Archive for the 'Tonsillectomy' Category

Dear Diary, (warning – that’s the kind of post this is)

Posted by Karen in Broomball, Day to Day, Family, Tonsillectomy, Weather.
Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 at 10:22 pm

So I realized I have been kind of hating winter.  Winter is so long here that even for fans like me, the thrill of the cold crisp air and the beauty of ice crystals and snow flakes fades after awhile, and then you need things like broomball and snowshoeing to see you through.  Well we haven’t gotten any good snow for like 2 months, and el tonsillectomy caused me to remove myself from the Grim Sweepers for the season.  Everybody wants to be a Sweeper (duh), and I didn’t want to take up a spot on the team just in the hopes of getting well enough in time to get a few games in. 

However, once I started experiencing serious dread every day at dog-walking time just because I SOOOOO didn’t want to go outside, I realized I was in desperate need of some winter fun.  So I decided to go to broomball practice and see how it went.  I had been working on getting myself back in shape, riding our elliptical, jogging little bits with Bruno, so I felt ready.  I thought, I’ll just play goalie, take it easy, it’ll be fun.  It wasn’t fun.  It was terrible. 

I should have seen it coming when I was flooded with sheer terror just walking from the car to the ice.  But at that point I was already committed.  I let 3 goals in a row go past me, and I felt like I just stood there and wa20080203193325_nate_broomball.jpgtched them.  Tears welled up in my eyes and it was all I could do to not have a total meltdown.  Nate, having knocked in 2 of those goals, came up to me to see how I was doing, saw the tears, heard me say "Idon’tlikethisI’mnothavingfunIwannagohome!" and realized he needed to switch teams.  Smart boy.  I took a moment to breathe and reflect, and realized that if I let 3 goals go in, started crying, and went home, I would be THE BIGGEST LOSER EVER.  So I rallied.  Second half was better, and finally we got to go home.  And then I cried. 

I realized with shock that I was terrified of blood shooting out of my throat.  I logically know that I’m out of that window and no longer at risk of that happening again.  But the illogical part of me can’t stop seeing it and thinking it’s happening.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spit into a sink or on the sidewalk, just to check.  But it wasn’t until that practice that I realized it.  So Nate and I talked about it a bunch, and I did a good bit of thinking on it, because I was pretty freaked out about being that freaked out.

And then Tuesday’s Sweepers game came.  They were going to be short girls, so they had asked a girl from our buddy team, the Skraelings, to play, and Nate had asked a girl from his Walker team.  But that afternoon she told him stuff had come up and she’d rather not play.  Meanwhile, the temperature was dropping, the wind was increasing, and we were heading for a roughly -10 degree, windy night, with windchills at about -35. 

Sierra had been frantically chatting Nate and I throughout the day, saying things like, "They’re totally going to cancel it, right?  I mean this is insane!", and " I don’t understand why I am the only one freaking out about this!!!"  It was suddenly very clear to me.  Either Sierra was going to bail and the Sweepers would be really short on girls, o20080203153816_frozen_cody.jpgr she was going to go and face one of her greatest fears (being outside in subzero weather), and the Sweepers would still be a little short.  Either way, how could I not go? 

Sierra did not bail, and her courage gave me the inspiration I needed to face my own fears.  I had to get out there too.  So we went, we froze, we lost.  My heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest the whole time, but that probably just helped me stay warm!  In spite of letting in a few goals, I felt like I did ok overall, and was absolutely ecstatic at the end of it, because I DID IT.  I felt like myself again. 

I’ve had a few frighteningly realistic nightmares over the last few weeks involving lots of blood in my mouth, most recently Friday night.  So Saturday morning I went to broomball practice again, and made it a point to only spend about half my time in the goal, and the other half running around on the ice.  I needed to drill it into my brain that I am physically fine, not in quite as good of shape as I was pre-tonsillectomy, but fine.  Now I just need my mind to catch up with my body. 

(If you haven’t already, you HAVE to click on that picture of Cody.  It’s amazing!  Everyone looked some version of that by the end of the game, it was pretty crazy.)

Tonsillectomy day 5: trooper

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Another quick update before I go pick up Steve from the Megabus stop – he’s been traveling forever, the bus was massively delayed by the super windy and snowy weather we’ve been having.

