and soothing and hugging and holding.

Speaking of stinging hydrocodone, if your child is old enough that you can get them to hold their mouth open so you can spray some chlorasceptic numbing throat spray before they take their hydrocodone, that will help numb the sting a little.

What Griffin could or couldn't eat varied day to day, rather than generally improving over time. Food that he was able to eat one day hurt him the next. I read somewhere that the scabs slough off somewhere between day 5 and day 7, and this is the most painful period post-op. We were at a consistently high level of pain until the 9th day, so I couldn't say for sure if this was the case with us, but I suspect it may be part of the reason for the variability in what he was able to eat.

Your child will have the breath of a dog that's dead in Texas in August, from about day 3 to about ... he still has it at day 9.

Dairy products were on the list of foods to avoid - I have no idea why. Griffin really wants a cold glass of milk in his hands at all times. He doesn't like popsicles, is not interested in jello or pudding. But he drinks milk all day, and it really seems to help him. I keep it in an insulated sippy cup so he can roam around the house with it, and he still comes back for a refresh when the chill has gone away.

Your child may be in constant pain for over a week. We've pulled a matress onto the floor in his room and his dad sleeps in there every night with a watch alarm to wake him up every 3 1/2 hours to give Griffin his painkillers, and then I handle the day shift. Usually Griffin wakes him up in pain before the alarm goes off. Just be prepared for this. It's a bit of a long haul, you're sleep-deprived, your child is miserable. This isn't a good time to be trying to accomplish anything else major in your life.

Getting work done right now is impossible, particularly given how out of sorts he is generally, which is understandable. If you normally work from home, plan to take the next 10 days off.

This isn't the time to be stingy with the DVDs. If your child will sit quietly while they watch tv, this is a good way to distract them from their discomfort and keep them still.

Let your child eat whatever they can. Even if it's just Krispy Kreme donuts for two days. They'll lose a ton of weight while they're recovering, and they can eat broccoli when they're better. Griffin can't even manage cold rice yet, and his ribs are really starting to show now. So, Krispy Kreme it is until he's healed.

They say you can take your child back to daycare 5-7 days post-op. This is nuts. Your child has to receive their pain meds at specific times, and someone needs to keep a close eye on making sure he stays hydrated and doesn't suddenly have the pain meds wear off prior to the time to dose. Also, the daycare can only give the dose according to the times on the prescription, so if your child needs their medicines more frequently, daycare isn't an option. Again - be prepared for this with alternate arrangements if necessary.

Another blogger said that the feeling in their throat while they were recovering from a tonsillectomy like "swallowing a box of tacks." Adults take longer to heal, but I think the pain is about the same for kids and adults, from what I can tell.

Good luck with your own kids' tonsillectomies. Hopefully they won't take as long to heal or be so painful an ordeal as what we're dealing with here, but in case it is, hopefully something I've said here helps.

302 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Bless your hearts. I hope your little one is feeling better- he should be eating whatever he likes by now. My 6 1/2 year old had her tonsils and adenoids out 6 days ago and I can sympathize with being woken up by a shrill scream and sobbing. It is quite reassuring to read about another child's venture- thank you for posting this.

meredith said...

Thank you. This post has been very useful for me. My 26 month-old had his tonsils and adenoids removed on 6/3/08. This was the only information on-line which expressed what we were living through. My Alister didn't require quite as much pain meds, but it was a relief to read what we've been experiencing. Thank you. I was nervous about the surgery but feel good about our decision. Alister is already sleeping so quietly and soundly at night. The ENT informed us that his adenoids were totally blocking his nasal passages and that he may have never really breathed through his nose. The apnea and speech related issues have not been good and I felt that something needed to be done (being an early intervention speech pathologist guided my move... the pediatrician wouldn't have sent us to the ENT if I hadn't begged). Although I was nervous, it was the right decision. Alister didn't have to spend the night in the hospital. I'm really happy about that because I think it would have been much more traumatic for us if he had.

Thanks again,
meredith

Liz said...

Good for you for pushing for the procedure earlier than later. We have already signed Griffin up for screening for speech therapy. The hypernasality is starting to resolve on it's own, but as most of the consonants in the English language require the velopharyngeal sphincter to close, and he doesn't seem to be able to do this (forget gargling or spitting) I'm pretty sure he'll need some help developing that muscle. I'm not worried about an insufficiency, just learning, possibly for the first time given the gob of flesh that was back there, how to use that muscle and articulate his words.

The hospital stay wasn't traumatic, in case anyone else is looking forward to that, because his dad stayed there in the room with him overnight (we would have both been there if we didn't also have an 8 mo old at home), plus the mega-painkillers. One of us was there in the room with him at all times, and it was the hospital's assumption that that would be the case, as the room had a fold-out bed available.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nona's papi said...

We're in day 4 ost surgery for our soon-to-be 20 month old. It's been terrible trying to get her to drink when she's in so much pain. I was surprised to hear that you were told to avoid dairy foods because that's mostly all we can get her to take- yogurt, milk, smoothies. We have a good supply of popsicles, donuts, and juice on hand for her though. I wish you and your son the best on his recovery.

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

We're on day 3 post-recovery and Miss A is doing well. We're not giving her the lortab elixir pain med as she hates it. We tasted it and it is like a shot of alcohol- it is warm & burns. The ENT did suggest making very, very small jell-o shots with juice instead of water and then add the pain med into it- it may taste better that way. Cold watermelon cubes & banana slices are a big hit too.

Kari Mitchell said...

WOW!! I ran across your blog while searching for 'toddler post tonsillectomy' - and am so glad I found it.

Thanks for posting your experience, it has helped us bunches, knowing that these things are normal.

We're on day 6 of our 22 month old son's T&A, and are looking forward to getting back to normal soon. We had no idea the pain would be what it is, and are glad to know it's not abnormal - and that forcing these meds on him is the right thing to do. They do help us in our case! We've also got some low grade fever, that doesn't help things, and a huge sore on his tongue that isn't helping either....

Good luck, and thanks again!
Kari

Liz said...

for post-surgical recovery, fever + big sore on the tongue = trip to the doctor to get it looked at, or at least a call to the office nurse to see if he needs to be seen. Hopefully things will get better for you guys soon. Hang in there!

Kari Mitchell said...

Indeed - just to update - we did call the ENT, yesterday - and they said to watch the fever, and the lip, that both are not 'uncommon', and if fever goes over 102 (it hasn't, been hovering around 99-100) or if sore gets worse, we're goin' in... Thanx, Liz!!

PS - I meant to mention, your description of the breath is spot-on. LOL.

Lynne said...

My son is 3 1/2 and we are on day 3 post op, our only difference is that we did not have a good hospital experience. After the surgery we were taken to the peds unit of our local hospital around 8:30 a.m. The nurse tried to check his throat, but he would not let her, instead of trying again, she never attempted to check it. We had several issues with bleeding, first blood on his pillow, then out of his mouth and nose...and then severe vomitting. Finally around 2:30 the nurse called our doctor, who had to rush him into an emergency surgery to cauterize a major artery that had been pumping blood into his stomach for several hours (this is not uncommon in small children, their arteries are so small and will restrict during the surgery, and come back up to the skin within about 30 minutes, which is the reason a nurse should check there throat). My son lost a large amount of blood and is now anemic. I also found out that now his recovery time is extended further that an adults. My son had sleep apnea, and his tonsils were permanantley swollen from infections he had last year, so there really was not an option for this surgery. I am happy to be able to read about what other parents and their children are going through this , and to find out what is in store for us ahead. Also, if you are contemplating having this done for your child, I would strongly recommend that it be due to a medical condition that cannot be treated with a non- invasive procedure. And to everyone so far, thank you for posting your experiences, they really are very helpful. Hopefully all of you and your children are doing very well!

G said...

Wow! It's a relief to know that what we are experiencing right now is not so abnormal! We were told that most toddlers take about 2 weeks to really recover, but that he would be acting quite normal in 4-5 days! We are on day 4 and nothing is normal! I'm lucky if I can get 8oz of liquid into him. He's on no pain medication b/c the hydrocodone makes him sick and he has to be on some suppository to keep the nausea down and the anti-nausea meds do not play nice with the pain meds (or anything else, except Tylenol). So, I can only imagine pain and with his hypersensitive gag reflex, the copious amounts of phlem along with the resistance to coughing, are causing quite a few choking episodes! I'm at wits end!

BintUmmHasan said...

Wowwee!!!!!!! My 2 1/2 yr old is scheduled for tonsil & adnoid removal and ear tubes on Tuesday Aug 5, 08!!!

Now I know why the ENT and Pediatritian kept telling me for the past year to wait wait wait - be patient - hes to young! The ENT even said to me that this is not the kind of surgery you want to put a 2yr old through and the earliest I would want it done is 3 unless his apnea gets worse and this ent has operated on 2 of my other 4 children and in my opnion is one of the best! He highly recommended againt this surgery because of his age but now that he has seen my son while he was sick and he could hardly breath, hadnt eaten anything in 1 week, and was infected in all 3 areas....ears, tonsils, and adnoids and then the ENT said...."its time to take them out and put tubes in" so we scheduled it after his antibiotics.

I'm so glad I can now be more prepared for the recovery especially since I have 4 children above him with the oldest only being 9 and im pregnant! I guess the older kids will be the cleaners and house managers for a couple weeks :).

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Our son is eight and really is great about sickness and tough medical issues. He has had tube surgery, adenoids removed and ear tubes removed surgically. As he breezed through these with very little discomfort, we expected one or two days of crankiness. He has been so brave,but is really hurting and we are on day seven. Day four was great. No pain complaints and no need for codeine. Days five through seven have been uncomfortable and difficult. The ENT indicated that this is most likely due to scabbing falling off in the back of his throat. If so, we are close to having him feel like his own self. Everyone said to push cold the first few days and although popsicles helped, our boy found cup of soup to be soothing and ate only that for the first two days. The best advice I got from friends was to set our alarm clock at night

15 minutes ahead of the next dose and give it to him ahead of the pain. This worked although nausea became an issue with the codeine and we had to cut back on the second day. The post op info indicated that we should not give him motrin but the ENT told us with the issue of nausea to go ahead and cut the dose in half on the codeine and give our son motrin every 6 hours timing the codeine every 4 or so. I hope this information helps some other parent and wish you the best in helping your children recover.

Anonymous said...

This page is so helpful! My almost 3 year old is scheduled for next Thursday. Can someone post a list of the goodies I should buy before she has to go in? Just so I don't forget anything. I just ordered her some Noddy DVDs but what kind of foods should I have on hand? I'd so appreciate a list!

Liz said...

This isn't quite what you asked, but you'd want to have a lot of mushy, cool foods on hand, and maybe try to keep an eye on the sugar levels since that's about all she'll be eating. Our guy was all about the ice cream for the first two days, then he didn't want it anymore. He used to love jello, but had no interest while he was healing. The only thing he wanted for a while (about a week) was milk and maybe little soft bread. Remember your most important goal is hydration and then if you can get *anything* of more substance in there as well, great, but expect your child to be a skinny little person at the end of their recovery. They largely lose their appetite while they're hurting, and then once they're feeling better it takes a week or so for it to come fully back.

Anonymous said...

I know this blog is a little old. I'm just curious how long your little one was in pain for? We're on day 8 and it seems these past two days have been this worst. Wondering if this is normal....

Liz said...

Old as it is, if you take a look at the Feedjit live feed of visits to the blog, they're almost exclusively to this post.

Griffin first had a noticeable turn for the better on the 9th day, and by the 10th we were able to switch to regular Tylenol, and by the next day he was off pain management altogether and doing fine.

It was definitely scary going for a little while there - hope your little one is feeling better very soon!

Lerato (SA) said...

I have a 2 and 1/2 year old daughter, due to meet with an ENT specialist tomorrow, and i already have this uneasiness about the procedure form what I've just read. The tonsils are quite enlarged, and she can't breathe properly, but since we haven't seen the specialist yet, I really hope he can come up with other alternatives besides surgery. I can't imagine her going through all of this! But thank you for teh great blog on this issue, and if we go the surgery route, at elats I now know what to expect. I also was under this illusion that for younger children, the surgery is not such a big deal. I had a laser tonsillectomy, and I know my daughter can't do that yet - she's too young to no inhale the gas. Anyway, thank you again, and at least I'm now prepared

Anonymous said...

This is a very useful post. Thank you! As has been stated previously, there is no real information about what to expect with the recovery. My 3 1/2 year old had a T&A yesterday and it has been a nightmare so far. Knowing that we are not alone in our experience and giving an idea of what to expect for the next couple of weeks helps. I know logically that he will be fine soon but it's so hard to see him in pain. He won't take any of medication but we will give some of the suggestions a try because he does feel better when the pain medication is kept on schedule. Thanks again for sharing this information.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I had made the decision to have my 2 1/2 year old son's tonsils, adnoids and tubes placed a while back. The procedure was today and we decided to bring him home. He did so well at the hospital and felt that he would be more comfortable in his own home and bed. Since we have been home he hasn't really eaten or drank anything. He did have a little bit of a popsicle. He absolutely won't take his medications even if we tried very hard to have him take them. Every once in a while he cries and says that his throat hurts. I am not quite sure how to conquer that. Otherwise, he just wants to sit and watch TV with his mommy. Your blog has been a wonderful reassurance that we are not the only parents going through this ordeal.-thank you

Anonymous said...

Our 25 month old son just had a T&A, ear tubes, and sinus wash 1 day ago on 8/28/08. The first day in the hospital was a nightmare. He reacted terribly to the anesthesia and the morphine he was given post op and didn't settle down until hours later after screaming like mad and swelling his voice box to the point of stridor. He was discharged this morning after a decent night and being in pretty good spirits this morning. He has yet to eat or drink ANYTHING other than a few tiny sips of juice. An hour ago he started coming down with a fever which was 100.4 before I put him to sleep. My question is has anyone's child had fever after? If so, how high and what did your doc advise? He was given hydrocodone at the hospital but sent home with vicadin.

Beth said...

Thank you, thank you! I'm at the end of my rope on day 9 and had no idea why one food felt fine to my 3 year old one day and caused him to scream the next day. Your post was so helpful.

Anonymous said...

Wow this has been SOOO helpful. My son had his tonsils/adenoids and new tubes on 9/4 so we are at day 8 - He stayed overnight and it was okay (up a lot because of pain but controled). On day 4 we switched to regular Tylenol during the day and kept hydro-codeine at night. Today we are trying no Tylenol during the day and regular Tylenol at night - we are scared we are stopping to soon but how do we know if we don't - we noticed he is sleeping SOOO much better at night in the last 2 days and is not waking up when the pain meds where off - in fact he is more pissed we are waking him up for the meds....When did everyone finally feel they could reduce the meds? He does not drink voluntarily but does okay if you force him to

Oh yeah he has a twin (both are 27 months) makes life interesting right now - I am exhausted.

Anonymous said...

Hi am i bit nervous now my son is due for surgery friday 19th and he just turned one on monday...he's also got sleep apnea and is required to have the surgery...thank you for all your wonderful tips im off to the shops to stock up on some pureed food....fingers crossed...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your story! It sounds exactly what we are going through right now. We are on day 6 post-surgery with our 3 year old son. He definitely still needs the pain medicine every 4 hours around the clock. We call it Mr. Spicy. Sometimes he takes it beautifully (especially if he hasn't started hurting again yet) but usually it is a battle with him in pain and very irrational. They forced it on him in the hospital so now he is very wary. We are able to coax it down him at home but sometimes it takes 30 minutes We have started mixing it with maple syrup and that seems to help sometimes. We talk about Mr. Spicy once he is feeling better and about how Mr. Spicy sure took that hurt away...thanks, Mr. Spicy!...hoping it will make him more willing to take it the next time. He asked me through his tears today, "Mama, when is it going to heal?" I felt so sorry for him!! But, hopefully as we pass the 7th days, things will begin to improve. And, yes, his breath is awful!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's a follow-up on my son's recovery. Finally, on day 9 he made the much longed for "turn of the corner." He suddenly was just better! He returned to preschool on day 10. One thing that also really helped was using a freezer "boo boo bear." This is a fabric covered cold pack that we use whenever we have bumps or bruises. The coolness of it really seemed to provide comfort for his ears when they were hurting. He would lay on it on his pillow. The doctor said the ear pain was from the throat scabs healing and tightening. Good luck to you all!

susan said...

Thank you. Your posting was very helpfull. I am raising my 5 year old grandson who just had his out last Monday. He woke up a 1:00 am crying with ear pain. He had both tonsillectomy and adenoids taken out. He hates the taste of the tylenol with cod. It is a fight to get it down. He won't eat or drink anything. Yesterday I got a little food and a little more liguid down him. They said he could go back to K-5 Monday.I don't think so. MY three son's had it done over 20 years ago I forgot how much pain they went thorgh. Again, Thank you at least I know he doing the same as your child

Anonymous said...

Your blog has been very helpful in understanding what is "normal" in recovery. My four year old son had his tonsils/adenoids out on 10-10-08. The first day was great...I couldn't believe how awesome he was doing on the day of surgery...but then it seemed everything wore off at around 6 pm and we were home. He was in so much pain...I couldn't even get him to swallow his saliva. He would open his mouth and pools of drool would come out. What I found most helpful when he got (or gets) to this point...is aectominphen (sp?) supositories. Once he then has the med in his system...he can swallow his other meds (antibiotic and motrin). Yes I have been doubling up on the pain meds due to him also developing a cold at the same time as this. He is still in a world of pain and I'm trying hard to push drinks and food on him and most importantly to never run out of pain meds in his system. I'm dreading these scabs falling off....anymore advice that you could give I would appreciate. Thanks again for posting

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. Our two year old is on day nine and is still in pain and just not himself.I have been telling everyone that this is really a 3 week recovery I think.It was good to read that he is right on track and it's probably good that he is home,cause I don't know how his friends at preschool would think of his breath :) thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Oh! I wanted to mention that when it comes to my son's pain meds, our little trick is we melt either choc/vanilla ice cream (just a small amount) and then mix it with his med's. I use the little medicine dropper. I ask him if he wants his vanilla medicine!! They really need to come up with a better method for these little ones!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. It helps me to know i'm not the only one with a suffering child. My daughter is 2 1/2 and won't drink. I have gotten some juice in her and popsicles etc, but the doctor wants me to take her to the ER to get rehydrated. This means anonther iv. I can't stand seeing her in pain, also she does not appear dehydrated to me. From everyones blogs it seems their children aren't drinking that much either. So if I dont' think she's dehydrated why do I have to take her in? She still has saliva, tears, and is playing. Augh this is so tough. I wish the warning about surgery aftermath would have been stronger. Yikes! Thanks to all who posted and good luck to those going through this. May God Bless you!

Amy said...

Well, sorry to say this post doesn't just apply to toddlers.

Our 8 1/2 year old had his T&A on Tuesday. It is now Thursday night and all is still miserable. He required quite a bit of morphine post-op before we even attempted the oral meds. Then the capital with codeine only brought his pain level down to a 5.

We stayed overnight as he also suffers from asthma. We had no problems at all with his asthma (they had him take moisturized O2 via blow-by while we were in -- this was a HUGE help!!!). However, the day we came home (we had a 3 1/2 hour drive home) we could not keep ANYTHING down. He did not bleed, but was in such pain because he wasn't keeping his pain meds down.

Finally once we got home we got him a frosty from Wendy's and even though he only ate about an inch down of a child sized one, it was enough in his tummy to hold down the pain meds, and then he drank 1 1/2 bottles of water.

I had hoped that would be the hill, but today the capital with codeine that was left-over from the hospital stay ran out, and we're left with the lortab. This is HORRID!!!

He's only had two doses, and this last one was just awful. He screamed in pain (not just from the surgery but then pour on 7% alcohol in the elixir and see how you feel!). Then he got so upset from the pain that he started hyperventilating. It was a good hour before I was finally able to get him to calm down by sitting with him in the bathroom with the hot shower running (I'm sure it was a combination of white noise of the water and the warm steam that calmed him).

