and then, she {snapped}: toddler tonsillectomy

toddler tonsillectomy

please ignore the boogers. I was trying (not very successfully, to get photo documentation of the size of my almost three year old's GINORMOUS tonsils)

If you're reading this you might be considering having your toddler get his or her tonsils out. I have three words for you:

Don't do it!*

Actually, I have a whole bunch of more words for you too, but those are the main ones. Charlie's tonsils were "ginormous" according to the doctor, and were impacting his breathing and sleeping (so much snoring)! And I figured since Charlie was not even three yet the surgery would be much easier on him now than when he was older. I mean, it's not like he was 38 (when I had mine out). Children heal faster than adults, or so they say. But what I didn't consider was that he's too young to understand what the fuck just happened. And why? And that the medicine will, in fact, help. Even though it's "spicy". (PS Tylenol with codeine are "spicy" to an almost three year old).

this was pre-surgery when he literally had no idea what was coming. I didn't want to worry him ahead of time, so we didn't tell him. I feel bad about that now.

Also, when the doctor says it will be 7 to 10 days of hell afterwards, don't do like I did and figure what he really means is five or maybe six at most. Wrong. He actually means a full TEN. Also, keep in mind that the antibiotics that they prescribe afterwards are merely preventative. If you can't get your toddler to take them don't stress about it. The pain meds are MUCH MORE of a PRIORITY, and you definitely want to keep on top of those. Speaking of pain meds, I found Tylenol meltaways (or generic, because that's actually what I found). They come in grape and bubble gum and they literally just melt on the tongue. So no swallowing is really required (when swallowing really hurts). When we began to wean of the codeine this is what we used. Also, FYI, Tylenol with codeine can be hidden in apple juice. Antibiotics cannot. And neither can liquid ibuprofen. Believe me, we tried EVERYTHING. And he caught on most of the time.

this was after 27 minutes of blood curdling screaming (and very nearly mama tears) in the recovery room, when we finally checked into the room we would stay over night. (patients under the age of three stay over night at our hospital)

Bring movies to the hospital if you'll be staying over. We watched the Lorax 2,545,345,809 times.

 he actually ate that evening. maybe the heavy drugs from the surgery were still working, because there were quite a few days afterwards that he barely ate anything at all.

My three year old was deathly afraid of the blood pressure cuff, and the oxygen thingie that they put on your finger to make sure you're getting enough oxygen. The nurses would have to try to get readings on both of these things every few hours and while you and I know that they really truly do not hurt, telling a toddler who just woke up having had parts of his body very literally cut out of him did not bode well. He hated all the nurses (except the one that gave him a car that he could take home with him).

 one of the few moments where he slept that night. New Year's Eve, 2012, YAHOO! PARTY in room 528!! (maybe, honestly I don't remember what room we were in)

When you do get home, if you can't get your toddler to eat, don't worry. He'll eat eventually. Spend your energy making him drink. That's much more important during recovery. And if he gets dehydrated he'll have to go BACK to the hospital (which also, is a really good threat if your kid WON'T drink).

*Disclaimer. If you decide to do it anyway, know that you WILL actually get through it. Just be realistic in how long you can expect your toddler (and therefore you) to feel absolutely miserable. We got through it. And Charlie doesn't hold a grudge either. He may have even forgotten about it. Probably not, but maybe.

And also? No more snoring.


  1. Oh gosh! The poor kiddo :( He looks like such a trooper though! Glad you made it through and thanks for sharing, I now hope that I never have to experience that :)LOL...

  2. Poor guy! We had Jackson's adenoids out last year and I'm hoping we dont have to go back for tonsils. Hang in there!

  3. We are anti blood pressure cuffs at this house... just ask Eva... and the nurses she told to "go home NOW!"

  4. Oh poor kiddo! I feel so bad for him. It's hard when you can't explain to them to prepare them.

    (And the ONE time my mother didn't explain to me - and instead kind of tricked me - was wholly terrible. I am just glad to be through it now).

    Speedy healing for your new non-snorer!

  5. Oh poor you and toddler! I as a 43 year old and just had mine out a month ago. Just getting taste back now! The most hideous experience of my life as you will know too. Caesarians were easier! I think you made a good choice so young , even if it was not a great experience! Hang in there!

  6. oh my! Poor kid!
    I worked at an icecream shop as a teen and quickly got to know who had recently gotten their tonsils out. (Fun tip: if you ask nice, they'll often put the soft icecream in a pint or quart container for you to eat and take home - much easier than the hard).

  7. this is so terrifying! and sad! poor CP! i am keeping this in mind in case a doctor ever suggests this and I'll be like "my friend, rachel, says NO!" and i'll let him do it when he's 38. :)


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