Karen bounced back admirably from last night, although today definitely seemed to clock in as the most painful so far.  It’s hard to pinpoint a cause for some of the pain – sometimes it comes about an hour after she eats, even if it was soft food, and sometimes it seems a bit random.  I’ve read the scabs may be "sloughing off" at about this stage resulting in pain, that could be part of it.

She took her full 10cc of pain meds at 8pm, hoping that will knock her out for some pain-free sleeping tonight, then we can ease up a bit during the day when she seems to feel better.  Her ears have begun hurting like crazy, too, a complication I’d anticipated but hoped to avoid – apparently the nerves are closely intertwined and the pain is more sympathetic than genuine, but just try telling that to the nerves!

Tomorrow she gets to take it pretty easy most of the day – we packed today – while Steve and I get the van and load it up, then we’re off to St. Paul to pick up everyone else.  They declared a Snow Emergency (weird plowing rules) in Mpls, so Sierra has to find a safe place for her car while we’re gone.  Complications….  Grr.

And that’s that!  Keep sending her good thoughts and we’ll see most of you soon!

Tonsillectomy night 4: downturn

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Sunday, December 23rd, 2007 at 8:09 am

It looks like my fears were off by 12 hours.  Last night was the worst by far – even after kicking her pain meds back up to the full dose, Karen was in some mega pain for her 4am round.  It’s tough watching her try to swallow.  She’s been doing these little leg twitches, but now it’s turned into a full-body tense and cringe.  It looks terrible.

So…  I’m hoping the two full doses she has in her now plus the light of day might make things a little easier, but I suspect we’re in for a rough one.  Shoot.

Tonsillectomy, day 4: bacon!

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Saturday, December 22nd, 2007 at 9:24 pm

Quick update since we’re tired and heading to bed soon, but thought I’d post to keep everyone in the loop.

Sierra came by this morning to walk the dog – what a trooper! – and called on her way over to see if we wanted anything.  I figured we were fine, but I asked Karen just in case, and the answer was immediate: Bacon!  But, it had to be "good" bacon, from happy pigs.  Or, at least antibiotic-free and mostly free-range pigs.  :)

So we fried up that bacon and ate like royalty – yum!  At this point, the mere mention of her thinking about food makes me jump up all excited and offer to cook it for her – and today was good, she ate a bunch.  Good deal.

This morning she was droopy, nauseous, and in pain, and then had a fairly good afternoon as we labeled and wrote notes for our Christmas beer delivery.  Tonight’s been decent – hurting a bunch before her 8:00pm drugs, now finishing up some ice cream and watching an episode of Lost.

Overall, day 4 wasn’t the downturn I expected – fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Tonsillectomy, day 3: side effects

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Friday, December 21st, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Today was kinda bad.  The pain meds make her nauseous and she has some medicine to help with that but thought it was ok today since she’d made it yesterday…  Ended up throwing up around noon which was super bad cause of the stress on the throat plus acid, etc.  Gross.  Anyway, bouncing back a little from that, but overall a low day.  Clearly less of an appetite, but still doing ok, and I think still drinking enough.

So she’s cut back on her pain meds a bit, 7.5cc from 10, we’re hoping that helps the nausea and is still effective for the pain.  We’ll see tomorrow, it seems worse in the morning.  Still no talking, lots of ice water.  Tomorrow’s day 4, which I’ve read may begin a turn for the worse, but I also think every case is different and she’s probably ahead of the curve.  Here’s hoping!

My work has been great during this, letting me work from home, and today I got a good chunk of work done on my biggest project.  Still sort of behind, but this was a good burst of progress.  Probably work a bit more over the weekend to make up for some of the time off.

And that’s the update from Duoteam Headquarters!  Hope everyone is in their extended weekend of holiday fun!

Tonsillectomy: day 2

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Thursday, December 20th, 2007 at 8:35 pm

Today was a mix of good and bad – a theme I suspect we’ll see repeated.  Highlights:  Karen had a mid-day "I’m sick of laying around" burst of energy.  pict0008.JPGShe got to take a shower, dye her hair, brush her teeth, and catch up on some email before crashing again.  Sierra came by after work to walk the dog, which was a nice break.  Karen’s also managed to eat a decent amount again today: ramen, jello, some juice, and an energy shake!

