What would my blog be without a piece on sleep, sensory issues and the things we face with my small son? He, as you know, if you follow us, has had sleep issues, ear issues, sensory processing issues to deal with in his short life.
I recently noticed that he was displaying similar sleep issues to his sister, with very loud, guttural snoring, mouth breathing and breath holding. She struggled with very large tonsils and adenoids, which were in fact partially blocking her airway when she slept, and also recurring bouts of tonsillitis, Matthew has not had, that we are aware of tonsillitis that has needed antibiotic treatment, but his tonsils are in my experience (having worked in pediatric ear, nose and throat surgery) very large and look like they are obstructing his airway. He has also had several ear infections that have caused his sleep and behavior to worsen, since Christmas.
So, I put in a call to our beloved ENT consultant, who asked me to take some photos of his tonsils and send them to him, and told me to get an OTOVENT device to use to try and help clear his Eustachian tubes and asked to see him in person. We were supposed to see him this week, but he had to move the appointment due to some holiday plans he couldn’t change and also because he informed me that if he saw Matthew and decided that he might need more grommets and possibly his adenoids and tonsils removed, surgically that he wouldn’t want to wait and would want to do the procedures within a few days. Cue panic on my part.
Why panic? I have done all this before with his sister, I have worked with many families who have had the same procedures. I know the drill and if he needs the surgery, we want him to have it done so that he can feel well, hopefully sleep better and have less issues with his ears.
Because it’s a different kettle of fish with my small son. He is more highly strung, he has sensory issues his sister didn’t have to deal with, his tolerance for pain is limited and his reaction to it is much harder to manage. Also, we had some issues post operatively with his sister that meant an emergency admission to hospital, which was I know, a rare thing to happen, and everyone was shocked and surprised by it, but it’s still rather fresh and painful in my memory and the thought of anything going wrong, with Matthew, sits heavy in my mind.
My dad is back in the UK in a few weeks time. He can’t magic things away (sadly) but it will be helpful to have his support and presence, if we do decide to go ahead if the procedures are needed. If it’s just grommet surgery, that doesn’t phase me, but an adenoidtonsilectomy is a whole different ball game and I want as much support on my side as I can muster. We would do things slightly differently this time. Our surgeon performs the procedure a certain way, which puts a child at more risk of bleeding post operatively, but removes the tissue more effectively. However the recovery period and risk of infection are longer and harder. He will refer us to a colleague who would peform the operation using a different technique that would be less stressful, a quicker recovery time and easier for Matthew.
Of course, we could opt for the conservative approach we tried with his sister, before she had surgery. Antibiotic treatment and antihistamine/steroid medication. That didn’t work for her (because her tonsils and adenoids were chronically infected and really did need removing) and that may be our first option and may even mean we don’t need to decide on surgery. I am holding onto that hope.
In the meantime, we sit on this merry-g0-round and we wait, and we see where it stops and we get to get off and we hope it’s the right place…