Tonsillectomy Technology

When I was a kid, tonsils were whacked out of person at the drop of a hat. Just the other day, a friend laughingly told me of her own tonsillectomy-her brother was going in so the doctor decided they should do all kids in the family at the same time. All three of them went in just because one needed it!
I remember two things about my own tonsillectomy-lying on the operating table and the black mask (much like the ones you see on fighter pilots) being lowered to my face and, the smell of ether. To this day, I have an incredible response to the smell of ether, it just throws me back in time to that operating table! I guess the other thing I remember is, a week after the operation, waking up with a pillow soaked in blood. I don’t remember how I got to the hospital but next thing I was standing over a stainless steel sink and there was a big disgusting mess of lumpy black blood in the sink. Dr. Armstrong had given me something to make me throw up all the blood I’d swallowed then they took me back in to be cauterized. I had had ‘a bleed’. One of the biggest risks of this surgery.
A bleed after tonsillectomy has been fairly common. My friend Ilysa had her own crisis just last year when her adult son had his tonsils out then, on the 8th day, almost bled to death!

When Nicole had her surgery yesterday, they used a fairly new technology for cutting. Called ‘shavers’, the oscillating blades have been trialled in the US with good results, and our own surgeon here has done over 300 tonsillectomies in the last 5 years with zero bleeds! She also had what is a called an ‘intracapsular tonsillectomy’. The capsule of membranes that hold the tonsils against the muscles of the throat is preserved, doing less damage to the throat.

I copied a picture from the literature our doctor gave us. The first diagram show the round tonsils resting on the membrane which is against the muscles of the throat. The second and third diagrams show the traditional and newer types of tonsillectomy.


Yesterday, we got up at 5:00, bundled the kids into their car seats and headed to the University hospital. We got to the day surgery ward at 6 and joined the room full of tired looking people of all ages. By 7, Nicole was dressed in blue, striped hospital jammies and had numbing cream on the backs of both hands in preparation for an I.V.

Ron and Grant stayed behind, as only one person was allowed to come to the O.R. First, the anesthetist and then the surgeon both came to talk briefly with us, I was gowned and presented with the lovely blue cap required to keep my bastard hair from infiltrating the OR, then we walked in together. I just have to take a moment to mention two thing; one, our surgeon, the resident, the anesthetist, all had interesting accents. The doc was an Egyptian, who had lived in the UK for years so his accent was a bizarre thing that almost sounded like my boss (Dutch). The resident was from the London and the anesthetist from Australia. They each had their own interesting accents.

Anyway, I was pretty proud of my little angel as she charmed the socks off everyone. The anesthetist asked her if she wanted to look away while she put the needle in her hand. But no, Nicole wanted to watch, and ask questions, every step of the way. Before long, the milky white liquid was travelling into her hand, I kissed her forehead, and she was out.

After waiting an hour we were asked to come to the recovery room. It was about 9 am. Nicole was just waking up, bleary eyed and swollen. The nurse immediately offered her a popsicle. She tried a bit, then shook her head. I knew what was coming, having seen the pre-vomiting look numerous times in the past! She had one good hurl then slumped back and went to sleep. There followed about 3 hours of dozing and hurling, gravol, saline, and slow sips of water. Ron took Grant home then came back around 2. By then, Nicole had woken up, eaten some jello, drank some water, and wrapped all the nurses around her finger. This girl has a lot of quiet, sweet charm. I think it comes from her Dad!
Finally, it looked like we could home soon. The final IV was given, the doc visited, the papers signed, and we went home.

The last IV had a pretty good anti-inflammatory in it. With the Tylenol and codeine she received, Nicole was feeling well enought to be starving!! She had jello, then shocked us by asking for strawberries. She desperately wanted to try the hamburgers we made then settled for yogurt and more cheese. We got her to bed early and gave her more codeine at our bedtime but she still had a pretty rough night. She woke me up at 2 in terrible pain. I went to bed with her and managed to get enough codeine, water, then Tylenol into her to make it to morning. Ron had to get up for work at 5 so we saw him off then she couldn’t sleep.