Lowlights: she seems to be generally in more pain today.  I blame the cough, which, while currently a bit under control, was much worse last night and this morning.  She brought up a few super-gross phlegm globbers twinged with blood, but many glasses of ice water later that seems better — just phlegm and mucus, no blood.  I still can’t tell if it’s a cold or what, but I guess it doesn’t matter.

Also, while it seemed yesterday that she could whisper and get away with it, she’s not up for vocalizing at all today.  Probably means we should have kept her quiet the first two days, but…  We’ll start now.

Currently watching a great Wild game, we’re up 4-2 with 4 to go in the 2nd period.  Go Wild!

Tonsillectomy: day 1

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Wednesday, December 19th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

pict0001.JPGHere’s a small selection of the food we got while trying to cover all the bases.  Hard to predict what’s going to sound good when recovering, a lot of that is still sitting in the package – and most of the juices, too.  But she’s been eating!  Some cream of wheat, some yogurt, mac & cheese, and several popsicles – including one I made out of Emergen-C, so she’s getting some vitamins too  Really good news, as far as I’m concerned!

I don’t think either of us slept very well last night, what with adjusting to the new beds (we’re both upstairs), the pain, the humidifier noise, etc.  Not to mentioned getting up every 4 hours for more drugs and a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes to wash them down…  But Karen slept in a bit and napped during the day, so she’s getting plenty of rest.

pict0004.JPGpict0005.JPGOn the left is a post-op Karen holding some ice to her throat.  She got her hair cut the morning before the surgery: looking good!  At right is the inner Karen, post-op.  Uh oh.

pict0006.JPGFinally, here she is in her "sickbay" yesterday.  It looks pretty much the same today, and probably for the foreseeable future!

My only real concern at the moment is she has a bit of a cough.  Not sure if there’s a cold on top of this, or it’s phlegm from her throat, or something else.  If it’s a cold I imagine the antibiotics will help clean it up, and if it’s from the surgery only time will help — either way we’ve just got to wait.  But it’s hard, whenever she coughs it seems to stress her whole system and I’m sure it’s not good for the ex-tonsil area.

She says it hurts more than yesterday, but I think that’s to be expected.  The drugs are doing a fair job controlling the pain, but making her generally woozy and tired.  On the whole, though, doing very well!  Thanks again for all the calls and emails, we appreciate the support!

PS – eating more mashed potatoes as I type!  Woo hoo!  :)

Tonsillectomy: Day 0

Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 8:29 pm

Well, we’re back, and the surgery went fine.  Six hours in the hospital is draining even if you’re not the one being operated on, so I’m trying to mentally multiply my fatigue and stress by 100x and then pretending I’m in pain AND drugged up and achy: that’s gotta be close to what K is feeling.  Actually I’m pretty impressed so far – not because I thought she’d be a wimp about it, but because she’s eating some real food!  A popsicle, of course, first thing, but then she wanted some mashed potatoes!  And now that she’s taken some more meds she’s talking about another round, maybe some jello this time!

So, this is super encouraging to me, since my biggest recovery goals are hydration and nutrition.  (I’m assuming the rest will take care of itself).  So far so good!

Thanks to everyone for their calls and offers of help and support.  Karen would thank you if she could, and I certainly do!


Posted by Nate in Tonsillectomy.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 11:14 am

T Minus 2 hours!  …or so.  I actually can’t remember quite when the surgery is since they moved it up.  But it’s soon, we’re taking off in 45 minutes!

Went out last night for one final solid meal before the popsicle routine kicks in – had some Punch pizza, and it hit the spot!  Then went shopping for everything we could think of that might taste good and go down easy.  I think we’ve covered almost every possibility!  I’ve been running the humidifier upstairs, where we’ve build the "sickbay" around the TV, and have stocked the area with DVDs, books, hard candy, gum, and a notepad for writing.  Chipped up some ice for her to suck on, and… probably more, but that’s all I can remember!

Send some positive thoughts her way, but mostly watch this space for updates – I don’t think she’ll want to do much talking for a day or two or more.  We’ll keep you posted!