My mother is a pharmacy tech and she happened to be working overtime with the pharmacist so I gave them a call. The pharmacists only suggestions were to refrigerate the meds (the cold helps). Experimentally we are setting out one dose of the lortab, as even at room temp some of the alcohol will evaporate.

Our ENT/surgeon called to check up on him today. He's still very mopey and in a lot of pain (rating his pain, even prior to time for another dose, at an 8). He has asked that we come in in the morning and he will give him a shot of steroid. I'm hoping this will help getting things moving recovery wise.

This boy has a VERY high pain tolerance. He has had throat and ear infections where I took him in as soon as he started to complain, and it was bad enough he needed antibiotics via shot on the spot. He was barely complaining then even! Even in the midst of his horrible bout with true influenza last year, he did not act this sick.

We know that this will be worth the "pain" (they said his tonsils were huge for an adult, much less a child) but oh my goodness, I didn't expect this!

Thank you for being honest and candid about the trials and tribulations of recovery. Everyone makes it sound like the kids are nearly back to normal the next day. I have yet to see any signs of my child, and it's terrifying.

Casey said...

Just came across this when looking for tips for our almost 2 year old. Thanks for the tips, he's refusing to eat or drink anything (he just had the surgery yesterday) but we're trying like hell.

sarah_lizzy86 said...

We are on post-op day 5 and you would think Caden just had his tonsils out yesterday. Reading this blog has made me feel so much better!! I was about to take him to see our doctor because I thought something was wrong. I wasn't given a lot of this info about pain. With the pain situation we have had to result to Tylenol suppositories as he won't take any meds by mouth. He just spits it all out. I give him on every 4 hours around the clock. Not the most comfortable thing for him, but it's better than a hurting throat. As for the eating, yeah, he hasn't eaten anything since Sunday night(the night before surgery). This concerns me a little bit, but I'm sure he'll come out of it.
Thank you so much for posting this blog!! It has really taken a lot of stress away.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this blog....My 4 year old had t&a one week ago today. The 1st 48 hrs were crazy! It was impossible to get the meds into him and had wished he stayed in lithe hospital for 24 hrs. just for the iv pain managment. One we got the tylenol with codeine in him we saw some relief. His pain would return like clockwork about 30 minutes before his next dose was due. However, we started to notice crazy behavior related to the codeine. My son was becoming very violent after the 1st 2 days of receiving the codeine. On day 3 his doctor recommended that we switch to regular tylenol. We did, and it worked fine and there were no more episodes of craziness. Again, keep the meds on a regular schedule. Do not wait for the pain to return.
Food recomendations....I made slushies in the blender and that was a success. Aside from the usual ice cream, pops etc....around day 5 he ate canned fruit cup(non citrus), mac n cheese, and jelly sandwiches were a huge hit.
However, we are now on day 7 and the pain is back REALLY BAD. Just as I had heard, the scabs must be coming off. My son even said he ate something that he thought was a bug. Heartbreaking!! Today is the worst day since the beginning. I'm hoping for only another 24 hrs. of this, and then the home stretch. Good Luck!!

sarah_lizzy86 said...

We are now post-op day 8, and I can say that I will NEVER go see the surgeon that took my son's tonsils out again. I called him twice last week to let him know that Caden was not doing well at all. He was having a lot more pain than I thought he should have, and he was also not have wet diapers regularly (2 per day max). They just assured me that everything was fine and it would pass. On Monday, exactly one week after his surgery, I got tired of it and took him to see our regular doctor. Turns out his throat was infected, pretty badly in fact. He was also very dehydrated, and had lost 4 lbs from not eating. We gave him a shot of Rocephin and the doctor gave us the option to stay for fluids but said he didn't think he was critically dehydrated at that point. So we opted to go home and give the shot some time to work. I had to take him back again because on Tuesday morning he was not better at all. By the time I got home Tuesday afternoon Caden had done a complete 180! He was eating, drinking, and playing. Not quite his normal self but definitely better. I went ahead and took him in anyway, basically because we had the appointment anyway. The doctor decided to do one more shot of Rocephin, and start him on 8 days of antibiotics to clear up his throat. My advice, if you think something is wrong and your surgeon says it's normal, check with your local doc. I wish I would have taken him in on Thursday when I was just sure something wasn't right. If anything it will give you peace of mind that everything is ok.

Meister said...

This post has been most helpful. My daughter who is just over 3 just had her tonsils and adenoids removed and ear tubes put in 5 days ago. She experienced some sort of reaction to either the initial pain medecine or anesthesia and was delerious for the first 2 hours after surgery during which we had to hold her as tight as possible to keep her from thrashing around and hurting herself. It was all the nurses could do to try and keep her iv in and they had to constantly reconnect her monitor leads and pulse ox as she kept knocking them off. Finally she calmed down though from then on she had a fit whenever a doctor or nurse came into the room even just to say hello but she was fine when it was just us. We stayed the night and then went home the next day and she has been much better. They only prescribed antibiotics for her and regular over the counter tylenol for the pain but it seems to be working just fine as long as we keep up with it. The hard part is getting her to take it. She screams and yells if we even mention medicine, hospital, or doctor to her and fights like a pro wrestler if we try to give her medicine orally with a dropper or syringe. We have been mixing it with fruit juice lately but I think she has caught on as it gets harder every time to get her to drink it even though she loves juice normally. We are trying to think of other things to mix it with, unsuccesffuly tried: apple sauce, yogurt, oatmeal. Any suggestions anyone? We have been lucky with the pain, maybe because she had another surgery earlier or because of her frequent ear infections which might make her tolerate the pain more but she sleeps through the night 10-12 hours and then only needs tylenol every 4 hours. She drinks plenty of water and apple juice and has been eating quite well: bananas, soft rice, muffins, soft bread, soups, etc. but she keeps asking for pretzels and goldfish, her favorites. Overall while her hospital experience was terrible our experience at home since has not been too difficult. Her voice has changed quitea bit which will hopefully go back but I read that is normal. The breath as mentioned elsewhere is surely as bad as stated if not worse. I am just grateful that our recovery experience is going smoothly. My heart goes out to everyone else who is going through more difficult times. All I can say is "it will get better and it's worth it", though I know that does not make anything easier.

Jenn said...

Hi Liz, my name is Jennifer. I have a 5 1/2 year old that had her tonsils out on Jan. 27, 2009. I so feel your pain. I had such different thoughts on how this was going to be. I figured since she had so many strep throat infections and tonsil infections, this would be a breeze for her, but I was very wrong. This is day 9 and she is better, but not much. Everything she eats "stings" her throat and she is very miserable. She is crying at every little thing and that is not like her. I was beginning to worry more than normal until I read your blog. Just wanted to say thank you for putting it out there and also wondered just how long this is going to take before she feels like playing again. Take Care!!!!

jadedmuse said...

Hey everyone. We just returned from the hospital last night after our T&A surgery 2 days earlier (Gabby is goign to be 4 in May). Thank God for the older, more experienced nurses in the peds ward. They told us to get off the morphine and start using the Co-Tylenol (for the pain management). Some useful info here regarding alternating co-ty with Motrin or even tylenol suppositories (and yes, plse...someone explain to me how we're in the 21st century and nobody has come up with a patch or suppository for kids who don't take well to oral meds...tks Pharma)

Not drinking much and we're still having to supplement with the syringe but who wants to return to the hospital where MRSA and pneumonia is running amok?!?

Some good suggestions here and just a great place to read and know others have experienced the same.

Tks "TYPE-A" for your post.

Michele

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. Our 2.5 year-old just had her tonsils and adenoids out yesterday and she has been just fine, like nothing happened. I've feeling like it is the quiet before the storm - too good to be true! After reading your post I am now ready for what may come on day 5-9 when the scabs fall off. Our procedure was outpatient, recovery room wasn't fun (initially very irritable from anesthesia) but things improved within 30 minutes of my arrival. Our daughter is breathing through her mouth for the very first time in her life. Only wish we had done it earlier (severe sleep apnea and snoring = daytime hyperactivity/difficulty focusing as well as repeat sinus infections). One question: has anyone noticed that your toddler's voice changed after the procedure due to changes in resonance?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the parents that took the time during the "tonsil storm" to post. My 3 1/2 is scheduled for 3rd set of tubes and tonsils in March. You have all helped me prepare (as best you can!) and had some great ideas. Thank you, thank you!!

CheRita said...

OMG! I just scheduled our 2 year old for the surgery. Now I'm in tears! Everyone makes it like its all ice cream and good times! Thanks for being so honest!

Anonymous said...

Someone asked earlier about their doctor telling them to refrain from dairy products. Dairy products increase mucus/phlegm production. This causes the little guys to swallow more frequently. If adeniods are removed, the mucus/phlegm coats the back of the throat which cause problems healing.
Thank you so much for this great information!

Scary Mommy said...

Why on earth do the doctors not prepare you for this? My little guy goes in next week and now I feel sick about this. So glad to know what I'm in for, at least. Well, sort of. I guess...

Really, though, thank you. Hope your little one is doing well from her most recent surgery!! This parenting gig is tough. :(

Heather said...

Oh my goodness, I'm so glad to have read this post and all the comments. My daughter is 29 months old and she had her tonsils and adenoids out on 2/18/09. We are now 9 days post-op and she is STILL miserable. (And therefore so are we.) We stopped the tylenol with codeine four days post-op because it was causing her to hallucinate. So now we're just doing tylenol every 4 hours and it wears off after about 3 hours. :( She is so very sad, sometimes hysterical, and still waking every 3 hours at night in misery. She has lost 4 lbs in the past 9 days and still will not eat. She's having barely 2-3 wet diapers a day, so also not drinking much either. Everyone said that the young children recover so much faster than older kids and adults, but we have not found this to be true at all. Still waiting for her to turn the corner. It is just so sad. I can only pray that this helps her severe sleep apnea to resolve after she has healed.

Anonymous said...

We are on day 3 for my 3.5 year old girl. They had to give her a drug before surgery to help her with the separation terror she has (it was a nasal spray, but they have a liquid kind too) she went completely loopy and then they rolled her away. I was surprised that they wouldn't let me go in while she fell asleep (which was done with flavored gas). The surgery was only a half hour!

Being at home has been hell. We had to threaten to take her back to the hospital if she didn't take a drink (which is true, she would have to get another IV). Even with the threats she will sometimes opt to go back to the hospital as long as she doesn't have to have the pain medicine (knowing it stings explains a lot). The first night was hard until I figured out about the humidifier. Right now she is sleeping with it on full blast and I am happy that she is able to sleep because of it. Before, she couldn't sleep 5 minutes without coughing.

The doctor also has her on an antibiotic for precautionary reasons.

I agree with everyone else, give her an early dose BEFORE the medicine wears off.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to what I posted before: If your child refuses to take the medicine, don't force it. She woke up this morning dry heaving because she would not eat the day before but we gave her the pain meds anyway. Well that did a number on her tummy so we spent about an hour getting applesauce and water in her (no small feat since she has not wanted to put anything in her mouth)--then when she was as full as we thought she should be we forced the medicine in her mouth and she vomited EVERYTHING up. We wont do that again, needless to say. So we decided to stop giving her the narcotic pain meds. We are going to try the suppository later today, but it's been about 10 hours with no pain meds and she's doing OK.

Her neck is really sore, in that she can't lean back. Also, she wont go to the bathroom on her own and she will hold it in for hours and hours unless I take her.

I can't wait for this to be over. If she doesn't eat & drink more we will have to take her to the ER.

Anonymous said...

Our little one had his tonsillectomy and PE tube replacement yesterday. He did very well! The only time he cried was when the nurse was taking out his IV.

We were home by 11:30. He was drinking and singing. He's only had to have the "strong stuff" (pain meds) 2ce. He slept through the night last night.

He's playing today. Although you can tell he's still puny. He's not drinking as much as he did yesterday so I've given him Children's Tylenol. He's even eaten the soft part of a couple of biscuits and a muffin.

So, so far so good. The doctor did say that his pain will "peak" around day 5. So, we'll see. I'll post again.

andrea said...

I guess some kiddos are lucky enough to not have a hard time, but that hasn't been the case with my little Holly. She had her surgery 14 days ago, 3/5/09, and is STILL not herself. Day of surgery went "well" as far as the operation goes. We did have to force the drinks and popsicle in the hospital, but she apparently had enough to allow the nurses to approve her going home. Got her a milkshake on the way home (wasn't told that dairy would be bad). She did a good job drinking it but threw up a little later. Put her to bed and she woke up vomititing, VIOLENTLY, and it was all blood-streaked. Called the surgeon and he sent us to the ER. Luckily, she didn't have any active bleeding, but they got the nausea under control and she ate a slushie there so they sent her home. Next morning she woke-up and just wasn't "right". Very lethargic, very just not herself. She hadn't drank anything between ER visit and waking up. Called the surgeon's office, they sent her back to ER. She got fluids and IV meds, which helped, but not as long as the oral meds. Sent her home. The weekend was miserable and I was lucky to get 5 oz. of liquid in her a day. She didn't want ANYTHING. Called the doctor on call AGAIN and he asked if she had wet diapers, I told him that she had about one a day, but it was barely wet. He asked if she had tears, I said, yes, but not as many as she should in relation to how hard she was crying. He said, "well, she's not dehydrated, push the fluids". I tried, believe me. I threatened, I bribed, I sweetened the deal. Nothing worked. We finally got mean and FORCED them down. SHe usually would throw it up and along with it her pain meds. Thought we were making some progress by Sunday/Monday (days 4/5) because we go a few popsicles and ice chips in her, but when she woke-up on Tuesday she had very thick saliva, so thick she couldn't swallow it and it came out her mouth like ropes. She was miserable and still hadn't had a wet diaper. Called the surgeon's office AGAIN and they never called me back. I knew it was too close to closing time so I called her pediatrician and told them the whole story. They said to get her in IMMEDIATELY! So I did and he took one look at her and said she needed to either be admitted or taken to the ER fo fluids and morphine. WE chose ER, where they blew out 2 veins because they were so flat from being dehydrated. Finally got it on the third try (I was ready to slap the nurses trying). I didn't want her on morphine unless absolutely neccessary. The ER doc looked at her and said that because she was so dehydrated her body had released ketones which causes severe muscle cramps and that she NEEDED the morphine. It did make her more comfortable for awhile. Ultimately, he admitted her the hospital, where she stayed for 3 days/ 2 nights, on a constant IV drip of fluids. It was a battle the entire time. She fought like crazy with each dosing of Lortab. We switched to Tylenol with codeine when we were released (on day 8 post-op). She is still eating very little, could not move her neck, lost 5 lbs. (but gained back 1 after IV fluids), hardly sleeps, doesn't want to play much, and is generally sad. She also has a chronic headache, which could be attributed to not eating, sleeping, and the neck pain. I have no idea. We did the surgery because of sleep apnea, and I can't say we would've waited any longer, simply because the sleep apnea is so hard on her heart and because, well, it can kill her! I do wish that the docs had better prepared us for what lay ahead. It has been one of the hardest things I've ever gone through, and of course, that she's ever gone through. THere are no words of wisdom here... you just have to hang in there and get through it and have people praying for you. It is miserable. Good luck to anyone ele going through this. Oh, and we had the Lortab flavored (it comes flavored Lemon... YUCK), sweetened, and bitterness-suppressed. It helped a LITTLE, but not much.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks to everyone who posted. Our 3.5 yr. old is scheduled to get his tonsils out next week. I'm now petrified. He's only 22 pounds as it is and I can't imagine him losing any more weight and he eats like a bird pre-surgery. If the sleep apnea wasn't pretty bad, I think I'd back out of the surgery... Help. Can anyone out there who has gone through this with a young child tell me if it worked. Did it cure the apnea? Do they eat better? Drool? Did it help with speech issues?

Anonymous said...

My son had his tonsils and adenoids removed yesterday. Horrible experience and he does not want to drink anything. It is so hard. I checked his tongue today and he has white spots on the side. Did anyone experience this with their kids, is it a burn or is it a blister from them pressing down on it. I called the Dr. and they said to monitor it. just wondering.

Laura said...

We are on day 6 post-op and can totally relate to all the stories. I can honestly say I had NO IDEA it would be this hard!! I will continue forcing the liquids, and timing out the pain med. dosage. I was trying (unsuccessfully) to wean her off the tylenol with codeine because it seemed the medicine made her very aggressive and out of control. She is normally a very calm and considerate little girl and didn't like how the medicine made her feel "angry and like I can't hold up my head" Thanks for all the posts - it is very reassuring to read that our experience is not isolated.

Anonymous said...

We are on day 6 of recovery for tonsils and adenoids being removed. My son is 2 years 8 months old. So far it hasn't been that bad for us. I followed everyone's advice of staying on schedule with the pain medicine and that has seemed to do the trick. I got over confident a time or two and stretch it out a bit and the end result was not fun. The biggest struggle we have had so far is getting him to take the Lortab. It was a nightmare the first three days until I came across this post. Someone suggested using milk or ice cream to mix with Lortab to take out the burn of the alcohol and that was the trick. We had the Lortab flavored at the pharmacy with cherry and then I mixed it with Nestle Strawberry milk and that seemed to life better. My recipe is 1 tsp Lortab with 1 tsp strawberry milk. I put all of it in a syringe and let him hold it and push "the button", that seem to do the trick. I don't have to sit on him anymore and have it spit back in my face :) Wish us luck on the next four days!

Thanks so much to everyone posting here. It has been a life saver!

-Melissa

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you to everyone for the posts. We are on day 5 and I wish I read this sooner. My son just turned 4 and we had very similar experience with severe pain. We give him the pain meds exactly every 4 hours but they usually wear off before then. Maybe I will call the doc and see if I can give it more often.

And every night I debate setting an alarm or just waiting until he wakes up with pain. I have not yet set an alarm as I hate to wake him when he is so soundly sleeping. So far night 3 was the worst.

We have to fight Jack every night to give him his Tylenol with codeine. I hold him while my husband gives it to him. He says it hurts too much. We have tried mixing with just about everything. What seems to work best is give it to him in between bites of popsicle although it is hard to do that in the middle of the night.

Good luck to everyone.

Anonymous said...

We're on Day 5 post-tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy. Our ENT prescribed Capital with Codeine. It's the same thing as Tylenol with Codeine except there's no alcohol in it. It should burn less going down. Doing well so far, except this morning he was in horrible pain when he woke up because we let him sleep all night with no meds. Won't do that again!

Anonymous said...

I believe the doctors should give more info about the post op recovery. We are on day 5 of my 2year olds recovery and it's been hell. I am so glad to have read this site and realise that's pretty normal. My little one is on the thin side as it is and I've been worried about him not eating. He's drinking small amounts but in a lot of pain, and it's impossible to get him to take medicine during the night. I've tried to hide it in milk and juices but he can tell and screams the house down. At least I know we're doing the right thing even if it's not doing much to relieve his pain right now. We've made his fav cakes, bought all his fav foods, and fizzy drinks - although I'm sure we're not supposed to. I'm at the stage I don't care what he eats or drinks as long as it's something till he gets thro this. This isn't the time to be a perfect parent, it's about them getting back to normal, whatever the means. I feel like a wreck, and it's going to be a tough second week as my husband is back at work (and he works away) so I know by the end of it I'll be a zombie. I feel guilty thinking about worrying that I'm wrecked when he's going through that pain. I know it's not about me, but it is tough for the parents too. I think this site is a great support for us parents to keep motivated for our little ones.

Amy said...

We have a 4 year old daughter who is getting ready for a T & A on Friday before the Memorial day holiday. We also have a 4 year old son, who is her twin. Our DR thought it was best if he stayes home as well from Preschool to avoid him bringing the germs home. I think I am better off taking him to Preschool so she can get the much rest that she needs without brother running around. What does everyone think....

Liz said...

Amy,
Personally, I'd go for taking the brother to preschool. G's younger sister was also in preschool by then, and we kept her going on her regular schedule. I needed to be able to focus on G and his needs during the day. When the only thing he would eat was Krispy Kremes and milk, I would have been hard-pressed to keep the younger sibling on a more regular diet. Also, he would have worn himself out trying to play with her when he needed to be still and resting. Just follow good hygiene - if you're really concerned, have brother change clothes and wash hands and face well before getting near sis every afternoon when he comes hom. The more you can preserve the other sibling's routine, and allow the healing one your undivided attention, the better, imho.

