Lindsay Gill: 5 Lessons on Ear Tubes and Adenoid Surgery for Toddler

Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Lessons on Ear Tubes and Adenoid Surgery for Toddler

"So he's getting adenoids in and tubes out?" said the secretary on the phone.  This was going to be a long day.

Ear tubes in and adenoids out.  A very subtle, but important difference!

I, too, knew little about the procedures until just recently.  We had a laminated appointment card for the Pediatrician that read "THURSDAY."  Just kidding, but we were pretty much in the Pediatrician's office every Thursday (one of my days off) for congestion and ear checks.  Some of these appointments showed ear fluid, some showed ear infections.  Little Luke just couldn't get his ears cleared!

We were referred to an Audiologist for a hearing test, which showed some decrease in hearing.  She did further testing to show, though, that his hearing would be okay once the fluid was cleared.  We then met with the ENT who suggested we do a surgery to put ear tubes in, as well as take adenoids out.  

The procedure was yesterday.  It didn't feel real until I got the phone call with our 6:15 am arrival time.  I was nervous that Luke would have trouble with the "no eating or drinking after midnight" rule, but he did fine.  The surgery center was great.  We're only at post-op day 1, but you can learn from my mistakes already:

1.  If they give you a choice to put the hospital bracelet on the wrist or the ankle, choose the ankle.  

3.  Don't worry too much about what clothes they wear into the hospital.  I wanted to run out and get him slippers etc. but they will most likely dress the patient like a duck, or banana.  

3.  Basics that we learned: No Motrin 2 weeks before surgery.  Start with clear liquids after surgery and then proceed to a soft diet for a few days.  With adenoids removed, they might be congested for a few days after the procedure.  With ear tubes, use five ear drops twice per day for 5 days.  They do not need earplugs for bathing.  With future ear infections, the treatment is now ear drops rather than systemic antibiotics.  I brought an array of foods for Luke, but he ate nothing.  In retrospect, I would have brought less stuff, but I wanted to be prepared for anything.  

4.  Toddlers wake up from anesthesia differently than adults.  Adults are generally calm and groggy, but toddlers tend to be more in a tempter tantrum.  Neither of us could calm him down, and his eyes were glassed over.  He was still hooked up to the IV so it was tricky to hold a squirmy-temper-tantrum-ing toddler attached to wires and tubes.  Once we got into the car, he started recognizing his bear and blankey and fell asleep.  

5.  Anesthesia is always a big deal, so I don't want to "downplay" Luke's procedure.  But some children are going into that hospital everyday, or worse, that's the only place they know.  I kept reminding myself that Luke was healthy, we're just trying to make him healthier.  We have to thank God for each day with our little angels, and for all of their healthy parts.  I'm also so thankful for the doctors and nurses that do this all day, everyday.  The Anesthesiologist was blowing bubbles with Luke, the nurses were pushing him around in a wagon.  These are very special people.

So far, Luke has already said a few new words, and has been playing with his toys like they are brand new.  It's exciting to see him look at the world differently, already!

Any advice for the next days of post-op?  

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