Adenoids and Ear Tubes

I’ve been waiting to update about Eli’s surgery so I could keep all emotion out of it.
If your child has had their adenoids removed, you know what I’m talking about. (Or any surgery for that matter)
Surgery is hard. It’s hard to take your perfectly healthy child to the hospital knowing that they are going to wake up miserable and snotty.

Surgery day had anxiety but it did go well. Eli’s breathing obstructed when they initially put him under. It was one of my fears especially with anesthesia. Our doctor wasn’t super concerned and it never happened again but it may mean that we go for another sleep study soon.
His adenoids were only partially removed because his palette is weak and removing too much of his adenoids would cause more speech issues and damage structural support.
His inferior turbinate was small, so she widened that while she was in there and placed new ear tubes.
His left ear was still functioning fine but she cleaned it and replaced the tube. His right ear was a problem- the original tube had been pushed down into his ear. The eardrum healed with the tube inside rendering the tube useless and his hearing poor at best.

We believe this happened in the course of taking him to a different ENT for regular ear cleanings. But whatever the cause, we now know that his tubes are functioning and his ABR revealed better hearing results then the first time. His levels are within normal ranges! This is obviously what we have been praying for and we are anxiously awaiting to hear more words from him.

So here’s our adenoid surgery recovery story-
His waking from being out under was a little more difficult than the last time.
As soon as I saw him, I knew we would be staying over night in the hospital. Barry held him and he just thrashed around and moaned. The nurse hovered a lot and ultimately told us that his pulse ox wasn’t where she wanted it to be. (Stayed around 92 but did fluctuate).
The kicker- We caught a cold at the hospital, so in addition to major surgery, he was sick.
No one could seem to get him to want to drink much and we discovered that he needed a stronger pain medication.

The hospital stay was as unpleasant as any other hospital stay- plus we had Wyatt with us. Eli was so uncomfortable and we were being monitored so frequently that no one really slept. But once they were satisfied with his pulse ox and fluid intake, they let us go home.

Once we arrived home, it was clear that Tylenol and Motrin were still not going to cut it. We got Eli on his steroids and a codeine/Tylenol blend with Motrin alternating. It never seemed to touch the pain. Before the 3 hours was up, we were all desperate for him to take his next dose.
He barely ate and was living off applesauce.
His nose was so clogged that he couldn’t breathe and his throat was very sore.
Naps and bed time were a nightmare. He was so scared to go to sleep that the only way he would even try to sleep is when he was being held or when my husband slept in the room with him. He would reach his hands through the bars of his crib and hold my husband’s hand or hair. 😦
His nose was constantly weeping- first a pink/yellow liquid, then later to a thick yellow mucus.
When we got home, we were hoping that he would perk up, but all he wanted to do was moan, cry and lay around. In fact, we were so worried that first night, that I almost took him to the emergency room.
By the third day, we had him on antibiotics and all the typical “sinus infection” treatments you can think of. His poor nose was raw and bloodied on the outside. 😦
By the fifth day, we began breathing treatments and the rotten dragon breath had peaked. All he wanted to do was snuggle and moan.
After a week, he was still needing pain meds and we were beginning to regret our decision to have the surgery. It’s so hard to see your child in pain and for him not to understand why.

On the upside, he was trying very hard to make new sounds and seemed to be responding better to noises.

Week two, the snot prevailed and we got off pain meds. When he spoke, he sounded very nasally but he was beginning to look a little better. Less puffy and more interested in food. He was still mopey and very tired all the time. Most mornings, he slept until 8:30 or 9am (which is odd considering he normally wakes between 6:45 and 7).

Week three, we still had snot but it was finally beginning to clear up in color. He had his first speech session since the surgery and it was quite successful. He participated more than he ever has in the past but he still sounded nasally. He went from making “b” and “d” sounds to making “m”, “n” and “l” sounds.

Week four, we are currently in. He is completely clear and doesn’t sound as nasally- I almost don’t notice it at all. He’s working hard to make new sounds and he’s back to his happy self. He seems more alert, especially upon waking. It’s as if a fog has been lifted. He’s not as puffy and generally appears more well rested.
He’s eating and drinking normally and happy as can be.
I feel a sense of relief now that we are a month out. We had begun to doubt our decision but now it seems like there was never any other option. We are happy with the results and looking forward to more progress.

Everything we researched and heard about this surgery said it would take 5-10 days to fully recover but that typically after a week the child is back to their regular life. For us, it took about 2 weeks to see some improvement and a full month before he was back to his regular self.
Our ENT joked that we should never remove his tonsils (and I hope we never have to) but this was just how long it took Eli to heal. I definitely think the cold prolonged the issue and I don’t believe that his having Down syndrome had anything to do with it.

I hope that this will help someone else looking for more information on this surgery. There are plenty of great resources but there just weren’t personal stories out there like ours.



So so thrilled!!! Eli just started babbling for real!! I hadn’t realized that he was basically only making sounds but not “talking” until now. At about 3-4 months he started “talking” but it was mostly just sounds and imitation. He had even said “mama” a few times but then stopped all together. Since his tubes, he has been exploring so may sounds- we are super proud. 🙂
It’s such a profound difference and we are excited to see what else he can do.

In complete and total honesty I had no idea that his hearing was that affected. I thought we were going to be non-verbal, which is fine…speech is still going to be a lot of work regardless and we don’t know what the future holds…but this is HUGE!

Anyway, just wanted to share! Eli is also saying “baba” and “dada”- smart man!!! Hope everyone is having a wonderful spring break!!

Ear Tubes Update

Getting ear tubes was the best thing we’ve done for Eli! I could not have imagined how changed he would be afterward.
His ST came the day after the procedure and was blow away. He localized nearly every sound every time, made good eye contact and was much more interactive.
Now, 4 days later, he’s making new sounds (he had stopped making the “m” sound all together, but started again!), babbling more, his snorty nose is gone, he’s sleeping through the night, and happy all the time!
I’m really just amazed. He’s only been this happy boy when on antibiotics or just finishing antibiotics.
I wonder if his head or ears hurt all this time? I wonder what his new ABR will reveal considering the profound difference we are seeing?

Well, either way I am excited about the potential and I’ve been taking advantage of this happy boy’s attitude all day.
We are so happy with the results and thankful for the wonderful staff at TCH.