Kit said...

For those of you who haven't gone through this procedure, don't fret too much. We understand it's worth it and our journey with the T&A surgery hasn't been horrible. Our son is 7 and just had it done 6 days ago and he's doing okay. Our nurses were fabulous and made sure we knew to stay on top of the pain. We give him his pain meds every 4 hours(as directed) and it's helped tremendously. Granted, they don't make him sick or delirious, so we are lucky.
I have a few tips:
1. Bring a throw up bag for the ride home (just in case). Oh and have it more handy than I did, otherwise it's just not worth bringing. Wet wipes are good to have too.
2. Add pediasure or some kids protein/vitamin drink to their milkshakes for vitamins etc.
3. Drinking: We would have our son take a sip of really icy water at every commercial or chapter in his book- he felt like a water balloon but it made sure the water went in and it was a great way to keep track.
4. We tried weaning him off the heavy duty meds too early and simply going with tylenol and that was a poor choice. His ears were really bothering him and then the tears flowed, he would cough and hack, he wouldn't drink, started to bleed a tiny bit...ugh, it was terrible. (don't listen to your older sister when she's not a Dr. or a nurse).
5. I know your doctors will probably say this, but I haven't seen it much here. Their voices will change for a bit, our son has chosen to whisper most of the time. Don't worry, it will go back.
6. I know in these hard economic times this may not be possible for all, but we decided to give a tiny gift every morning for a few days. I got little gift bags at the $ store and included things like: a new book I could read to him, bubble bath and colored tablets, a twisting/clicking toy to play with and a coloring book with crayons. He's loved it and it gives him something to look forward to.

We are just coming to what I understand are the very "ouchy" days. It's day 6 and he's been complaining of ear pain more than before. Hopefully we'll get through the scab stage soon and we can get on with our lives. Oh, when they say a week, I'm finding that hard to believe. I was hoping to go back to work on day 7 and having him have a short day. I think it will be more like 10, if I'm lucky.
I hope some of this helps as this whole blog has helped us. I just wish we had found it sooner. Good luck to all-

Anonymous said...

Try to avoid: sippy cups, straws, popsicles on the stick

When a child sucks it actually creates suction in the back of the throat which will cause PAIN!

Take the popsicle off the stick and let the child eat with a spoon. Push-ups work great.

Don't worry about what foods to get into your child. Be more concerned about keeping your child hydrated.

Just remember: sippy cups are very bad at this point.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. My son is 2 yrs 10 months old and is on day 6 post op. Why didnt the ENT or anyone warn us, but all of your comments are so true.
I was told 7-10 day recovery, but I have a feeling it will be much longer. He doesnt want to eat or drink practically anything. He is not a big drinker in the first place, and we do not really give him stuff like popsicles...so when we offer it to him now, he refuses. He had ice cream once or twice on day 2 but refuses it now. He is living on one or two yogurts a day and maybe 5 oz of liquids. We did take him back to the hospital on day 4 because he just didnt want anything and his diapers began to get dry. we stayed overnight and came home yesterday. But he is still in agony. For the past three nights he has woken up several times a night screaming in pain and is very aggressive (totally not his personality)......From what you are all saying maybe the scabs are starting to come off, or his throat is just so dry it is burning.
I am going to turn the cool mist humidifier tonight though to see if that helps.
I just wonder why i didnt read all this stuff before we had the surgery. Everyone said it is so easy for a child to recover from.
I just pray that my 9 month old will not have to go thru this when he is older.
It is pure torture.
thanks again.

Kit said...

Wahoo, we had a big turn around on day 8! I posted on day 7 and was sure we wouldn't be back to normal for days to come. It's day 9 and he's eating almost all his normal food, he's back at school for a half day and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I wish all of you good luck, minimal pain and quick recoveries. Oh and most importantly, his sleeping is SOOO much better. I had to put my hand on his back to be sure he was breathing because I wasn't used to all the quiet. Yay. xoxo to all.

Laura said...

Just wanted to pop back into the dialog. I posted when we were on day 6 and it was horrible. And it got worse - my 4.5 year old, who weighed 27 lbs. on the day of her surgery lost 3 pounds post-op - she flat out refused to eat or drink anything! Somewhere around day 8 we took her off the tylenol with codeine (it was making her hyper and almost psychotic!) and switched to plain tylenol - that seemed to help somewhat because she was more calm and cried less (thus, giving her throat some rest). She started not needing the medicine during the day somewhere around day 11. We still woke her up at night because her throat would get so sore and dry . . . anyways - all that is behind us now. The point of writing again is to let everyone know that it DOES get better. At 4 weeks she had not quite healed totally but was doing well. 3 weeks later - she is up to 31 pounds!!!, sleeps through the night with no snoring, doesn't NEED a nap everyday like before, has had NO major tantrums - in short, she is a completely different child!! The decision to do the surgery, which I was questioning during the recovery, has turned out to be one of the best of our lives!!! Good luck to everyone - hang in there! My daughter even said she wanted to do it again (to ride the barbie car in the hospital) so the memory of the pain fades for them too!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much this post has shed some light on things . My 3 1/2 yr old daughter just had her tonsils taken out this past tuesday and she doesn't understand why she can't have milk or pineapple . She is actually doing pretty well she didn't have her pain meds all day long yesterday she said her thorat wasn't hurting or anything . SO far today she has been ok . She wanted to go spend ther night somewhere but I told her we needed to wait to make sure she was ok enough

Anonymous said...

My 20 month old is scheduled for an adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy & complete sinus flush and biopsy next month and I am SCARED to death about the surgery (specificially the tonsillectomy)! I was doing some research and found an alternative to the traditional procedure - it's called Coblation surgery. The surgeons use plasma to make the tonseillectomy incisions instead of a traditional electrical cauterizer. According to the article, the procedure hurts less and the patient heals faster. It's actually an outpatient surgery (even for small children) with this new method. Has anyone ever heard of this new method and if so what were your results?

Liz said...

Hi Anon 8:06,
This may not help much, but here's generally what I gleaned from my research on the different surgical methods for tonsillectomy. There are multiple methods, and the companies that have developed (and patented) the different techniques also sponsor and/or publish some very positive research results touting the benefits of the procedure. I saw a repeating pattern, though, of a sort of hyper-promotion of a technique, followed a few years later by additional studies and cases that showed that the new procedure still carried significant risks (breakthrough bleeding, injury to the laryngoesophagaeal sphincter) just like the other methods. Not saying that will be the case with coblation, but its just a pattern I saw repeat.

Our surgeon used the laser method, and the fact was, this was the method he was most experienced with. He has performed hundreds of tonsillectomies (maybe 1,000+), and this was his preferred method that he was most comfortable with. The additional risks with new methods is being on the surgeon's "learning curve" for the technique. No surgeon would choose to perform a procedure that they didn't have full confidence in their abilities for, but I was still more comfortable sticking with the method that they had the *most* confidence with.

Don't know if this general discussion about adoption of new surgical techniques is helpful - good luck with your preparations and I hope the recovery goes as smoothly as possible.

Anonymous said...

I know that this is an old post, but your blog popped out when I searched out information for my 3 year old's T&A. My daughter had the procedure done three days ago. I'm worried because she sounds so nasally right now. It's difficult to understand her at times. It's like she's literally talking out of her nose at times. Prior to the surgery she sounded stuffed up-not nasally. I was worried about this when I was scheduling her surgery, but the ENT told us not to worry because she had not physical markers that would suggest that this be a complication. The nurses stated that the nasally voice would resolved on it's own once the swelling went down. Did your son need speech services to resolve the hypernasality? Was it a result of the T&A or was it present prior to it? I'm hoping that the nurses are right. One of the reasons why we chose to do the procedure was because our daughter always sounded stuffed up. I thought that this affected her speech somewhat.
Thanks,
-B

Liz said...

Griffin had speech therapy from 20 mos. to 24 mos., and again for about 6 months after the surgery. He was in speech therapy for expressive speech delay (his receptive speech - understanding what was being said to him - was fine). Now he's expressing even rather complex logical processes, but his pronunciation has always been an issue. The just-sucked-in-a-bunch-of-helium sound resolved itself after a few weeks. There is a muscle group at the top, rear of the palate called the laryngoesophagaeal sphincter that has to close to make most hard consonants as pronounced in english (b, c/k, d, g, p, t). The tonsils and adenoids attach along this muscle group, so when they are removed, there's extra space that the muscles aren't accustomed to, they don't close off the space back there, hence the funny nasal sound. She's also at high risk of shooting milk out her nose if she laughs while drinking. The situation isn't dangerous, just sounds funny and usually goes away after the muscle tone improves. Gargling is one of the exercises a speech therapist would try, but my guess is getting a 3 y.o. to gargle at all would be a neat trick in itself.

Anonymous said...

I had my tonsils out at age 21. I had a baby at 24 and it was like a walk through the roses compared to my tonsillectomy. It is correct that it took about 6 weeks for my recovery. I didnt even have a whisper of a voice for about 3 weeks. And after that, I could only manage a whisper until about week 6. I often choked on my pain meds as I could not swollow, so they were useless. The outcome was ultimately positive, as 5 years later I have had zero complications and minimal illnesses. My step daughter (age5) gets her tonsils out tomorrow, so I just pray that she doesn'y experience half the pain and discomfort that I did. At least I could write out my curse words on a pad of paper.. she will have no voice, and is only able to write nonsense letters. SIGH. Bless all the parents out there who are patient with their little ones through this procedure - it is a rough one!

Carrie said...

Hi, my daughter had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy 5 days ago. My advice to all considering this surgery for their child is to make sure they don't push you our the hospital door too fast after surgery. My daughters surgery was at 7:30am and we were discharged at 11:15am same day. This was after she threw up all over and her pain was not under control. She also looked horrible, her face was all puffy and she had a black eye.

She ended up needing to go back on day 3 for IV fluids as she couldn't keep anything down. Now it is day 5 and she is doing much better now that we switched her to regular Tylenol. We figured it was the pain meds making her sick. You think they could have figured that out at the hospital??!!!

Not a fun surgery, but I hope it is worth it.

Anonymous said...

My 5 year-old daughter just had her tonsils and adenoids out on 6/22/09. She is doing pretty well. They gave her some morphine in recovery, but we have been on regular Tylenol since then. (The doctor doesn't like the narcotics since it tends to make them sick.) She is up and about most of the time, but I am having a heck of a time getting any kind of food in her. We have tried popcicles, ice cream, smoothies, jello and at the moment, she doesn't really want any of it. Ice water seems to be he drink of choice. I'll just keep trying, but thanks for this post. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Jake's Mom said...

Wow! This is the best thing I came across on the internet thus far!!! Thank you, every one of you, for all your stories and advise. My 7 year old had his T&A surgery 2 days ago, 6/23/09. We went to CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) and they were FABULOUS as most of what you said I was pre-warned about. It's just nice to hear from real life experiences. My son had a good surgery, although he did not want to get put to sleep and then was upset when he came out of it. But calmed down with my husband and I in the room with him. So far his recovery has been great, but as one mentioned earlier I feel is the calm before the storm. He takes the lortab exlixor OK, but also has to take the 'pink stuff' antibiotic twice a day for 5 days, which he has always hated. Now I threaten to call the dr and take him in to get IV for it, he winds up taking it. But it is a struggle. No one else mentioned that, but perhaps because my son was born with a heart defect and has to take that before every dentist appointment, too. Interestingly my doctor explained do not worry about if he wants nothing to eat. And do not restrict anything. Milk, citrus fruit, chips, ANYTHING he wants, give to him. If he wants nothing, do not fret. You can live 30 days without food, but only 3 without water (fluids). So far he is eating OK. PB&J, Mac&Ch... not much but a little. And he loves the fruit snacks which was recommended to help ease the jaw/ear pain he's likely to have from keeping his mouth open during surgery. The chewing motion is supposed to help that. Gum would be best, but my son doesn't like gum (weird, I know.) Biggest goal is getting fluids in so he does not get dehydrated and also so the scabs don't dry up and start bleeding. Which so far he seems to be doing fine with. I have the cool mist humidifier full blast in his bedroom all day and night. I have been on top of pain med - nurse warned me, every 4 hours for at least the first 48 hours. Thought I'd start weaning him tomorrow to every 6 hrs, but now after reading this am reconsidering that. Was warned his voice would change and so far just sounds like he has a sore throat and is hard for him to talk. Was also warned day 3-4 would be the worst, but now am fully prepared cause it sounds like days 7-9 may be the worst, from what I've read of your stories. Was also warned by nurses his breath will be worse than anything I've ever experienced. I guess that will start tomorrow. The nurse also said to make sure to stay on top of fluids for a full month after surgery, as they see a lot of kids come back a month later. She said a lot of parents start slacking off monitoring that after the 2nd and 3rd week, and considering it's summertime now and he'll be sweating more... And I can totally relate to earlier post - I've also put my hand on his back when he's sleeping to make sure he was breathing, as I am not used to the quiet!!! And stupid me took my 4 year old out of daycare (saving some money) since I was off work this week and my husband took off next week. Should have left him in, as it really is a handful keeping him out of his brother's hair! Especially since I am tired because I am giving the meds round the clock.

AbbyG said...

Special thanks to the author-your post is fabulous. I don't think others can understand the dread/guilt of waking up, holding down and forcing your usually happy, amazing 2.5-year-old child to take his dose of Tylenol with Codeine every 4 hours. (We are only on day 4 post-op.) Every child is different, but if you are having a hard time, it's comforting to know you're not crazy or being dramatic.

Anonymous said...

My little guy will be three in August. He had the T/A surgery on 6/26/09. Post-op was tough for him. He hates "cold" foods and drinks. He also has a milk allergy. We invested in ordering a soy replacement drink (Bright Beginnings). He likes it, but I wouldn't recommend it until after day 2 b/c of upset tummies. He is on day 9 of recovery. We are using the pain meds less and less. We are switching to regular tylenol today. He wanted graham crackers at day 7! He had a rough time durings days 2-4, but he improved greatly. I was very thankful for this blog b/c I knew what to expect. That made the process so much easier. My son has had some health issues so he has a pretty high pain tolerance. The only way I knew he was struggling was by watching him swallow and to see how much he was drooling. Our only issue is to try to keep him at about 85% of his usual activities so he can fully recover. No running and jumping as the doctor ordered has been out of the question. He is a monkey! He starts back to school tomorrow, but I am fully prepared to pick him up early if needed. He keeps asking to go back! This was our summer "vacation" this year. I stayed home with him for over a week. Normally I would be able to work quite a bit from home, but it was tough to do this time. He was very clingy and just wanted mom time which was fine with me! For those of you about to go through the process with your little ones, it does get better. Every kid is different. Also, that mom (and dad) gut feeling about your kiddos is important. If something doesn't look/feel right, get it checked out.

Jake's Mom said...

This is a follow-up to my earlier post. Jake's surgery was 3 weeks ago tomorrow (6/14). He was tired and a bit cranky for the first week. But he loved playing wii all day long and having all the ice cream and Popsicle he wanted. Didn't leave much room for real meals, but I didn't worry about it, based on the doc's advise. On day 8 he woke up and declared he did not need the pain meds anymore. He has not taken them since! Also, very unusual I suppose, but his breath never did stink. I was fully prepared for the worst, and it never did. At least I didn't notice it, and I have a fairly good nose. (Now his gas...that S-T-U-N-K, I'm guessing from the meds.) I guess we got really lucky, because he is doing just great! Even said he'd go thru it all again if he had too. So I guess he's already forgotten about the worst of the pain the first few days. And I am just so relived it is all over-with. I was just a wreck from the day before surgery until about last weekend when I saw him swimming and riding his bike and being his normal happy self again. Although, I have to admit, I am still not used to the quiet sleeping and still place my hand on his back or chest before I go to bed to make sure... For those of you just going thru this now, keep in mind it does get better and it really is the best thing in the long run! Here's hoping you have an easy of a time as my experience turned out to be.

Anonymous said...

I am more scared now than ever before.. I am going to his preop today. (he will be 3 next month) My son is very very stubborn and if pain meds hurt him he will NOT take it.. Here they only keep them 1-2 hours after surgery. I am so close to cancelling this surgery... I hate seeing my babies in pain and now after reading this I don't know what to do:(....Scotty's mommy

Andrea said...

My almost-4-yr-old will have her surgery on 7/24/09. I am a nervous wreck and am now having anxiety attacks when I think about it. I'm grateful for this blog but now I'm really flipping out!
I am wondering if anyone knows how a pacifier will feel on a sore throat? My daughter is hopelessly addicted to her "nookie" and needs it to calm down and/or sleep. We don't let her have it when she is awake but I'm starting to think we may let her while she recovers from the T&A. Anyone have a little one who used a pacifier during recovery?
breathe in, breathe out.....

Connors mom said...

OK...I know this will sound crazy, but I'm concerned something is wrong because my 3 yr old son is doing awesome. He's eating cookies and a MC Donald hamburger (DAY 2), he rode his tricycle down the driveway and back, and had never said his throat hurts. He's not sleeping all the time...but playing and running around the house. He's on Tylenol with Codeine every 4 hours, but I'm wondering if he needs it. He does fine even when it's an hour past his medicine time...ON DAY 2. My husband joked that maybe they just sedated him but didn't remove the tonsils at all!! He's had 3 other surgerys and recovered quickly, but I never expected this.

Any thoughts? I read the "toddlers are all or nothing" comment about pain meds so I keep giving it to him.

Cindy said...

I found this blog a couple of weeks ago, and my daughter who is 3yrs old had her tonsils and adenoids and tubes in her ear last week Wednesday 8-19-09. The Doctor kept her in the hospital for the 1st night, which I was so glad because it was horrible. She was in so much pain and after the 2nd doses of tynenol with codeine she started throwing up, they said it was from the pain meds. SO now for the last 6 days the poor things only gets regular tynenol ever 4 hours. It does not do much for her pain level but they say there is nothing else they can give her. As you can imagine she does not want to eat or drink because of the pain. The DOc did send her home with an IV and a nurse can for 3 days and gave her fluids, since then things seem to be getting worse. My biggest concern is that she is having terrible, terrible pains in her stomach. The pain is under her ribs and she doubles over in pain and cries, which makes her throat hurt even more. Right now I have a call into the doctor, I am hoping he can help her in some way. If anyone has had the same problem please let me know and let me know what helped. Thanks

3 Peanuts said...

Thank you so much for posting this when you did. I have a blog too and have posted a little of what we have been through but tis is great. I was googling the recovery process because we were not very informed about how long this would last. our daughter is just over 3 yrs old and had tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in 6 days ago. Surgery Day was tough because she vomitted a lot fro the anesthesia. They did send us home with some Zofran and that really helped. Day 2 and 3 were easy. Days 4 and 5 were tough. Lots of pain and the stink breath showed up. Today was not so bad until the night time. I was hoping to send her back tp pre-school tomorrow but I think she needs a few more days of recovery. I do think people should know that the recovery is really rather tough. Although....she was sick ALL the time with constant ear infections, sleep apnea, strep and everything else (including MONO!). So, I am sure it will prove to be worth it. I am grateful to see that we are not the only ones that have dealt with some of these things.

