Goodbye Tonsils – Surgery to 7 days post op

So after numerous occasions of tonsillitis within a year (12 apparently!!!) the ENT Specialist finally decided that it would be the best thing, from a quality of life point of view, for Lenny to have his tonsils removed.

When I received my letter to telephone to make him an appointment and the Secretary confirmed that the surgery had been scheduled in three weeks time my heart was in my mouth. I knew that the surgery was necessary (they don’t operate on three year olds without cause), but nevertheless I was aware that this meant a lot of pain post surgery for Lenny, various risks associated with the surgery and of course him being put to sleep.

We had prepared Lenny well – I had purchased a book called “Goodbye Tonsils”which was brilliant and helped explain to Lenny what would happen to him on the day and afterwards, he had been for his pre-operation check up which we made fun and he was really excited about the whole “adventure”.

The night before the operation I brought him a cake with Goodbye Tonsils iced on it (courtesy of a very talented work friend) and had wrapped him numerous presents to open when he came home the following day. They had confirmed that it would require an overnight stay as there is a great risk of bleeding in a child after the tonsils are removed. If a bleed did occur in a child of Lenny’s age then it would be straight back down to surgery for a blood transfusion. This did nothing to settle my nerves.

The day of the surgery 

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The morning of the surgery crept around. Lenny was up early and I forced as much food as I could possible get down him as he was nil by mouth from 8am onwards. I went for a walk and broke down into tears every time I thought of Lenny’s innocent little face.

Lenny was excited when we arrived on the ward. I had to hang back whilst Daddy and Mama took him on to the ward – it had become real for me as I looked at the ward doors and I couldnt swallow the urge to have a last little cry before it was all about excitement for Lenny’s benefit.

The first child on the list had a drink of water after cut off time which pushed Lenny up to first (Scott claims this was an evil ploy on his behalf – this has not been confirmed!). The surgeon came out to meet us and explained what would happen, magic cream was applied to Lenny’s hands and then we did our best to distract him for two hours whilst we waited. He loved it though – we was on Sunflower Ward at Derby Royal and they were absolutely brilliant. The nurses were amazing and there was plenty to do to keep the kiddies entertained.

Lenny got his gown on and hippo had a little gown too and then it was time. I carried him down through the doors marked “Theatre” and I was chatting nervously to him all the way telling him how he was going to have his tonsils out and there would be no more tonsillitis. We sat down together and they put in his canister in his hand – he didn’t make a murmur and within seconds was fast asleep after saying “its cold!”

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I had to be forcibly removed from the room by an amazingly patient nurse – it goes against everything ingrained in you as a mother to walk away from your child at their most vulnerable.

It was then an hour and a half waiting for him but it felt like days. I heard the doors go and rushed out to see and there he was awake and crying and asking for mummy. I help him for a long time whilst he cried and dropped off. After an hour he woke up groggy but hungry and ate a bag of beefy crisps, magic stars and a slice of hospital toast.

He slept on and off all day and cried on and off when he woke up. But because he had done so brilliant he was allowed home late Thursday night. I was so pleased to get him home. He was obviously in a lot of pain and we were given morphine, calpol and ibuprofen for him to use at home.

It was a pretty appalling night with a lot of tears. I held him for most of the night and he was sick at one point in the early hours which worried me but I was assured on a telephone call to the ward that this was normal in the circumstances.

Post op day one 

Lenny’s extremely expensive, but totally worth it for being such a brave boy, micro rocket scooter arrived this morning. He was super excited and went off out round the street on it. He begged to go out on the trampoline and made it clear that he was not resting under any circumstances. You would never guess he had had surgery yesterday he was flying high bless him. He was in pain and close to medication time we had a few tears but he was doing brilliant and even eating really well as well as drinking.

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Post op day two 

We seem to have the worse time at night. I am waking him up through the night for medication as the doctors suggested but it seems so much worse at night. Maybe his throat is dry etc and thats what has the bad effect. Anyway after another bad night we had another good day. Lenny was out in the garden all day helping Daddy and generally doing really well.

Post op days three and four

Everything has changed. Lenny is screaming in agony and not even regular doses of morphine is easing it for him. It is horrible and I would do anything to take away his pain. He is complaining of ear pain and on checking online and with the ward I am assured this is normal as the ears are connected so closely to the throat. Lenny has literally cried the whole day away and I am starting to worry that I have made a horribly wrong decision.

Day four and things are no better with yet again a terrible night with no sleep for any of us. I cannot stand seeing him in this pain again all day so I get a doctor out. It turns out that Lenny has an infection in both ears so there is no wonder he has gone downhill. More morphine is prescribed along with antibiotics. I am told to make him rest – they have clearly never met this kid. The doctor does confirm that his throat is healing really well. My friend happens to be here and suggests a hot water bottle for his ears. This works a treat and seems to ease to enough for him to be able to nod on and off for a couple of hours.

Lenny has barely eaten or drunk for two days – he is in so much pain that I can’t bring myself to force him.

Post op days five and six

Lenny has some wonderful visitors who bring with them gorgeous gifts to cheer his spirits. He is very lucky to have such a lot of people who care about him and we are lucky to have such supportive family and friends. Its the first time alot of people in Lenny’s life have seen him voluntarily take himself off to lie on the settee for a rest but these ear infections mixed with the sore throats seem to have knocked him off his feet. I do notice his throat looks fantastic – compared to what I was expecting a lot of the scabs have gone.

Post op day seven and eight

And finally we have rounded the corner. He is smiling, laughing and chatting. The strangest thing about this whole time has been that Lenny has been almost silent. The house is always filled with the noise of Lenny’s conversation and to have this taken away has made the house take on a ghostly feel. It feels so must better to have his chatter, his laughter, him not permanently attached to me with his face tucked under my chin (his special poorly place).

He has asked for pasta bolognese for breakfast today which I have cheerfully given him. He isn’t 100 percent – he is still crying on and off with pain and he isn’t eating completely normally – but we have turned such a corner and its such a vast improvement.

I have to say I am so proud – he has been a right little warrior and such a brave brave boy. 8 days post op and he has fended off two ear infections and a tonsillectomy. He is going to do great things this boy you mark my words!

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