Tubes and adenoids and tonsils. Oh my!

What a year it's been for poor Phee's head. At the end of January, she ended up getting another set of ear tubes put in and her adenoids taken out. We knew that one of the old tubes was close to falling out and, sure enough, she ended up with an ear infection when it did.

Fast forward to six weeks ago. She had been snoring horribly for a few nights, which I chalked up to a bit of a cold or allergies. Giving her medicine one night I noticed her tonsils. And by noticed, I mean I got the flashlight, peered into her throat, and couldn't believe the poor kid could eat much less swallow her saliva. 

That led to strep throat. Five days after she went off the antibiotics for that, she had huge tonsils again and we ended up with another round of strep. Cue a third trip to the ENT and scheduling a date to have the tonsils taken out.

Having done tubes twice, plus adenoids the second time, we thought we knew what we were getting into. Friends, we were idiots. Let me tell you right now, if a family member offers to come stay with you and help out, just take them up on it. Do not be silly like we were and say, "No, no, she'll be fine.  I'm sure it'll only be a couple days and then she'll be back to school. She did so well before." Ha, ha, ha. Ha.

Phee was miserable. She actually ate the afternoon of the surgery because she was starving. But, she ate a bit too much and then wouldn't hardly touch food for the next three days. Popsicles and chocolate milk were her best friends all week. And Tylenol with codeine.

I've got a few tips for you as you're heading into a tonsillectomy. Hopefully these will help you prepare a bit more thoroughly than we did.

{mmm... chocolate milk mustache}

Liquids: Milk and chocolate milk were all Phee wanted to drink after the first day. (For the first day, they aren't supposed to have any dairy.) Juice and cold water hurt her throat. Room temperature water was better. The temperature will vary from kid to kid. But, definitely have several options on hand. Water, milk, chocolate milk, Pedialyte, Gatorade, juice, flat soda... whatever they will drink.

Cold treats: Surprisingly, Phee was more into popsicles than ice cream. I thought for sure she'd be thrilled to eat ice cream to her heart's content.  But, what do I know? Stock up on your kid's favorite popsicles. By stock up, I mean buy at least two boxes; we went through three. The fruit bars with real fruit in them might irritate your child's throat depending on the flavor you get. Also, ice cream and sherbet are good choices. Sherbet has very low dairy content. And you can always try coconut milk ice cream or some other non-dairy type for the first day.

Food:  Ha. Food. I tried jello, but Phee wouldn't touch it. She had no interest in pudding. Applesauce and yogurt were the best options for her. Eventually, she had some chicken noodle soup (mash up some noodles and veggies with lots of broth), very buttery mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. Mostly, though, I couldn't get her to eat anything and when it was becoming a fight to get her to even drink anything, I took her to McDonald's and bought her french fries which totally did the trick. My mom suggested some baby food, but I didn't think Phee would go for it so I didn't bother to buy any. That might be an option for some other kids, though.

Plan ahead for your own meals, too. Crock pot meals, planned delivery or takeout, extra sandwich fixings... you're going to need quick and easy things you can eat with one hand on the couch while snuggling your kiddo.

Movies:  You're going to be on the couch. Stock up on some favorite movies and shows. Charge up your e-reader and phone and laptop.

Pajamas:  Make sure the laundry is clean because if your kid is anything like mine, she will wear pajamas nonstop for 4 days. We had to do laundry quickly one day to make sure she had enough comfy clothes and pajamas ready to go. Side note: popsicles drip a lot. 

Medicine:  This could be different for different doctors, of course, but we were sent home with a prescription for Tylenol with codeine. After that, she could take regular Tylenol, which isn't something we usually use. So, be sure to check with your doctor ahead of time so you have the medicine you need on hand. The Tylenol with codeine tastes bad and stings the throat.  Phee refused to take it after a couple days, but still needed something so we moved right into regular Tylenol every four hours on the dot.

Also, congestion comes with the surgery. Double check with your doctor to see how much is normal and if there's anything you can do to relieve it for your kiddo.  

Tips to help get you and your toddler through tonsillectomy recovery
{we logged a lot of hours on the couch watching movies}
Phee ended up home for four days and then went to school on Friday. That may have been a bit soon, but she did okay. Sometime between days 5-7, the scabs start to slough off and the throat is raw again. That happened to us Friday night and through the weekend. Be prepared because your poor kid will be sore and cranky at that point.

She went back to school Monday, one week after the surgery, and didn't eat lunch. She ate a little more Tuesday. By Wednesday, ten days after the surgery, she was back to her normal self and happy again. The only thing still bothering her was yawning.

Good luck if you're facing a tonsillectomy for your little one. Overall, it isn't that bad and it's certainly helping us in the long run. It can be a very stressful week and listening to all the whining can be tiring. But, it's hard to argue with all the extra snuggles on the couch.

Update: I just wanted to add, a year later, that this surgery was one of the best things we did for Phee. After a couple years of sniffles and colds all the time, ear infections, two rounds of tubes, adenoids out, the last year has been amazing. She's had maybe two little colds. No sore throats, no ear problems (she still has tubes), none of the problems we were having prior to surgery. She has seasonal allergies, but even that is easier to handle without all the other problems we had before.

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