Anonymous said...

my son will be 4 in two months just had his tonisls and adnoids removed one week ago today. Surgery went great, and I took him home 2 hours later, he immediately wanted jello and popsicles, since then he has eaten pierogies like crazy, they are mushy already just put some spray butter on them and they have helped him tremendously! Although last night the pain got increasingly worse. He woke up every 3 1/2 hours needing more pain meds, he has been much more sluggish today, so i'm hoping by the end of the week he is feeling better. He didn't like the tylonel with codene so i only gave it to him at bed time and gave him regular tylonel during the day, he has been dealing with the pain great, til today! He so badly wants to run around and jump around and i think for him thats the worst part is that he can't at the risk of causing bleeding. i keep reading about the bad breath and have been told that by his doctor, but his isn't so bad, maybe because he is eating so much and drinking alot of apple juice...who knows. This was helpful in letting me know that this is normal for the pain to increase at this stage. thank you

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add my son's outcome. I found this post two days before his T&A surgery. He's 2.5 yrs old. I have relied on the advice of Mom's for year's and got some good tips from everyone, although some (most) of the accounts scared me to death! I wanted to come back and post that we had a good experience. He got some versed before the surgery which made him drunk and happy. The OR didn't phase him, the mask didn't bother him and he went right to sleep. He woke up a little "rough", combative and disoriented, that's usual with versed. After that went on for 20 minutes, the nurses gave him a half dose of morphine to control any pain and help relax him. Worked like a charm. He slept for another 20 minutes and was normal when he woke up. Happy, smiling, ate a whole popcicle. We stayed for another hour and went home and he has been fine. I've been very diligent about his pain meds, cut them in half yesterday (day 3) and went to reg tylenol today and he has no pain. His appetite picked up today, still soft foods but he ate a good bit. I would like him to drink more but he's never been a big drinker and his urine output hasn't changed a bit. I'm bracing for days 5-7 and the scabs coming off but so far, he has played and wrestled and except for his squeaky little voice (that is a hoot) he is perfectly normal! I feel for the moms and babes who had a rough time. There is nothing worse than having a miserable child and feeling helpless but I wanted to add our story so that moms who find this can be assured that it may not be so terrible. Every child is different and hopefully they will come out on the easy side of this surgery. Best of luck to everyone recovering from and getting prepared for this surgery. I hope it goes as smoothly as ours has.

Danielle S. said...

My son is scheduled for his T/A/tubes in about a month. I was wondering if anyone one here has had this done on their really little one? My son is oly 15 months old and as you can imagine I am worried about him. He still lives on his bottles as every time I try to convert him he ends up sick with something, take your pick ear infections, complications from his asthma, or as of late, staph infections. I noticed that a previous poster went to CHOP with good results, that makes me happy as that is where we will be going. I just happened to notice that most posters children ranged from 2-4 and I did not see anything from people with youbger munchkins. good luck to all.

Rebecca said...

I am waiting for my 3 year old little girl to have her tonsils and adenoids removed and tubes put in her ears. I am really afraid for her...my husband and I keep telling her that the Doctor will make her feel better, and she can eat all the Ice Cream she wants...I am still a mess...any advice as to how I can cope...I am just afraid that when they take her to the operation room I will lose it...is this normal for me to feel like this?? Will she be okay?? I know I know I am just worring for her...lol lol...
The good thing is that she will be able to talk better (I hope!!)
I just need to know that it is normal to feel frightened...and apprehensive about this surgery.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I read this blog a few weeks ago and was absolutely terrified...

My 7 year old and 3 year old had their tonsils and adenoids removed 2 days ago and are doing great. I really feel for those who have had a tough time, but for those waiting to have it done, don't panic.

My oldest had 3 doses of Tylenol with codeine at the hospital because she was pretty uncomfortable, but since we got home I've switched her back to regular Tylenol and she's fine. Her throat is a little sore (no kidding) but she is eating, drinking and sleeping well - now she's just bored.

My 3 year old has had nothing but regular Tylenol and is also doing fine. Her throat gets a little sore but she too is eating, drinking, etc. Not a tear from either one of them since we left the hospital.

Some things we learned:
1. The "no milk" thing is because dairy can cause some mucus in the throat that the kids will want to clear. This is easily resolved by a few sips of soda after some dairy.

2. Find out what they will get to drink/eat in the hospital and get them used to it at home first. We were given lots of soda because it helps clear the throat, but our 3 year old had never had it before and hated it. It was a treat for our 7 year old though, which was great. They were hungry right away too, and thankfully they like jello. If they didn't, they would have been very hungry and grumpy.

Best of luck to all the parents and kids waiting for their big day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post!!

Mark & Janel said...

I agree with so many others that this blog has been a tremendous benefit. BOTH our sons had their tonsils out 4 days ago. Jake is 6 and Luke is 3. Crazy us for deciding to have them both done at the same time. Seemed it was best to "get it out of the way". I took the whole week off to help my wife with the kids and I'm wondering if I shouldn't take next week off as well. We've kind of paired off, I take care of Jake and Mom takes care of Luke. We haven't had near the same problems that others have written about. I can't tell you how much I sorrow I feel for those of you who have described the horrors you've been through. My wife and I have got two at once, both we've really had it easy based upon what's been written here. Our 3 year old was the screaming terror after the surgery. But after 1 1/2 hours of "torturing" him by holding on to him tight, he finally feel asleep. After that, he's been good. He ate chicken nuggets the day after his surgery. Insane. Significant difference in the experience between our two. The 3 year old acts like he never had surgery. But he won't drink. Will eat almost anything, but we have to force him to drink. I know that it takes fluid to digest food, so we're constantly forcing liquids since he's been eating. Our 6 year old has been in much more pain. He won't drink much and eats less. We've started giving him 10 ml "shooters" of Gatorade before every activity. However, the 6 year old sleeps through the night for the most part, but the 3 year old wakes up twice each night with irrational demands. I think we're going to start waking them up to give them Tylenol at night. Our 6 year old is doing normal Tylenol in the day and Tylenol with codine at night. Because our 3 year old stopped breathing during surgery recovery, he's restricted to normal Tylenol, although he seems to be fine on it. Again, I'd like to thank everyone for their posts. My wife and I have been so worried that we weren't getting enough fluids or food in them. Based on others' experiences, we're doing just fine. We're also now prepared for "day 5" which seems to be a turn for the worst. We had assumed we were over the worst and would have been taken by surprise if I hadn't read this. Our 3 year old does have the high pitched "helium inhalation" syndrom in his voice. His tonsils were so large that they did overlap. Our 6 year old won't talk, so we don't know yet! But he is active and is ODing on video games. The one big surprise for us was that we stocked up on popsicles, ice cream, jello, etc. Neither kid will eat any of it. The 3 year old only wants "normal" food and the 6 year old has no appetite. A few bits of mash potatoes, pudding, apple sauce, peanut butter, and that type of thing, but not much at any one time. Oh, and the biggest pain for my 6 year old is ear pain. He indicates that his throat hurts, but it's his ears that he cries about. So based on this blog, we're going to try the ear drops. We did get them to try some ice chips today. Marginally successful. Oh, and both are more violent than they used to be. I figure it's a reaction to the pain and their way of dealing with it. We try and protect the dog...
Good pain management to all of you out there who are going through this or soon will be! I really do feel for you! Nothing is harder to take or more emotionally tiring than watching your kids be in pain. I'm still waiting for a post from anyone other than Liz to see if their procedures did indeed help their children. When you're going through this you start to wonder if you've made a mistake. As my 6 year old said right after surgery, "I didn't hurt before I came in and now I do. Why did you do this to me?" (Dad cried after that one).

Mark and Janel said...

Update to our double tonsilectomy experience. It's now day 6 and the scabs have started coming off. Definitely as bad as the first day of surgery. Worst day, so far, for the 3 year old. About par with the day of sugery for the 6 year old. So, just another warning for anyone who's kids are going to get this surgery. We thought 5 or 6 days and they'd be over it. Nope. Day 6 is a return to pain and agony for the kids. They're taking it as well as can be expected, but since we're all worn out emotionally it's perhaps tougher to take. Yesteday both kids were drinking fluids with no problems and even split a Happy Meal (hamburger, french fries and apple juice). Today, neither wants to eat or drink. The ear pain has diminished for the 6 year old, but his throat is now the part that hurts the most. On the positive side, our 3 year old sounded like Darth Vader any time he was asleep, regardless of position--lying down, sitting up in the car, being held, etc. No longer. He sleeps pretty quietly and his breathing is definitely easier. He still sounds like he inhaled helium. The 6 year old is still severely restricting his talking and when he does it's a croak. If I can remember, I'll update again when they seem to have recovered fully.

sweetawreet said...

Thank you so much for this post. Knowing about your personal experience is going to really help prepare us. Our 28-month old goes into surgery in four days.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo very much for this post! My daughter is having this surgery next week, and this is about the only thing I found on the net that explains what she will be going through...
Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

They say to avoid dairy products because it aides in the production of mucus, which can slow the healing process down.

Jen said...

Thank you so much for this. My 2 year old son just had a tonsilectomy on Jan 7th (its day 9 today) and he is still miserable. He hasn't slept through the night since day 3! And we have to force the pain medication down his throat in order to get him to take it, which freaks him out. And milk- thats all he wants to drink. Sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn't. I certainly didn't expect it to be like this but your blog helped so so much! Thank you agian for this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this. My 3 yr old daughter is on day 7 after her tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong that was waking her up every 2 1/2 hours at night. This has happened the past three nights in a row. We have a humidifier blasting and she's actually drinking quite well, but now I can imagine the pain she must be having if it feels like "glass in the throat"! OUCH!
On the dairy subject - we were told to avoid dairy too because of it having a tendency to build up on the back of the throat clining to any mucus that may be sitting back there. But our daughter is Ms Dairy Lover, so avoiding was not an option. She has yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, etc all day long. That's all we can get down her.
Thanks again!

sweetawreet said...

Our 28-month old was great in surgery and during his 25-hour hospital observation. He was willing to eat ice cream, everyone complimented him.

We were discharged.

12 hours later, we were back in the ER for dehydration, and we stayed in the hospital for 2.5 days, with baby hooked up to an IV, weighing diapers, the whole thing.

But one month later we seem to have fully bounced back. He's sleeping through the night again for the most part.

And now he sleeps so silently. Like a ninja.

Anonymous said...

As others have said, this site is a blessing. I was so much better prepared for our experience after reading others' posts.
Our 4 year-old had adenoids and tonsils removed 7 days ago. He did beautifully until the last two days.
Here are some things that worked for us. I hope these tips help other families.

1. Give pain medications 1/2 hour before they are due. Wake the child up to administer them on schedule for at least the first few nights. Trust me, it is better to be woken up by your alarm clock than to let your child wake up to the pain. It takes 30 to 40 minutes to calm them down, and it is heart-wrenching.
2. We did away with the Tylenol with Codeine after a couple of days. As others have mentioned, he was acting "crazy" while taking it. We did give it to him at night for an additional couple of nights, but he even commented that it made him "goofy", and he did not want to take it.
3. Regular Tylenol was tolerated until day 5 or 6. Then, we switched to Tylenol Meltaways. For some reason, he did not want to take the liquid Tylenol, but he accepted the tablets. Again, we gave him doses every 3 and 1/2 hours, not every 4 hours as directed on the label. He did not like the grape flavor, though. The bubble gum was the only flavor he would chew.
4. Chewing gum has been a comfort. I would not give any with mint or strong citrus, though.
5. Hall's cough drops have been very comforting for him these past few days as well.
6. As many others have said, keep the humidifier cranked up at sleep time.
7. Foods that worked for us:
peanut butter (eaten off of a plastic spoon)
bananas
yogurt in the squeeze tubes
soup
pudding
oatmeal
He was eating fairly well until day 5 or 6. After that, everything "hurt his mouth"
8. Carnation Instant Breakfast powder mixed with milk.
9. Pediasure vanilla milk.
10. Applesauce, until day 5 or 6. Then, it burned his mouth.
11. Use the syringe provided for liquid medicines to quirt ice cold water or pedilite or gatorade into your child's mouth. This was the only way I could get fluids into my son. It is slow going, but he was willing to take the dropperful.
Despite the pain and not eating, I noticed an almost instant improvement in his sleeping. Prior to the surgery, he was waking several times an hour, gasping for air. The sleep apnea was just aweful. So, I know it will be well-worth it.

My best advice is to listen to your child. They are surprisingly in tune with their own bodies and needs. Give them lots of cuddles and love. You will be going crazy, but try to be patient, calm and kind. They are very vulnerable and sensitive and they are looking to you to get them through this.

I would greatly appreciate any feedback from parents regarding improved behavior and/or appetite following the surgery. My guy was borderline ADHD acting (I have read that this improves as the sleep-deprivation related to the apnea is eliminated). I am interested to hear if others have experienced this benefit. I am also eager to know if the appetite increases. My son has never had a strong appetite, so I am hoping the surgery helps him to want to eat.

Thank you and good luck to you all!

Sarah said...

Thank you for writing your experience. We were told 5 days and my 26 month old should be feeling better at our pre-op visit, but today- day 6- I decided to increased his meds and try the tylenol with codeine again to get him on top of his pain. I have a 5-month-old and between him waking up every few hours to be fed and my son waking up screaming (which also wakes his little brother), I have had little to no sleep at all! I'm exhausted!

What you say is true...my son starts scremaing and crying about 30 minutes before he is due for meds and then I spend another 30 minutes holding and rocking, waiting for it to kick in! Last night, in my tiredness, I actually said the words "I wish I wouldn't have done this...", but the years of PFAPA, fevers and tonsillitis would definately be worse for him in the long run. We are day 6 post-T&A and I am hoping it will be downhill from here now, but I am now prepared thanks to YOUR post (why don't doctors tell us mamas about this to prepare us for the truth...I would have still done it, but I would have been better prepared for it) for the next several days! I feel horrible because my husband and I are thinking..."you are 5 days post-op...you should be feeling better and we think you are milking it"...and would be short with him when he started throwing a fit about taking medicine or waking up screaming (luckily my mom did warn me about the medicine stinging so we "numb" his throat with a cold drink or cold jello first). Thank you again- now I know what is going on is normal and that he truly is still feeling pain!

So far my son has had the HORRIBLE bad breath, 99-100 fever and went from being the best medicine taker in the world to having to hold him down and shoot it in his mouth! Poor baby! I can't wait for him to feel 100% better now. I think I am going to print out your post and take it to his follow-up appointment tomorrow and tell his MD that he should copy it for all the mommies and put it in their post-op instructions so those mommies don't feel all alone! I cannot thank you enough!

Sarah said...

I posted the previous comment, but thought I'd follow-up a little...I wanted to let you know that I was so impressed with your blog post that I printed it out (minus the comments because that would have taken 58 pages!!!) and gave it to my son's ENT when we went in for our follow-up and told him that I thought he should make copies and hand them out to any mommy of a toddler who has to go through this so they are better prepared for what to expect. I told him that it would not have deterred me from doing the procedure, but I would have had so much more patience with him (not thinking he was milking it after 5 days because the MDs said he would feel better by then) and would have gotten better ideas of other things to try. My son is on day 10 now and today we are trying to come back down off the Tylenol 3 and try just plain Tylenol. He is now sleeping through the night again, less snoring, less bad breath and is starting to eat and drink again. I feel like we are definitely improving, but still not 100% yet. Again, thank you for posting. I appreciate it! (I also put a link to this page on my facebook...hope that was okay!)

Liz said...

Hi Sarah,
Wow, I'm so glad this post has been helpful. It's been 1.75 years since G had his surgery, and reading the comments from all the parents over time has been so moving, sometimes to tears, sometimes to laughter. I'm so touched by the outpouring of the parents here, reaching out across the internets to help each other out. Anyway, posting to FB was fine - the more exposure the information gets the better.

Best love to you and your little guy. They sure are breathtaking and wondrous for the little bit of time we get with them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the comments that this is a fantastic post and a great way to hear about what you might expect during your toddler's recovery from a T&A. I empathize with all you families who have gone through a really rough recovery, but I just wanted to add a comment that while many kids have difficulty after their surgery, a good number also fly through with no problems. We were very fortunate that my 2 1/2-year-old had surgery on a Wednesday morning, and after the initial bout of being inconsolable after coming out of anesthesia, we didn't have any other problems. He spent the night in the hospital having fun watching movies and eating 30 popsicles. We made sure to keep him on his pain meds as prescribed for the first few days, but honestly by the second day after the surgery he was back to nearly his normal diet (including chips, orange juice, spicy stir-fry, etc.). This blog posting allowed me to prepare for the worst, and luckily we came out with the best. Good luck to everyone going through this!

carrie said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My daughter is 5 and post op day 7 today. It's been a nightmare. Her starting medication was Acetaminophen with Codeine was lasting 2 hours and then she'd start screaming. I finally called mid-day post op day 2 for advice on what else to do or to have the doctor change the med. They told me to call back the next day to see how she was doing because at this point there is nothing they can do. It was awful- I called back and they talked to me like I was a drug seeker but the doctor agreed to change it to Lortab 7.5/500. Unfortunately this works about the same for her. The max time of relief seems to be about 3 & 1/2- 4 hours from either med but it's usually about 2. I am however concerned about the lortab's tylenol content b/c it's almost double of what a child this age (and weight of 48 lbs) should have, especially this frequently so I have been alternating them.
God bless to all who have been through this and to all who have to go through it. Oh yeah one thing I wanted to say is that I used some Hyland's homeopathic earache drops to sooth her ears from the pain and they worked.

Anthony said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I agree that we were not prepared for the amount of pain and duration of the whole recovery. My four year old is on day 7 and still needs lots of pain meds. I had no idea we'd be waking up for so many nights, but it's the only way to keep her pain free. I was going to call the doctor and ask if she should go in because day 7 seems long for her to still be in so much pain. He said ween her off meds at day 4 or 5. Ha... that was not an option. Anyways, your experience helped me realize all of what she is going through is normal. A little more prep from the doctors would have been nice. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! My daughter is on day 7 of post-op and I thought for sure that this pain was going on too long. What's crazy is my oldest daughter had the same thing done 5 years ago, for some reason I forgot how hard it is! Anyway, thanks again for posting this, you really helped me!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all this information. My husband and I have been at our wit’s end. Our 3 year daughter had her tonsils and adenoids out 8 days ago. No major problems the day of the surgery and then no problems till day 5. Then things got worse, a lot worse! Our daughter is normally a very happy, easy-going little girl but now she is a different person. Major meltdowns and most of the time for no reason. Its day 8 now and things have not gotten better yet, but after reading everyone's experiences, I am finding that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's incredibly hard to be patient with a 3 year old who is so irrational. And I totally agree that the ENT doctor and nurses do not really prepare you on how much pain your child will be in. This post is amazing and thank you so much for sharing your experience, along with the others, to help us get through this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Our 5yr old is is day 3-4 podt T&A.
After coming out of the durgery he was agressive and distressed. This took roughly 20mins for him to calm down and then had 2 iceblocks in recovery. We were amazed that he was eating and drinking so well 1-2hrs after the surgery thinking this is unbelievable from what our surgeon had described as having a "very sick little boy for 10days".Then it hit him hard vomiting,pain,distress agititation for 18hours it hit him and I like a tone of bricks. At the the request of the nursing staff I had to call my husband as not one of us could settle him.In the morning he was still agitated and very sick that they called for the doctor to review him who found he had to many narcotics in his little system and stopped them right away (oxycodone). My son was put on paracetamol suppositories and made a very quick recovery that we left hospital the next morning after breakfast. The oxycodone upset his stomach and the antibiotics have given him diarrhoea. He has constant ear pain when he swallows but that is too be expected. He is not complaining and only requiring 2 doses of pain relief a day which is unbelievable. Thank you for this blog I wish I had read this before surgery for the real stories my surgeon was upfront with how bad it would be. I will post once we are further down the track.
Goodluck

Anonymous said...

Our 5-year-old daughter had the surgury days ago and the recovery has gone better than expected. She was very upset for about 20 minutes when she initially woke up fromt he surgury, but she has not cried since. She is eating and drinking well, which is interesting because we normally struggle to get her to eat. We are keeping her on the pain meds, which is probably helping alot. The biggest challenge has been getting her to take her medicine. I am knocking on wood as I type this because I know things could change, but so far, it has been as good as one can hope.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much for this post. I thought we would be much better off by now - 7 days post-op. My 26 month old boy just had tonsillectomy, adeniodectomy & PE tubes put in - all due to speech trouble, hearing loss & sleep apnea. We were doing OK the first few days, but then on day 5 we took a turn for the worse it seems. Last night was just terrible with him up all night screaming about his pain & puling on his tongue. The only time we are able to get anything into his system is shortly after giving him his pain meds - Tylenol with codeine, which is a battle in itself to get it into him. He also has a cough, which does not help his pain. Reading this post and the many comments has at least put my mind at ease a bit. Time to roll up the sleeves even higher & get thru the next 3 days. I hope it does not go on much longer than that! I thought the pain would subside a bit every day that passes, but that is definitely not the case with us. I was only giving him the pain med in the morning and at night, but now I am going to diligently give it to him every 4 hours. Thank you!

