Tonsillectomy Recovery

Tuesday/Surgery Day — I could not believe how well she did today! She was anxiety-free (dare I say, excited) going in to surgery. Coming out was hard for the first five or ten minutes — she was disoriented and in pain. Once the nurse got her some pain meds, she was better. Ate a popsicle and listened to us read her books during the two hours in recovery. Ate and drank water and played lots with her sister at home. Poppy thought she was doing too much, but I let her play. I was surprised, after stocking up on ice cream and pudding, that she could not have dairy for eight hours post-op and was cautioned not to have too much for a week.

Wednesday/Day 1 — I woke her twice during the night for water and meds. She did great! Spurts of playing interspersed with movie watching and Wii playing and reading.

Thursday/Day 2 — Rough start today. I did not wake her for pain meds. She did cry out in pain during the night, but I sent John. He ended up just sleeping with her the rest of the night, but I didn’t get up to give her any more pain meds or have her drink water. I went in at 8:30 to give her water and medicine, and she was cranky! She went back to bed and slept until 11and awoke running a low fever. Then she just laid around and watched a movie for a couple of hours. Once she was rehydrated and the pain meds kicked in, she was OK.

Friday/Day 3 — Again, a rough start to the day, even though I made sure I stayed on top of her pain meds during the night. She slept until 10 when I had to wake her up to go to Elizabeth’s three-year well check. She did not want to get up! And getting out to the dr. appt seemed to wear her out. We were going to do a piano lesson make up, but I canceled that as she was not up to it at all. She mostly watched TV all day, did some coloring, took a shower (finally!) I did run out and get a stool softener for her as the pain meds do cause constipation and that was a struggle today. Food staples thus far: vanilla ice cream, refried beans, mac & cheese, and rice & gravy. I need to make some more jello, though that is not a first choice. And she’s not a big popsicle fan. She prefers the ones in a tube to the ones on a stick, apparently.

Saturday/Day 4 — Much better day today! I stayed on top of her water and pain meds last night — waking twice to dose her. I gave her one more dose of hydrocodone at 9:30 (and woke her up for the day then). She’s only had Motrin since then. The problem today is secondary — as in second…you know, number two. The lack of fiber coupled with the narcotics has caused some uncomfortable constipation. I’m hoping the stool softeners I started last night plus cutting back (or eliminating) the hydrocodone will remedy that soon for her. She is uncomfortable!

Sunday/Day 5 — She’s off the hydrocodone, just on Motrin now. I took her to have her ears pierced, and she has a loose tooth. The tooth bothers her more than her throat now. Church did wear her out, though, and she fell asleep on the drive home before 7pm. I put her in bed. When we woke her at 11 for pain meds, she wanted something to eat, ate a bit, and then went back to bed. She needs lots of sleep right now to help her recovery.

Monday/Day 6– It was a good enough day that I planned to let Caroline go to school on Tuesday for a few hours. I thought I’d drop her at 9 so she’d be counted as present by the state but so she’d miss PE. Then I’d pick her up at 11:30 before lunch. She went to bed with a loose tooth, but I could not settle myself. I am normally out by 11 — if not much earlier. But at 11, I wasn’t tired. I was wired. I played on the internet and eventually got in bed with my phone with me. At 1:15, Caroline walked in my room with bloody toilet paper held up to her mouth. I gasped and asked if her tooth had fallen out or if it was bleeding or if it was her throat. She opened her mouth and blood poured out. I grabbed a wet washcloth and she ran to the toilet and spent the next fifteen minutes or so vomiting blood. I woke John and called the ENT’s office to have the on-call doc paged. It seemed like so much blood. We were told that bleeding happens to some people at 7 to 10 days, but I didn’t think it’d happen to Caroline. And I imagined a trickle of blood, like as much as a pulled tooth. Blood filled our toilet, was splattered on the rim and lid, was on the floor. I was about ready to have John just take her to the ER when the doctor called back. He said it looks worse than it is. To have her gargle with ice water and put an ice pack on her throat. We did. It stopped after a few more minutes. We went to bed with her snuggled between us. It was not a restful night.

Tuesday/Day 7 — After the bleeding episode last night, Caroline coughed up a scab this morning. She was very tired, low energy all day. She didn’t want to eat, which made her cranky and tired. She wasn’t in much pain but she wasn’t herself. Still she plans to give school a try tomorrow. We’re planning for a half day.

Wednesday/Day 8 — This is all dragging out longer than I expected, recovery-wise. Caroline didn’t feel up to going to school today, even for a little while. Her pain is not bad. She’s still not eating much, though, which seems to have affected her energy. She just has so little energy. She’ll have a burst of activity and then need to rest.

Thursday/Day 9 — Still, low energy. I took Caroline to school this morning just before 9 (not absent!) I had a dentist appointment at 10 and planned to pick her up after that — just as she was going to lunch. Her teacher called me right after my x-rays to say Caroline was tired. I went ahead and finished my appointment with minimal conversation with the hygienist and got to Caroline’s school at 11:15. She was sitting and reading after having rested her head for about ten minutes. After a good lunch, she had energy to play this afternoon. We’re trying school tomorrow with a late start again (9 am)

Friday/Day 10 — I took her to school today again at 9, but today she made it the whole day! She was eating better, had more energy. UNTIL…we sat down for dinner and before she took a bit of food, she told me her mouth tasted like blood. She said it a few times, and she then go up and got a tissue and spit into it. BLOOD! Again! I was calm and stood with her while she gargled with ice water, per doctor’s orders earlier in the week. It seemed to take a little longer to stop, but it did. We sat down for dinner, but she just ate ice cream. Then she bled again for a big. Gargle. Stop. Then again. Gargle stop. This time I called the doctor because she’d spent about 40 minutes of the past 90 minutes spitting blood. It was bedtime, and I wanted to know what to expect. At 8:30, two hours after the bleeding started, she laid down in bed for a story, told us she had a stomach-ache and then vomited up lots of clotty blood, just like earlier in the week. Resting now. Still no call back from the doctor on call.

Saturday / Day 11 — After the bleeding last night, Caroline is back on ice cream and soup. The on-call doc never called back. Not sure what that is about, but I’ll mention it at her appointment Tuesday. We just kept her on the couch all day to restrict activity. No more pain meds. We’re just watching out for bleeding.

Sunday / Day 12 — Restricted activity again. Super-soft diet still. No pain meds. Just trying to keep the bleeding away.

Monday / Day 13 — Back to school (at 9) and moving around as normal, pretty much. Still on soft diet. Pain is a zero, she says.

Tuesday / Day 14 — She had her two week follow-up this morning, and all looks good. The doctor said that her recovery (the bleeding) was as dramatic as it comes, short of going back to the hospital to have the bleeding areas cauterized. He said to feed her, so since I had not packed Caroline’s lunch, we stopped at the store and got her the junkiest lunch possible — a Lunchable and a bag of Cheetos. She said she wants an apple and carrots for her after-school snack. 🙂 She’ll return to dance this afternoon and get back to her regular school schedule in the morning. The doctor said that she’ll probably still have a little pain when she yawns or opens her mouth wide for another week or so. And she still has a little bit of rawness where new skin is growing. Now, to get back to our normal (minus the recurrent strep!)