Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tonsils aren't so Important

Warning! Long post ahead. I found so many parents had forgotten the details of their child having a tonsillectomy, that I decided to record everything.

 JMC has had large tonsils for as long as I can remember. At least, compared to his older siblings' tonsils, they appeared exceptionally large. When he was 3 years old, the pediatrician checked them at our request, and said they are large, but that it isn't a problem unless they get infected or cause sleeping problems.

Fast forward to this past winter. JMC (along with his siblings) had his first ear infection ever, and shortly after that, he began to snore. A few months later, the snoring got worse, and we also noticed some bouts of sleep apnea. So, off to the doctor again, and this time he was referred to an ENT. (He had a white film on his tonsils, and when the nurse performed the strep check, the giant Q-tip got caught for a second in between his tonsils!)

The ENT visit was interesting. First, there were a bunch of questions by a nurse. She declared that just by hearing his voice, she could tell he needed to have his tonsils removed. She took a picture of JMC for their files (at first he opened his mouth wide for the picture, thinking she wanted a picture of his tonsils!) Then the physician's assistant came in, gave JMC a check over and said it was definite; he would need tonsils and adenoids out. After his assistant, the doctor came in. He also checked JMC's throat, ears, and lymph nodes in the neck, and said it was certain that the tonsils and adenoids should come out, and sooner than later, since they were causing sleep apnea. (And the white film was actually food particles that were getting trapped there!)

JMC wanted to ensure that he would be fully recovered before summer was in full swing (mainly, before the pool opens) so we scheduled his surgery for May 11th. They sent us home with a lot of information, including a comic book in the style of the Magic School Bus to explain to JMC exactly what was going to happen during and after surgery. That comic book helped a lot!

In preparation, we tried to make as many sorbets and dairy free ice creams as possible, in all sorts of flavors - mango, blueberry, strawberry, vanilla. Papi made vanilla pudding, JA made white grape gelatin, and JT made vanilla custard. We also made pear sauce, applesauce, and pureed vegetables (carrot, sweet potato, and butternut squash.) They said it was common for children to lose weight during recovery, and I wanted to do everything possible to prevent that if I could. It ended up that we had over prepared, but there was no way to know that before hand.

The night before JMC's surgery, we prayed over him as a family. We would be leaving so early in the morning, I wasn't sure if the other kids would be awake, and I knew they wanted the opportunity to pray for him. It was so sweet hearing their concern for their brother, especially from JL, who's only 3 years old. JMC prayed, too, that all would go well, and that  it wouldn't hurt too bad. (Grandma blessed us with a visit so she could watch JA, JT, & JL, while Papi & I went with JMC.)

All smiles
The morning of the surgery, everything went smoothly. We arrived on time, and I was more nervous than JMC. We they called us back to see him in the recovery room, I was shocked to find that he was in pain. I had thought he'd be loopy from pain meds, but instead, he had just received his first dose of medication, and it hadn't kicked in yet. :(  He was crying quietly, and looked up at us with the saddest eyes I've ever seen. I crawled into bed with him (partly because there was only 1 chair in the room, and partly so I could hug him and pray over him). This was the most difficult half hour of the entire recovery. He was in pain, and there was nothing I could do to help. I prayed over him, hugged him, and let him squeeze my hand. He drank several small sips of water, and asked for a green popsicle (which he didn't eat) and mostly just cried, until he fell asleep. (I later realized that they need to be sure the child comes out of the anesthesia and is breathing fine before they can give a pain medication. Makes sense. In the moment, though, I just felt awful for my little boy.)

Luigi (baby snow leopard) received a red magic glove, too.
Holding my hand :) 
We stayed in the recovery center for 3 hours, due to the extra precautions taken with children after anesthesia. During that time, JMC mostly slept. He woke up several times for quick sips of water, and a few times to use the bathroom (he received 2 bags of IV fluids while there,) but he mostly just slept. Papi left for awhile to drop off the prescription for pain medication, and was back in plenty of time before we were released.

He asked for this picture, to show he made it through the surgery. We had just got home at this point.
When we got home, JMC went downstairs to watch a movie with his siblings! He ate a fruit puree popsicle, and relaxed. After the movie, we had him go upstairs to take a nap. We had set up a cot in our room for him, and I'm so glad we did. He slept on and off, waking up every 4 hours for his pain medications. He slept an hour past medicine time once and was in nearly as much pain as just after surgery, so we didn't let that happen again. Most nights for the first week, he would wake up on his own when it was time for medicine.

On a cot in Mami & Papi's room, resting until the medication kicks in.
For the first week, JMC didn't talk much at all, and even invented a type of sign language to communicate. He talked the most when playing board games with Papi and JT. :) His favorite drink was apple juice, and he mostly ate dairy free yogurt and vanilla ice cream (an equal mix of homemade and store bought.)
Playing "Monopoly Deal" with JT & Papi was a good distraction.

Note the styrofoam cup & straw filled with apple juice & a popsicle wrapped in a napkin in the glass. He had to take a sip of juice or bite of popsicle after each turn as a way to encourage him to stay hydrated.
The first 3 or 4 days were about the same, and then things improved, which is when JMC asked to stop the prescription pain medication and stick with over the counter options. Then, there was a dramatic decline on day 7. That is when we had to give the prescription med again at night for 2 nights, and keep up with the over the counter medicine during the day. By day 8 though, he was better, began asking to eat more foods, and began talking again. By day 10 he had stopped all medications completely. JMC kept asking when his 2 week check up would be, and took that appointment as a sign of being completely healed.

Each day for the first 6 days or so, JMC received a get well card; from family members, friends, and even the staff at our church. These cards cheered him up, and it encouraged him to know that others were thinking of and praying for him while he recovered.

I just missed Luci sitting nicely and letting JMC pet her.
We recently had the 2 week check up, and everything was great. The doctor did say JMC would probably have pain when coughing for up to another month or so, so we need to try and keep him healthy (makes me thankful we did this is the spring, rather than the winter!) His sleep apnea has improved, and snoring has basically stopped. The snoring did take awhile to go away, simply because he was swollen for the first week or so. Now that the doctor has given the all-clear, JMC has returned to his room, and is back to his cheerful, talkative, playful, self. :)

Mami reading the first Harry Potter book to JMC for the first time. He can't wait til we're through the book and he gets to watch the movie with his older siblings. JT is pretty excited about that, too. :)

After about 5 days, he decided he wanted pancakes, and then proceeded to make himself a peanut butter pancake sandwich

A smile!

Playing with Luci

The night JMC received the all-clear from the surgeon, we celebrated by going to a local frozen yogurt place.

Monday, April 17, 2017

JT's 10!

JT turned 10 years old today, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. He's grown up and matured so much, I'm not taken by surprise at all. At the same time, though, time is just flying by.

What does a 10 year old boy want for his birthday? Birthday pancakes, pizza (not a common thing when you're gluten and dairy free), and spaghetti. He thought he wouldn't get a cake since he'll have one at his party, so he asked for cookies. I made him root beer flavored cupcakes as a surprise. ☺

The kids were excited to choose gifts, and it was so neat to hear their thoughts on what he would like.

Apart from the food, JT also requested a family game day. So we played a couple board games, a game of kickball with the new bases JMC gifted him, and a bunch of Mario kart on the Wii. JT also went to his viola class, and requested a last minute trip to the library. 😀 What a fun, yet low-key day!

Bacon pancakes were another surprise.

I think JT looks like his cousin, ACS, here.

We didn't get to the Easter eggs until after dinner tonight! JT didn't mind.