Toddler Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at Boston Children’s Hospital

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who sent prayers, positive vibes, and advice for Quinn’s surgery. Everything went great and the little guy is well on his way to a full recovery. That said, here’s a recap from our experience at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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(The photo above was taken earlier today. As you can see, Quinn is feeling quite a bit better, so we put him to work! Haha!)

On the morning of his surgery, Quinn wasn’t allowed to eat since he would be getting anesthesia, so we did our best to distract him. His surgery was scheduled for 10:15 AM, so our time at home and commuting into Boston wasn’t much of an issue. We bought him a new tool set (since he’s obsessed with screwdrivers lately) to keep him entertained, and he was also allowed to drink water or apple juice up until 2 hours before his surgery, so the early morning was a piece of cake.

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And, as Mal pointed out, Quinn isn’t generally interested in food, so I guess that worked in our favor this time! (Murphy spent the day at our friends’ house with his Greyhound buddy.)

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We arrived at Boston Children’s Hospital right on time, 90 minutes before Quinn’s procedure. The operation prep was pretty straight-forward, and we initially had great success distracting him with toys from the Pre-Op Clinic. But, as Quinn’s hunger grew, things got a bit more challenging.

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The novelty of the toys quickly wore off, and Quinn grew hangry. Nothing we tried would make him happy, so we eventually resorted to “Melmo.” Unfortunately, Elmo videos only worked for a little while and a full-on tantrum ensued. Yowsahs.

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Mal and I tried everything to diffuse the situation with no luck. Thankfully, one of the nurses stepped in and suggested taking Quinn for a ride in one of their wagons. Genius! It immediately cheered him up! Hooray!

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We took “Po” for a ride around the floor. Safety first!

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Shortly after that, it was time for Quinn’s surgery. Mal offered to take him in to the operating room, which was quite a relief since I knew seeing my baby “go limp” from anesthesia would be much too emotional for me. About 5 minutes later, Mal came out of the operating room and said everything went fine.

After that, Mal and I headed downstairs to the lobby to buy some snacks. We both ate an early breakfast, so we were more than ready to eat. Plus, I think we just wanted to do something to distract ourselves from worrying nonstop about our little guy. We brought our snacks up to one of the waiting rooms and tried to do work on our laptops. Neither of us could concentrate, but it wasn’t long before we saw Quinn’s doctor with a big smile on his face. He said everything went great and asked us if we had any questions. About 10 minutes later, a nurse led us back to the recovery room to see our boy.

The little guy was laying in one of the hospital cribs softly crying. Ugh, it absolutely broke my heart. I immediately scooped him up and gave him a big hug. He put his head on my shoulder and cried a little more, but he calmed down fairly fast. At this point, I burst into tears and rocked him back and forth for a long while (basically until my back hurt and I needed to sit down) and questioned whether we did the right thing.

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Quinn ended up falling asleep on me in kind of a weird position. The nurse could tell I was uncomfortable, so she suggested moving Quinn back to the crib. He didn’t wake up at all and slept peacefully for awhile.

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About an hour later, Quinn woke up crying and then vomited all over himself. Poor guy. The nurses said the anesthesia likely upset his stomach. They got him all cleaned up and, after that, he seemed to feel better. I’m sure the popsicles and Sponge Bob Square Pants helped too!

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We spent another couple of hours in the recovery room while Quinn slept and we waited for a room to open up. (Quinn’s doctor wanted him to stay overnight since he had some prior sleep apnea issues.)

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We finally got settled in our room in the early evening. We watched movies, read books, and then Quinn went to bed… after a 2-hour freak out session. Mal and I tried everything to calm him down, but Quinn was just not having it. We think he was upset about having an IV in his hand and all sorts of wires attached to him. I actually think he was more upset about that than the pain from the surgery. He eventually wore himself out and fell asleep. Poor boy.

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After that, I grabbed dinner for Mal and me at the 24-hour Au Bon Pain in the lobby. We ate and then went to bed. There was only one fold-out chair/bed for sleeping, so we decided to share it, which was ridiculous. It was definitely intended for one person! We were like two 10-year-olds at a sleepover, laughing and giggling, because the situation was so funny to us. I don’t know how we managed to fit, but we actually slept for 3-4 hours and then another hour or so in the early morning. The nurses were in and out all night long, checking on Quinn and giving him meds. Quinn also decided to take out his IV (well, he yanked it hard enough that it wouldn’t work anymore), so we had to mitigate the situation. (See, he REALLY didn’t like it!)

