Surviving kid's tonsillectomy?
June 13, 2018 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Kid, age 8, having tonsils and adenoids out soon....

Please hit me with your best advice, tips and tricks and time-tested ways to handle kid's post-op pain and whatever we have to look forward to post-surgery. Kid is, shall we say, the opposite of stoic...wimpy AND vocal about it. Thanks.
posted by Ginesthoi to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Ice cream and cold drinks.
posted by JimN2TAW at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bribery. This is a good time to splash out $$ for a big gift - I gave my 4 year old a doll house. She had no problem with the operation and the only thing she remembers is the doll house.
posted by crazycanuck at 4:29 PM on June 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you can find a slushy maker, ours is a mug made of blue ice. Freeze the mug, add juice, stir, it's a slushy. Does the hospital have an ice maker that makes chewable ice? Bring a small cooler, take some home, that stuff is awesome. Jello, pudding, popsicles, ice cream. Clear soups, noodles, soft foods. Get a new video or 2. Get some books to read aloud. Make a blanket fort.

Worst part was throwing up in recovery, blood goes down your throat, it doesn't digest well, it was unpleasant. Modern surgical technique may avoid that.

I remember it hurting a lot for a day, then being manageable. It did nothing to help my getting every single virus that went around.
posted by theora55 at 4:55 PM on June 13, 2018

Popsicles. Ice cream (no add-ins or chunks of anything). Milkshakes. No pop.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 PM on June 13, 2018

Yeah, when I was a kid my parents said "you can have all the ice cream you want, and a special gift. What would you like?" I chose a stopwatch and they got me a stopwatch and I loved that thing soooo much. It was blue, and it went click, click, and the reset button made the hands all sweep back, and I could wind it, and I could time the doctors and the nurses and .... I didn't have very much ice cream, but I sure as shit remember the special gift.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:59 PM on June 13, 2018 [9 favorites]

if they are taking out tonsils you have a chronically sick kid on your hands. they don't just yank them out a the drop of a hat any more. grandson going through it now missed 29 days of 4th grade A's & b's in spite of it but he hates being sick........that's the reward, no more sick every 6 weeks (like clock work). he's ready! dr's not.......
posted by patnok at 6:22 PM on June 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

My now 11 year old had hers removed when she was 7. I just asked her advice and she says ice cream, cuddles, lots of Tylenol, and being allowed to play video games all day (replace with something your child loves).
Not sure I have much to add to her comments, they were all helpful- the hardest part for us was the night time meds since she would wake up and her throat was dry from sleeping and therefore horribly sore...
She got a stuffed animal given to her in the hospital, as part of a stuffies for kids program ; that was amazingly helpful for the operation itself and immediate aftermath. She still has it =) so some type of special toy might be a hit.
posted by DTMFA at 6:26 PM on June 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Has your kid had general anesthesia before? If not, you may (or may not! every kid is different!) be surprised by their reaction coming out of the anesthesia. Both times (tubes in ears at 18mo, tubes out of ears at 7) our kid cried like the world was ending, and he has never, ever been a cry-er. I mention this because of your comment about the kiddo being the opposite of stoic -- if s/he has the same reaction ours did, the crying might take you aback a bit.

The recovery nurse reassured us that this was a completely normal reaction and that he was just fine (which he was!) and as soon as the anesthesia wore off and he went home and took a nap he was better than fine. And hungry as a horse.
posted by spamloaf at 6:27 PM on June 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

I cared for a ton of post op T&A kids as a nurses aide, back when it was an inpatient/one night procedure, when I was in nursing school.
Making sure that kids stayed well hydrated was the single most important thing. They didn’t go home in the morning unless they had drunk a certain amount and were peeing adequately.

This was the simple drill:
1. Tylenol, liquid or suppository. They have to have it, one way or the other.
2. 30 minutes later, have them drink. Use tepid fluids, nothing acidic. Encourage big swallows to get more fluids down. It means that they’ll have to swallow fewer times, and each swallow hurts the same whether it’s teeny tiny or good sized.

Ice cold fluids hurt more to swallow and don’t have a significant numbing effect. Avoid mucus producing milk/ice cream until they are swallowing more comfortably on day two or three.

Tons of TLC and positive encouragement, too.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:23 PM on June 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ice cream, no kidding.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:15 PM on June 13, 2018

As I recall, when I had this done some 25 or more years ago, my parents got me a set of Ghostbusters walkie-talkies afterwards. In fact, it’s all I remember about it.
posted by Ted Maul at 11:51 PM on June 13, 2018

When I had a different surgery at that age, I got a gift, but I don't remember any difficulty with recovery. My parents were more worried about it than I was. When I got the gift I actually remember thinking, 'why are they making such a big deal about this?' I do remember the strangeness of anesthesia, but little else.

I'm sure you've done all the research, but I've read (as a layperson) that tonsillectomies are unnecessary for some patients who get them and have the potential to do more harm than good. It might be worth getting a second opinion if you haven't already.
posted by pinochiette at 5:22 AM on June 14, 2018

Stay on top of the pain and medicate early. My daughter was in so much pain/had such a low pain tolerance/was so panicked that she refused to swallow the pain medicine, let alone popsicles. So medicate early and consider proactively asking for a suppository for pain.
posted by latkes at 7:48 AM on June 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much for the advice...many things I wouldn't have thought of. I appreciate you all taking time to help!
posted by Ginesthoi at 9:35 AM on June 22, 2018

Food: Kozy Shack pudding, scrambled eggs, overcooked mac and cheese.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:13 PM on June 23, 2018

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