Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]

The Road to Rylee's Tonsillectomy - Part 4

Results of Sleep Study: Sleep Apnea, Low Oxygen Saturation During Sleep
Doctor's Recommendation: Tonsillectomy, Possible Repeat Adnoidectomy

So we got the results of the sleep study.  They were bad. Which was good.  I mean, it was good that we now had some concrete medical proof that Rylee was experiencing sleep apnea, which would explain her changes in behavior. The fact that Jeremy and I began actually hearing Rylee stop breathing periodically in her sleep wasn't concrete enough.   

(Just a few results from her study: Rylee experienced nearly 13 episodes of apnea within 1 hour of sleep... doctors want to see that number below 4.  Her oxygen saturation dropped to the low 80's at times... doctors want that above 94.)

So, back to the operating room we went.  This time, big sister Jordyn came along to encourage, support, and give hugs when necessary.

"Hey doctor... my sister Jordyn has an owie on her hand.  See?  Maybe instead of you taking out my tonsils, you can just fix her owie and we'll call it a day."

Rylee did well just before surgery... she performed medical exams on nearly everyone she could get her hands on... her baby, Dad, Mom, Jordyn, the nurse, the doctor, the anesthesiologist, the patient next door... and down the hall... and...

Just like the 1st surgery you know, the one in which we should have insisted on them taking out her tonsils but didn't and no I'm not feeling any parental guilt  I dressed up in scrubs to take her back to the OR.  This photo was pre-hairnet wearing... a photo of me wearing a hairnet really isn't necessary.

The nurse brought Rylee some Versed again... just to take the edge off.  As you can see in her eyes, she's feeling a   l-i-t-t-l-e   b-i-t   d-r-o-w-s-y   in this photo.

Operating Room... same story as before... took her back, put her on the operating table, gave her words of encouragement and lots of hugs, walked away, shed some tears... you know, the norm.

Surgery went well, and tonsils were out quickly.  (Adnoids hadn't grown back, so that was good.) We went back to see Rylee in recovery, and she was less than thrilled.  We were happy to see that she already had a popsicle in her hand.  While in the recovery room, she had about 3 popsicles... and by "about 3" I mean that as soon as she had eaten enough of the popsicle that it fell off the stick, she was mad.  I mean mad.  So, we quickly got her another one, swapped the new one with the almost-gone-but-falling-off-the-stick one, and life was okay again.  For a little bit.  

After some time in the recovery room, we headed over to the Pediatric Unit in the Children's Hospital.  Rylee got to ride on Jordyn's lap in the wheelchair.

Once settled in the hospital, Rylee continued her popsicle intake.  She was still not very happy about life, but managed to be content with a movie and a cherry popsicle which she didn't eat very quickly so it dribbled all over everywhere, making her hospital gown & bed look somewhat like a murder scene.

After a long nap, Rylee was a little bit more cheery.  (Well, she was cheery as long as no one messed with her... she wasn't a fan of the periodic blood pressure readings, temperature checks, and oxygen saturation readings.)  She asked for chicken and french fries.  I chuckled and said, "Oh honey... no, no... what about a strawberry smoothie or something soft?"  The nurse said that, really, she could have whatever sounded good to her, and that I would be surprised at what kids eat following a tonsillectomy.

Now, I, having gone through a tonsillectomy in my mid-20's, nearly wanted to throw up at the idea of eating chicken and french fries just hours after surgery.  But, then again, I also had an absolutely miserable time recovering.  Just ask my mom, who had to come help take care of Rylee, who was just a few years old, and me afterward.  (It took me a good month to recover.)  I think I was even near death several times. Okay, so maybe not.  But honestly, it was awful.

So back to chicken.  We went ahead and ordered chicken and french fries.  And darn it, if that girl didn't eat nearly the whole plate.  (Well, not the plate, but you know what I mean.)

She wanted to eat lying like this.  Sort of on her tummy.  Sort of on her side.  Sort of falling off the bed.  I tried several times to sit her upright, but she got mad.  So, I decided it wasn't a battle worth fighting.  Let her do what she wanted, right?   Besides, if she chokes on a chicken strip from not eating upright, someone around here is sure to know the Heimlich.  

And see that Strawberry Smoothie I was certain she would want?  Nope.  She ate her chicken and french fries.   I drank her smoothie after she fell asleep.

It was a long night -- as I posted about before, during the whole ordeal, she woke up quite a bit, wanting fresh ice in her water.  The ice I'd gotten her 20 minutes before wasn't going to make her feel better.  Also, every 4 hours comes really often to a parent who has to force her child to take pain medicine.  But I'm not going to elaborate on that... I'm still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the morning, she was doing well enough that discharge papers were being written up.  We just needed to keep up with her pain meds at home, and be sure she continued to eat and drink well. After she finished her breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon, and chocolate pudding (remember I said I was picking my battles?) we were outta there.  

And not a minute too soon.  Up until this point, Rylee hadn't been out of her hospital room.  After breakfast, she discovered the door, and realized that there were other rooms with other patients... patients in which she was certain wanted her to barge into their rooms and visit.  And have her play Dr. Rylee and check their blood pressure.  And have her change the channel on their TV.

So, we had to drag her outta there.  Home sweet home.


I already posted about her recovery at home... had a few up days and a few down days, took medicine miserably, but all in all recovered well.  Today, she seems to be doing just fine... no lingering signs of surgery.

I do know that she's one tough cookie.  She puts up with a lot of medical crud... she may be upset at the time, (okay, she IS upset at the time) but that girl can bounce back and whip out a smile just like that.  She holds no grudges and wins the hearts of everyone involved in her care. I admire her.

Have we noticed any changes in her sleep?  Well, I know she hasn't verbalized being tired as much as before, but I do still hear her snoring.  How will we know the surgery was successful?  What doctor?  Did you just say another *gasp*.... sleep study?  Oh gosh... I just can't go there in my mind right now.

This week, she visits her ENT for a follow-up from surgery.  We'll see what he says.  If another sleep study is brought up, I don't know what I'll do.  Politely argue?  Grudgingly agree?  I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there.  I do know that if that's the route we have to go, Rylee will do it... she'll be mad and not like it, then flash a smile and give a hug.  Rylee-style. 

And as for me?  I'll be the one asking for the Versed.