My son recently had a tonsillectomy. He also had his adenoids removed, his throat scoped and some growth removed from his uvula. The tonsillectomy didn't seem like such a big deal to me, other than the worry about the biopsy results because of the growth and the idea that my son was 'going under'. I don't care why you're having surgery, every time you get put under there is an element of risk involved.

Most people know that you are on a liquid to baby food consistency diet for at least the first 7-10 days or more. What you may not be aware of is the level of pain involved. I think this gets overlooked simply because tonsillectomies are so common. I don't think I've ever seen my son in so much pain. However, I now have the opportunity to share some advice so you can be better prepared for the post op situation.

Before the Surgery
Your child isn't going to be able to eat solid foods for a while and I don't care how much they love ice cream, it gets old after a few days. Make sure to give them their favorite meal before they have to go through the 8 hour fast before the surgery. You should also make sure to have a comfortable area set up at home where they can settle in when they get back from the hospital. We happen to have a pull out couch where my son set up camp.

Expect some level of anxiety. While your child may not be worried about it at first, there is bound to be a point in time when they tend to get scared. Reassurance and a strong support system are helpful here. Are they doing it for attention? Who cares? Seriously, your kid is about to have surgery. A bit of attention might be in order. Rally the troops, as it were.

Pack a few things for you to do at the hospital. Your child probably isn't going to feel like doing much, but your own anxiety will kick your ass if you don't have some way to keep occupied. Don't bring work because your child wants and needs your attention. You might consider bringing a book to read to him or her.
Hunter, Jr., and Athena

Home Prep
Take the day off work. While the surgery itself only takes about a half hour, there is quite a bit of down time at the hospital and when you get home your child is going to need a lot of comforting. As much as you might need the money, your child needs you more.

Ban all visitors. Your child has open wounds in his or her throat. Exposing him or her to various germs from outside sources probably isn't the smartest thing you could do.

Make sure to go over the list of items to eat with your child. Let them pick some of their favorites and then go stock up on them. You don't want to do this after the surgery because your child is going to want you right there. Make sure to have plenty of clear liquids for the first couple of days.

After the surgery your child will have pain killers, but they may not be enough. Naproxen Sodium can be given as instructed on the label along with the other pain killers. You should have this and a thermometer out and ready to use. You're going to see a temperature spike in the first couple of days and you really don't want to ask your child to stick anything in his or her mouth, so try to use an alternate type of thermometer and don't panic over the spike over the next couple of days.You're also going to want to make sure you have some kind of timer available.

Before Leaving the Hospital
No matter where you normally get your prescriptions, get them from the pharmacy closest to the hospital before your child gets discharged.You're going to need a photo i.d. because of the level of the painkiller given, so don't forget to bring that with you. There's normally a pharmacy close by any given hospital, for obvious reasons.Be sure to ask any questions while you are there.

Expectations and Procedures for Recovery
Obviously, the menu is a big deal. You can be helpful by not eating solid foods in font of your child unless it's something they don't enjoy.

Keep a tablet near the medication. The first week is going to remind you of when your child was an infant just because of the lack of sleep. Write down the time and dosage given each time your child takes his or her medication. This helps prevent middle of the night confusion. Since you are going to be giving antibiotics as well as pain killers, a tablet helps you keep on track.

The key to managing pain at this level is to prevent it from peaking. Don't wait until your child is crying to give them medication. Start them off on a schedule as indicated by your doctor or pharmacist. Keep in mind that it's a lot easier to prevent the pain than it is to reduce it once it's there.

Expect bad breath. No, I mean really bad breath. The healing process is trapped in a wet environment. This does not make a recipe for fresh minty breath and on top of that, your child is not going to want to brush their teeth for a bit, never mind mouthwash. The bad breath is actually a sign that the area is healing, so take it as a good thing.


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