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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.


(15 Posts)
brimmond2 Tue 04-Aug-15 22:09:20

My 4 year old son is on waiting list to have tonsils/adenoids removed. I am worried sick but it's the only way to go. I just want to know everything from start to finish incl how to prepare them , the anesthetic, what to expect after op, going home, what to eat, recovery time, bleeding after op, pain relief etc.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am pretty terrified!!
Thank You

ziggyziggy Tue 04-Aug-15 22:12:25

i had mine out when i was about 16, so a bit older (and a long time ago now)

it was pretty painful directly after the op but painkillers x lots helped! then the pain quickly got a lot better and after only a week I was back at my p/t job working.

best things to get in are icelollies, they helped me no end - one of the only things i could eat and made my throat feel soooo much better.

Mammicar Tue 04-Aug-15 22:17:32

Most children's ward have folders which will take him through the journey in pictures.

Please don't not tell him. I had a mum tell her child they were going to put him to sleep to take photos of his throat. The poor kid didn't know what hit when he woke up.

Keep on top on pain killers afterwards and they don't encourages sloppy food anymore smile

brimmond2 Tue 04-Aug-15 22:18:47

Thank you so much for advice. Yeh think the ice lollies are a must after op. My husband had 3 bad bleeds after his were removed 12 yrs ago although he was 31 at the time. Think that's my biggest worry, the bleeding after, it terrifies me the thought!

cuntycowfacemonkey Tue 04-Aug-15 22:22:13

Ok I had mine out as an adult and it was not pleasant but everyone I know who has had it done as a child has had a much quicker recovery period, children bounce back much more easily so it's far better to get it done now rather than later.

My top recovery tips are:

Keep sipping water, a few sips every 5-10 minutes helps keep the throat wet and eases the pain.

Give pain medication at regular interval to stay on top of discomfort, don't wait until he's complaining of pain until you give pain killers.

Avoid warm drinks

Scratchy foods like toast, crisps etc are better than soft food as they scrape away any build up on the throat and stop the scabs getting too thick which can be more painful

Avoid dairy, ice cream, milk, chocolate etc as is forms a coating on the throat which isn't great at helping avoid infection.

Any small amounts of bleeding can be a sign of an infection so keep an eye and get that checked straight away if it happens.

Get a humidifier to put by his bed to help stop his throat drying out over night, this will just help ease the pain.

cuntycowfacemonkey Tue 04-Aug-15 22:24:58

I did have a big bleed after mine but it was around day 10 when the scabs start to come off and I am a bit a a bleeder by nature so wasn't entirely surprised it happened.

Boots sells long ice packs you can wrap around your neck which are great for soothing.

brimmond2 Tue 04-Aug-15 22:27:36

Yes mammicar I have heard that. they now encourage rougher food to help with healing? We have spoken about that so much recently, what & what not to tell him. He's a clever cookie so don't want to lie to him but again don't want to terrify him either. He has this glove, it's an iron man glove (makes sounds) and he keeps asking if Mr Veitch (consultant) will use this to make his tonsils smaller. We just tell him, that's right, he will use this & make you better so that you can go lots of holidays with your sister, sleepovers etc... Without going into detail as such. Don't know what to do/say for the best to be honest & haven't a clue what to do or say to him on the day !!!

daisydukes229 Tue 04-Aug-15 22:29:28

I had tonsils out, adenoids out and gromits put in in the same operation when I was 5.

Agree with telling him in advance and making sure he understands as much as he can what is happening.

Also, please please explain to him at some point that he may cough up blood and that this is OK and nothing to worry about. I woke up in the night when I was home and coughed blood all over the carpet. I still vividly remember being absolutely terrified and thinking that I was really poorly and that if I went back to sleep I wouldn't wake up.

I don't know how you would explain coughing up blood in a way not to scare him, but it is really likely to happen and it will frighten him if he isn't expecting it.