Noa said...

Our 5 year old had his tonsils and adenoids removed 12 days ago.
As well as over the counter pain killers we have given him homeopathy remedies starting the day before surgery.
Twice daily each: Calendula pills 200c and Arnica pills 200c, at list 1 hour apart.
From day 10 he didn't need the pain killers and today - day 12, he is ready to go back to school.
Obviouslly it has been difficult during recovery and day 5-7 was very hard while scabbing started. but keeping him drinking and eating soft cheese on toast and ice cream has done wonders.
Good luck and god bless.

Anonymous said...

My 26 month old had a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy this week. The surgery went well, but he came out of anesthesia angrier than a midget with a yo-yo. He was discharged quickly after surgery - about an hour post-op. It was relatively easy to get him to eat popsicles the first few hours, but became increasingly difficult the first day. I was told to push 1000 cc per day - not even close. Previous comments were right on with the pain coming back about 3.5 hours after administrating Tylenol with Codeine. Other than physically looking pitiful and pain around the time of his next dose of pain medication, he was extremely active and did not want to rest. His appetite was strong. I woke every 4 hours to give him pain medicine the first night. Day 2 was MUCH more difficult to keep him hydrated. He didn't want anything to do with liquids, and ate considerable less. I resorted to following him around with a medicine dropper full of cool water and "dosing" him with fluids throughout the day. Again, not even close to 1000 cc. Last night he slept through the night, and I administered pain meds at 4am while he was sleeping. It took 30 minutes to soothe him - it looks like I will be setting an alarm clock tonight. So far, it has been a battle to get the fluids in him, he is in moderate pain, but refuses to rest, wanting to ride his tricycle in the house and play most of the day. I was told by the surgery center that if he does not drink at least 12 oz today, he will need to be admitted for IV fluids. I'll post an update in a few days.

Liz said...

I had to think through whether to publish the previous comment from Anon or not, due to the perjorative metaphor in reference to dwarfism. I decided to land in favor or more dialogue, not less, and to view this as an opportunity to increase awareness.

Here's a link for more information on use of the word "midget": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midget. You all are intelligent grown-ups, so I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

As you were.

TypeAMama

Anonymous said...

don't forget that tylenol "acetaminophen" is often in a lot of these pain meds, INCLUDING hydocodone! the dose of every 4 hours is based on the max amount of tylenol / day, not the actual narcotic itself. i see lots of accidental tylenol over-doses (and associated liver failure) from giving pain meds too often. it's easier to over-dose on kiddos.

Jessica said...

Finally!!! Something that actually depicts what it is we are dealing with. My 3 year old son, Connor, had his tonsils and adenoids (with new tubes put in) taken out on 5/6/10. Here is is...5/14/10 and every day is still a trial. They sent him home about an hour and a half or so after the proceedure was done, with tylenol with codine (and an antibiotic to assist with the dead dog breath he would develop). The tylenol with codine only provided relief for about 2 hours and then he was miserable again. They switched him off the two meds he was on and directed regular tylenol and an oral steroid (to help reduce some swelling) for 5 days. I keep waiting for the pain to let up and my happy/onry boy to return...but it's just not happening. He wakes up numerous times in the middle of the night crying and screaming. He fights us with every muscle to not take his pain meds. We have had to resort to begging/bartering to get him to take drinks...and I can tell he has lost weight. He gets frustrated because he is hungry...but then tries to eat and it hurts.
It amazes me that he is still in this much pain...as I really didn't expect it to last this long. I swear I'm labeled the "neurotic mom" at the ent office b/c I've called numerous times since surgery b/c I just didn't expect what we were seeing. They've told me that he is in the stage where the scab is coming off. They said during this time if we wanted to give him benadryl to help we could (although not sure how this helps??).
Oh...we also have notice that besides ice packs for some comfort...my son has taken to chewing ON EVERYTHING! I'm assuming it helps with the pressure and pain.

I don't regret the surgery...but only because I know that ultimately it will help (he had repeated ear infections despite tubes, snored like an old man, and enlarged tonsils).

Anyhoo...thank you again for the blog on this. It was very helpful. Also...for everyone posting...how long did your child take before finally coming out of all the pain and get back to normal. For my sanity's sake I'm trying to figure out how much longer we might have.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for all the great info! My two year old will be having his tonsil out next week and I think this will really help! Thank God his twin doesn't have to have his out too!

Glenda said...

Oh wow! My little man (3.5yr old) is going in on Monday for a tonsillectomy and sinus flush! He has already had the adenoids and grommets done when he was but 13months old. He keeps getting recurrent infections and even in between the tonsils stay enlarged. It has gotten to the stage where it is interfering with his eating and he has begun to lose weight so they have decided to remove them.

Anonymous said...

My 4 year had a T&A on May 26. Today three days later - he still has some pain. I never could get him to take the liquid lortab. I resorted to tylenol and benedryl. Today I spiked a Capri Sun with a dose of Lortab - it took him several hours to drink it but he did not notice the taste - I kept it icy cold and had him tak 1-2 sips every 10 minutes. He actually ate today and drank more - I was getting worried about no food intake yesterday and very little fluids. Maybe the trauma of all the meds had his system upset. He has been running a fever of about 100. He is very hungry and tried a variety of food today - cereal, grilled cheese (only ate the melted cheese), mac and cheese, orange sherbert. I found as foods hurt him in the first two days, he is unwilling to try again. I bought lots of toys and dvds for bribery. It works. Thanks for all the great posts.

Melissa said...

5/30/10--My 4 yr old son had tonsils and adnoids out Tuesday 5/25/10. It's unfortunate that we did not read up on the after effects before his surgery. He went into surgery with such a great attitude and came out doing well until the antestheisa wore off shortly after they brought him out of surgery. The nurse gave him morphine and something to settle his tummy and he feel asleep not long after. He did eat some flavored shaved ice while we waited in recovery which was about 3-4 hours. We went home, stopped at the pharmacy for his meds and went home. We too have found that 3.5 hours at best is all the relief he gets from the pain meds. So we give him what he needs when he needs it. He is a kid who won't drink, eat or take meds to make him feel better and it's been a struggle and battle for us since we brought him home. Friday he ate 3 great meals, yesterday 2 and today not as much, but did get some fluids/calories into him. He has lost 4 lbs, at last we checked. Last night I was up all night with him because the pain was unbearable for him. I am guessing the scabs came off or are in the process of coming off. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and tonight more restful for all of us. Thanks to all who posted, I was beginning to think that he was abnormal in this process of recovery but he seems to be in step with many, many others.

Glenda said...

Well, what a day yesterday! The little man went into theatre at 0835 and was out by 0900. He was completely out of it from all the pain meds they had given him and he slept for 2hrs off and on. Once he woke up the vomiting started and continued throughout the day in spite of anti-nausea meds. Unfortunately they had removed his drip in the morning cos he had shifted it and it was entering soft tissue. Finally at 1710pm the doc suggested a wafer tab for under the tongue and WOW - magic muti! My little man ate and drank and was happy! They finally discharged him after 12hrs in hospital and off we went home but having read the painful notes above we set alarms to keep him dosed on pain meds and eventually we also ended up dosing at 3,5hrly. Today he is not wanting to eat or drink anything again and once he sets his mind he is as stubborn as a mule. Will keep you all posted!

Anonymous said...

As many have said before me, thanks so much for this blog as yes no one prepares you for all the possiblities. I was pretty naive and now I feel like I have a better sense of what will go on. Connor (just turned 3) is getting his tonsils/adenoids removed on Monday.

Sorry using this to summarize what I need to remember...

Foods: snow cones, popsicles, soft foods - avoid dairy products if possible, but if that's all they'll consume...; carbonated can sting but prior to meds can be helpful; citrus can burn as well

Meds: tyl w/ cod my child may have behavior changes, it burns going down; mixing it would be good love the ice cream and fruit infusion ideas - will definitely ask about what if's since some can get wasted this way with doc; will give it 30 minutes prior to 4 hours; DON'T try to stretch time - set the alarm

I may need to try different meds - vomiting etc.

Pain: coming out of anesthesia can be traumatic and take 30 minutes to calm down; day one can be hard but day 5 will lead to an increase (scabs falling off) and be the start of stink breath.

Sanity: I need to be calm and patient and not freak out that I have destroyed my child. It will be worth it when he finally gets a good night's sleep, I'll be able to understand more what he says, and his sister will sleep better as well (they share a room right now). Plan a treat or two for me too.

Thanks so much everyone. Will add mine if there is anything worth sharing or if I just need to vent as that is okay too!

Anonymous said...

Connor is on day 2 and doing pretty well. Doesn't want anything cold we have actually had to have things warmed up and he would prefer to eat (which is opposite for him).

The surgery day was interesting. Our doctor had to assist someone else that was having troubles which raised the anxiety levels. My very shy son though ran over to him and hugged him when he came to debrief us. I was not allowed to walk him back which is probably good.

After surgery there was a lot of vomiting of blood. He was pretty drugged up so he wasn't too phased by this. They don't call you back until they "wake up". He vomited twice before I got there. He refused to drink though so it was forced with his serial killer is coming for me screams.

Same situation at home - they gave him loritab elixir. Every hour I gave him like 30mL of liquid - woke hime up. Had the humidifier cranked. He didn't sleep much the day before which I think in the end was helpful as he crashed all day except when evil Mommy made him take his meds and drink.

Somewhere about 8pm he was just a different child. He woke up, got out of bed and wanted to eat and drink. He ate two bowls of macaroni (plain) and asked for TOAST! I almost died. I gave it to him thinking it was going to be left for the dog...not so. He ate 4 pieces (with butter and honey). He then asked for another bowl of macaroni and drank some.

He slept GREAT last night. No snoring (which he did do after the surgery so was prepared would take many more days for him to get the benefits). This was the first time I believe he has EVER slept through the night! I woke him once for his meds but skipped his 4am one because of his eating choices that night.

He woke up fine and not screaming so I just gave him tylenol meltaways - since I can't sneak his meds in liquids. He won't drink much still today but is eating pretty well overall. I did switch him to the loritab so I could get more in his belly. I do think the loritab makes him more zany but no worse than him being sleep deprived.

Taking one day at a time. The warming of liquids wasn't something I was expecting to have to do, but he drinks more when I make them warmer/not cold. One day at a time though ; )

SThompson said...

Thank you SO, SO much for posting this blog. Our soon-to-be three year old son is having a tonsillectomy on Friday (6/11/10) and I've been feeling really anxious about it ... and especially about the recovery. Even though it sounds like we're in for a rough couple of weeks, I feel much more prepared for it having read your blog post. I can't thank you enough for your taking the time to write this post and for including so many wonderful details and suggestions for things that helped you. I look forward to reading other blog posts of yours, as I imagine they will also be helpful and enjoyable to read. I hope all is well with you and your family!
Sincerely yours, Mrs. T in Indianapolis, IN

Yaleina said...

Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I were not prepared at all for what my 4 year old daughter is going through right now. She refuses to eat, drink and take her medications. She will not close her mouth in fear of swallowing. She is drooling all over the place and literally stinking up the house. She is usually so happy and vivacious but since the surgery three days ago, has either been sleeping, or sitting up looking like a zombie. She won't even talk. My heart is breaking for her and I wish I had read your blog before the surgery. I may have waited until she was a little older.

Becky said...

This is the best information on this topic. My almost 2 yo daughter is on day 14 and is finally doing better. One thing she's had is horrible withdrawals from the pain meds. We thought she was still in incredible pain, but eventually realized it was withdrawal - We quit the lortab 48 hours ago and she is having fewer and fewer episodes now - nighttime is the worst. We are hoping for a good night and some sleep tonight finally. Thanks to everyone for the info in this blog.

Lisa Z. said...

It is two years after this original blog.. but this is the only information I can find on the net that sounds like what we are going through. 7 days post op my 5 year old son, usually calm and quiet demeanor wakes screaming in pain throughout the night. It seems like an internal alarm goes off in him every single 4 hours and the pain reoccurs the minute the drugs wear off. How many days in a row do we have to keep medicating him! I feel like his is in a daze of meds and pain! Frustration is the only word I can think of. Normally his pain tolerance is very very high and he is not a winey/complainer type of boy. This is very unusal for him.

Anonymous said...

My 5 yr old daughter had her t&a's removed last monday, 6/21. We are 4 days post-op and her pain is being managed well with the hydrocodone. I think it is making her stomach hurt, however she is eating and drinking well. We have another problem...our entire family (me, my husband and our 4 year old son) all have terrible head colds and coughs. Now my daugher is coughing like crazy. I know it is painful for her and she is trying to hold it in for fear of hurting. I called the Dr. and they said to give her some benedryl along with the pain meds to help dry up the congestion. This has been a long, traumatic week for us. Seems like there is no end in sight. From what I am reading, the worst may be yet to come. I just pray that she makes it through without complications and her pain can continue to be managed at home.

Anonymous said...

wow! my 9 year old daughter just had hers removed 7 days ago, and in i go again with my 5 yr old son. my daughter did great! yes she was in pain but she drank and drank unsweet tea, water and applejuice. im just hoping my lil guy will do as well. my daughter described the pain to me as feeling like strep, with a razor blade stuck in her throat.

Katie said...

Thank you for this blog and the comments. My almost 6yo had T&A 8 days ago. Even though we dosed Tylenol with codeine aroud the clock, his cheeks hurt like mad around day 5, then his neck pain started. Then a sharp, stabbing headache. He was constipated from the codeine, so I started him on magnesium citrate (from a vitamin store). Magnesium is good for muscle spasms, so this worked for his pains. Chiro adjustment helped too. I've been trying to give him regular Tylenol now whenever I can. Now, his throat is stinging again. 2 days ago he spit out a black blob, probably a scab. So I have to make sure to medicate him before he eats. I hope this resolves soon - his birthday's coming up!

prosan98 said...

I read this blog a couple weeks ago in preparation for my almost 3.5 year old's T&A. I was so glad to find it, so I could really be prepared. However, I am SO happy to report that he seems to be one of the lucky ones! His surgery was Wednesday morning (it's Friday night now). He has taken only tylenol for pain (that's what our doctor recommends in the little ones, giving codeine or lortab only if there is severe pain, and since my son won't take any medicine that tastes bad, I decided to see how the tylenol went and thankfully, it seems to be enough!). He has been eating solid food since the evening of his surgery (pancake and banana that first night, and tons of macaroni and cheese the last 2 days). He seems to be feeling fantastic- we even went to the children's museum today because he was going stir crazy. We're struggling with how to keep him resting when all he wants to do is be running around! I have been dosing his tylenol about every 3.5 hours so it doesn't wear off (I checked and it's nowhere near a toxic amount), but he actually went 5.5 hours tonight, including eating dinner after it wore off, and wasn't complaining. I know we still have to get through the scabs falling off, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

He had massively large tonsils and adenoids, so large the ENT actually said he had trouble getting enough space to get them out! His snoring is already gone, and it's amazing how quietly he sleeps now. I had to keep watching his chest when he slept in the car today to make sure he was breathing! My husband and I are hypothesizing that he really must have been feeling crummy before, but just didn't know he wasn't supposed to feel that way, so even though his throat hurts some, being able to breathe must offset that a lot.

Our doctor uses Coblation, so I wonder if that is partly responsible. He also stayed overnight in the hospital, and was given 3 doses of Decadron (IV steroid). That helps with nausea (we've had no tummy issues), but I have to wonder if it also helps reduce the swelling a good amount (after all, it's what they give kids with bad croup).

Anyway, I just wanted to post to give others reading this some hope that not every child has such massively awful pain. I strongly encourage being prepared for the worst, but you may be pleasantly surprised. I will update in a few more days if he takes a turn for the worse!

tiff0916 said...

I cannot believe it is day 8 and my 3 year old son still woke last night about 5 times in pain (screaming, crying, uncomfortable). He had his T&A's removed last monday, here it is a week later, tuesday. what do I do? He had a rough FIVE days in the hospital, got so dehydrated that they had to put a new IV (with potassium, etc) and he finally felt well enough to go home Friday. He refuses any liquid medicine (loved it before the surgery...) so I give him chewable tylenol and sneak in the codeine about twice a day in his juice (morning and night). He will NOT nap, has a hard time going to sleep, but does not snore. I also noticed he breathes better at night so far, but wakes up continually! Any advice?!! How much longer do I wait??

Liz said...

Tiff,
I hope your little guy is about to have a major turnaround and starts feeling better tomorrow. As I recall, the two major post-op risks are dehydration and bleeding. Keep him as filled up on fluids as you can - this will speed healing and also help with the discomfort - and talk to his doctor's nurse if you have any concerns about his recovery. This is hard to go through. Hang in there and let us know how it goes.

Amber said...

WHOA! My 7yo had his 1 week follow up today. He's been doing great, today was the first day he mentioned pain since day 3. I assume his scabs are falling off and we may have a rough couple of days ahead.

But, the reason I googled and found this blog is at his follow up today I took his 20 month old brother in. While I was awake for 2 night giving big bro meds I peeked in on the "baby" more often & noticed his snoring absolutely stops a few times EVERY HOUR. He has full blown obstructive airway apnea. Both boys are built the same & baby had tubes put in at 9mos -- I had been waiting for them to fall out to have have a T&A with the new tubes since both the pedi and ENT keep telling me to wait.

Now, I'm freaked though and really want it done NOW. The ENT agreed to do his adnoids, but still resists doing tonsils on such a young child. Guess maybe after this blog I see why? Thank you so very much for putting this info out there! I hope everyone has recovered nicely from the surgeries and that the surgeries themselves took care of the original problems! :)

If anyone here has had dr resistance to doing the surgery - please give me some tips on how to work it out? I'm going to discuss with my pedi again and maybe even have the pedi & ENT talk about the pros/cons of removing both tonsils & adnoids now.

Lesley said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I suddenly don't feel so alone. I could have written this post about our little girl. After reading this I started offering cold milk and that has been the trick! She's finally drinking!

jamie said...

First of all, thank all of you who have posted on this blog. my 3 1/2 year old son (Logan) just has his t & a removed on 7/22 and he was a champ while in the hospital. we were planning on him staying overnight but they told us we could take him home the same day. while in the car on the way home he started complaining that his stomach hurts. got home and he started throwing up. he could not hold anything down the 1st day. 2nd day was better. didn't want to take the medicine b/c it hurt but i told him that he could not go anywhere unless he took his medicine. he is holding food and liquids down but does not drink as much as he used to yet. on day 3 now and he still complains about his stomach hurting but he is not vomiting like he did on the 1st day and i am starting to think it may be b/c of the pain medicine. i will start trying to just give him tylenol to see if that solves the stomach pains. seeing what everyone else has gone through and has been going through, at least if it does happend in the next couple of day, i will know that it is "normal".

bless each and every one of you

Anonymous said...

thanks. I'm calling the ENT tomorrow my 5 yr. old's pain is so bad. She's drinking pretty well considering. The waking for meds at night is horrific. She had tonsils and ads out Fri. this has been the 3rd day after. We were not at all prepared for this much pain. There are lollipops with tetracaine, but my kid hurts too bad to suck on them. You just can't convince 'em that it will help in the middle of the night in all that waking pain. Thanks for helping. there needs to be more research and better pain management options for kids. It's barbaric.

Erin Toombs said...

I'm sorry for all the youngsters that had such a rough time, but want to offer some hope to parents reading this to see what it may be like. So far, my daughters experience has been much better. You can read her story here.

Sharri said...

