September 11, 2008,
J.F. asks from Madison, WI on August 21, 2008
Upcoming Tonsil and Adenoid Surgery
I will try to keep this short. After much research and discussion we have decided to go ahead with surgery to remove both of my 6 and 8 year olds tonsils and adenoids this fall. They both have really large adenoids and tonsils and because of this have mouth breathing issues, snoring and sleep apnea issues...causing them to wake up from a full nights sleep not well rested and tired. So my question is not whether to have the surgery or not, we have already decided that and are comfortable with our decision. But I want to know how to prepare them and what to expect. My son really really does not want to have the surgery. He is scared and just gets nervous around doctors in general. I would also love to hear from moms who have had this done for their children and what the surgery was like, what the recovery was like. Complications if any and if they saw improvement in their kids after? Thanks in advance!!
I suppose I should add to my post that my kids are supposed to have this done in an outpatient facility...right at 20 s. park in Madison so they will not be in an actual hospital. Has anyone had it done this way also?
1 mom found this helpful
P.K. answers from Minneapolis on August 22, 2008
See if they have a little class or a kit on what they will see, hear and smell. When my son had surgery we used a kit that had a mask for gas in it, a surgical hat and mask and some other things too. He walked himself to the OR and even put the mask to his face by himself! Also ask if they can be put under with gas before they start the IV's. If they already have DR anxiety maybe you could ask your MD for a 1/4 dose of Xanax or Ativan to help them relax before the surgery. As a nurse I see how some kids get so anxious just walking into the hospital or clinic. They will sense your fear too so take a deep breath and really let them know it isn't a big deal. Good Luck!
T.S. answers from Wausau on August 22, 2008
My daughter, now 10, had hers out when she was 4, for the same reasons. She had severe sleep apnea, we had a sleep study done to find this out, although it was pretty obvious from home that was what was going on.
Anyways, she had it done at Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI. It was also outpatient. The clinic sent me a website that had a 10 minute video of what to expect, from check-in to check-out. It was wonderful and she loved watching it. When we went to the clinic she remembered everything and even corrected some of the nurses and said "that's not how you are supposed to do this...the video said...". I think it put her at ease.
There was also no "needle fear" because being a kid they gave her the gas mask first and after she was out, then they put in the IV's. She had no clue they were there til after.
I would see if the hospital in Madison has something similar like a video or at least some pamphlets or something to help them understand exactly what's going to happen. Even though they are "older", it's still a scary thing to happen! Good luck..and remember that this is really for the good, they will sleep so much better...and that's what kids need!
J.F. answers from Milwaukee on August 22, 2008
I am with you on feeling unsure about the whole situation. But it was the best thing we could have done for our son! My son was 5 when he had both of his out. He had the same sleeping issues. We had a bumpy recovery. He didn't want to eat very much of anything. We bought a lot of shakes!! He lost about 4 pounds. It was a little difficult when he ate solid things or drank liquid at first. They sometimes wanted to come out his nose, so eating took a little concentration. I guess this is a common thing. His tonsils were so large before, he had the space of a pencil between them. Just stay on top of the pain meds they give you. Please don't be scared about the recovery, I guess some kids do very well, and don't have some of the issues that we had. We noticed no snoring, no sleep apnea, and improved allergies within a week; as the swelling went down. If this helps, we bought our son something special and gave it to him the morning of the surgery, and he was able to take it with him to surgery. We also had ours done in an out-patient facility. But prepare to be there all day. I thought it was nicer, because our son felt like he was going to a doctor.
And now a year after surgery; he sleeps like a rock, and had about an 80% improvement in his seasonal allergies!!! Best of luck to you, and I hope they have a speedy recovery!
C.B. answers from Des Moines on August 22, 2008
I have twin 7 yr old boys who are recovering from same surgery. It has been 2 weeks and now are fine but still restricted on activity. They also had outpatient surgery. Recovery room was rough were pretty sore. Ice packs for throats helps and slushy drinks. 1st couple of days were not bad but it got worse days 3-7. I suggest chloraseptic throat strips, especially before bed and when waking up at night.Good luck.
P.K. answers from Minneapolis on August 21, 2008
No children with this, but I can tell you, my husband has sleep apnia BADLY and has never had his tonsils removed. As a child, was diagnosed with apnia but his mom DIDN'T want him to udergo surgery. He wishes she had gone through with it and followed through with the diagnoses because now at 36, we all HATE his snoring and he has so much trouble sleeping. Never getting a full nights sleep and is ALWAYS tired regardless of how long he slept. (They say that people with apnia are sleeping approximately 1/2 of the nights rest that they actually spend in bed sleeping.) So, for a kid...8-10 hrs is normal...so if they have apnia, they are only getting about 4-5 hrs every night. (my hubby now has to go in for a sleep study and will most likely have to use a breathing machine for assistance, instead of having the surgery at a young age and avoiding the machine and all the life long complications he's had to overcome all together. He too has an intense fear of doctors so having his mom step in for him and advocate for him when he was young would have been the better way to go for him.)
I hope this helps your kids out...so they don't have to suffer the affects for years to come, like my hubby.
S.S. answers from Minneapolis on August 21, 2008
If you go through Children's Hospital, they have a pre-surgery orientation for kids that walks them through everything, lets them handle medical equipment, tour the hospital, etc. Your facility might offer something similar. It would be worth checking out, as we found the program to be tremendously helpful with my son.
C.Z. answers from Omaha on August 22, 2008
Two of my kids in the last year have had their tonsils/adnoids out. Everyone has wonderful suggestions but I will add one more. If you are making smoothies, make very little. If you give them a frozen treat, they may only eat half of it. Stay away from sticky foods at first (mac/cheese, milk products) as they tend to coat and then the kids try to clear their throat and it hurts. Smoothies with a little yogurt is a good option. Use frozen banana/peaches/strawberries.
Both of my children had out-patient surgeries. That didn't seem to pose a problem.
Also, this is a key bit of information...remember to stay on top of the pain. Keep your child dosed on pain medication on a regular basis and if your little one is in a lot of pain, don't be afraid to call your doctor and ask for a stonger pain medication. Mix it in with the smoothie as even that can hurt when passing by a sore throat.
Good luck...the pain won't last forever.
A.S. answers from Davenport on August 22, 2008
I had this done when I was 6. I remember it clearly and it wasn't terrible at all. My parents explained the surgery to me and I asked if it would hurt. They told me a little but nothing too bad. The doctor had given them a pamphlet about the surgery that explained everything for me. I remember I was given some kind of pill that made me all loopy (and that was great, I giggled) and then the doctor put the mask on me and asked me to count down from 10. Around number 3 I was out and when I woke up a nurse was sitting beside the bed. I spent one night in the hospital and got to eat all the popsicle and 7-up mixture that I wanted (this was soothing on the throat). A few says off school and I was back to normal. Your children are old enough to understand why they need the surgery and though they may be scared going up to it they will be fine after. Get them a fun activity that they can enjoy while recovering. That may help.