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Beginning in January of this year, my oldest, who is 9,
began getting getting repeated bouts of strep throat. He is my healthiest eater and rarely gets sick anymore now
that he's older. But a few days after a round of antibiotics would end, he'd complain of a sore throat. So I'd take him to urgent care and, sure
enough: strep throat. Again.
By the fourth time it happened, I had become alarmed. He had come home from baseball practice with a
fever and said his throat hurt. It was strep. This time, our rock start pediatrician got us in with the top ENT doctor at a great hospital here in Los Angeles. Their schedule was full, so we had to wait another week for an appointment.
Three weeks later, his tonsils were removed.
My natural friends balked at how often he was prescribed antibiotics.
Surgery, of any kind for your child, is scary. Here are some
things I learned while going through these bouts of strep and getting his
tonsils removed. As with almost all things kid related,
I sought solace from fellows moms, my doctor and by actively avoiding the
1. Removing kids' tonsils can improve their mood
My poor son and I have been
fighting a lot these last four months. It was really bothering me that he was
sullen, crying easily and picking on his siblings. My pediatrician friend said
strep can have some neurological effects on kids. I caught strep from him during one of his bouts, and I concur. He must have been incredibly worn down from not only strep but also not sleeping well. By day 11, post operation, we were getting along so much better. He's not waking
up mad at the world, because he's sleeping better. Despite the fact that my son is
a wonderful student and an avid reader, strep was affecting his school work. That, too, appears to be behind us.
2. Frequent strep means frequent antibiotics
My natural friends balked at how often he was prescribed antibiotics. I didn't like it either.
But the alternative was possible kidney damage or rheumatic fever. We tried to
stop the antibiotics, but strep kept coming back. Eventually, he was put on a
low dose until his surgery date. While on the antibiotics, I pumped him with vitamins C and D, and also daily probiotics.
3. It can take weeks between diagnosis and surgery
This being Los Angeles, it took three weeks to get my son in for surgery, and that was with the help of my awesome
pediatrician pushing for it. That being said, make sure your kid isn't wearing
himself out. We didn't do a great job on this, which I'm only now seeing in hindsight. Learn from my
parenting mistakes! Take it easy.
hospital may call with the surgery time just the night before
My son had to
stop eating at midnight. In the morning, he could have apple juice or water up
until three hours prior. At that point, nothing.
Some other things I learned: Recovery took a lot longer than I thought it might. The stereotype of eating ice cream is true. I am so glad we did this.
We got to the hospital an hour and a half prior to the surgery. They admitted him and then took him into
the pre-op room. This is where he got nervous. They gave him "happy juice."
Unfortunately, it only made him nauseous.
minutes, they wheeled him away from us, and we waited for him. I was relieved
those bacteria harvesting meanies were coming out. I was also high-fiving myself for not passing out or drinking at 11:30 in the morning (because nerves).
actual procedure is pretty fast
Just 30 minutes! A tonsillectomy is such a quick procedure, so people often think it's not big deal, but it is.
We went and saw him right away. We gave him a popsicle. We went home after another hour and a
half. (All told, 4 hours at the hospital.) He was doing pretty well, and we explained to him that he would have to drink to stay hydrated. Then, he
basically played on the iPad for the next five days.
ahead of the pain
I became his nurse. I slept in the same bed with him and
woke him up to stay ahead of the pain. The first night was very scary, because he said he couldn't breathe. The two things the nurses said to
call an ambulance for were bleeding and breathing. We were pretty shook up and about to go, but then he calmed
down and drank a yogurt smoothie, which helped to get more medicine in him. I switched
between Tylenol, Motrin and oxycontin. The oxycontin made him loopy and very
hard to rationalize with. I
7. I scream, you scream, he's going to eat a lot of ice cream
tried making him smoothies with advocado and bananas, but even those were too
painful. He truly could only eat ice cream and popsicles. Don't be the health hero. Let go and stock up.
8. Don't look
into his mouth the first time, I almost passed out. The hospital forgot to tell
me what a post-op mouth looks like. It's disgusting. I Googled it and realized
disgusting was normal. You want to look once a day to check for bleeding.
lasted 12 days
The guy is normally like a string bean and eats like a bored
truck driver. He became a single strand of spaghetti, un-cooked. I needed to
have multiple days of trying to finally get food into him, so he'd have energy.
He stopped the oxycontin on Day 5. Day 6 and 7 were very painful for him.
wasn't allowed to do anything physical for 9 days
My son is back to school tomorrow. He'll still take medicine
at school, and I'll have him sit gym out tomorrow. But he should be good to go.
Some other things I learned: Recovery took a lot longer than I thought
it might. The stereotype of eating ice cream is true. I am so glad we did this. I'm so happy to
know that he is feeling better and will be back to himself. It really was a
long few months of not feeling well for him.
I also would like to say that I had an iPad intervention around Day 7, at which point he converted to books, which is when I knew the old him would be back. Minus the tonsils.