I'm reading this two years later, after searching for anything on the internet to help my 3-year old daughter, and it's still so helpful-thank you! It's nice to know she's not abnormal, because as you somewhat eluded to, we were not anywhere near prepared for this - were told it was "no big deal." We were actually told/it was on our post-op print out, that she would be "back to normal" after 7 days. Well, it's day 8, and I've never seen my baby in so much pain. And you're so right on the painkillers - we're at every 3 hours on the dot, for the same reason! And my doctor actually gave her the okay for school on day 5 (she was feeling actually pretty great on day 31/2-4, but went way downhill from there, which is apparently normal, but they don't tell you) - are you kidding - school sent her right back home. We had not prepared for this in any way, and scrambled for a week of childcare. Once again, I hope others have a chance to read this prior to their child's surgery - it's so helpful to be better prepared! Thanks again!

Kandace said...

Thank you Thank you Thank You!!!!! My daughter just had her adnoids and tonsils removed on 6/11/10. She is 2 1/2 and I was very skeptical due to her age about her having the surgery. This has been a very trying time. Everyones comments have been dead on. The pain must be so excrutiating for my little girl and it is heart wrenching. She is on Lortab and I am considering taking her off because I honestly feel like she is POSESSED!!!! She constantly complains about clothing items hurting her (which is her way of saying that she is uncomfortable). She awakes almost every two hours at night screaming and flopping around like a fish out of water. I am on day 6 and felt like the pain should have subsided by now. I feel awful after reading everyones post because I began getting frustrated with her. She constantly wants me to hold her and frequently speaks about being scared. She clings to me and wants to lay on me every night to get to sleep when I try to put her to bed she instantly awakes and screams " I want to lay on you mommy ". This is so out of character for her she normally goes in her room and falls asleep watching television and demands I close her door behind me! So totally out of character.

A concern that I have is the addiction to Lortab. My daughter now says to me that she wants her medicine. This is a drastic change from me pinning her down and pinching her nose to get her to take the medicine for the first 3 days. I just can't wait for her to get back to normal.

Thanks again, this is such a comforting Blog.

Finally At Ease,
Kandace

Landi said...

Thank you sooooo much for this info. My 3 yr old son had the tubes in his ears, adnoids, and tonsils removed 8-13-10. We are doing well but he is CONSTANTLY complaining of stomach pain. His pedi said he was very constipated. I tried everythingto get him to use the bathroom... everything! So we took a trip to the E.R. were I recieved a duff story. They told me that he had no stool in his system at all (made me feel very cruel for giving a fleet enema the night before and 4 days after surgery). The E.R. said it was just gas. This is more then gas. My son is up all hours screaming and flopping around in his bed. I stopped giving him the hydrocodone thinking that was causing the pain! Anyone have any ideas?!?!?! HELP

Anonymous said...

My son, almost 4, had his tonsills & adnoids out 6 days ago. During the day he does pretty good (although I fight with him on his pain meds & his drinking) But at night, he can't seem to get comfortable and wakes up coughing and crying! He gets to coughing to bad, he's dry-heaving! I am not sure what else to do. I give him his pain meds on time and sometimes early but he has so much congestion & drainage while he sleeps (even though he's sleeping on an incline). I think I might try some Benadryl tongiht with his pain meds. Checked with the RX and they said the two can be given at the same time will just cause extra drowsiness. Anyone have any other ideas? Oh & did I meantion he doesnt' like ice cream or anything cold!

Liz said...

Anon 8:55 a.m.,
I would caution on the Benadryll, as it is designed to work by drying out the mucus membrane and this could cause additional pain at the wound site. If you haven't tried a humidifier yet to aid the drainage you might set up one of those tonight first to see if it helps.

best of luck anonymama,
Type "A" Mama

Jennifer said...

How about eating. He's going on day 8 after surgery and I can't get him to eat much at all! He's had maybe...2 bowls of mac & cheese, bowl of Oatmeal, and a few pudding cups. Should he be eating more? The white patches are still VERY WHITE in the back of his throat. Also, still very whiny.

Anonymous said...

My 3yo DD had her T&A removed 17/8. I've found it particularly hard getting her to take her pain meds & have been caught in a vicious cycle of fighting & forcing the meds on her to not giving her them as she refuses & then seeing her suffering with the pain so much that she shakes & not eating/drinking in return. My DD will only drink water so trying to hide the pain meds in juice is not possible & she wont eat icecream either so there goes hiding it in that! I've also tried melting some chocolate & adding it to that but she wont eat that either! I've found that although I hate forcing them on her (picture trying to give an unwilling cat a worming tablet!), its better for her & easier for me to deal with 5 mins of crying than hours of it plus all the frustration that comes along with it!

We have also dealt with the constipation from the codeine & tried to give some oral parachoc (chocolate tasting paraffin oil) she once again refused so I gave her a very small portion of chocolate laxative (even tho the directions said not for children under 12) but I was desperate as she hadn't pooed for 7 days & wouldnt take anything else so I chose to try it & it worked a treat!

Good luck to all of the other mothers struggling through this ordeal just as much as our precious angels are too.

Paige said...

Thank you for all the warning about this surgery! i have been so stressed about this I couldn't sleep! My 4 year old had his tonsils and adenoids out yesterday (8/30/10) at Scottish Rite Children's Hosp in Atlanta. (traditional old timey way of taking them out, no coblation) It was a very good experience and the procedure is only like 40 mins so it went by quick. by the time we got situated in a post op room he was already back to us. He did wake up from anesthesia a little upset and asking if they were done. I think he was quite shocked at how his throat felt no matter how much I had prepared him.

Day 2 - I am so shocked by how well he is doing. Do not think I have some easy going child b/c I definitely DO NOT! He freaks out whenever we walk in the doctor's office. I was so worried about the pain medicine and getting it down him because he is AWFUL about taking meds. We have to literally hold him down & force them down his throat and then he will throw them back up after all the trauma!
But with this Lortab liquid he's done well. totally shocked by this especially with the high alcohol content it has! I had the pharmacy flavor it watermelon and dole makes a watermelon juice that I added it to. he doesn't complain too much, but it still takes him a while to drink it. it's still a hassle to get him to take it but he will finally take it since I think now he realizes that it will help with the pain. We also know somehting that he LOVES (going to the beach) and that is our bribe. We actually planned another beach trip which is now 2 weeks away, for him to look forward to. That caused him to do very well with the surgery and that gets the medicine down b/c we tell him he can't go to the beach unless he takes his medicine! So if there is something you can think of it definitely may help.
Last night (day of surgery) he wouldn't even wake up to take the pain medicine every 4 hours no matter how hard I tried! He went from 9pm to 6am this morning. At 6am though, it was obvious he was in some pain because he was crying and totally irrational when I woke him up. It was definitely tougher to get the medicine down but finally he calmed down and took it, especially after I told him we would have to go back to the hospital.
I guess just prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best! I am still waiting for this to get terrible but it seems as long as we keep the pain meds in him he's fine!
I wish all of you the best!

Alicia said...

I am very stressed out right now. My son was 8 months old when he had to get tubes put in his ears for recurrent ear infections. I insisted on that procedure because he wasn't eating, getting one or two infections a month, not starting to babble, not moving around...it was the best decision I have ever made. My son is 27 months now and one of the best talkers in his class (until about a month ago). I was told about 8 months that his tonsils were huge and would have to be taken out at some point. I've been monitoring for sleep apnea (he has always snored since he was an infant) and just started seeing it about a month ago. His speech is getting to the point where even my husband and I have to ask him to repeat everything 3 times before we understand what he is trying to say. It was never like that before. This poor kid always has dark circles under his eyes and I'm wondering if he's been waking up throughout the night for longer than a month. I read the recovery stories and I am horrified. I know he will need it, but I can't help to wonder if I should wait or get it done at all. Please someone tell me that what I am doing is right...

Mary said...

Oh my first off thank you for all the advice.

My son is 2 and getting his taken out this Friday :( and I am soooo nervous. He also has eiosinophilic colitis and is on a food trial so all he can have is his special formula no ice cream :( and I'm wondering how I am going to be able to comfort him at the same time dealing with his newborn brother. I hope he does okay.

Jennifer said...

I came across your blog after googling toddler tonsil recovery, and I sat in tears after reading it. At the time we were on day 5 of recovery with my son, who is 37 months old.

WHAT A NIGHTMARE THIS HAS BEEN!

I have my tonsils and didn't know what the recovery would be like. Everyone said "Oh, he's so young, he will recover so quickly!" Even the ENT said "They will act fine on days 1 and 2, but days 3 and 4 will be hard."

Yeah, right.

Today is day 10 and we are finally on the road to normalcy. My son lost 5 lbs, going from 35 to 30. There was an ER visit in for good measure. On the night of day 3, he was in bed with us and he started puking. After the 3rd bout of vomit, I was petrified that the precious small amount of liquids he had been drank so far was now in a pool in the middle of my bed. So off to the ER we went where I learned that thankfully he was still well-hydrated.

And the hydrocodone? You mean to tell me that is the best solution to relieving pain? Something in an ALCOHOL BASE? I didn't know it burned until I found your blog and was able to put 2 and 2 together. Then my heart broke because I now understood the terror in my son's eyes when I came at him with the syringe of medicine.

I am so thankful this is finally behind us. If I had to do it all over again, there is NO WAY in hell that I would put a 3 year-old through that. Never. Your blog should be required reading for anyone considering this surgery for someone so young.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this!

My child is not yet 3 and we are going through this right now. I hate seeing him doped up, but I love watching him eat when the pain meds kick in

Anonymous said...

We are on day 8 of tonsils and adenoids and this post has been great to know what to expect. A couple of additions. Ear Pain. Buy some Macks ear plugs. They are soft wax and help decrease ear pain. It seems to be much easier for him to swallow and he sleeps a little better. Our surgeon said to avoid peanut butter because it can stick to the scabs. We did find that vienna sausages and fake crab meat sticks provide a good soft protein source in addition to those listed by several others (Carnation Instant Breakfast is a favorite). Fun and different koolaid juice bottles and anything fun to drink have helped, too. A new favorite special cup.
Days have been ok - but nights are a mess. Our 4 1/2 year old wakes up in severe pain. We have started waking him up every couple of hours to take drinks. I may try the jello shots with the pain medicine tomorrow. Good idea. Thanks

Anonymous said...

My 2 yr old son just had his tonsils & adenoids out on Friday. He has sleep apnea and was constantly getting strep-throat and he had tubes put in when he was 1. So my pediatrician suggested we see an ENT specialist so we did. We went to the ENT and he said he need to have both removed and he told us about the Coblation and how kids heal so much faster with less pain, well that is not the case for us. So Friday after the surgery was done at 1:00pm the DR came out and said his tonsils & adenoids were very large and its a good thing we removed them, so we are in recovery and he fell back asleep he woke up ate an ice pop but wouldn't drink, than he threw up is ice pop and was crying so it took us until 5:30 to get released which when they took out his IV the nurse put on a bandade but not enough pressure and blood just poured out of his little hand all over the place i was mortified. Over the weekend he refused to drink and eat we tried every trick in the book but NOTHING was working. Every time he took his meds he would gag and puke
Saturday he was a little active than he got tired and fell asleep but he was up ever hour on the hour crying in pain during the night, Sunday rolled around and at this point he was lethargic just laying down on me and crying in pain because he couldn't keep the meds down to help him. Again we were up every hour during the night. Monday comes still crying not drinking or eating, we called the ENT and he suggested to take him to the ER there was nothing they could do there, so we rushed him over to the ER @ Cooks Children's in Ft Worth, they got him right in and said he was dehydrated and its a good thing we came in when we did, they admitted him over night Monday to Tuesday he had IV all night and morphine and an anti inflammation to help make the swelling go down in his throat, he slept thru the night in the hospital his IV and MEDS helped alot since it was all done thru IV. Tuesday night we get home he ate three bites of MAC & Cheese and about 4oz of gatorade. Tuesday night he was up every hour again, now its Wednesday and he refuses to drink or eat again we are back to square one. We had his Pa come over to see if he could at least get him to drink enough to get some Tylenol in him, he drank like 4 oz and he still wont eat, so now it is just in GODS hands to help with this little guy and help get him thru this pain and rough patch. He is associating drinking and eating with the pain it is becoming a psychological thing with him, how do you explain to a 2 year old it will help you feel better to drink and take some Tylenol its not the drink that is causing the pain it will help you, I realized you really cannot, now we just have to take it day by day and be persistent and keep encouraging him to drink, i think i have every straw and sippy cup there is to try to see what he likes best...Wish us LUCK!!! We will keep you update on his recovery, i just wish i could take his pain and reflect it on myself..you feel helpless as parents!!

Mandy said...

11/12/10- I know this post is a few years old but it is the one that I have have relied on for the past two weeks! My son is 2 and he had his tonsils and adenoids out on 11-3. EVERYTHING I have read here has been right on with what has been happening with my son. He is on day 9 and still is taking pain meds every 4 hours day and night. I wish I could say that the meds were managing the pain 100% but its not. He had a terrible reaction to Lortab the first night in the hospital so we try to only use it once every 12 hrs. It makes him CRAZY. He was unable to sleep, sit still, and was touching his face and head like it was itching. It was terrible. That first 24 hours after surgery he slept 2 hours. We made laps around the nurses station in a wagon for hours dragging the IV with us just trying to get him to sleep and to stay calm. We were delayed leaving the hospital because we couldnt get his pain under control just taking tylenol which was our only other option. My son has an oral aversion so getting him to take meds orally was another problem. Thank GOD for tylenol suppositories. We use them the majority of the time. Sometimes he will take the chewable quick dissolve tabs but other times he will have nothing to do with them. I would say an hour out of every 4 hours is a disaster. We take my son for a drive every time he is inconsolable. This happens 2-3 times a day. Usually when he wakes from a nap or during the night and it is usually about 1 1/2 away from medicine time. I am totally exhausted and am so ready for this be be over. When its bad it is really bad. He foams at the mouth and refuses to swallow his own spit. He tries to wipe it away and it just pours out. He is doing ok on his drinking and eating. Enough that I am not concerned. I can tell it is still painful but he pushes through it somehow. Hopefully this will all end soon. I am thankful that we didnt do this closer to the holidays. It would totally ruin holidays. I honestly am not sure I would do this again if I had to do it all over again. It has been THAT bad! Best of luck to those of you that are reading this in preparation. Everything you read here is right on point. Be very prepared and surround yourself with any help you can get. Thanks so much for this post!!
Mandy

LaShell said...

My 6 year old daughter is having hers removed on the 6th and I am a nervous wreck! I have been told ..Aww its gonna be fine. Yeah right! I know it's going to be at least 10 days of nothing but taking care of her. Thank you for writing this, it is soooo nice to hear EXACTLY what happens when we get home. I kow every child is different but knowing the truth helps alot more. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

My 3-and-a-half year-old daughter had the procedure (T&A and removal of one ear tube that was falling out) on 12-2-10. I read this post and every single comment and had myself worked into a terrible worried tizzy before the surgery. Our experience was not easy, but not nearly as terrible as I was expecting based on the stories I read here. My daughter had terrible nausea the day after the surgery and narrowly escaped a trip back to the emergency room. Luckily, I had insisted they send us home with Zofran and we were ultimately able to treat her at home. After that, things have rapidly improved. We're on day 7 now and other than her being clingy and demanding (we've been catering to her every whim for a week now), things are going great. She has had some intermittent pain, but she has not taken anything but Tylenol for it since we left the hospital (because of the nausea issue) and pain management has not been a problem. Nourishment has not been a problem either since we were able to re-start milk and she can eat mac-and-cheese for every meal. She has not developed bad breath. Her voice was very squeaky for a time but it seems to be normalizing. She's not sleeping great yet, but snoring is already much improved and she is breathing through her nose for the first time in I can't remember how long. The biggest challenge will be getting her back to a system of rules (we don't eat popsicles for dinner, we don't eat dinner on the couch, etc.) since she has somewhat enjoyed being treated like a little queen! Take heart, parents. It may not be as bad as you fear!

Anonymous said...

We were advised by our ENT doctor to avoid the ice cream because it causes phlegm in some kids. This might make them have to cough more, which may cause surgery site to bleed more.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post- I found it on google and we're on day 8 of tonsil removal, adenoid removal and tubes in the ears on my almost 21 month old. It has been PURE misery- and seeing that he is "normal" and we're hopefully through the woods soon is a massive relief. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Amy B. said...

Since these comments were what I read for about 10 days, I thought I'd better add my own experience. My son is 3.5 and had his tonsils out on 12/21. His dr's nurses reassured me that at this age they bounce right back, he'd be fine by Christmas. Day of surgery he did great. Came out fairly well from anesthesia and ate some lemon ice in recovery. We stayed for an hour and then he was begging to go home.
He is usually the easiest patient and he drinks a ton so I figured we would be good to go. The rest of the day he would wearily eat a popsicle here and there. We had him on Tylenol with Codeine. He HATED it. Hubby held him while I forced it in his mouth. It was not a fun time. Day 2 was ok, he had been peeing so I figured we were good. Still wasn't really drinking but would eat popsicles. Would not eat anything else. At all.
Day 3 (or really Day 2 post op), he completely stopped eating or drinking. He was about an hour away from going to the ER. I tried everything and he would scream as soon as anything hit his throat. Finally got a sno cone down him. And orange pop from McDonald's.
Day 4-9 just sucked. It was an all day/night battle of convincing to drink to stay out of the hospital. He refused his antibiotics and we took him off the codeine because it was horrible to give to him. He was on reg. Tylenol every 3 hours for that entire time.
Day 10 (Day 9 after surgery) started the turnaround. He actually asked for some food. He would take a few bites and then cry a little but it was MUCH better. I stopped the pain meds at night because we were all just exhausted. I called the dr the day before and the nurse told me that maybe I was babying him. He is my 3rd son. I know a kid who is faking it, this kid was in so much pain for a long time. He would cry that he didn't ask for his tonsils to come out. It was pathetic and sad.
So.... here we are on Day 11. He is FINALLY doing great!! He drank a whole cup of milk and looked at me and said that didn't hurt!
Some things I learned: sno cones were a huge hit here. Sippy cups hurt. Codeine is the devil :) Listen to your kids and follow your mommy instinct. (or daddy!) There was lots of night waking. Keep on top of the pain the best that you can. Gatorade didn't burn when pretty much everything else did. This a slight improvement before the scabs starting falling off and then it gets bad again. Use that time to restore your reserves and gear back up. Most importantly, hang in there, it DOES get better.
Thank you to all of you who posted, I would seriously sit in bed crying while reading these comments over and over because other people got it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your posts! My 3 1/2 year old daughter had tubes in her ears, and tonsils and adenoids out on 12/27/10. Thank goodness she is a GREAT medicine taker. She is on Tylenol with codeine and an antibiotic. I have been pretty regular with giving them and she's been good with drinking liquids. She did ask for milk today. Her ENT said milk is ok, just drink water after it. The meds and drinking have gone well. But everyday is a different battle. I was beginning to wonder if my daughter was bipolar!! I'm glad I found the original post to remind me that my daughter could be in the stage where the scabs are falling off. This would describe why she was doing better a couple of days ago. I was also glad to read about the drooling...sounds gross, but glad that's normal. Also, the breath of death!! Wowzers!! It stinks to have the surgery after Christmas, but with me being a teacher, it made sense to get it done during break. I go back to work Monday, luckily I have great parents to take care of my daughter. I can get things ready to go at school and take a few more days off before she is ready to go back to daycare. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you went through b/c our daughter got her tonsils and adenoids removed 6 days ago. We were not at all prepared for what we have come to deal with on a daily basis with her. The hospital stay was horrendous. She went along with the staff w/out tears to the surgery room, however when she woke up from surgery and they came to get us - she saw me and went ballistic. I had to sit in the bed with her the entire ride to her room, all day and all night. If I even shifted to adjust myself on the bed- she would freak out. Hydrocodone was very painful for her to take, she slowly regained her desire to eat and drink. (But only if I told her that Dora and Boots also eat and drink lol)

Breath has been the vilest experience ever. Nothing is quite as gag-worthy as this. She has been especially clingy to me and refusing her daddy which is odd b/c she's a daddy's girl and he's great w/her. She has been on my hip, in my lap, or beside me wherever I go - to deviate away from this is completely unacceptable to her. When does this return to normal? She is usually independent and carefree.... I'm sure she's still in some pain and we continue to stay on top of her meds every 3 1/2 to 4 hours. She is sleeping all night - thankfully.