Today, she’s in a lot of pain but finally has started to feel like drinking. She just came and put a carton of eggs beside me, along with a beer and said ‘please make me lunch’. That kid cracks me up. I think the beer was a bribe! πŸ™‚

Anyway, Casper has been a great comfort to Nicole. I ask you, who needs a stuffed Teddy Bear when you have a big ol’ pootie!? Good thing he’s allowed on the couch now.



This entry was posted in Adventures in Parenting, Continuing Education, Family. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Tonsillectomy Technology

  1. shiftclick says:

    It’s a good thing we never knew how dangerous it was back in The Day …

    I absolutely love love love the photo of Nicole and Casper. He looks like a wize old wizard of a dog, and doing such a good job, too!

  2. Katie says:

    Oh poor baby. It’s amazing what they can do now medically, but you can tell just from looking at that pic she’s suffering. Casper looks so pleased at being a teddy bear, too – he must have a little streak of the mothering instinct in him! That’s a very sweet photo.

  3. Whinger says:

    Oh my gosh, bless her sweet little heart.
    It’s so nice that Casper is there for her, and I LOVE that she bribed you with beer.

  4. kyahgirl says:

    shift click-its amazing we survived our childhoods eh?

    Katie-maybe Casper could start a childcare service. How much would you pay him? πŸ™‚

    whinger-thanks buddy. And yeah, she’s hilarous with the beer!

    I’ll pass on your compliments to Casper πŸ™‚

  5. Jamie Dawn says:

    I’m so glad Nicole has managed through the recovery fairly well. It is so hard to see our babies suffer any pain at all.
    My Courtney just had sinus surgery a week ago (Monday) and she is doing well now. She almost 18, but she’s still my Sweet Pea.
    I wish both our girls complete recoveries and good health!!

  6. Karen says:

    Oh my goodness, what a sweetheart, both of them. And, you and your husband for how great you’ve been through this.

    We sure do hate it when our children are hurting, no matter what age they are.


  7. surly girl says:

    get nicole to scooch up a bit – i’m claiming you as my new family and getting the next plane over. can small person and OH come too?

    glad she’s doing ok.

  8. frangelita says:

    Aww, bless! She really does look like a little sweetheart. And I think the beer bribe trick should be encouraged! πŸ™‚

  9. Meow says:

    Aaawww, poor baby. Hope she is feeling better, and back up to whatever mischief she would normally get up to. You too, hope you have recovered from the ordeal of seeing stuff like that go down with your child. That would have been really tough.
    Hope the rest of your week goes well.
    Take care, Meow

  10. Joan says:

    glad everything is going so well.they are quite a pair flaked out there. better let her know that wine or coolers will probably work better on aunts as a bribe.hugs to all.

  11. Stacy says:

    Awww, that is absolutely adorable!!!

    And all I can say is THANK GOD for good anesthesia!!!

    Glad everything turned out okay! πŸ™‚

  12. She is ADORABLE. And lucky to have a mom like you!

    Kids and animals are funny – Casper looks like he’s eating it up. πŸ™‚

  13. kyahgirl says:

    JD-oh, good luck to Courtney. Hopefully our girls are bouncing around in no time.

    karen-thanks for those words, I have the best little family (including that rascally dh)

    Surly-certainly, you must all come! ♥

    Frangelita-she’s obviously been observing my beer habits!

    Meow- thanks. we’ve been through worse but I’m glad this is almost over too.

    Joan-thanks for the tip about the coolers πŸ™‚

    Stacy-yes, modern anesthetics are awesome

    Star firstbaseman (may I call you star?) πŸ™‚ Casper is a great cuddler!

  14. Marina says:

    Poor little sweetie. I am so sorry she is in so much pain now. But at least the operation is behind you. Wishing her the very fast recovery!!!

