Wednesday, May 8, 2013

No More "Ponsils"

My 2 year old has been sick a lot this year with throat and sinus infections.  On top of that, for the past several months, she has snored like a 93 year old man.  The snoring got so earth trembling loud that it kept us up at night and she would wake up gagging - even to the point of throwing up.  She also held her breath while sleeping (sleep apnea.)  All of these things kept getting worse, including her inability to swallow several different types of food, which would then cause her to gag and throw up at the dinner table.  Try eating at a swanky restaurant with people who are in their finest attire and drinking expensive bottles of wine behind you, while you have just spent a day at the zoo with your busy and loud family, only to have your 2 year old barf up her popcorn shrimp on her plate, directly in front of fancy wine people, then having to fetch your waiter, only to tell him you are sorry for the plate full of vomit.  I finally got the notion to take her to the doctor for this.  When we went, he looked in her mouth and said her tonsils were some of the largest he had ever seen and immediately referred us to an ENT doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  Our appointment with the doctor lasted about 5 minutes.  He looked at her and said exactly what the pediatrician told us he would say - that she needed her tonsils and adenoids out as soon as possible.  On a scale from 1-4, her tonsil size was rated a 4+.  They were literally overlapping in the back of her throat.

Leading up to the procedure, she could not have any Motrin plus a few other medicines for 2 weeks prior to the surgery.  She couldn't eat much 12 hours before surgery and couldn't drink anything 3 hours before either.  I planned for a rough morning when I knew she'd ask for breakfast and would have to be turned down.  My parents came, which was a huge help.  (Can they just move in with me?)  She told my mom, "I want beffast."  When my mom ever so sweetly told her that she couldn't have breakfast, she said, "How bout dinner?"  We had to explain that we couldn't eat because we were going to the hospital to have her tonsils out.  She said, "Ok," as if she completely understood, even though I know her 2 year old brain had no idea what was about to happen.

When we got to the hospital, I was incredibly impressed with the staff.  We were greeted with smiles, a coloring book, a box of crayons, and some stickers.  Adia had to wear a little hospital gown, which she looked absolutely adorable in, but made me feel tears well up in my eyes at the same time.  It is just so beyond heart breaking to think that there is a need for hospital gowns so tiny and so many children who wear these gowns far too often and for far too long.  The nurses called her gown her "dress," which made her excited to put it on.  She detested the socks they gave her with the rubberized soles.  She kept complaining, "Help!  My feet!  Dey're stuck!"  We put her own little socks on her and she got to play with toys and watch cartoons while we waited on doctors and nurses to prepare us and her for surgery.  The only issue during this time was her desire to drink.  We did have to spend some time trying to distract her and keep her from thinking about drinking.  They gave her a gas mask to play with so that when it came time for her to be put to sleep, she'd be familiar with the mask. 

Adia in her little gown before the surgery.

Initially, we were told that we would be there with Adia when she would be put to sleep.  They said they would put a strawberry flavored gas in the mask and that we could hold her as she fell asleep.  Unfortunately, after reading about just how large her tonsils were and her tendency to gag, the doctors decided that she needed to be put to sleep in the actual operating room in case she were to gag on the gas and need immediate attention. Due to this, we had to kiss her goodbye and leave as they put her to sleep.  She loved riding in the hospital bed on the way to the operating room and showed the nurse the pictures she had colored in her coloring book.  Saying goodbye to her before the surgery was actually really hard.  I felt so silly getting upset because I knew that so many parents have to sit in a waiting room for an entire day, trembling with nerves and questioning God while their babies have seriously critical surgeries.  I knew Adia's procedure was a very typical one and that it would only be about 45 minutes.  Knowing how it made me sad to leave her just made my heart ache for those parents who have much more life threatening issues to deal with. We saw babies and kids at the hospital with cancer.  We saw several kids with tracheotomies.  It was heart breaking and eye opening at the same time.  I thought I would spend all of this time just praying for my little girl, when instead, I had 100% trust in God that he'd take care of my girl while I prayed silently for the other kids who were going through such life altering procedures and the parents who had to wait. Talk about a humbling experience.

The surgery lasted about 30 minutes.  The resident doctor said that her tonsils were the largest he had ever seen, but that she had a very successful surgery. 