I am getting a 'mommy's night out' tonight and am in desperate need. I stay at home with her anyway so no worry about when to let her to back to preschool... but this was way more intense and involved and difficult than we ever thought it would be!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, my last hour of typing just disappeared. The highlights:

Lortab - the bane of our existence, burned its way down every time, turned my 3-yr-old against all meds, requiring an hour long fight each time. The hospital measured it in the syringe then put the syringe in a cup of ice water, I should have taken the tip.

Ibuprofen - you can start dosing immediately if they can keep it down. Per my pediatrician, we dosed one category higher on the chart, just like an adult taking 600 or 800 mg instead of the 400 on the package. Was our savior, whenever we got it into her we were guaranteed at least 6 hours sleep and usually more. I planned them around bedtime, sacrificing the last few hours of the day to make sure I got it into her close to bedtime. Guess I should have alternated with Acetaminophen every three hours, but I couldn't handle the fights. I'm still giving it to her on day 15, 2x/day at bedtime and wakeup, and now I'm going down to the package dose. Will keep it up until the swollen cheek matches the other.

Food - My daughter hates jello and anything cold or creamy, and has a dairy allergy. So, she wouldn't eat or drink for days. The best we got into her was pumpkin pie, then barilla plus pasta.

Speech - One cheek seemed frozen (swollen?) in place, plus the nasal voice thing was so bad she was unintelligible even to me. She had lost most of her consonants. That got us in to our follow up appt early, on the 15th day instead of the 28th. All was fine, and of course by the end of the day her sounds were finally coming back, along with her volume.

Thank you to all of you moms for sharing your wisdom, and bless all of you still going through it.

Allicia said...

Hello to all who have been through this and about to go through it.

I have a 2.5 yr old daughter who is scheduled to have her tonsils, adenoids out and tubes put in. I'm not looking forward to it and greatly appreciate the heads up regarding tips and pain management.
I had my tonsils out at 22 (along with my glands being shaved down and the cartilage in my nose straightened) so i somewhat have an awesome idea of just how effing painful this procedure is, and if my daughter could actually breathe through her nose, didn't have glue ear or extremely large tonsils there's no way i'd put her through it. Here's some things that i learnt from first hand experience with a tonsillectomy pain:
- sometimes there is just no getting on top of the pain. the first day was fine, second day felt a bit worse (like have tonsilitis and a fever) and then it just got worse from there. my pain peaked around day 15.
- sometimes warm soup soothes the throat better than cold (plus if there's chicken or corn in it, it can help slough the scab off - bit like a warm shower softens it up a bit too)
- if you were in pain for 5-10 days straight you'd be a monster too. I know parents are thinking that their children just aren't acting normal but think of all the labour pains you went through - halve it but put up with it for 120 hours. I'm expecting my daughter to be an incontrollable mess in agony and i'll be on the floor in tears too but i'll go through it with her cause i'm the one thing she wants to be near when she's in pain. In all honesty, sometimes just letting go with a primal scream really helps with the pent up inability to control the pain.
- around day 6 or 7 i was back in hospital in a hyperventilated sobbing condition because the pain just didn't ever go away.
- around day 14 i was still going to my doctor as soon as they opened to try and get stronger meds.
- by day 21 the pain had STARTED to reduce. within a month i was starting to eat normally again - although not as much as before because my stomach had shrunken.
- My voice changed permanently. I think this was mostly due to my glands at the back of my throat being cut back though, and not necessarily from the tonsillectomy.

I don't know if this will help anyone, but it's the same op that they are going through - they're just littler - so maybe seeing it from this point of view will help a little when your child is destroying the house because that's what they CAN control when their own bodies are hurting them.

Leash

Allicia said...

Hello to all who have been through this and about to go through it.

I have a 2.5 yr old daughter who is scheduled to have her tonsils, adenoids out and tubes put in. I'm not looking forward to it and greatly appreciate the heads up regarding tips and pain management.
I had my tonsils out at 22 (along with my glands being shaved down and the cartilage in my nose straightened) so i somewhat have an awesome idea of just how effing painful this procedure is, and if my daughter could actually breathe through her nose, didn't have glue ear or extremely large tonsils there's no way i'd put her through it. Here's some things that i learnt from first hand experience with a tonsillectomy pain:
- sometimes there is just no getting on top of the pain. the first day was fine, second day felt a bit worse (like have tonsilitis and a fever) and then it just got worse from there. my pain peaked around day 15.
- sometimes warm soup soothes the throat better than cold (plus if there's chicken or corn in it, it can help slough the scab off - bit like a warm shower softens it up a bit too)
- if you were in pain for 5-10 days straight you'd be a monster too. I know parents are thinking that their children just aren't acting normal but think of all the labour pains you went through - halve it but put up with it for 120 hours. I'm expecting my daughter to be an incontrollable mess in agony and i'll be on the floor in tears too but i'll go through it with her cause i'm the one thing she wants to be near when she's in pain. In all honesty, sometimes just letting go with a primal scream really helps with the pent up inability to control the pain.
- around day 6 or 7 i was back in hospital in a hyperventilated sobbing condition because the pain just didn't ever go away.
- around day 14 i was still going to my doctor as soon as they opened to try and get stronger meds.
- by day 21 the pain had STARTED to reduce. within a month i was starting to eat normally again - although not as much as before because my stomach had shrunken.
- My voice changed permanently. I think this was mostly due to my glands at the back of my throat being cut back though, and not necessarily from the tonsillectomy.

I don't know if this will help anyone, but it's the same op that they are going through - they're just littler - so maybe seeing it from this point of view will help a little when your child is destroying the house because that's what they CAN control when their own bodies are hurting them.

Leash

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post! My 3 year old just had a Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy and ear tube placement. It started out to be just ear tubes, but was changed the day before due to nasty throat infections, snoring and speech problems that just would not clear. I was obviously concerned about the difference (general versus mask anesthesia etc), but agreed it was for the best. Being that I am a nurse, I was not too concerned with post-op care...Think again! Everything went great. My hardest day until now was keeping him full and lowering activity levels. My son was even wanting to play outside and eat every day until today...DAY 6. I believe his "healing crusts" (YUCK) are beginning to fall off and he is beside himself, screaming in pain and holding his face. You are absolutely right about the middle of the night pain and hydration. I am going to go run in his room with the humidifier ASAP. Again, thank you for the post. It is always reassuring to know other parents are out there with you!

Julie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this very detailed account of what to expect. Both of my 3 year old twins boys had their tonsils and adenoids out 10 days ago. These past 10 days have been hell and I wish I had found this earlier to know what I was going through was not abnormal. Also, one of my twins had the bleeding that they say "may" happen. It was scary as their was lots of blood and it would not stop for 20+ minutes. We finally got it under control so he did not have to go the ER. I'm going to bookmark this link and share with my friends whose children have this surgery in the future.

Coop's Mommy said...

Oh my I'm scared now. We have a 17month old who has had strep 4 times in 2 months. We are going to meet back with out ENT on the 10th. His short little life has consisted of 6 ear infections, one set of tubes, two sinus infections, 4 rounds of strep, flu, two fever viruses, and one stomach bug. Oh and his tubes haven't been in but 8 months and one has quit working so that is what brought us up to a total of 6 ear infections. We had two over the last two months. Anyway we aren't sure what they will do at this point but let me tell you I've never been so scared for my child. What made them decide to take your sons out? I'm hoping that we can get him well without the tonsillectomy.

Liz said...

Hi Coop's Mom,
My little guy had very bad sleep apnea and they were taken out for that as well as a speech issue he was having due to the fact that he had these two globs in the back of his throat. They were really, really huge. Some kids "grow into" their tonsils with time, but in our case the sleep repercussions were significant enough that we proceeded.

Anonymous said...

So thankful for this post!! My oldest daughter who is 7 now had her T&A when she was 4, recovery was amazing, hardly any pain, no ear aches, no swelling etc. So, when my youngest needed to have the same procedure just a week ago, I thought I was prepared....wrong!!! She is 6 and her recovery has been terrible. The first day was great, no real issues and even day 2 was good. Starting day 3 she was having terrible pain, waking up every 2 to 3 hours crying hysterically, gagging and I couldn't even get her to talk at all. We have been giving her Lortab every 4 hours and I'm considering every 3. We are on day 6 and there has been no progress on healing that I can see. The doctor did say her tonsils and adenoids were very large compared to most. She has ate mashed up scrambled eggs, popsicles, and italian icees have been great, when I can get her to eat them. I don't think I have slept more than two hours a night in days, but I can handle that compared to what she's going through. Since my other daughter did so well, I just assumed that the youngest would also. I love that fact that I was told if she felt fine after 5 days she could go back to school!!! I don't see that happening in the near future. I think she will need two full weeks to recover. Glad to see I'm not the only one with concerns. It breaks my heart that she's in so much pain and I'm hoping this ends soon. Good luck to everyone out there.

Nicole said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to relate your experience with your son's procedure - I am so grateful that I found it! I am taking my almost 3yr old in on Wednesday for the exact same, plus a tube in one ear, and felt like I didn't have a clear picture of what he ( and I!) should expect in the coming days. Also, comforting to know that you got through it with another little one at home - he is a twin. I am a single mom who works full time so the daycare info you included is good to know I think I need to make *more* additional arrangements now lol! Thanks again:)

liddlesprout said...

another to add to the list- my 2yr old is going in tomorrow for T&A and tubes, this post has been so reassuring, helpful,and a bit scary-but informative. Many moms post they are having trouble getting their little ones to take pain medication. My co-worker suggested to me rectal children's Tylenol... who knew (i know i never saw an ad for that). Most pharmacy have it behind the counter you can just ask, no script needed. I am not fan of administering anything rectally to my lil guy, but I figure if I've tried every way imaginable to get him to take his meds- there is always a plan B.
Thanks again, I'm going to get back to reading all the replies before I try to trick my brain to turn off and get some sleep before our big day.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I wish I had found this post 7 days ago. My 3 year old son just had his tonsils out on Tuesday. Right now it is Saturday night. I am a single mom and I haven't have sleep since Sunday night. On Monday I found out I had strept throat again. I haven't been able to master the pain management game. He started out on the Codiene and I know it was burning his throat (I tried it). I switched to the ibuprophen and that didn't seem to do it either. We went to the acetaminaphen and by now I can no longer get a dropper anywheres near him. Being a stubborn child before he is ten times worse now. I went to supositories and we were using them for 2 days. Thru all of this there has been some kind of pain management but yet nothing has seemed to managed his pain. I stopped all tonight. We are heading into day 6. We should be at just about the worst of the days here pretty quick. I guess we will see. When he's an adult and in a bell tower I am sure that we can trace it back to the days that he didn't have pain coverage lol. Not funny but then again what do you expect from someone who hasn't slept in 5 nights.

Anonymous said...

I have an 18 month old who had Tonsils and Adenoids removed as well as tubes put in ears. I have to say that I have been unsure how he is now feeling as we are approaching day 7. He is very active and playful and eating things that I would think would hurt his throat but he wants to eat it. After reading this I see that I am actually very lucky and have a tough little guy. The worst day was the day after his surgery I barely got 8 oz of milk in him and he ate one piece of soft bread later in the evening. Since then he has been really good eating and playing as normal. He has moments of being fussier then normal but I notice it is about every 4 hours when he is ready for another dose of medicine. He is already sleeping through the night. My heart was aching for you and your children as I read this. I hope that the surgeries in the long run were worth it. I am confident this will help my son and he will have a healthier future.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your post, we are in day 4 of my 3 year old sons recovery. At this point I am worried about constipation and him not eating enough. I agree about the hyrdrocodon, it takes my husband and I holding down our son and blowing in his face as we try to give him his medicine. I hope all went well with your son and thank you again for sharing your experience!

Anonymous said...

My son Connor -3 yrs old 36lbs- went to ENT today has to get T&A removed. The MD said he was too small for pain meds use Tylenol as I am reading this I am thinking ...I do not want my baby to be in pain...should I call the dr now to discuss this? I was soo little I dont remember this my husband was 28 and said it was horrible...I am dreading this.

Rebecca said...

We just went to the ENT to schedule our 4 year old's tonsillectomy. Everyone is telling us that it is "no big deal" and that "he'll be fine." In fact, the doctor isn't even doing the surgery at a hospital but at a "surgery center." I am freaked out by this. He is NOT giving our son hydrocodone, but suckers that he is supposed to suck on for 5 minutes every 1-2 hours. I forget what they have in them but it's not a narcotic that I have ever heard of. And my son doesn't do well with suckers. He doesn't suck on them-he eats them. Plus, that's not very pain effective if he has to do it every 1-2 hours. Shouldn't he have some sort of pain relief that lasts longer?

The whole really has me worried. He has obstructive sleep apnea, though, and after having a 6 week old die from SIDS last August I don't want to take the chance.

Liz said...

Rebecca,
You know your child best. If you have concerns about the suckers, tell your doctor and ask for tylenol with hydrocodone and don't take "no" for an answer. That is the standard prescribed pain management. The suckers surprise me. One of the more significant post-op risks is bleeding, which requires a trip to the ER if it doesn't stop promptly. I was told I could not feed my child through a straw because the sucking action increased the risk for bleeding. This is also why you will be (should be) advised to stick to cool foods instead of warm. Go for a second opinion on the care protocols if you can afford another visit. If your current doctor is not responsive to your concerns or brushing you off, he or she may not be the right physician for your son.

Eryn said...

I know this post is old but we just had our 23 month old sons tonsils and adenoids out last Wednesday. Holy cow no one told me how difficult this would be for him and us! He is in so much pain when he wakes up that I continually contemplate taking him to the ER to get him something more for pain. He HATES taking the hydrocodone and won't eat or drink anything! He has feeding and swallowing issues as it is (reason for taking the tonsils) and what he will eat or drink now is even more limited. He does like pretzels and graham crackers but I am scared to give him too many in case it opens the throat up. I am at my wits end, we are literally getting 2 good hours, not all together, of a happy baby. It was nice to read that we are not the only one and it seems to be normal to be 5 days out and still be having so much pain!

Kelly said...

I know this thread is from 2008 but I figure if I found in a desperate need, others may find it still as well. It is March 2011. My son is 2yr and 10mths old had his tonsils and adnoids out 4 days ago. Probably a typical hospital experience, checked in at 7:30am, hard time coming out of anesthesia, released at 1:30pm same day. We could have stayed overnight, we opted to go home. All was okay til about 6pm. Then the morphine must have worn off and he was a bear. Would not drink or take any tylenol with codeine. He was like a different child. He began to vomit everything we put in his mouth, inclulding plain water. I figured about only 1/4 of the meds I was squirting in his mouth acutally stayed down. To keep this post as short as I can, I thought he was getting dehydrated after a horrible night of screaming and pain. Maybe one urination all night and the tears were getting less. In fear of not finding a vein for hydration if I waited longer I took him to the ER. We had a 7 hour visit of fluids and morphine. I hated for him to get a second IV in two days but he really needed it. By the end of the stay he was eating mac n cheese and yogurt. He took loritab/vicodin orally before we left. Doc told us tylenol with codeine is nortorious for upsetting the stomach if not taken with food. Nice, lets prescribe that to 2 year old that of course isn't going to eat with pain. Left with prescription for loritab and tablet zofran (anti nausea med, typically given for morning sickness, prior to chemo treatments, etc). The zofran was great because it was a tiny tablet that dissolved under his tongue in about 20 seconds and worked fast. We have given it every morning since when his stomach is empty. Came home and was determined to stay on top of the meds. The next 3 days have been up and down, and I know we are only on day 4 and still have a ways to go with the healing. But here is what I've learned:
- there is no real reasoning with a 2 year old. He has finally connected that he feels better after taking the meds, but he still fights taking them.
-you have to give the meds every 4 hours like clockwork, at 3hr45min I'm drawing up the syringe.
-ice cold water is the way to go with my son. The sugary stuff like juice and gatorade at least in the beginning added to his nausea.
-I dilute the loritab/vicodin with 50% water when I draw it up. So I draw up the medicine in a syringe, mixed it with the same amount water in a little cup then redrew it into the syringe. Goes down much easier and burns less. Biggest light bulb moment I have had in this whole ordeal.
-We would give the medicine over a 5 minute period in little squirts towards his cheek so to miss most of the taste buds. Then a sip of ice cold water after every squirt.
-wake them up at night for the meds and plan on at least 1/2 hour of being up. I also explained to him at bedtime that I would be waking him and to not be scared. It seemed to work.
-Go to target before the surgery and get about a weeks worth of little treats/toys. I went to the dollar section; it's almost Easter time right now so there is cute stuff. Every morning after the surgery I have given him a treat for having to wake up at night and deal with medicine. He began to remember it and he woke in better spirits in the mornings.
-get out of the house some, even if it's just for a drive. I believe kids get stir crazy the same as us.
-drink, drink, drink. We make him sip something every 10 min or so when awake.
-Hang in there, it will get better. I still have another week of this probably but things have improved so much today I felt compelled to leave my story. I have 3 small children at home and am 6 months pregnant. This whole experience has been so draining. WE CAN do this!!
Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Try 'Capital w/ codeine' as opposed to lortab elixir! It is tylenol made w/ out alcohol so doesn't sting. My 3, almost 4 year old is on post op # day 2 & it stinks. I am having flashbacks from when I went through this at age 21 & it was horrible!!! Good luck everyone!

G mom said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! My 5 year old son is on day 6 post op for T&A plus tubes and woke up at 1 a.m. with tremendous pain. He had been off pain meds for two days prior. So good to know that the return of pain is "normal." I am printing the initial post to take to our post-op checkup - I love our ENT, but it's been 7 years since my daughter had hers out and the experience has been completely different! It has been such a comfort to read so many other stories.

FYI - my daughter had hers done when she was 2 because of sleep apnea, breezed through recovery and started eating a lot more since there were no longer huge tonsils in the back of her throat to prevent her from swallowing. For both my kids, the surgery is worth it, but it is very scary to contemplate putting your kids under the knife. God bless each of you in your struggles with recovery!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I really appreciate all the advice...my sons are 14 and 8 and had T&As removed on 4/20/11 and it is day 3 and the worst for my 8 year old by far. Hardly ate or drank today...finally tried a jelly sandwich and he ate it! He started with ear pain today. My 14 year old has been much more stoic, although he stomps the floor when taking his meds so I know he hurts. He also hasn't eaten as much as my 8 year old on days 1 and 2, but ate more popsicles. Both very different! The one similarity is that the tylenol w/codeine dose was woefully inadequate! After some experimenting, 2 tbsp every 4 hrs works well, although around the 3-1/2 hr mark, you can tell they are ready. Insurance wouldn't cover the refill yet because its only been 2 days, but the meds were half gone and its Good Friday and they wouldn't have lasted til Monday. I don't feel guilty about the meds but I did leave a message for the ENT that we will probably need more and they need to make sure the script is right so insurance pays! Thanks for all the info, it really helps just to read about other people going thru the same things...

Anonymous said...

I have been referring to this blog far more often than is probably necessary. My son is 7 and we are on day 5 post- T&A. He did fabulous at the hospital and the first 24 hours. In fact, he was near tears when we came home because I wouldn't feed him Ramen noodles (Dr. said no solids for first night). The next day he ate some fish and then there was a steady decline and he's been hovering there ever since. Pain meds every 4 hours definately help, as did fudgecicles and scrambled eggs. I'm definately ready for the mid-nite wake-up screams of doom to end! Also his voice has changed- it sounds muffled and at the same time like he's been drinking helium. Also- something no one mentioned but I thought I'd throw out there was that he started coughing out pieces of his throat scabs which freaked him out horribly, so be ready for that nastiness. I'm glad I read this article and all the comments- so far everything that's happened I've been prepared for. Thanks all!!

Anonymous said...

Liz everything you hve said is like my own diary entry for the last 7 days. My little girl has just had her tonsils and adenoids out and it has been very hard for her. Hopefuly she will almost be over the worst. Your comments have been very reasuring for me, my husband and my little girl. Thankyou.

Liz said...