  15. zydeco fish says:

    I’m glad that I never had to have a Tonsillectomy. It sounds awful.

  16. Urban Chick says:

    so glad it went ok and she is on the road to recovery

    sending lots of ((hugs))

    UC x

  17. Ms.L says:

    Awww that’s an adorable picture:0
    Glad all is well!

  18. Ms.L says:

    I meant to do a smiley!

  19. Dug says:

    Hi! First off, I love the new blog look.

    Second off, I remember wanting my tonsils out so I could eat ice cream nonstop. Then I realized I could just eat ice cream nonstop.

    I’m glad she’s feeling better and has not only cool parents but also a willing dog-pillow. I like poodles! πŸ™‚

    I like the beer-gambit. Smart one you’ve got there…


  20. Jenna Howard says:

    Oh that’s such a cute picture! Glad Nicole’s doing better.

    Thanks for the visit. And the link…cracked me up.

    An Alberta blog! Yay!

  21. Lucyshnoosy says:

    Eggs and beer…. Hmmm…

    I’m so glad the surgery is behind her. Poor thing – she looks so wiped out. But what a wonderful picture! That one is definitely a *keeper.*

  22. kyahgirl says:

    Marina, UC, Ms L – thanks πŸ™‚

    Zydeco Fish-little kids don’t remember typically but its not something you want to have done as an adult!

    Dug- thanks

    Jenna-I’m glad to find another Canadian blogger too! πŸ™‚

    Robin- thanks ♥ I’ll talk to you later!

  23. buleria says:

    Wishing her the speediest of recoveries. What a sweet pic; what a good dog.

  24. Marsha says:

    Poor baby, I’m really glad she came through without any problems and I hope she is pain free soon. I had my tonsils out when I was 17 and I remember the misery like it was yesterday.

    What a fabulous picture! Nothing like a dog to make things better!

  25. Shannon says:

    That picture is a keeper. I bet she barely remembers this in ten years. All I remember is green jello and a Raggedy Ann doll I was given as a recovery present. I think the dog is a way better comfort though. πŸ™‚

  26. kyahgirl says:

    Buleria! So nice to see you here πŸ™‚

    Marsha-yes, its definitely worse as an adult. Ron had his out a few years ago-sheer hell!

    Shannon-Its funny you mention lime jello-that’s all the jello she has wanted. Gum is popular too.

  27. Amber says:

    THAT is a sweet picture! So glad she got through all right, although I’ll admit I had to skim the details because my gag reflex started to kick in…

  28. Fred says:


    Glad everything is going well. My three have escaped any major surgeries so far, but D1 has panic attacks every so often. It can be scary.

    Wonderful picture.

  29. Sherbert says:

    Brave little girl! Glad to hear she’s on the mend and, in the long run, will undoubtedly feel better.

  30. IDV says:

    Awwwww… so cute.

  31. SID says:

    What a great photo! Lovely.

    When nursing and doing a stint in theatre, I loved the tonsilectomies.Very bloody indeed.
    Adenoidectomies were even better. The surgeon used to stick his big finger up the little kids noses and scrape it clean. Any wonder they felt crap after that.

    Regards to the sufferer.

  32. bronwen says:

    Poor baby! She looks knocked for a loop in that picture, but very comforted by the sweet pooch. I’d frame that one.

    Clever girl – beer is a pretty good bribe. In this house, chocolate gets things done.

  33. kyahgirl says:

    Amber-thanks! I’ll have to warn you next time, didn’t realize you had such a gag thing going on πŸ™‚

    Fred!! so nice to see you. Sorry to hear of D1’s anxiety. I have a friend with those-awful.

    Sherbert and IdV – thanks πŸ™‚

    SID-they took her adenoids too but I don’t think he used the finger technique-how barbaric!

    Bronwen-maybe I will frame it. thanks. πŸ™‚

  34. steph says:

    hey im so happy things worked out… and what a cute dog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s