Waiting for your kid to be operated on is the weirdest thing. Sausage has had tonsillitis about 30 times and needs a tonsillectomy; we battled with our GP for years just to get a referral to a consultant to see if they thought she needed the op. Then, when we moved last year we also changed GP and he referred her pretty much immediately. She saw her consultant on the very first day of the summer holidays and last week, she received her appointment for her pre-op assessment and the actual operation.
Naturally, she’s shitting herself. She’s a lot like me in that the thing which is scaring her most is the element of The Unknown. She’s no idea what the operation entails, she doesn’t know how she’s going to feel afterwards, she’s scared of seeing the inside of the operating theatre and feeling freaked out by it all. Most of all, obviously, she’s scared of being in pain.
And it’s hard. It’s really hard. Because we’ve always been a fairly libertarian household, which means there’s no way we’re going to operate a “you’re doing this because we said so” policy, except Sausage really seems to be erring on the side of not wanting the operation at all. And, although she’s a logical kid, it doesn’t matter how many times we tell her that it will all be okay, that we’ll both be with her the whole time and Husband will be sleeping at the hospital with her, that it will be one or two weeks of discomfort rather than potentially another TEN years of getting tonsillitis at least 5 times a year. All she can think about is the fear.
Husband and I are WELL aware of what the operation entails (I had my tonsils out myself when I was 6) and that the risks are really very minimal indeed, especially when weighed up against the risk of continued infection and, because we’re adults, we’re capable of being pragmatic about the whole thing. However, it still feels really bizarre, willing your child to want to have an operation. Leading them to the scalpel and telling them that everything will be okay. The other thing is, her operation is scheduled on the last day of November, a little over three weeks before Christmas and the worry that she won’t be well enough in time to enjoy her Christmas is very real.
If you look at the bigger picture, it feels silly, in a way. They’re tonsils. The op takes as little as 30 minutes from start to finish, less time than it took for me to have two wisdom teeth removed. I’ve got a friend whose two-year-old has a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and has needed open heart surgery. THAT is something to fret over. But, when it’s your own child, it could be an ingrown toenail removal and I’d still be agonising over it.
Husband and I are fairly convinced that it’s the right thing to do in the long-run. A relative of ours didn’t have them removed until she was pre-teen and she really suffered with recovery, and everyone we’ve spoken to has said that the younger they have it done, the less time it takes to recover, so at eight years old, Sausage is pretty much prime age. But OUR conviction doesn’t seem to make the situation any simpler.
Have any of your nippers had their tonsils removed? Were they glad they had it done, once it was all over and done with? Would you still make the decision to have it done, given the chance to rethink it? We’d love to hear from you, so please do leave me a comment below.