February 17, 2016

holla, tonsils

Whelp, "they gone". 
The moment we've been awaiting and fearing for months has come and gone.
You can read about our first process - the sleep study - before continuing on if you'd like a small backstory. 

I wanted to try to get a picture of what I saw when I looked in his mouth but, as we all know, that proves difficult. If  you can see from the picture, his tonsils are practically resting on his hangy-ball. We didn't know the "size" of his adenoids but because his sleep apnea was so severe, those were also on the "cut-list". ;)
We arrived at Childrens' National bright and early Wednesday and spent about 20 minutes in a triage room getting basic stats and talking with the team of doctors who explained what they were going to be doing. 
Once that was over, Kullen was wheeled back to the O.R. and Adam and I were told to go have coffee/breakfast and be back within 40 minutes. 
One of the best things about our waiting room was a large screen with each patient number and their current status (in surgery, out of surgery, recovering, surgery complete). When we got back in the family waiting room, we saw that Kullen was already in surgery.
It was just a few more minutes of waiting that they called our names and told us to sit in an office to wait for the doctor. DON'T BE ALARMED! Just because they're telling you the doctor is coming to talk to you, doesn't mean that anything is wrong. Our doctor just wanted to let us know personally that Kullens surgery was a success and he expects him to have a good recovery. He also told us that in addition to Kullen's tonsils being large, his adenoids were even bigger!
From there, we were given a slip of paper that had his recovery room number. Now, about those "recovery rooms". It wasn't much of a room, it was more like an emergency room with 30 open rooms and sheets for doors. Not a big deal, but not what I was expecting either. 

Kullen remained asleep for about 1-2 hours after we got back to him. They explained it was normal. He woke up during that period and gagged out his tongue guard. (They put a tongue guard in his mouth because of the medicine they give him, it completely relaxes his muscles, including tongue, so that guard holds it in place and allows his airway to remain open.) That part scared me just a little bit but he was conscious enough to nod his head that he was okay and then went back to sleep. 

"thumbs up!"

After a few hours of in and out sleep, he finally began to wake up and was in pain. He was trying to swallow and also making a gargle-like sound. The gargling scared me but I'm pretty sure that it hurt to swallow but he wasn't sure what to do with his mouth/throat. His nurse gave him some pain medicine and some ice-cream! 
Within the first two hours that he was awake,  we've had a Popsicle, two ice creams, french fries, a grilled cheese and about 6 apple juices! NOTE: the nurse probably told me 'no fried foods' but I didn't comprehend that until he had already ate it. Fried foods are a big no-no post surgery but even though we broke the rules ... all was well. He didn't seem to be in too much pain and was already going a little stir-crazy in the bed so if a grilled cheese and fries helps, hey ... whatevs. 

Because he has/had severe sleep apnea, he was required to stay the night which is unlike most surgeries. Although he was doing super well, they wanted us to stay to see how his apnea was.
Kullen woke up once during the night and threw up blood. I was SO scared. I caught most in my hand but managed to fumble my way to the trash can and bring to him so I could go find the nurse. Despite being with another patient, she immediately ran to help us out. She gave him something to calm his stomach as well as some more pain meds (because at this point, he was awake and crying that his throat hurt) and he fell back to sleep within a few minutes. Next thing we new, it was 6am and time to go!

The next few days home were pretty decent. It was kind of a blur of waiting on kullen, keeping the other kids away from him and reminding to give him meds every 2/3 hours. We were encouraged to give him medicine around the clock and not to wait, LISTEN TO THEM! We learned that lesson (once) the hard way. We wrote a time schedule on my bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker and crossed off each time we dosed him.
Since the surgery, we've had absolutely no issues! His sleeping has improved 100%. He sleeps through the night, without snoring and IN HIS BED!

Needless to say, I was super scared of this surgery and my baby going under - but I am SO glad that we proceeded with it. It was seriously the best decision we've ever made and will only benefit him in the future (you're welcome future daughter in law that doesn't have to put up with a snoring husband!!)


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