Mel’s surgery was on April 5th. The days leading up to Mel’s Tonsillectomy were very stressful for me. All the reading materials I was provided said to be prepared to be at home for 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS! How were we going to care for a 6 month old AND a sick 3 year old for 2 weeks. We were barely managing as is with 2 healthy kids! I frantically asked around for advice and tips on how to manage. I received a lot of advice but the 2 things that stayed with me were:
- Do not tell them they are getting surgery (or an ouchie or whatever you want to call it) in their mouth. It calls to much attention to that area. This advice was specific for a 2-3 year old.
- Stay AHEAD of the pain during recovery time.
My husband works for Kaiser Permanente and the way Kaiser does their T&A surgeries is at an outpatient facility. They also do not tell you what time the surgery will be until the day before. As a Type A person that drove me nuts. How do they expect us to plan accordingly? Mel was not able to eat for 10 hours BEFORE the surgery and she could not drink anything for 4 hours before so I hoped and prayed that she would get an early surgery time. If we had an afternoon or evening surgery, how would we distract a 3 year old from eating or drinking for that long?
April 4th rolls around and we get a call notifying us that our check in time is 6:15am and surgery is at 8:15am (PHEW). We can for sure handle the 10 hours no eating since Mel would be sleeping. The drinking was the only thing I was worried about since Mel always asks for a cup of milk when she wakes up each morning. I packed Mel a bag with extra clothes, some toys and her blankie and attempted to get some sleep. My stomach was aching from nervousness and I could not rest. I was wide awake at 3:45am.
Melanie transferred into the car asleep (surprisingly) and we made it to the outpatient center right at 6:15am. Mel woke up as we were brought into the holding area. She was really good while her vitals were being checked and even drank the medicine to make her drowsy. I don’t remember the name of the medicine but the purpose of it was to make her more calm and a little drowsy so she would cooperate easier when we handed her off to surgery. If she didn’t take this, she would have been kicking and screaming for dear life. We let her watch videos on our iPad while the medicine kicked in. The meds definitely made her loopy and I want to say even dingy. Her voice changed and she slurred a bit when she spoke. I was trying to be strong but I couldn’t help but shed a tear. There was not much time to be sad since a few minutes later Mel was being carried into the operating room. You can tell as they were walking away that she was trying to fight it but the medication prevented her from putting up much of a fight.
The surgery itself would take about an hour. I didn’t know what to do other than to watch comedy specials on Netflix to get the image of my baby going under the knife out of my head. Even Kevin Hart couldn’t make me laugh. Tommy went out and got us food but I couldn’t eat. I was too worried. I hate how men seem to always be fine in these types of situations while I was losing my mind.
45 minutes passed by and her surgeon came out to get us.
Doctor: “Mr. and Mrs. Kha? Can you come with me?” in a monotonous tone.
K: (Inaudible) “Oh my gosh, is everything ok? Why did it take 45 minutes and not the hour that you said? What have you done to my baby?”
Doctor: “Melanie’s surgery went great and she’s sleeping in recovery now. Let me bring you to see her.”
K: (Inaudible) “I’m sorry for doubting your abilities.” (audible)”Thank you so much!”
The doctor walked us to the post-op area and she was still sleeping. I wasn’t prepared to see what I saw. It was one of the saddest sights to see her still under anesthesia. She was wearing an oxygen mask and has a plastic device in her mouth that helped open her airways to breath. I prayed and prayed for her to wake up. We were warned that she would probably be delirious and act out when she came out of anesthesia. Sure enough, a few minutes later she spit the plastic in her mouth out and started crying very softly as if she had no voice. She flailed her arms and legs and tried to pull all the wires off of her. She calmed down after about 10 minutes and fell in and out of sleep. At one point she randomly opened her eyes and asked for chocolate milk which was so funny. Our little girl was slowly becoming herself again.
We were discharged an hour after her surgery was done and were back at home by 10:30am (so fast, right?). Once we were back at home she ate tons of popsicles and watched Moana. She also was jumping around and running around outside (which she was not supposed to do) but how do you stop a 3 year old from being a kid? I documented a food diary for those who want to know how much Mel ate on each day of recovery. Please take the advice of your doctor as my blog documents my experience and our surgeons instructions for medicine.
Surgery Day Food / Medicine Diary
- Apple juice x 2
- Popsicles x 2
- Popsicles x 5
- Peanut butter sandwich x 1
- Baked sweet potato x 1
- Slice of bread x 1
- Every 3 hours alternated between Children’s Tylenol and Motrin (even during the night hours)
Other than Mel’s voice being higher and her activity level a little lower than usual, it felt like we had our baby back. You could not tell if she was in any pain. Melanie also didn’t have a problem taking medicine as we hid it in various things (smoothies, chocolate milk, juice, etc).
Click HERE to read about our day by day T&A Recovery experience.
Click HERE to read about our T&A Pre-Surgery experience.