We recently had both my younger children’s tonsils out. Jack is 6 and Emma is 4 and we needed to have both done – but if I knew then what I know now, I would not have done them on the same day.
I was not prepared for the post-op care and the pain they would be in for over a week. I have shared a few tips to make the hospital stay a little easier and to survive the post-op care at home.
- Book at least a week off. They say days 4-10 are the worst. This is true, we only started to see a real improvement in pain levels on day 8 with Emma and day 9 with Jack. This means they need pain meds every 4-6 hours, so someone needs to be with them pretty much all the time. Fortunately, David and I both work from home, so we juggled our schedules so that one of us was with them all the time.
- Get ahead of the pain. In-between pain meds the pain was manageable, but when it ran out the kids would scream with pain and refuse to take anything orally. So, try to keep track of the time they took meds, so you can get them to take meds before the pain gets too bad. With Jack, it was a very fine line and we missed it a lot, which was very stressful because then he was too sore to take the syrup in-between the suppositories.
- Try to get them to eat. I think part of the reason Emma recovered quicker than Jack was because she ate properly a lot sooner than he did. Keep offering them things like chips, cookies and toast. Even a few bites will help.
- Be prepared to be exhausted. Both cried a lot in pain, even with the meds. This meant we just sat with them or cuddled them. Nighttimes were rough for Jack, so sleep was in short supply and nearly every night we ended up with one of them in our bed.
- Get a throat spray. We weren’t given one when we were discharged, but we got one a few days later from the pharmacy and it made a big difference. Maybe ask the ENT to add it to the script of meds you get on discharge.
- Let the TV time go. My kids don’t sleep when they aren’t feeling well, even when they are loaded with pain meds. So, they have been chilling in the lounge watching TV a lot. It is not ideal, but it keeps them calm and still. They did, in-between, play rough with their older siblings, but they plummeted quickly afterwards.
- They will be off school for a full 5 days. If your child is already in school, they will be off a full 5 days, so maybe plan for it to be done in a holiday or at a time they can afford to miss school.
“I will probably also be glad we did them at the same time, but right now we are still too exhausted to see the benefits.”
I know in the long run we will be grateful we had this operation done. Emma, particularly, has had tonsillitis three times this year already, which means antibiotics and a miserable child.
The ENT did say that Emma’s tonsils were huge, so they clearly had to be removed.
I will probably also be glad we did them at the same time, but right now we are still too exhausted to see the benefits. If you are going to have this done, try arranging for it to be done as soon as you can.
There was a 2-year-old in the ward with us and he was literally running around the ward an hour after his op, so it does seem that the younger they are the better they react.
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