I accidentally deleted this comment from "Anonymous" from May 6. Dur. Here it is reposted.

Thank you! Ironically, our son is also named Griffin. He has had a terrible recovery and a great deal of pain. His biggest issue has been refusing the pain medicines(Tylenol with codine and regular Tylenol). After trying to put the meds in Hershey Syrup, suppositories, melt-a-ways, etc we finally went back to the ER. Within just a few hours of being at the ER he is a different child. Just changing up his pain meds were enough to change his spirits and help him hydrate better. We have spoken to nurses daily (he's on day 9) and I am wishing we had taken him sooner to the ER. Good luck to all going through this experience - I do think the recovery is something we will never forget!

Anonymous said...

Our 3 year old son had his tonsicls, adnoids, and tubes done May 9.. We are now on day 8. I will take everyone through our experiance from day 1. Monday opertation day: our son arrived back to his room after recovery a very unhappy boy. He was on IV fluids and oral Lortab. He cried a little during the day and did manage to sleep 90% of the night. Day 2 Tuesday: He was very uncomfortable in the morning, he cried quite abit and was really sore. He was able to leave the hospital after we convinced him he had to eat and drink a little. He immediatly fell asleep in the car watching cartoons. When we got home he was still uncomfortable and in some pain. I started playing games with him to get him to drink more. The more he drank the better he felt and within 2 hours and 2 juice boxes we were playing XBOX kenect sports game, this is a game that involves running and stuff. He was like a new kid. Day 3 Wednesday: Mornig was not fun until we got him to drink alot then pretty much the same as the rest of the day tuesday. Lots of games to get him to drink, and he ate LOTS this day. He downed atleast 3 Hormel Chicken and rice meals and 1-2 cups of mac and cheese, oh yeah and 5-6 chewy cookies.Day 4 Thursday: Morning was no fun as usual until he started drinking alot. The rest of the day was more of the usual drinking games, eating lots or cartoons and Xbox sports. Day 5 Friday: He was uncomfortable 90% of the day was a little slower to eat and drink and you could tell he was in pain. Didnt cry so much but was very whiny. Day 6 Saturday. woke up in pain as usual. Make sure you get them drinking ASAP in the morning they will feel much better when they do. Ours usually lasted for 30 mins. We started to switch him from the lortab to reg tylenol today.. Worked just fine but I would use the presription at night. Day 7 Sunday: The usual pain in the morning but only gave tylenol which is much easier since its flavored, that lortab is terrible and I like stright whiskey. Minor pain during the day not much crying little whiny now and then. He def wanted to play rough trying to talked me and stuff. He is deff returning to himself. Day 8 Monday: More of the usual pain in the morning and a dose of tylenol. Its now been 8 hours with no pain meds and he just woofed down a cheesburger, fries, and chicken nuggets. I will update more later. If you have any specific questions you can email me at firedogmccoy@gmail.com

Ciara said...

Thanks so much Liz for this blog and I only wish I had read it prior to surgery to prepare myself. I had my tonsils removed as an adult and I don't recall suffering nearly as much as my little guy. He will be 3 next month and had to have tonsils and adenoids removed and PE tubes inserted. The surgery went well but the recovery phase seems endless. We are now at day 8 and he is still needing pain medication every 4 hours and even more frequently at night. He is taking hydrocodone (vicodin) and we are alternating this with ibuprofen. He was also prescribed an antibiotic. Night time is the worst for us as he wakes up screaming with the pain and usually doesn't want to take the medicine. We also have a 10 week old baby so most of the night is spent caring for one or other of them. Had I known the recovery would be this hard I would have postponed it for a while. That said his sleep apnea was so bad that we needed to go ahead with surgery. I really hope that it is all worth it in the end as it breaks my heart to see him suffer so terribly. I feel he will never trust a doctor again after this ordeal and dread our post op appointment tomorrow as he will probably have to be dragged there kicking and screaming. Thanks for all the good advice posted about the meds and food to avoid. Hearing that things do get better is of great comfort.

Kevin said...

My 2 1/2 year old stubborn girl just had her T & A and tubes put in and we're having a hell of a time with getting her to stay hydrated. Popsicles work sometimes but not always, fudgesicles...you name, we've tried it.

This blog has been really helpful as to know we aren't alone with the struggle to give her the lortab elixer. She started spitting it out and we couldn't get any medication into her. This prompted us to go to the ER where we were told to try tylenol suppositories which seem to work a bit but I'm not sure they are managing the pain all that well, you can tell she's still in pain. No vomiting so that's helping with the hydration...

Oh what a battle, I think the ENT's should be required to tell you the worst case scenario, maybe even an instructional video because we were not at all prepared for this outcome....

Lauren said...

Hi there,
So my 28 month old is scheduled for surgery next Tuesday and I am a little concerned based on everyone's comments. My son has had sleep problems since day one and is a mouth breather. He often chokes on food due to his enlarged tonsils. I feel that his quality of life will be better after but haven't seen many posts from people a few months after surgery. Can anyone tell me if it really helped? Is it worth it???

Thank you for any advice!

Anonymous said...

I have a 31/2 year old who had her tonsils/adenoids and tubes done on May 20th-it has been hell ever since. I would strongly urge anyone wanting to have this done to a young child-wait if at all possible. My daughter was incredibly "out of it" after the procedure and required several extra hours in the recovery room. She came home with an appetite and was given yogurt, popsicles and then proceeded to vomit 4-5 times over the next 2 hours. At around 11pm that night, she was choking and we snatched her up from her bed and ran to the toilet for more vomit. She could hardly breathe and I think was actually choking on her uvula since it was so enlarged. Since then she has fought taking the tylenol with codeine and has run a fever for the past 7 days. It has been such a struggle to get the medicine in her and fluids. Waking her up at the recommended 4 hour intervals just seems to be as bad as letting her wake up screaming on her own. I am exhausted, worried and it is day 7 post op. She threw up her yogurt, water and medicine tonight right before bed so tonight should be more fun. I would never have done this had I known how much pain my daughter was in for. The fever has been the worst rising suddenly and causing her to shake, while crying and choking. If I had it to do over again, I would have only done the tubes and adenoids and waited till she was older and able to be reasoned with for the tonsils. Hope someone can learn from our hellish experience.

Liz said...

Anon 6:55,
Have you called her doctor re the long-term fever? If her temp has been staying above 100.4 when not controlled by the meds, this is worth a call to consult with a nurse. As it's a Saturday, if your doctor hasn't provided you with an after-hours call-line to call for concerns, you could probably call an after-hours clinic and describe the situation and see what they recommend.

So sorry this has been so hard on you and your daughter. Much love and healing to you.

Anonymous said...

Hello All
my son had a surgery 3 weeks ago, when he was almost 26 months old.
our physician recommended he'll have all three parts of the surgery (adenoid, ear-tubes and tonsils) since he had sooooooo many ear infections that it was constant that he had fluids in his ears.
he also had the worst "heavy breathing" you can imagine, while awake (not to mention while sleeping...)
the ENT on the other hand, said he hardly ever preform tonsillectomy on kids under three years old (due to the difficult healing process).
with that in mind - i was searching the web for some detailed info and so i came across this blog.
at first - scared the hell out of me but then I've realized - this is a great source of information that should be part of our preparation.
i read all 176 comments (at the time) and wrote down all relevant tips parents were able to offer.
on Friday 05/13/2011 our son had the surgery. when the ENT came out of the OR he said our son's tonsils were above average of an ADULT!
I am happy to report that we had a very smooth recovery. we stayed over night (by choice: b/c I rather be safe than sorry)
and yet very thankful for all the info posted here.
but what i really want to do, is to encourage parents to have this surgery b/c the changes in our son's behavior, speech, mood, and overall are AMAZING
good luck to all of you out there :)
do it - it really is worth it!

Anonymous said...

I feel obligated to share our story now that we've recently been through many of the same experiences. To be honest, I read some of this blog before my son's surgery last week, and thought how everyone always likes to share the "bad" experiences, so there was no way anything here was going to happen with us. Was I wrong!

My almost 3 year old son had tonsils & adenoids out, and airplane tubes put in May 31st. He has had strep 7-8 times, RSV twice, croup three times, pneumonia twice, and a few ear infections. The goal of the surgery was obviously to reduce illness and reduce the amount of antibiotics that he was always on. Let's hope this works...

My main concerns for the day of surgery was distracting him so he wouldn't be really upset about not having milk & breakfast in the morning, as well as how he was going to react when they brought him into the OR. Both of those went fine. As soon as he woke up we put his shoes on and told him we were going on an "adventure" and he didn't even mention wanting milk or breakfast. Then when we got to the hospital it was such a whirlwind that I didn't even have time to worry between the time we checked in to the time surgery was over. Our hospital had the process down to a science and our son actually thought it was was kind of fun and willingly went off with the nurse to the OR.

Anonymous said...

CONTINUATION FROM ABOVE POST:

The procedure, from the time they took him back to the time we got to see him again, was about 40 minutes. He was certainly out of it when we first saw him - but no different than when he sometimes wakes up from a night terror. What alarmed me a little was the blood coming out of his nose and corners of mouth. He quickly ripped out his IV in his rage, and it bled all over. But he had already had part of the IV fluids, so the nurses didn't have to reinsert it. He cried for about 45 minutes and refused all ice, popsicles, water. But once we turned a movie on, he was distracted, calm, and ate a popsicle. He did throw up once, but that was mostly because dad sat him up a little too quickly. Luckily the nurse was there to help.

After 2 hours they checked his O2 levels and said he could go (he asked to stay). He was actually happy going back to the car, and slept on the way home. Once at home, he ate a chocolate chip muffin, banana, and some milk. He seemed to be in little pain until the lydocaine and morphine wore off 6 hours post op.

The next 5 days were very tough. For the first few days, we did motrin every 6 hours, with a tylenol "boost" 3 hours after the motrin. Then we did the lortab at night. He didn't seem to be in a lot of pain, just uncomfortable. Our issues ...

1) refused to eat or drink ANYTHING for three days, and started to get dehydrated. Our pediatrician recommended the goal should be the equivalent of 3 popsicles in a day, and to forget about food. I had read 8 oz of fluids an hour, but once I heard our docs suggestion, felt a little better.

2) He was extremely constipated and didn't go from Monday until Thursday afternoon. This was another reason he would refuse eating / drinking (common for toddlers). I would strongly suggest asking your doctor ahead of time about using a stool softener post surgery since the anesthesia and meds can be extremely constipating. Once he finally went, he started to eat and drink a little better.

3) Became terrified of taking meds, to the point where we had to restrain him to get them in his mouth. He has never had an issue with this in the past. It was so bad that I finally cut back almost entirely by the fourth day. He seemed OK with this. I would only make him take them if I felt that he went from "uncomfortable" to "in pain". The third time we tried lortab, it had the opposite effect and I think gave him the jitters instead of helping him sleep. He would NOT stop moving his legs and couldn't sleep. He also almost threw up in the middle of the night. We stopped lortab after that.

4) He went into surgery with a very minor cold, which turned into a chest infection / cough post op. By day 5 we had to go to peds and get an antibiotic. Needless to say, the extra coughing only made the throat pain worse.

Anonymous said...

CONTINUATION FROM ABOVE POST:

5) He was extremely clingy and sad when my husband or i was around. However, as soon as we left to go to work and his grandparents were watching him, he would perk up, eat, drink, play, and be cooperative. I think having someone other than mom & dad around actually made him feel better.

6) His main complaint was that his mouth / cheeks hurt. I thought he might have sores in his mouth or thrush. The doctor said that both can happen, or it could be referred pain from the throat. However, it did seem like it was in the mouth because he would complain before he actually swallowed. Doc said there was nothing to do about it, and it would resolve with time, which it did.

7) By about day 3 the nightmares and night terrors started. Again, this is common post op. The anesthesia and drugs temporarily alter your brain chemistry and can cause these. For a few days he was waking every hour at night with them. It is now day 12 and he is still getting 1-2 a night. From what I read on other blogs, this usually happens for about 2 weeks. Our doctor suggested to get him calmed down, but then be firm that it is night time and he needs to put himself back to sleep. Comfort him, but don't stay in the room or sleep with him in bed as this will only prolong the issue. Since we've started that (we were just having him sleep in the recliner or bed with us), they have decreased. I also read that if your child is prone to these (which ours was), you should tell the anesthesiologist ahead of time because they can alter the types of drugs they use to reduce this side effect. Wish we knew that ahead of time!

By day 8 our son completely turned around. Started eating and drinking and was almost back to his old self. He would still complain that it hurt when he ate or drank, but we quickly realized this was for attention, not because it actually hurt. We ignored the whining and applauded the eating / drinking attempts, and the complaints quickly subsided. He returned to daycare on day 10 completely back to normal.

I hope that our story will help someone out there. The last two weeks were absolutely horrible and we felt very unprepared for what we went through. I think age 3 is a difficult time to go through this procedure. But just know that it is a limited period of misery, and things will improve because little ones heal very quickly. If we faced all of the 7 complications that I listed above, and still returned 100% back to normal within 10 days, then you can make it through, too! Good luck!

(Oh, and I'm also 8 1/2 months pregnant. Certainly don't recommend going through this when you're pregnant!!!)

Anonymous said...

Wanted to let everybody know that Lortab (Tylenol with vicodin) is available in a liquid form WITHOUT alcohol in it. Our ENT had mentioned that the alcohol can burn or sting their throats so she wrote the prescription to exclude alcohol. (I think that she said this was something new).

My 9yr old had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on June 9. We are on day 8 post op and she's now doing a lot better. The first 6 days were pretty good, had to give pain meds prior to them wearing off during the first 3 days, then was able to stretch them from 4 hours to 6 hours. I highly recommend the frozen "boo boo" frozen items to place in washcloth and on ears to help any ear pain, it totally worked.
The night of day 8 my daughter had some bleeding (must've been the scab(s) falling off. Of course this scared her and I did what I had read which was drink very cold water and switch mouth out and then lie down and see if it stopped within 10-15 minutes, which it did, thankfully. However, since she swallowed some blood, she was nauseous in the morning and ended up vomiting it up, 3 times. She started to get dehydrated and I then had to spoon feed her electrolyte water, which I HIGHLY recommend having a stash on hand as this is what I gave her as fluid since DAY 1 of post op. Once I got a little fluid back into her, she was feeling a lot better and we turned corner that afternoon. (I had explained that if she refused the fluid, I'd most likely have to take her back to doctor because of dehydration. She really didn't want that and was able to then force herself to take a few spoonfuls at a time, every few minutes.

Takeaways:
Give pain meds when they are in pain. I would ask her on a scale of 1-10 how badly she hurt, whenever she said "A Billion", I knew she needed the Lortab/Hydrocodone. If she just said it hurt badly, then I'd give regular Tylenol.
Every day the foods she wanted could be different from those that she tolerated the day before. I'd just give her ANYTHING that she felt like, but made certain that it was never hot.
Use the ice things for ear pain.
Just know that between days 5-7, pain can substantially worsen, but then you know that it will soon (within a day) become a lot better.
Warning about giving Motrin/Ibuprofen during post op: The last thing that I wanted was to risk bleeding, which aspirin, Motrin/Ibuprofen can cause. The doctor said NOT to give any of it because if they start bleeding a lot, then they have to go back in for cauterizing surgery, etc., which then starts you back at DAY 1 all over again!!
Just keeping saying to your little ones (and yourself) that they are healing and getting better every day and try to stay calm and positive for them.

Good luck, I feel for anyone affected by surgery with their children, but sometimes it's necessary and the best alternative to stop the repeated infections.

Anonymous said...

Revision to 9yr old T&A prior post:
Sorry, I meant to say the night of Day 6, not Day 8 for when she had the bleeding (wasn't more than a couple teaspoonfuls).

anniepmaki said...

I stumbled upon your post while looking for information on what I can feed my 3.5 yr old boy who had his adenoid and tonsil taken. I am so stressed right now (Day 5 of recovery) and no one seems to understand; hubby thinks I am overreacting but my mother instincts tell me there are things to worry about. Thanks for this post. Everyday is still something different. I am tempted to take the next 7 days off and just take care of my son (I work full time). Thank you again.

anniepmaki said...

I have referenced your blog here:

JP said...

So glad I found your post too. Makes me feel better about everything knowing what's expected. So far it's day 2 for my very brave 5 yrs old. She is eating mashed Potato with Gravy and Smooshed Ripe avocado, she is also on Hydrocodone/apap so she is drinking Gatorate with Prune juice(for the expected constipation) and coconut water (which is high in Pottasium)she also seems to tolerate some cream of wheat watered down a bit with Vanilla soy milk and she also seems to like the Vanilla Chai Soy drinks from Bolthouse Farms. I too will be back to read current suggestions.

JP.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story.My daughter just had T&A this past week. We are having a similar experience. I am praying that things will get better.

Banke said...

Did anyone have to do tonsillectomy for dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)? if yes, did it really help?

Anonymous said...

This blog was helpful!! I read it almost every day when my son just had his tonsils and adenoids out. We are on day 10 and he is doing great. It looks like we are very fortunate as we did not have as rough of a time as others have. My son is 4 and understood that he had to take his pain medicine every 4 hours, which we continued until day 8 and then went to Tylenol. Day 3 was the worst day for him. He did complain about the pain medicine burning at times, but only if we let it go too long in between. I am a pharmacist and one thing they don't mention often is that the pain medicine can constipate your little one..so FYI Miralax works great for this. It mixes right in their liquid and is colorless and tastless. We had a good experience, bad at times, but worth it in the end. So some of you that are really worried, just keep up on the fluids and pain medicine and give lots of love and that's the best you can do!

Jackie said...

This Blog has been a life saver for me. Two of my four children had their tonsils and adenoids out on July 14 (so today is day 4 post op). My 12 year old and my 7 year old are each having difficulties but they have not been the same issues. reading all of your posts has made me feel a little better because I have been at my wits end. My 7 year old had to be placed on a steroid for swelling of his uvula. That was a fun night. It is so helpful to hear from other moms(parents) going through this. I pray that all of your kids are okay and you have made me feel better that mine will be better too. (well in another 6-8 days)

Taiyo And Samantha said...

Here’s a positive experience--
About a week before my barely-2-year-old’s tonsillectomy I found this site and read the blog and a lot of the comments. I actually got scared, thinking this was going to be much worse than I thought! There are so many horror stories! Well, we’re 12 days post-op now, and either we’re just lucky or most people only post about the bad experiences, but I’m tempted to say that it has been “a breeze.” So I want to write my experience so other mom’s know that it’s not “guaranteed” to be a horror story.
Immediately after surgery when my son was still trying to come out of the anesthesia, he did act like he was hurting, but I held him and let him sleep for about 4 hours, and when he finally did wake up on his own, he was happy! The rest of the evening he was happy and playful, and in addition to drinking apple juice he ate 3 cups of jello and almost a whole cup of mac n cheese. He was released from the hospital the next morning and when we got home he seemed like his normal self! I actually exerted more effort trying to keep him somewhat calm so he wouldn’t hurt himself than anything else.
We did give him his pain meds (lorotab) around the clock for the first few days, then began spread it out a few hours longer, particularly at night. He only said “owie” or acted like it hurt maybe three times total, but each of those times we gave him the meds and he was back to normal within 10 mins.
He is breathing in sleep is SOOO much better now. It has been a blessing. I’m not sure what technique all your children had done on them, but my son’s Dr used the “coblation” technique, which does not use high heat, leaves less damage to the healthy surrounding tissue, and has shown significant improvements in recovery in clinical studies. If you’re going to have a tonsillectomy done, specifically request coblation.
Having said all this, I know that not everyone responds the same way, and I do feel blessed to have had it so easy after anticipating a nightmare. But for other mothers out there, try not to be scared like I was. It’s not guaranteed to be awful. Just be PREPARED for all possibilities. :)

Anonymous said...

My 27 month old son will have the surgery (t/a and tubes) in 3 days. reading what to expect is stressful but helpful. Is it normal to stay in the hospital overnight? I was told to expect to spend 1/2 day in the surgery center then he will go home! I think the recovery stresses me out more than the actual surgery!!!

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