Try not to worry (easier said than done I know) x

ipswichwitch Tue 04-Aug-15 22:37:35

DS1 had his out last year age 2.5yo. The surgery only took an hour, and he was allowed home the following morning after having some toast, milk and a wee! (They insist on them eating, drinking and peeing before being allowed home). They advised crunchy/crispy foods like toast, crisps, crackers etc to help scrape off the gunk that can build up after surgery, so it helps reduce infection risk.

Keep on top of the pain relief - alternating paracetamol and brufen, and we were told to expect day 5 post surgery to be the worst, even if he looked to be much better the day before. Something to do with the site healing and scabbing over so it is pretty painful, and they weren't wrong. Glad we kept the pain relief going until we got past that stage!

Kids do generally recover from these things much more easily than adults, so better to get it done now. We prepared him by explaining what would happen - I'm a HCP and trust me, it never goes well if you try to lie/just not tell them what's happening! We took him shopping the day before for crisps, juice, flapjacks, you name it, so he was actually looking forward to being able to eat all this lovely stuff he'd chosen. It is very important to keep them eating and drinking to aid recovery, so I figured a few days of eating whatever he wanted was a small price to pay.

brimmond2 Tue 04-Aug-15 23:03:11

Ipswichwitch, thank you for great tips there, a shopping spree b4 hand sounds like a great idea for all his fave treats! At least he can look forward to eating them after his ordeal! So difficult as of course you don't eant to lie to them but at the same time don't want to keep stuff from them either, a tricky one. My son is such a mummies boy & I,m terrified of being weak & upset. I SO need to be strong fir him, just need to get a grip!!! I can't believe the response I,ve had from everyone. I just joined tonight & its greT to have all this support from everyone ���� x

mejon Tue 04-Aug-15 23:05:23

4yo DD2 had hers out 3 weeks ago today so it's all pretty fresh. They were removed due to sleep apnoea. We arrived at the hospital by 7.30 and after having numbing cream on both hands and arms (just in case), DD had a cannula inserted - she barely flinched as the nurses did a great job of distracting her whilst the anesthatist (sp - sorry!) put it in. She was asleep almost instantly and I had a bit of a cry as they wheeled her off.

The op took about an hour and when I was called into recovery DD was incredibly distressed and that was difficult to watch. I was allowed on the bed with her to comfort her but she was in a lot of pain. After some pretty hefty painkillers she calmed down and slept on and off for a while. She was encouraged to eat and drink pretty quickly and managed some Pom Bears and a biscuit. Painkillers were administered at regular intervals. We had to stay overnight and once DD had eaten some breakfast, we were allowed home. My biggest worry was that she would get a post-op bleed but she's been fine. Whilst we were in hospital, a little boy had been re-admitted after the same op a few days earlier as he'd had a bleed and infection as he'd not been eating and drinking enough of the right sort of foods so I was particularly conscious of making sure that DD was eating 'hard' foods as well as softer stuff. Her appetite was pretty poor initially and she did lose weight (she's only 13kg so couldn't really afford to lose much) but I was happy for her to eat whatever whenever so if she wanted Hoola Hoops for breakfast, so be it. Breadsticks were also a success.

Unfortunately after leaving hospital, beyond our first day/night home, DD decided that she would not take any painkillers and believe me I tried everything to get her to take some - hidden in yogurt, ice-cream, jelly, lemonade, bribery, syringe, nothing worked so I stopped trying as we were all getting distressed and I was worried that all the crying and screaming (her and me!) would strain her throat/start a bleed. If she complained of pain, I explained that I had something to help and asked if she wanted some, but she was having none of it She did wake up distressed at around 11pm on a couple of nights but settled back to sleep with no problem when I brought her into bed with me. She complained of pain in her ears a couple of times too which I had read about previously. The white plaque covering the site of the removal started to fall off by days 5 or 6 and was completely gone a few days later. Towards the end of week 2, her appetite was much better and she was drinking plenty and not complaining of any pain. DD needed to stay away from school/crowds for 2 weeks.

