The Tonsils

My child has had tonsils the size of mailboxes for almost a year. As they grew bigger, so did his resolve to hate anyone and everything. He became this little miserable guy, presumably because the golf balls in his throat were always hurting, not to mention obstructing his airways while he was just trying to get some sleep. The tonsils and I were sworn enemies, but getting them taken out isn’t as easy as showing them to an ENT and explaining that your child’s tonsils make him a monster and they must be removed.
They don’t really buy that as “medical evidence of a necessary surgical procedure” or whatever.

This last time, though, the ENT looked at Abe’s tonsils during a routine bought of tonsillitis and he said, “Yeah. Those are really big. Time to get them out, I think.” He looked at my ex and I as if we were going to have a second opinion.

After some incredibly uncomfortable moments trying to explain that Abe’s dad and I are not married but don’t hate each other and wouldn’t be arguing over whose phone number to put on file for emergencies, the date was scheduled. Monday of this week, we took Abe in for surgery.

We met at the surgery center very early. Neither of us were very sure how to explain to Abe what we were doing there. We danced around it for a while and finally my ex whispered, “Why don’t we tell him the doctor is going to take the coughs out of his mouth?” This seemed sufficiently “three-year-old”, so I agreed.
Abe just said, “Ok.” So we figured it went well.
Sitting in the pre-op area waiting for the anesthesiologist to come back and grab Abe, I suddenly felt a horrible sense of guilt. I mean, I COULD tell him he’s about to go be put to sleep and have his throat sliced open…but SHOULD I? Is it lying if I don’t tell him? Am I creating an air of mistrust?! Will he look back and remember the incredibly juvenile lies I told him about his surgery being a simple little doctor visit wherein he would “remove his coughs”?

Before I could dive in and explain the procedure to him, the anesthesiologist (a giant and tall man in scrubs) came and picked Abe up from us. “I’m going to go ahead and take you back to see the big breathing balloon, Abe!” he said. Oh great, right. The big breathing balloon.

I hugged and kissed Abe, feeling simultaneously like I was sending him off the Tonsil War and like I shouldn’t make this a big deal because for all he knows, he’s just going to grab a beer with a doctor in the back. He was carried off before I really even made a decision about throwing my body on top of his to save him or casually waving goodbye.

And now, we wait.

The surgeon said 45 minutes. This is less than one episode of Dr. Phil and yet I could not wrap my head around the fact that the surgeon wasn’t coming out to update us at 5 minute increments. I made small talk and looked through my purse at nothing and stared at the fish tank wondering why on Earth doctor’s offices have fish tanks and oh, maybe this is why…

Just as my toes were about to tap off my foot, the surgeon came out. I stood up as if I was meeting with him in the lobby of a major hospital after a 20 hour heart transplant surgery, full of worry and hope.
“He did fine,” he smiled.
“Oh, thank God,” I said very dramatically.
“His adenoids were very large,” he went on.
“Oh, dear God,” I said very dramatically.
“But I got it all out and he should see great results,” he finished.
“Oh, thank God,” I said very dramatically.

photo (1)We were led back to him in a post-op room and that is where I found my beautiful, sweet, perfect child sitting up on a bed desperately wishing he was able to speak so he could look me dead in the eye and say, “You lied to me, you miserable woman…”

To be continued.
Have a beautiful weekend.


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