A few minutes later, we were called back to recovery as Adia was waking up.  This was by far the worst part of the whole experience.  She woke up confused, in pain, and extremely mad to have an IV (or an "IB" as she called it) in her hand.  We had to restrain her to keep her from yanking out that IV.  She was a different child.  Have you seen the exorcist?  Yes, I said it.  It was almost like that.  I've never heard her scream like that.  She was soaking my chest with sweat, screaming so loud that I was afraid her throat would start bleeding, tears streaming down her bright red cheeks, and fighting me with all of her might to get that IV out of her hand.  She yelled, "TAKE IT OUT!  GET IT OUT!!!  GET IT OUT MY HAND!" After about 15 minutes (which felt like 95 minutes) of this, she finally wore herself out.  She would doze off for little bits of time until we finally got up to her own room. 

This was after she finally calmed down over the "IB" in her hand.

Once we were in her room, she started to get used to the IV and didn't pay as much attention to it.  She still tried to take it out on occasion, but it was rare.  The nurse gave her a Dora DVD to watch in her room.  She watched the DVD and drank some juice.  The funniest moment was when a nurse brought her some Jell-O.  She hadn't eaten anything since the night before and she was starving.  When she saw the cup, she started freaking out and yelling, "I want it!  I want it!  Give it to me!  Give it to me!  Open it! Open it!  Open it!"  We tried to feed it to her and she yanked the spoon out of our hands and said, "I do it by myself!"  She chowed down on that Jell-O as if she hadn't eaten in her entire life. 

Aaaaah...  Jell-O!

The rest of the day wasn't too bad.  The only issue was trying to get her to rest.  She was in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar surroundings, with an IV and monitors hooked up to her.  She wanted to get up and play, but had to stay in her hospital bed...  a bed with buttons...  buttons she wasn't allowed to push.  Isla wouldn't have made it for a minute.  We watched "Beauty and the Beast" no less than 325 times.  At the end of the movie, she always makes me dance with her. I can't resist that sweet little voice saying, "Mommy, will you dance wif me?"  I know that in a few years, she won't want me to even touch her.  I will dance with her every day until then.  With her IV and her monitors all hooked up, we danced to "Tale as Old as Time..." After the 325th time of watching Belle, I finally turned off the lights and told her it was time to go to bed.  She cried a little at first and said, "I just need to seep in my Hello Kitty bed.  I need to go to Adia's house and seep in dat bed."  Hearing her say that broke my heart since it made me think of all of the kids who stay in the same hospital bed for months and just long for their own bed in their own home.  I held her in her hospital bed and she fell asleep in my arms.  This was the last night I ever heard her snore.

The next morning was difficult.  She woke up in some pain and didn't want to drink.  It took her a few hours to drink enough for the nurses to let us leave.  Since then, she's had a few rough moments - mostly in the mornings and right after naps.  Other than that, she has done remarkable.  The snoring has stopped completely.  I'm now the mom who checks on her child 3-4 times before she goes to bed with her hand on her baby's chest and her ear to her mouth just to make sure she is still alive and breathing.  She gagged on some toothpaste while I tried brushing her teeth and she gagged when she got upset about being sore about a week and half or so ago.  Otherwise, she hasn't gagged on any food or anything of that nature at all.  She tells people that she got her "ponsils" out and the doctor, "just frew dem away."  She knows her medicine by name now and always pretends to give me "Ty-enol" or "Motwin."  Our biggest struggle with her right now has to do with the food she eats.  For a while, she had to eat all soft foods.  She's gotten pickier about the foods she wants to eat now and tells us at every meal, "I just want ice ceam."  She has gotten really good and trying foods and spitting them out and saying, "I just can't eat dat, Mommy.  Dat will hurt my froat."  She even says this for things such as grapes and apple sauce....  but miraculously, she says that chips don't hurt her at all!  We've gotten to the point where we make one meal.  If she doesn't eat it, then she doesn't eat it.  We are letting her experience that hunger and hoping that she will learn to eat what we make again and know that ice cream for a meal is not an option. 

I'm glad we did the surgery when we did it.  It was a hard few days and we had some rough moments, but she won't remember it.  I'm writing about it here so that I will remember it and have a way of sharing it with her.

A couple more pictures...

Adia couldn't wait to get in her own bed after the surgery.  Rest.

We were both so happy to see this girl.  Adia asked about her sister often and it was sweet to see them excited to see each other.

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