In Our Own Backyard...We all scream for ice cream

Last week our granddaughter had her tonsils taken out. It's a surgery that used to be almost commonplace for most youngsters, but in more recent years it seems doctors have become more conservative in recommending the procedure unless deemed abso...


Last week our granddaughter had her tonsils taken out. It’s a surgery that used to be almost commonplace for most youngsters, but in more recent years it seems doctors have become more conservative in recommending the procedure unless deemed absolutely necessary.

Six-year-old Madeline had suffered with sore throats, earaches, a stuffy nose and strep throat for a long time. In fact, her mom reported that she was starting to sport dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep due to her on-going maladies. When the doctor finally decided the tonsils needed to go, her parents chose to wait for a few weeks in order to give them time to talk with her about it and for her to adjust to the idea of having a surgical procedure.

There was a lot of talk about a post-surgical diet of ice cream and popsicles and a 10-day hiatus from school during the recovery period, and the little girl figured it didn’t sound all that bad after all.

The time for the scheduled date finally rolled around last Friday, and we called the night before to find out how Madeline was handling it all.

“Oh, she’s actually excited about it,” her mom reported incredulously. “We explained to her that it would probably hurt, but she’s just so ready to be done with all of those sore throats…”


She promised to keep us up to date on how things were going the next morning. Around 9 a.m., she texted a photo of Madeline in her hospital bed, garbed in the mandatory gown and clutching a stuffed green frog to her chest. And wonder of wonders, she sported a giant grin on her face.

“Maybe this isn’t going to be as bad as we feared,” said Ken.

We waited and wondered, and finally the word came that Madeline had made it through surgery just fine and was in recovery.

“The doctor said she had the biggest tonsils and adenoids he’d ever seen in a girl that age!” texted her mom.

We breathed a sigh of relief.

And then, the stories began. Ken recalled how he’d had his tonsils taken out when he was 21 years old and working a summer road construction job on the missile bases of North Dakota. He said he kept getting sick and missed work a couple of times, so after he returned to Minnesota in the fall, the doctor advised he have his tonsils removed.

“In the operating room, they gave me a local anesthetic and a little gas, but I was awake during whole procedure,” he said. “I could hear every word the medical staff said, saw them pull the tonsils out of my throat and stuff cotton balls in to stop the bleeding. Afterward, I was a little groggy but when I fully came to, the nurses were all gathered around wanting to give me back rubs, Jello and ice cream. It was great getting all that attention!”

The experience wasn’t nearly so positive for our daughter Kara, who had her tonsils removed last year.


“I remember waking up after surgery and I started crying!” she related. “All the nurses in the room came running over to see what was wrong. When they saw I was actually fine, they all started chuckling and said I must be a ‘sad’ drunk!”

She said for a full week afterward her throat hurt whenever she tried to swallow anything - even water.

“I had my tonsils out in December and I remember having Christmas dinner and just balling because I was so hungry and couldn’t eat,” she recalled. “All in all, it was a terrible experience. It took about a month to recover from it, but the good news is I lost almost 10 pounds!! That’s one way to get around the ‘Horrible Holiday Weight Gain!’” she admitted.

And then there’s my mom, who happened to be visiting our house last weekend as we awaited news about Madeline. She shared how she’d had her tonsils removed when she was a young woman working at a doctor’s office in Deer River. She’d had lots of sore throats for quite some time, so one Saturday morning when she was at work, the doctor declared he was going to remove her tonsils - right there in his office! He numbed up her throat and a helper held her head steady while the doctor proceeded to remove her tonsils. Then, she went back to work! She recalled that she had a date lined up for that night, and there was no way of getting ahold of the young man until he showed up her front door.

“When I told him I couldn’t go out because I’d had my tonsils taken out that morning, he had a hard time believing me!” she said with a grin.

Last Sunday night, when we called to check in on Madeline’s post-surgical progress, her mom reported that her high spirits kind of disappeared as she came out of recovery. She was bewildered and scared and her throat hurt really badly. There was one positive note, however.

“She does like the idea of having ice cream at every meal,” her mom reported.

The only problem, she added, was that every time Madeline ate ice cream, her 4-year-old sister demanded it, too!




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