some things I didn’t anticipate

We are Day 5 post-op (not including surgery day).

Today was a good day. The past 4 days, not so great.

Surgery day was tough on all of us. I’m not sure I prepared her all that well, other than telling her she wouldn’t be able to eat much afterwards. The promise of ice cream and popsicles kept her from being too anxious about it, but as we waited in pre-op, she grew increasingly quiet and withdrawn.

In hindsight, I wondered if I should have been more up front with her about how she would feel. But I wasn’t, partly because I wasn’t so sure myself. And partly because how do you tell an anxiety-prone 7-year-old how confusing and unpleasant it is to come out of anesthesia? How much her throat will hurt? How do you tell someone how much they take swallowing for granted until they literally cannot do it?

When we arrived into the recovery room, her face was teary, and she held a sad, quickly-wilting popsicle – the kind that’s basically frozen sugar-syrup with a healthy dose of red dye #40. For the next two hours we sat while she slept on and off, her little bum peeking out of her hospital gown.


During those two hours, I realized how naive I had been about this whole thing.

I hadn’t been prepared to watch the nurses wheel her away from me, through the double doors to the operating room.

I wasn’t prepared for the tears I couldn’t stop when her nurse applied hand sanitizer too close to me. (NICU flashbacks are real, you guys.)

I didn’t anticipate “I have to go pee” to turn into “I’m going to sit on this toilet and cry for a few minutes” while we waited for the short surgery to finish.

I wasn’t prepared for how little work I would get done with her home, but I will close this laptop in a heartbeat if my girl needs some snuggles.

I had no idea how exhausting it could be to take care of someone who really didn’t need much more than apple juice and medicine.

I didn’t anticipate it being so difficult to get her to take in her fluids.

I was NOT prepared for the most rancid, sickeningly sweet, could-burn-the-nostrils-off-zombies bad breath that has been coming from her mouth-hole and filling up entire enclosed spaces like cars and bedrooms.

I wasn’t prepared to hold my girl as she shivered and cried because the pain medicine made her sick, or the congestion was keeping her awake, or the anti-nausea medicine burned her throat.

Watching her go through this has been so, SO tough, and it reminds me that there are parents out there who watch their kids go through this and worse every day. It doesn’t make our ordeal any less sucky, but it’s a nice piece of perspective to have. She will recover from this. We are having a hard week or two. But she will recover.

Today was a good day. She’s eating a little more. Two out of 3 meals today have been salad – including breakfast. Homegirl loves her balsamic vinaigrette. We went to see Kung Fu Panda 3 and had dinner with friends, followed by ice cream. At dinner she hit a bit of a wall, like you do when you’ve really had a bit too much activity. She got a little feverish (which is normal for a few days after surgery) and ignored her dinner in favor of laying her head down on the table and dozing. We were nearing the evening hour where her pain has routinely been the worst, and here we were, out with no medicine. I’m the mom who never even carries tissues or Band-Aids. I’m lucky if I have all my kids with me. I can’t be expected to remember to bring a medicine cabinet.

I walked over to a Target in the same shopping center to grab some children’s ibuprofen. Hopefully it would kick in quickly, or the ice cream would distract her from the pain. I think it was a little of both.

She’s a trooper.

I wasn’t expecting to feel so happy that she had a good day.

(And now for a good old-fashioned photo dump of our recovery. Most of these are also on Instagram.)

Moments after Claire got home from school. These two are like magnets to one another.


Day 2 - eating real food!
Day 2 – eating real food!
Living her best life.
Living her best life.
I have a mouth full of crap and I don't want to swallow. I am very pouty.
I have a mouth full of crap and I don’t want to swallow. I am very pouty.
Salads have inexplicably become the go-to post-tonsillectomy meal. Whatever.
Salads have inexplicably become the go-to post-tonsillectomy meal. Whatever.

Join the Conversation


  1. It’s hard to prepare for something like this, both emotionally and physically. You really do not know how you’re going to feel or how they will, until it happens. You are a caring, attentive mom and that’s all that counts when she’s in need like this. Hope she continue to recover well! XO

  2. It’s hard to prepare a kid for what’s going to happen. They can’t really understand. Nor can we understand before it happens how much we are able to hurt for them. You’re both doing great. Keep drinking. Her, not you. Or you, too. xoxo

  3. Oh sweet baby, I feel for her so much through these pictures and words and for you as well.
    I am so glad to hear she is doing better.
    Hang in there, my friend.

  4. Ugh, so hard. Even minor surgeries with kids is just the worst. There’s always a “what if?” and you never feel prepared to handle it. My son had outpatient surgery when he was 10 months old. He was SO disoriented when he woke up.

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