Tag Archives: emergency room

Tonsils out, air in!

Tonsillectomy & AdenoidectomyLast Friday my just-turned-four-year-old son had surgery to get his tonsils and adenoids removed. Technically the procedure is called combined tonsillectomy / adenoidectomy, but it’s quite a mouthful to say (no pun intended).

Why did we opt for the surgery? The poor little guy has had giant tonsils for most of his life, not a reason in itself to remove them surgically according to most pediatricians. However, he’s been a recurring victim of sore throats (the dreaded tonsillitis), strep throats, halitosis (bad breath), poor appetite due to back-of-the-mouth obstruction, and drum roll… sleep apnea. Large tonsils can indeed obstruct the airway and deprive a child of much needed sleep. The consequences of sleep apnea in children are numerous:
– Sleepiness
– Crankiness, due to lack of sleep (imagine sleeping four hours a night, every night…)
– Overall fatigue and lack of energy
– Poor concentration, ADHD
– Bedwetting

When my son started complaining EVERY morning after he got up that he was “tired”, I knew I had to do something to help him regain a healthy and active childhood. Even though today tonsillectomies happen a lot less often than 30 years ago, it was easy to get our health insurance plan to approve the surgery, due to my son’s poor physical state.

Now, my advice to all parents out there… Whoever tells you that tonsil / adenoid surgery is a piece of cake is either not a parent, or hasn’t had that surgery performed on them (and if they do, they just don’t remember it). Surgery IS surgery, and it comes with plenty of risks. There’s nothing reassuring in having to sign papers minutes before the procedure allowing the medical staff to perform transfusion if necessary, and indicating that your child doesn’t have an “advanced directive”. It only takes 30 to 45 minutes to perform this surgery, but that will feel like the longest 30 minutes of your life.

As for the recovery part, it’s no piece of cake (lots of popsicles, though!). As a parent, it’s physically and emotionally draining to see your own child in pain, and you know they’re in pain when they have a prescription for Tylenol with codeine. The two main things to watch out for are bleeding and dehydration. My son suffered from so much swelling in his mouth and throat that he refused to swallow anything by the day after the surgery. He ended up being admitted in the hospital for more treatment. He now feels a little better every day and I know that in a few weeks, he’ll have completely recovered, but in the meantime, it’s baby steps.

Now, am I hoping for a miracle cure with this surgery for all sleep apnea side-effects I mentioned above? You bet, at least for most of them! The proof will be in the pudding, and we’re stocked up on that too!

If your child has had tonsil and/or adenoid surgery, I’d love to hear from you.

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Why do kids get sick all the time?

I think the receptionists at my pediatrician’s office are well trained and polite enough not to tell me, “Hey, weren’t you already here last weekend?” when I walk to their desk. I feel that for the past month, I’ve been taking one of my kids there every week. Oh wait, I have! What’s the heck is going on?

As a parent of two young children (26 months and almost 4 years old), I’ve had my share of office visits. The first year, you feel like you’re part of the furniture. Between the regular check-ups (those are the good appointments!) and all the other times when you’re wondering why your baby has a 104-degree fever (most of the time, there’s no logical explanation for it by the waat), you could literally drive to the doctor’s office with your eyes closed. When your baby turns one, OK, maybe two, you start thinking that you’re going to get a break.

That would probably be the case if your child didn’t go to daycare, and never got out of the house… If your child is at all social and goes out in public, he’s doomed to catch almost every bug that’s going around. Why? Because that’s what kids do, or I think that’s why. If you have a better theory, please let me know!

A doctor recently tried to reassure me and explain that my kids were perfectly normal getting sick every few weeks. Apparently winters are the perfect breeding ground for colds (with clear or yellow discharge), which can also lead to ear infections. Then there’s the flu, which looks like a nasty cold but with a high fever and plenty of body aches. Thank god for the flu shot! Now, here’s my pet peeve: what is the deal with spring and summer? Somehow, colds go away, but only to be replaced with sore throats, coughs, and worst of all, stomach bugs…

Here’s our count so far at our house for the past several weeks (not months!):

  • Emergency room: possible broken toe (more probably a really bad bruise) with our three-year-old – read the details under Murphy’s law in action
  • Emergency room: our two-year-old can’t stop screaming, complaining of ear pain on a Sunday night. No sign of ear infection, probably some nasty two-year-old molar action. He’s an angel at the hospital, quiet as a mouse…
  • Doctor’s office: our three-year-old gets strep throat.
  • Doctor’s office: our two-year-old gets a fever and fatigue. The strep test comes back negative, so we have no clue what this is, probably just a virus.
  • Doctor’s office: our two-year-old goes back 2 weeks later with a fever, stomach ache and fatigue. Again, negative strep test, and no clue what this is, probably a virus. Yes, this is the same kid!
  • June 23 update! Doctor’s office: our almost four-year-old gets a fever, stomach ache and fatigue. Negative strep test, no clue what this is. ARGH!

Do you see a pattern here, or is it just me? I’m expecting the medical personnel to welcome us with balloons next time we show up, and maybe some milk and cookies.  Seriously, what is my reward for coming back every other week? Oh wait, what about immunity boosters for the whole family? Alright, I’ll just let my kid help himself to a damn sticker. He knows where the sticker bucket is by now anyway…

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Murphy’s Law in action

While I was at work 250 miles away from home for three days, my oldest son decided to run around the house and hurt his toe really bad on furniture tonight. I arranged for a babysitter to come over and watch his little brother, but their dad refused the help and all three went on an night adventure to ER land. Apparently the doctor thought it was a contusion and no break, which is hopefully true because my husband gave up on waiting for the X-ray and left the hospital without a complete diagnosis! I guess I’ll get to see that toe when I get home tomorrow night and judge for myself if it looks OK!

Why kids wait for you to be far away to hurt themselves is a mystery, but it sure makes for a stressful evening you can’t wait to forget…