In terms of food - the advice now is to eat as normally as possible as soon as possible especially hard, scratchy foods. Stock up on painkillers (hopefully your DS will be more amenable than mine - DD has never refused medicine before and had been happily taking medicine off a spoon from before a year old). Tip-tops/ice-pops were popular and ice-cubes in drinks as well as those little pots of jelly with fruit in (to encourage chewing). We are due a 6 week check up at the end of the month. In terms of the sleep apnoea and snoring, it's been like flicking a switch. I now don't realise she's fallen asleep next to me as she's so quiet - before, if we were sharing a bed, I'd have to wear ear-plugs! I hope you get a date soon - ours was classified as urgent but did end up being postponed by 3 weeks initially. It's understandable to be worried - I had a wobble when the surgeon informed us on the day of the op that he wouldn't proceed unless there was a HDU bed available 'just in case' but he explained why and I was happy to proceed. Sorry for the huge essay blush.

spaghettiarms1 Tue 04-Aug-15 23:25:46

I know how you feel, my son had his tonsils and adenoids out and grommets put in a few months ago and I was worried too. He turned four a few days after the operation.
The recovery was tough for him, particularly swallowing medicine.
We kept to a 24 hour timetable alternating paracetamol and ibuprofen to manage the pain. They gave him diamorphine in addition to paracetamol and ibuprofen while we were in the hospital.
We had an overnight stay so arrived on the ward at 12 noon and went through the paperwork etc with a nurse. They were six children in total having different ENT ops that afternoon. My son had magic cream put on the backs of his hands to numb the area for the anaesthetic in theatre.
The list was in age order so we were second in the queue. They began the operations at 2pm so we were called down to theatre at about 2.30. While we waited the surgeon and anaesthetist went round to talk to each parent about the procedure and answer any questions. The playroom was a great distraction!
Oh, also he wasn't allowed to eat after 8am and had to only have sips of water until 12 noon then nothing at all until after the operation.
He changed into pyjamas before going down to theatre and in theatre he was distracted by nurses blowing bubbles and chatting while he cuddled in to me with his hand behind my back while the anaesthetist put the cannula in. He did really well and fell asleep instantly.
This is probably the worst bit.
I had to leave him and wait to be called into recovery. Then came the longest wait in the world which was really only about 45 minutes and I went to see him. He was pretty confused and teary but was able to drink some water and have painkillers before being wheeled along to the ward.
He just wanted cuddles and tried to have a bit to eat but couldn't swallow very well.
The night in the hospital was sleepless for me and restless for him. We went home about 10 am and had some difficult nights but he did really well. Scratchy foods like toast, crackers etc are good to encourage the throat to heel and lots of sips of water/ juice/ ice pops etc to make sure he is swallowing.
The recovery period was two weeks, he was on the mend from about day 6 I think.
Sorry for the ramblings! I have probably missed out some stuff you were wondering about so feel free to ask me anything about it all.
As I say I know how you feel! I was looking for info before it all too.

All of this is obviously just our experience and will probably be a bit different from what you will experience but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to expect.

Anyway everything went very well and the issues he had with breathing, drooling, snoring have disappeared. His speech is clearer. His appetite has much improved. Also he used to be poorly with constant viruses and ear infections and he hasn't been unwell at all since the operation.
I hope all goes well for you and your son smile

mejon Wed 05-Aug-15 10:12:06

I forgot to mention, DD's voice changed completely after thr the op - very squeaky like Minnie Mouse. Apparently this is normal and it should return to normal eventually (strangely, I can't remember what her voice was like before now). I got a book about tonsillectomies due to sleep apnoea off Amazon which I read with DD to prepare her. It's a bit 'American' in language but you're welcome to have it if it would help.

brimmond2 Wed 05-Aug-15 15:27:57

Thank you to everyone for all the advice/support. 1st time I,ve been on here. Nice to know people care + to know your not the only one going through this �� x

CognitiveIllusion Wed 05-Aug-15 15:34:18

My DD had this when she was 6. The op itself went very smoothly and she seemed to shake off the effects of the anaesthetic very quickly, but she did feel sore for about a week afterwards.

I was given the same advice about scratchy food, she normally loves crisps so I thought this would be no problem, but she wasn't keen on eating anything for a day or two so I didn't push it.

It's made such a difference to her health so it was definitely worth it.

Hope it goes well OP.

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