Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]

The Road to Rylee's Tonsillectomy - Part 2

Results of Sleep Study: Normal; No Sleep Apnea
Doctor's Recommendation: Adnoidectomy & Placement of Tubes in Ears

So we get the results of the sleep study back.  No sleep apnea.  Really?  Are you sure?  Can you check again?

But, we still had the issue of snoring, as well as upper-airway congestion.  (Rylee is one huge cold from October to March.)  So, her doctor recommended removing her adnoids only.  

"Shouldn't we just remove her tonsils since we're already putting her under?  No?  Really?  Are you sure?" 

Tonsillectomies, in the "old days" (as I'm told, since I'm much too young to remember... no really, I am) were very routine -- they performed them on nearly anyone.  "So, just to recap, you'd like a Big Mac, large fries, and a Coke... do you want your tonsils removed, too, just since you're here?"  

Okay, so maybe not that routine.  But more than today.  Now, they are more conservative.  And especially conservative on kids with a more complicated health history, like Rylee.  

So, we were torn.  Do we push hard to have her tonsils out along with adnoids?  What if she has a difficult time with things and it wasn't necessary... then we have the pleasure of feeling guilt for the decision we made?  If later, she does need her tonsils out, then we'll be kicking ourselves that we had to do 2 surgeries.  Where is that darn crystal ball?  We talked with her ENT and pulmonologist, and they both recommended leaving her tonsils alone because of her "sleep-apnea-free" sleep study.

Okay, so let's just take out her adnoids.  And while we're in there, let's throw some tubes in her ears, just to help with drainage, etc. 

Recovery from an adnoidectomy is pretty quick... because your adnoids are high on each side of your throat behind your nose, they don't affect your eating/drinking (like removing tonsils.) So, you're in, you're put under, you come around, you're out, and you're home!  

Okay, simple when you're an adult.  More difficult when you're 4.  (Rylee had her adnoidectomy last October.)

We did all we could to prepare Rylee for the surgery... but surgery day came and we just had to get it done!  Here she is, shortly before surgery, playing doctor to the hospital bear.  "Now, see, Mr. Bear... you just breathe in and out really deep with this on your mouth, and then you'll fall asleep.  That's what they tell me anyway."

Rylee got a little dose of Versed before being taken to the OR.  (We didn't want her having a last-minute panic-attack.)

"Oh Dad... I'm getting a little drowsy from the medicine they gave me.  You know how you can tell? Because I don't care one bit that they're taking my blood pressure.  And you know how much that usually bothers me!"  (We get a blood pressure reading on Rylee once in every seven tries! She doesn't consider it to be a friendly little "hug" like the nurses say it is, and she hates it!)

We asked that either Jeremy or I go back with Rylee to the OR... when Jeremy saw the oh-so-flattering big white jump-suit and hairnet required to enter the OR, he kindly gave me the honors.  Rylee was okay with heading back for several reasons. 1) She got to ride in a wagon 2) She was a little loopy from the medicine (you can see it in her eyes) and 3) Mom got to go back with her... (not that she could tell it was me in my sexy outfit.)

Putting your child on an operating room table is not fun.  (Can I get a little Versed myself?) The nurses can be fabulous and reassuring... the doctors skillful and the anesthesiologist knowledgeable, but it's still tough. The medicine given to them beforehand helps, but for about 5 seconds, while the nurses hold the mask over their mouth, it's yucky.  Your child squirms a little, and their eyes get really big, as if to say, "Why are we doing this again?"  You blink back tears, smile, reassure them, rub their hand and then it's over.  Your child is out like a light, dreaming about bike-riding and ice cream.  The nurses politely shoo you out of the room, and you head out to the hallway.  But, while you take off your hairnet (so no one else sees you looking so fabulous) your eyes tear up, and you get a lump in your throat.  You hope your child doesn't remember those 5 seconds. You, unfortunately, will.

The surgery went well, and we got back to the recovery room as quickly as possible to see her. We were able to talk her into a popsicle... getting her to eat/drink something was our requirement for going home.  We had a tough 45 minutes or so until all the anesthesia wore off.

Here she is, not incredibly thrilled about life - or the IV.

"Okay, Mom... I'm a little better now.  I'll give you a smile, but I'm sure tired!  Let's go home!"

And home we went!  She took pain meds for a few days, but she bounced back very quickly! Fortunately, the experience did not scar her... she was quite excited about all of the "doctor stuff" we acquired, and for the next several months, Dr. Rylee performed various exams on dolls, stuffed animals, Moms and little brothers at our house!  (If you remember, Dr. Carter even put in some hours at the Griffith Hospital.)

We were hopeful that we were done with sleep studies, surgeries, and all things medical.  We looked forward to a winter of less stuffy noses and sinuses.

You can hope all you want... but sometimes, it just doesn't work out that way.