There are many important issues going on in our country right now, issues that I am thinking and praying about and that I would love to blog about, but for now I am going to have to write about what is front of me right here in my own home. Our 5 year-old had her tonsils and adenoids removed on Tuesday, and tubes put in her ears for the first time, so dealing with her recovery has been all-consuming! Below are some of my thoughts, in no particular order, in the hopes that some of you might find this information helpful if you ever find yourselves in a similar situation:
-Day 1 was a breeze for us! Although M was sore and disoriented for the first couple of hours, she still had the benefit of the hospital anesthesia in her system. The first night was also easy – I think that she was so tired from being awake all day that she was able to go back to sleep immediately after taking her medication. Days 2 and 3 have been much tougher. Day 2 was tough because the pain medication had built up enough for her mood to be affected, and the hospital anesthesia was starting to wear off. Night 2 was pretty rough – even the pain meds weren’t doing much good, and she resisted swallowing anything. Day 3, today, has been rough on all fronts. I’m told that it only gets better from here, thank goodness!
-Everyone has told me to stay on top of the pain medication, and I have done my best! We took the heavy-duty meds that the doctor prescribed for the first two days, and have now switched to liquid Tylenol, as recommended by the nurse. I set my phone alarm through the night and gave M her meds every 4 hours, even though I have wanted to let her sleep. What we are trying to avoid is having her wake up in so much pain that she doesn’t want to swallow anything at all, which can quickly become a crisis situation. Pain is a crazy thing!
-The more she drinks, the better. If the throat gets dry, it starts to hurt even more. Cold drinks are the best, and straws are okay as long as the drink is smooth and not thick. Milkshakes or smoothies would have to be eaten with a spoon – a straw would create too much suction.
-The more she eats, the better. She was starving on the first day, and pudding, popsicles, and ice cream got old pretty quickly. We’ve had success with soft pasta, mac & cheese, and slow-cooked scrambled eggs. I’m staying away from anything that could get stuck in her throat (bread, peanut butter, even oatmeal for now), and of course any hard and crunchy foods are off-limits for a couple of weeks. Today she doesn’t seem very interested in eating or drinking, and a friend suggested that this would be a good day for sucking on popsicles. We’ll give it a try!
-Siblings: Day 1 was tough for the siblings, because M seemed to be feeling quite well and they couldn’t understand why she was getting all sorts of special attention and yummy food. Our 8 year-old now feels very badly for his little sister and has been very sweet with her, but the best strategy with the 3 year-old has been to keep her busy with other activities. She is confused about the whole situation and unfortunately, hasn’t been very kind to her older sister, so we’re keeping them separated while she recovers.
-Sleeping: We moved M onto a blow-up mattress in the empty bedroom so that she wouldn’t disturb her siblings’ sleep. I wasn’t willing to deal with two or three crying children in the middle of the night!
-Distractions: We’ve been coloring, reading stories, watching videos, and playing Chutes and Ladders to pass the time. I need to make a trip to the library for some new videos. As much as I usually prefer to limit screen time, this is the time to let those ideals go for a few days!
-My mom bought one of those reading pillows for M, which has been great for supporting her while she sits up in bed and on the couch. Two weeks is a long time for “no strenuous activity,” so we’re trying to stay as comfortable as possible while resting.
-Before M’s surgery, we made signs together so that if she wasn’t feeling like talking, she could hold up the sign to show us what she needed. We made signs for if she was thirsty, hungry, sleepy, in pain, wanted to read a book or watch a video, etc. She was totally into making the signs but hasn’t used them as much as I thought she would. I still think that it’s a good idea, though.
-The hardest part for me as a mother has been seeing M in pain, and also seeing that the pain and the medication are affecting her mood and her personality. I know from first-hand experience that pain is a terrible thing, and that we aren’t ourselves when we feel constant pain, so I am telling myself that this is temporary and that she will continue to improve with time. It’s still hard, though, and I wish that I could take the pain onto myself so that she would feel herself again!
We would love any prayers that you can send our way, for healing and perseverance. As we begin the celebration of the holy Triduum this evening, I will also be praying for all of you. Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!