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The next morning, Quinn woke up feeling so much better. He literally hit the ground running, so we explored the hospital and had a grand old time!

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He even ate pancakes later that morning!

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We were discharged mid-morning and the little dude continues to improve everyday. Many thanks for the prayers and well wishes!

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79 Comments

  1. So glad he did so well and is on the mend. My son had his tonsils out at 15 years-old and it was horrible. He was miserable for two weeks… Wish I had done it when he was your little guys age.

  2. I had my tonsils and adenoids taken out when I was 4. Prior to that I snored horribly like a lion(from what I’ve been told) and my QOL improved greatly after the surgery. The surgeon actually said I had the biggest set of tonsils and adenoids he had ever seen on someone my age! You made the right decision and luckily Quinn is little enough that he won’t remember any of it. You’re an awesome mom!

  3. Oh my goodness, this brought tears to my eyes! He’s so lucky to have you and Mal as his parents! I’m so glad he did well in surgery and that he’s feeling better! Big hugs to him and you guys! And lol, you and Mal were hilarious in that tiny bed.

  4. Aww reading this made me tear up – it’s so hard to see our kiddos sick and it’s easy to question or decisions as parents – but you made the right decision! Glad to see your little guy is on the mend!

  5. You did the right thing. Quinn won’t remember since he’s so young. I don’t remember all the vomiting either from mine. It’s likely harder on you then him. He will be healthier now. Hang in there!

  6. The three of you are champs! This totally tugged at my heart and hope for the speediest and easiest recovery possible!

  7. Oh Tina, so glad he’s feeling better.. I have a 3 year old son and totally cried reading this post. It would be so hard to feel so helpless. I’m sure you did the right thing though and he will thank you for taking initiative while he was young.
    Wishing you the best,
    Janine

  8. Glad Quinn’s recovery is going well. I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was 9 because I got strep throat every few weeks in the winter season. I’ve only had strep once since in my whole life!

  9. Prayers for your sweet little Quinn!! He will be so thankful that you guys did this for him when he’s older and knows that you relieved him of so many health issues. Also, this post makes me want to work at Boston Children’s Hospital! The nurses sound like they were so sweet and attentive and I’m glad that they did their best to make you feel comfortable and not rushed. That’s a stressful enough day as it is.

  10. So glad Quinn recovering well. I hope the surgery helps his issues! BCH is such an amazing place. Whenever we’ve been over there for R, I am also so humbled and appreciative of the little issue we are there for!

  11. The picture of him walking around with his backless gown and socks is probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Glad he’s doing better!

  12. You so did the right thing Tina.

    My daughter had her tonsils and adenoids out at 4 yo, the doctor said they were huge when he removed them and her breathing improved immediately after surgery. Also, her frequency and severity of colds decreased and it dramatically decreased risk of ear infections and yay for no tonsillitis in the elementary school years! It sounds like he is doing great post op. The key is to keep them hydrated even weeks after surgery.

    Hope he feels well and that your new IC med works!

    🙂 Marie

  13. I stumbled upon your blog post when doing a search for Tonsillectomy and Children’s Hospital and I cant tell you how much your blog post helped put me a little at ease for our upcoming surgery for my daughter who is getting her tonsils out at Children’s on 3/25. She is 3yrs old and I am a very nervous momma trying to prepare myself and her for whats to come. Would love to talk to you more about it. How did you get your little one to take medicine, how he is doing now, what would you have changed if anything, what advice would you give pre and post, etc. I’m not gonna lie, I cried reading how you felt when you first saw him after surgery. I’m emotional just thinking about it. Heartbreaking to see them in pain, you’re a strong and brave mom! I hope it goes as well for us as it did for you.

    Hope all is well, Vera

  14. I hope your son is doing great and that the surgery lead to better sleeping, eating, and breathing! That’s what I’m hoping for my little guy as well. Sounds like the recovery was better than normal. Did you do the intracapsular version? I’m currently looking into doing this at Boston Children’s as Yale Children’s do not perform them. If you have a chance I would love to hear about this (and any docs you recommend). Wpetelle@yahoo.com. Thanks for sharing your story and sweet little boy!

  15. Thanks for sharing this story! My 2 year old son is going to have a T&A next week and I’m hoping he bounces back just like your little one!

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