August 16, 2010

Tonsillectomy Recovery 101

Oh my, did we ever have a long week at our house! Our DD had her tonsils taken out on Monday, and while the surgery went very well, and the care she received was stellar, her recovery has been tough because of her sensitivity to both the codeine in her pain medicine, and the antibiotic prescribed for her. After 4 days of nauseating misery, she was taken off both of those, and now is dealing with only the pain in her throat. That of course is hard enough, but at least she's not doubly miserable! Here's how we handled her recovery and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. This is, of course, not medical advise, but just our solutions.

#1 - and always number one, pray - we did a great deal of it this week - and the prayers of our family and friends were a tremendous comfort to us, and we thank you all!

#2 - bring the patient's laptop to the recovery room so that she won't suffer Facebook withdrawal as the anesthesia is wearing off - after all, there are people waiting to hear how the surgery went!

#3 - set up a staging area in your kitchen, or just give the whole thing over at the start since that's what's going to happen anyway. Keep the instructions from the doctor close at hand as you will search them for clues on an hourly basis. The flashlight is essential too, since the patient will be peering into her throat on an hourly basis - and trust me, better her than you. Do yourself a favor and make notes about when you last administered each thing. It can get mixed up easily since you will be required to get up in the night and give pain meds every four hours. It's brutal, but hopefully you'll remember that you already survived middle-of-the-night infant feedings!

#4 - a new toothbrush, toothpaste and antibacterial mouth wash will be on the instruction list. You will be required to convince the patient to brush and swish three times a day, on top of dealing with pain and nausea. Special.

#5 - stock up on plenty of electrolyte drinks and know that there are lots of options other than Gatorade, which we consider to be quite nasty stuff at our house.

#6 - consider investing in this little machine which makes slushies and snow cones. Make them with the flavored electrolyte waters instead of sugar syrup and you get a double hit - icy relief and restored fluid balance.

*this slushie was dragon fruit-flavored, similar to passion fruit - not a flavor offered by Gatorade.

#7 - get out yet another electrical appliance and make smoothies, which are a way to jam a lot of nutrition into a cooling liquid - this one is mango/strawberry yogurt/banana. Swallowing will not be your patient's favorite thing to do, so make it count.

#8 - you can puree fruit and add it to pudding mixes as part of the two cups of milk required. Again, we wanted to boost the nutrition of whatever she ate. These puddings are vanilla, with the puree of a large peach added.

#9 - homemade popsicles make so much sense, and aren't exactly difficult to pull off. These were made with organic mango juice. I also used some of these in smoothies instead of ice or frozen fruit.

#10 - break out the big guns when the patient is once again smiling and laughing - though the laughing will still be considerably painful. When the daddy comes home with gourmet cupcakes, the patient will certainly smile, and will find her appetite! These are orange creamsicle, chocolate sundae, and pink champagne flavors. Our patient chose to mush up and enjoy the fudge sundae cupcake. She's lost 11 pounds this week - I think she can afford this splurge!

That's it. Except pull out all the patience you can muster and surrender to the sleeplessness. Children are a blessing from God and we'll do anything for them - including walking through a tonsillectomy with them!


  1. I'm sorry to hear. I hope she is feeling a lot better now. Who wouldn't with such wonderful parents like you guys and delicious cupcakes?

  2. Ahhh...thank you. She's doing so much better now and we are so relieved!