Friday, July 24, 2009

Adventures in Tonsil Removal

So Erik got his tonsils taken out this past Monday. What an adventure it was...

He was scheduled for 7:00 Monday morning. That was changed at that last minute to 8:00. We woke up early and drove to Bel Air. He was scheduled at a surgery center.

Those of you who know Erik probably also know he is deathly phobic about needles. Not just doesn't like them - he literally passes out at the sight of needles or the smell of rubbing alcohol. It's bad.

Knowing this, his doctor gave him an Rx for Valium - it works enough on his anxiety that at least he doesn't actually pass out.

Anyhow, he took his valium before we left so I was able to get him out of the car into the surgery center with no problem. They took him back to get ready while I waited.

About thirty minutes later, they called me back. Erik is sitting on a chair, still dressed, looking anxious. Uh oh, I thought - this isn't good...

Turns out the anesthesiologist refused to do his surgery at the surgery center - because Erik has a diagnosis of sleep apnea, the surgery HAD to be done in a hospital. Now *I* am anxious. And annoyed.

I have to say, the surgeon was very good about taking charge of the situation - immediately reserved an operating room for that afternoon at the local hospital, even though it meant canceling all his appointments later in the day. He knew Erik had limited time for healing and I had limited time off.

Erik and I drove home, and he immediately crashed on the couch (the Valium was working pretty good) and I even got a nap in before the kids woke up. Erik didn't wake up again until I woke him up at noon to take another Valium and put on his shoes.

Everyone at the hospital was very nice and helpful. They did a great job of explaining everything that was going on, what to expect, how long it would be, etc. The surgeon came and went over the whole surgery and what he would do. The anesthesiologist came and explained why they made us reschedule.

And remembering how nervous Erik is, the surgeon gave an order for a lovely sedative that Erik found quite enjoyable, though he doesn't remember much...

His surgery was supposed to be at 1:30, but they didn't take him back until closer to 3. I settled into the waiting room - I had a book and crossword puzzles and was set. I sat down, and realized the chairs were THE MOST COMFY chairs... I promptly fell asleep.

And woke up at 5 - how I slept for two hours with all the noise and people I have no idea!! It wasn't too long before the recovery room called the waiting area to let me know Erik was done and in recovery.

Dr. Jordan came out not much later to tell me about the surgery - He said Erik's sinuses were pretty full of scar tissue from earlier surgeries. A few small polyps had to be removed. All in all, he didn't have to do much with the sinuses, which was good - no packing and no slats.

The tonsils - well, apparently they were pretty bad. Dr. Jordan seemed very surprised that they were never removed before given how they looked. Cruddy, full of scarring and even small crystals of gunk. He removed the uvula and trimmed the palate, which he said would give Erik a much larger airway.

At that point, the doctor suggest I go get something to eat - it was close to 6 and Erik wouldn't be up for visitors for awhile. I barely made it to the local deli to grab a sandwich when the recovery nurse called though!

By the time I ate (quickly, driving back to the hospital!), Erik was awake. He was SO groggy - he kept doing the repeating the same question over and over thing. It would have been funny except he just looked so pale.

He couldn't be released until his oxygen levels were up. He wasn't taking deep breaths between the pain in his throat and how sedated he still was (lots of morphine and the after effects of anesthesia). I kept having to wake him up, tell him to breathe deep... His oxygen would go up to 96. Then he'd drift out again, it would drop to 93.

After awhile he was awake enough that the nurse felt comfortable releasing him. He had so much less bleeding than I figured - he had one little trickle from one nostril on the way home and that was it.

I didn't think about the fact that he'd been on IV fluids for, um about 6 hours by that point... The whole way home he kept saying... hurry up, I gotta use the bathroom. Wow, did he have to pee!!

I got him all settled downstairs in the recliner - he has a little table set up with his medicine and gauze and anything else I think he might need. During the first day, I would wake him up every 4 hours to take his pain meds - trying to stay ahead of it so he wouldn't be too uncomfortable.

As the doctor said, his worst pain has been the past few days - the first couple days the post op steroids and anesthesia kept the pain level way down. Now he's really feeling it.

He's been good about keeping hydrated - he has consumed so much gatorade and apple juice! I've never been so glad for an ice maker!! Pudding, jello, ice cream, yogurt... Today I think we will try to add in mashed potatoes and broth.

Erik says he's hurting, but it's still not nearly as bad as he thought. Especially the sinuses - that's bothered him barely at all. Hardly any bleeding, no swelling or bruising. The throat is sore, but the pain meds seem to be controlling it pretty well.

So that's the update - I expected to be taking care of him much more! It's mostly just been making sure his drink is filled or getting more ice. And going to the grocery store to get more Gatorade and pudding.

Erik's mom came to stay with us for a few days as well, to help with the kids while I was at work. It was so nice to know she was here when I was out of the house! Erik is still pretty tired and the medicine does make him a bit loopy.

But he has Monkey Island and Halo 3 to keep him entertained!

1 comment:

Jennilyn said...

Glad it went well, considering the delay in surgery. Can't wait to hear if it makes a difference in snore-factor. Thinking healing thoughts for Erik. Your kids are welcome over here if you need more recovery time.