What They Don’t Tell You…

03 Jun

Last week Jake had surgery.

He had his tonsils and adenoids out.  We were prepped to the nines for this surgery.  We knew all the health risks, all the potential complications, all the possibilities of what could happen during (or directly after) the surgery.  We knew what to expect from the day.  Surgery, recovery, and then off to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) to be monitored for 24 hours.  None of the knowledge actually made the experience easier, but at least we were armed with the knowledge of what to expect.


Pre-surgery…all ready to go in his hospital scrubs!


Entertaining himself with the nurse’s stethoscope pre-surgery!


Post-surgery snuggles with daddy. We bought him “Despicable Me 2” for the hospital. He watched it six times in 24 hours!


Post-surgery snuggles with mommy. He wouldn’t leave our laps all day:(

But here are a few thoughts on what they don’t tell you…

…What they don’t tell you is how helpless you will feel.  Holding your child in the recovery room after surgery, hearing him scream “mommy, mommy” over and over again, his tiny little body racked with pain as he realizes that all is not as it should be.  Waking up in the middle of the night to your baby boy crying out, awoken from the restful healing quality of sleep because the pain of swallowing is too much to bear.  Knowing that as you snuggle him close, softly stroking his hair and singing into his ear to calm him, you are helpless to take away his suffering.

…What they don’t tell you is the emotional roller coaster that your child will be on, which coincidentally correlates closely with the intervals of pain medication he is receiving!  One minute he is playing outside, running around, oblivious to the events of the past few days.  The next minute he coughs unintentionally, and the reality of the pain he is experiencing comes crashing down around him, causing him to run back into my arms in tears.

…What they don’t tell you is that your child’s tiny voice, which was just finding its way in the world, will change.  That the little “mommy” which has become so dear to me no longer sounds the same.  And in a small way, I mourn the loss.

…What they don’t tell you is how much of a failure you will feel like.  When your stubborn, obstinate child (traits that will serve him well in other circumstances!) refuses to eat or drink, and will not take pain medication.  When you have tried everything in your arsenal to get him to swallow something, anything.  When you have tried to hide Tylenol in a bottle, in every sort of food and drink imaginable, and to no avail.  When you are sitting on top of your precious little boy, pinning his arms and legs down and sobbing every bit as hard as he is, trying to get him to swallow the medicine that will bring the relief he desperately longs for.  It is heart-wrenching.

I know this is a season.  I am aware that this, too, shall pass.  And I firmly believe that the surgery was the right decision.  But today, it hurts.


Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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4 responses to “What They Don’t Tell You…

  1. Kathy L

    June 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I can relate on a small scale Karyn… Anna had the same surgery in April 2013, and the recovery was awful! She was 7 at the time and “understood” why she needed to take her meds on schedule to stay ahead of her pain levels and it was still so hard to actually swallow her medication, especially at night… I too sobbed in the night after 45 minutes of asking, begging, pleading, ordering and pleading some more… All the while knowing the longer it took the worse the pain would get and how much longer it would take for her to feel “better”…. Praying for you and your boys…

  2. Brenda Heavenor

    June 4, 2014 at 6:20 am

    We can relate as well. Alison had heart surgery when she was 18 months. Her Dad stayed the whole time with her at the hospital, including nights. That created a bond between the two of them that continues to this day. A friend of ours was the anesthetist. He said he enjoyed working with children because they recovered to quickly compared to adults. However, Ali was afraid of people in white coats for a long time afterwards. We met several other parents whose children had conditions from which they were much less likely to recover. We felt almost guilty, but also so thankful, that the procedures Ali received helped her to essentially completely recover from her problem. When it works, modern medicine is amazing! We’re praying for you.

  3. Jenny

    June 5, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Russell had his tonsils and adenoids out too. It was one of the hardest things to watch. His recovery was long and very painful. I remember a week after we had had it done breaking down and crying wishing we hadn’t because he was in so much discomfort. It was very difficult to see him in so much pain. He refused to eat for a long time. But after about two weeks things got better and I was glad we had done it because long term it has helped him greatly. Hang in there.


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