Tonsils and Adenoids

An interesting experience this past week.

Both of my children went into the hospital to have their tonsils and adenoids taken out this morning. Those links go to wiki photos that are very good by the way that help you to see what exactly these things are.

Over the past week or so I have spoken to a lot of people, and many don’t have theirs out. Both my wife and I had ours out when we were little. She remembers a lot of her procedure, I don’t remember much of anything, just sitting around in my hospital bed a bit.

My youngest has always had a very hard time breathing, especially at night. I have lost tons of sleep over the years hearing her cough, hack and wheeze through the evenings. My older child has always snorted and snored a bit. It takes her a long time to get over colds too.

Well, when we took them both in to see the doctor, it was a no brainer that the younger child had to have them out. The older one, we were told, needed them out as well and made a referral to another doctor. We decided to do both on the same day, to make one hospital trip instead of two. As time went on, the referred to doctor said that the older child’s procedure wasn’t medically necessary. What? Now he was putting the onus on myself and my wife to make the call. He even had the b*lls to say to my wife that if any complications arose that we would have to live with it for the rest of our lives. He is fortunate that I wasn’t in the room at the time. My wife was a wreck. What to do?

Upon looking at our histories and the condition of our child we decided to do it. Everything came out OK this morning. I spoke with the surgeon afterward and asked him about the older child’s tonsils in particular. He said that he completely disagreed with the doctor who said it wasn’t medically necessary. The tonsils were huge, each one about the size of a marshmallow! He told me that if they weren’t removed now, there certainly would have been trouble down the road.

The only thing that went through my head was that the doctor who scared the crap out of myself and my wife was a…well…lets just keep this a family blog.

I can’t believe that the doctor wouldn’t help us make the call any more than that. Are all doctors so scared now of liability and lawsuits that they have to be in CYA mode all the time?

I simply can’t imagine giving my customers an answer like that.

Struggling over this decision cost us several night’s sleep, but we feel great about it now that we have been vindicated.

Time for me to go visit my kids at the hospital tonight, and everyone comes home tomorrow. We will have a miserable weekend, but the kids get to chow down on popsicles as much as they can. The long term benefits will be wonderful. I am about six years down on sleep and need to bank some for when they grow up to be teens.

As a side note, everyone in the hospital was absolutely great from the nurses to the surgeon to the receptionist. They had toys and blankets waiting for the kids when we checked in. I plan on making a donation to both of the organization that provided those things as soon as I have time.

Cross posted at LITGM.

6 thoughts on “Tonsils and Adenoids”

  1. “I can’t believe that the doctor wouldn’t help us make the call any more than that. Are all doctors so scared now of liability and lawsuits that they have to be in CYA mode all the time?

    I simply can’t imagine giving my customers an answer like that.”

    We tend to assume that all doctors are competent. Remember every graduating class has its share of yo-yos on the left tail of the competency distribution curve.

  2. What do you call a med school graduate with a C- average? ….A doctor.

    Tonsils are like mini petri dishes in your mouth. Your troubles were unfortunate but your family will appreciate the decision when years go by with healthy and happy throats.

  3. It was quite telling when the surgeon told me that the doctors should come into the OR with them on occasion to see what HUGE tonsils and adenoids – ones that will cause problems later in life – look like.

  4. Dan, I had came to similar conclusions (or asking similar questions) a few months ago, see here.

    To specifically adenoid/tonsil removal issue:

    back in Russia the consensus among doctors appeared to be that the removal is inefficient in children before the age of 5; somehow they have concluded operation will be useless because the adenoids/tonsils will grow back later (or so I recall; I might be mistaken). My son happened to develop symptoms like your younger daughter when he was 4 – he was refused an operation. Then, when we came to NY and I went to the local doctor with him (age 6 at the time), I was told he’s too old for it, that operated children get viral infections more often, and in any case the symptoms will ease with years. I was outraged – but it so happened that she was right. He doesn’t suffer from enlarged adenoids now..he has chronic bronchitus….

  5. I investigated the re growing issue, and on occasion they do re-grow back, but usually only a tiny bit. Oddly I took a look in my wifes throat and hers have regrown slightly. It was a small concern for my youngest child.

    And I would disagree with the stance of the Russian docs that it won’t help the younger children – the child is under 4, but literally could not breathe through the nose. We the kid sleeping for the first time like a normal human last night, after the operation. Her airway is immediately enlarged by the removal of the tonsils. With my older child the regrowing isn’t as much of a concern according to what I read.

    I am just glad everyone went through it alright and my wife and I were vindicated by the surgeon on our decision.

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