Preparing for Tonsillectomy the Fun Way

D Day. 

Or should I say T Day. 

Natty is having her tonsils +/- her adenoids removed.

Bye bye tonsils

Yes, I know it's routine, and my head also knows thousands of children have it done each year. I had it mine out when I was 4. My mum wasn't allowed to stay with me. I do remember a lot of ice-cream though, and my Grandma buying me a new red overnight case.

None of that makes me feel any better. But Natty's ear nose and throat consultant has advised it to help with her sleep apnoea and to widen the small passageways between her ears and throat which often get blocked with wax or mucus, leading to infection and sadly, on several occasions, a burst ear drum.

My body is remembering carrying Natty into the operating theatre for her heart surgery, petrified of the outcome. It's the anaesthetic I fear most, and worrying about little Natty being in pain, or worse still afraid and traumatised by needle procedures as has happened in the past.

So, I have thrown myself into preparation of the highest order. I'm hoping that a little forward planning will pay off, desensitising Natty for what lies ahead. Some of it is obvious, and some you might like to try if your child goes in for any surgery.

Play therapist
We met on the ward a week before the surgery date. A lovely lady who introduced herself as Gill and her sidekick as Rosie. Rosie was a giant ragdoll, not much smaller than Natty herself.
Gill took us steadily through every step of what Natty was to expect when she came to hospital.  Natty dressed as a nurse and we made a name bracelet for Rosie and put stickers on it. We put magic cream on her hand and covered it in clear film. We taped a canula to the hand. Then we put a mask to Rosies face and she fell asleep. Natty tried the mask too, enjoying blowing up the balloon at the end of the tub. Natty pretended to put special medicine in Rosie's canula and she woke up. Hugs and kisses and a spoonful of medicine.

Then the man who brings lunch arrived, so we had a look at that too and decided that the ham sandwiches looked really delicious.

Gill took us to the ward where Natty will spend the night with me and let her turn the TV on and put Rosie on the bed. Lots of smiles and giggles all round, and a Mummy who knew what to expect too.

Since that day we have role played what will happen tomorrow with our own Rosie, and a name bracelet and canula that Gill gave us to take home. A friend gave us a copy of a book called Goodbye Tonsils which we've been flicking through all week.

Reading books helped Natty prepare for her tonsil operation

The most reassuring part of the process was meeting a Learning Disability Nurse in the corridor of the hospital by chance. She asked if we'd like her to be involved and of course we said yes. She rang me at home that evening and listened to my 2 major concerns, which were how to explain to Natty that she couldn't eat all day while she waited for the surgery. The LD nurse promised to try to get Natty an early slot in the day if possible. 

I am also worried about Natty's needle phobia after several traumatic blood tests as she neared her heart surgery. Magic cream sends her into melt down, so I knew that trying to insert a canula using this method would be doomed. The LD nurse agreed and would help us discuss with the anaesthetist the possibility of Natty having the gas mask first to send her to sleep before the canula is inserted. After all, she might need procedures such as this a few more times in her life.

So we are packed and ready to go. I like to leave nothing to chance, so I'm taking a small case with everything from towels and pjs to books and stickers. It's important to have some cash for parking and coffees, as well as atissues and cleansing wipes. 

I'm also taking a cool box with every conceiveable treat and snack and drink that Natty (and I ) might want when she comes round. I've packed nibbles and dried fruit in pretty boxes and we even have a bunting N to hang over her bed. Interestingly, the current thinking is 'scratchy' snacks, not ice cream as it clears the tonsil wounds of potential infection.

Take everything you need for your hospital stay

We're only there one night, I don't like to leave anything to chance, and that one night could leave a lasting impression.

So, what are your tips for a smooth hospital stay?


  1. Replies
    1. Oh Angela it was cancelled. A couple of weeks' time now...

  2. Fantastically well prepared HAyley. Lauren ended up in a burns unit back in April for 4 nigths. The were worried about her fluid intake and were threatening and NG Tube! I went out and bought goodness knows how many different types of drink and all her favourite fods, i even bought bibs and cutlery that were identical to those at hoem to normalise it all for her. She eventually drank milk froma baby bottle (at 3.5 yrs) copying the little boy in the bed opposite! Sure all your prep will hold you in stead fo the new date.

    1. Gosh Karen that's terrible. But well done you on your resourcefulness. It pays to put in that extra effort doesn't it.

  3. My billy goes in for his tear ducts to be be unblocked very soon. Altho its not a big procedure im still worried about anaesthetic. Iv heard it doesn't work well in ds children. And to be careful of their necks coz the bones are fragile and neck can be floppy.

  4. My billy goes in for his tear ducts to be be unblocked very soon. Altho its not a big procedure im still worried about anaesthetic. Iv heard it doesn't work well in ds children. And to be careful of their necks coz the bones are fragile and neck can be floppy.

    1. Good luck with this Hannah. It's so worrying isn't it, but we know our precious ones are in the very best hands.
      H x

  5. Great prep Team DSU! Wishing you all the very best. Know only too well your anxieties. There were no needles required for Rosie which I hadn't realised, they put the full line in after putting her asleep with gas which is painless. Lots of love and best wishes from all of us. xxx

    1. I'm going to go straight for the gas if poss Tom. Did Rosie have a canula at all?

  6. Hope it went well; we've just had ours out too. Really impressed at the preparation! Our surgery was after someone else cancelled so had less than 24 hours to suddenly think about surgery. Over now; 24 hours were the worst and improving now. Hope Natty is doing well x

    1. I hope things are still continuing to improve. I guess short notice does stop you worrying... a bit.
      Much love x

  7. Great ideas! My husband just spent a few days in the hospital and I was no where near as prepared as I should have been. You have done such a great job of preparing Natty - and you! - that I know it's going to be a successful procedure. I will pray that the recovery time is uneventful and fast!


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