Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tonsil Talk...

There have been a few questions about Billy's tonsils lately and I did say I'd come back to them so...

Billy had his tonsils and adenoids taken out in October last year. We made the decision to do it because he was constantly sick. For the previous two winters (which goes from June to September here on the bottom of the world), he got every possible combination and permutation of respiratory infection known to doctors (and a few so freaky they just kept him in hospital with a stream of doctors shrugging their shoulders and x-raying his lungs a lot).

He was skinny, missing a LOT of school, miserable and freaking expensive. That reads really badly, but by the time you count the costs of hospital admissions, evil antibiotics and other drugs, lost work time blah, blah, blah... it grinds down the bank balance.

So, it took a bit of convincing the doctors (Lord, I got sick of doctors telling me that little kids get sick, despite the fact that Billy was off school at least five times more than anyone in his class), but eventually they agreed.

Billy's biomed doctor suggested we ask the anaesthetist to avoid the use of nitrous oxide. Once I'd read up on it, I agreed, and floated it with the ENT. He made a very good suggestion which was for me to speak directly, face to face with the anaesthetist. I did, and he agreed, despite never having heard anything about the concerns I had. I have to give both of those men kudos for that.

The process was quick, the doctors were very nice and he was home on the afternoon of his operation.

And that was where the fun began. The recovery was rough. Really rough. Lots of vomit. Lots of up and down - one day good, one day crap. Lots of serious pain, especially once we got to ear recovery.

But, almost immediately two things happened.

1. He slept quietly and still for the first time in his life. No snoring, no fussing, no constant movement.
2. His peer related language opened up almost immediately. He visibly relaxed.

This has kept on going between then and now. He is conversing with his peers now, which he NEVER did before. He still chooses adult company, but he can talk to kids. I think it's because he can breathe properly, finally. It makes me sad to think of how he must have been struggling for oxygen for so long.

And most importantly, he has had a total of two infections since then. Now, it has been summer, and there was two months of school holidays in the middle of that, but still... that's a big change.

I should add that Billy didn't ever have many ear infections. It's one of the very autistic things that he's managed to avoid. He's had a few, but no more than your average kid. And most of them he's fought off without antibiotics.

All in all, the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy were huge successes in Billy's life. He is sick less, talking more and generally more chilled.

And not surprisingly, so am I.

1 comment:

Mama Deb said...

Thanks for posting this!! Sorry I have not emailed yet.
M also has not had many ear infections...maybe 4 as an infant and none since. He has, however, had strep 4 times that we know of in the past year. I was (am?) a strep carrier who had it a ridiculous amount of times before they finally took my tonsils out at 18. Horrid. Absolutely horrid. So I would want M's taken out earlier if they could be part of our problem. More to look into!