Lily had her tonsils taken out this week. It’s been a long time coming now; a year since we noticed Lily’s increased difficulty in breathing at night and a couple months later we got a referral to see a travelling Ears, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor when he’d next be in town. It was another four months before the travelling ENT came to town and agreed that her tonsils should come out. Unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to take them out until the fall, more than six months from that appointment!

In the summer we got a call from the travelling ENT’s nurse suggesting we look for another ENT because it was likely the tonsillectomy wouldn’t happen here with lack of surgical time and more pressing surgeries needing to be done. We then went through the stressful process of seeking financial aid to see an ENT in Vancouver, 1500 km away. I wrote briefly about our trip here but the gist of it was that that doctor was more keen on Lily using a steroid nasal spray over taking her tonsils out. Needless to say, I did not agree with steroid use.

It was very fortunate that Cam had been diligent in keeping in touch with the travelling ENT’s nurse because we got a call out of the blue to let us a know an ENT in the next city has come back from being out of the country. We were able to get an appointment two days later and he agreed that Lily’s almost kissing tonsils should come out asap and would do it before he left the country again in December. Two weeks later, we were booked into surgery.

Not yet awake after leaving recovery

We did a number of things to prepare for the surgery, like making throat lozenges and throat syrup (recipes coming!). We bought emergen-c, spry chewing gum, real fruit popsicles and some organic chicken broth. The surgery was quick and easy but none of our preparations were helpful when Lily woke up. She’s had a very difficult time recovering. She was quite ill upon waking, vomiting many times, which seemed to scare her off of eating and drinking even more!

Throat losanges

I was so disappointed at how much less care was given at the hospital than I would have expected. The staff, apart from one seriously cold hearted nurse, were kind enough but everyone was in such a rush to get us out. They didn’t offer food or drink to Lily; we helped ourselves to water. Heck, they didn’t even come to the bed when I was yelling for help needing something for Lily to throw up in. Not even a glance at her as they passed me a cardboard dish when I ran out for help. They didn’t seem concerned in the least that Lily was leaving throwing up, lethargic and hardly drinking fluids as they told us it’s time for her to go. They only checked on her routinely for blood pressure and left us quickly afterwards. There were two other patients in the six patient room receiving similar “care”. It was a surprise to say the least and certainly different from the care I received after my tonsillectomy 15 years ago.

I was grateful to get back to the hotel room where we had to stay for at least 24 hours. While Lily was still vomiting and refusing more than a sip or two of water here and there, we had a comfortable place for all of us to be.

Scenes from the drive homeScenes from the drive homeScenes from the drive home

Look at all that snow

We left Terrace the next day as soon as we were able. It wasn’t until we were home that Lily was able to keep anything down. Lily’s doing a lot better despite losing quite a bit of weight and refusing Tylenol. She also hasn’t spoken a word since the surgery. That’s now four days of silence and trying to interpret the occasional sign language. Her long held interest in looking up signs online has paid off, although I guess I should have been paying a bit better attention myself. She’s cheered by the pretty flowers picked out by Leif and thrilled about the incredibly thoughtful and smile provoking bouquet sent by Erin, Scott, Matthew and Brendan.

Absolutely lovely

The first smile she's had since the surgery

22 Responses to Recovering

  1. taisa says:

    Oh dear Lily, we are all sending you get- well wishes from here- so sorry you felt so sick after the surgery, but we are hoping you will feel a lot better soon. Big hugs from all of us,
    Taisa, Perry, Ari and Dorian

  2. Lynn says:

    Oh my, Annie! I would have found that lack of care for my baby really traumatizing. I’m glad Lily is feeling better now, and I hope she has a speedy recovery from now on!

  3. Gen says:

    Big Hugs and love to all of you. I hope the rest of the recovery goes well :)

  4. Annie says:

    Thank you thank you! xx

  5. natalie says:

    Annie, I am disappointed along with you and shocked. I hope that you find your own healing with such a lack of care. I am glad that Lily is keeping things down now. Love to you guys.

  6. jjlw says:

    The steroid spray would have helped reduce the swelling and discomfort until she could get the surgery (it basically works the same way as an asthma puffer).

    The healthcare up north is so disappointing and the unfortunate thing is that medical school in Canada have only so many spaces for students and for most MD grads, they have no incentive to practice in rural communities. Less health professionals, longer wait times, rushing, overall bad service. :(

    I’m glad to see that Lily is making a recovery. My brother also had his tonsils removed when he was a kid and man, kids recover quickly and are back to their bratty selves again. (maybe he was just bratty to me…)

  7. Annie says:

    Thank you!

    jjlw- I didn’t go into more detail, I apologise. The nasal spray was meant to deal with swelling but to actually see if the sleep apnea Lily was suffering was a result from rhinitis instead of the tonsils/adenoids. In the rush of the visit I forgot to clarify with the Dr. that the apnea was only a problem when she was on her back which seems to suggest that the tonsils/adenoids were in fact the problem. When I asked to what end would the spray be used he said for six weeks to determine the problem spot. What I wondered was if it was a rhinitis problem making it hard for her to breathe what would we do then. Also, her tonsils were almost kissing and would likely cause more problem at some point in her life. It’s easier to get her tonsils out now than it is later in life, as Cam and I have experienced. So my thinking was take them out and then see how the apnea was. That way we avoid steroids which can be harmful and something I’d only consent to in dire circumstances. Steroids should never be used prophylactically, even though they are often prescribed that way.

    It turns out that Lily’s apnea was being caused by the tonsils/adenoids and is now sleeping soundly and solidly. Cam and I both remarked that she didn’t look tired this morning for the first time in more than a year! Heck, I noticed that I sleep more soundly and solidly not being awoken to choking and gasping and having to turn Lily over! I’m so looking forward to better sleep from now on. Leif isn’t allowed to have the same tonsil/adenoid problem.

    Too true about the health care here. The travelling ENT was from South Africa (I believe) and did his time up here and left asap. This is the case with most of the doctors up here. They are from other countries, just doing their time… I wish the system was different and we could get better services rurally.

    Every day Lily is looking a little bit better. I’m so grateful for her resiliency!

  8. k says:

    i’m sorry to hear the medical treatment Lily received was so inattentive and unfriendly. i am glad to hear that she is home again and hopefully recovering well. looks like she received some beautiful flowers to help cheer her along. i’m sure she’ll be up and running in no time.

  9. Ella says:

    Thinking of you! My son had the same reaction to GA and it’s so horrible to witness :( So happy that Lily is recovering well and that you’re already seeing positive results from the decision :) Love to you all <3

  10. Courtney says:

    They did exactly the same thing to me after I had an emerg tubal rupture before Arlen. After waking up after surgery, I was still in a daze when the Dr came in and was talking to me – I HAVE NO IDEA even til this day what the heck he was saying and when the nurse told me it was time to go, I said NO WAY… as I didn’t feel right enough to be released but there I went… to the hotel and same thing… vomitting, in pain with other ‘issues’ going on which I didn’t know was suppose to be ‘normal’ or not…. scaryyyyy… Too sad! I do know that NOT all hospital care is like this but was surprised that this is sometimes the norm now a days!
    Thinking of Lily and a speedy recovery!

  11. Rae says:

    Sending sooo much love to you all!!! I’m glad you are now in the comfort of your home and on the road to recovery.
    p.s can’t wait for the losenges recipe! :)

  12. Dawn Suzette says:

    Oh, Annie. Wishing her a better recovery from here on out… So happy you are seeing positive results. I imagine that makes all of the hardship a little easier to take… ox

  13. mb says:

    hugs, mama. what a hard thing for a mama to have to go through, you sound very positive and strong throughout. healing vibes to little lily.

  14. Annie says:

    So much love; thank you! xx

    Ella- damn, I wish that hadn’t been your experience with ga. I was surprised at Lily’s experience since her dental surgery- which was a longer surgery had almost no recovery issues at all. I wonder if it was the quality of the job done or… ?

  15. Debbie says:

    Things sure have changed in 35 years. I had my tonsils and adenoids out when I was three and was in the hospital for 3 days. Although I have to say the doctors and nurses weren’t that nice back then either. I remember them yelling at me before surgery while I cried because I missed my mum. So not cool. :)

    I’m glad Lily is recovering at home now…and that the surgery seems to have been a success. Here’s to many solid nights sleep for you all. xoxoxo

  16. Lee-Anne says:

    So glad to hear that Lily is getting stronger. I’m sure that with the love and attention she is getting from her family and friends she will soon be back to her old self. It sounds like a stressful, trying time, but being at home is the best place to heal :). Take care!

  17. Annie says:

    Debbie, isn’t it incredible how it’s changed? I was talking with my friend last night about how airlines have changed so much where you used to get so much more service for no extra money- like a meal or a drink. It’s like the hospital has followed suit. Even though most of the staff were kind enough, they simply don’t offer the same extent of care. It’s sad really.

    xx Debbie and Lee Anne

  18. Ella says:

    oh sweet bean!! what a time you are going through. lots of love and pretty flowers for you!

  19. Michaelanne says:

    I hope your poor sweet daughter is feeling better..As a Mother, and a nurse, I myself am saddened by the care given in hospitals! We are SO rushed to get em in..get em out! Like herding cattle. I do my best to be a comfort to my patients..They are there because they are in a difficult situation to begin with!!!! Tragic really…Thank goodness she has such a lovely home to go HOME too! Best wishes…from a nurse who CARES!

  20. Annie says:

    Thank you so much! xx

  21. Laura says:

    Those scenic drives are absolutely beautiful. I wish I could see that on a daily basis!
    On another note, I must know… how do those throat lozenges taste?

  22. Annie says:

    My first taste of the lozenges had me thinking it was a bit strange but certainly not terrible. Liquorice is so sweet and delicious. It was the slippery elm I think that tasted strange to me. Before the end of my first lozenge, I liked the taste of them. Lily is less of a fan of liquorice root flavour but was able to suck on them with ease- and without faces!

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