I think they call it cold feet. A month after setting a date—to have our 2-year-old son’s adenoids operated on and to have tubes placed in his eardrums—we are wondering if it isn’t somehow elective surgery. The procedure is a week away and we’re thinking of cancelling, at least the adenoidal part.
I had the same dual procedure done in the early ’80s—a time so benighted and backwards that people were driving Pintos and Gremlins—and I survived. I even got a He-Man action figure from my toy-stingy parents for my trouble.
There are reasons, of course, for having the procedures done to Nico. The tubes are most important, because he spent all of last winter with one long ear-infection, and he’s as stubbornly antibiotic-resistant as a veal-calf on a factory farm, so there was really not much treatment available. The ear infections don’t just hurt, they gave him a bit of hearing loss (at least, we think that’s what did it). Not that he’s about to get all Marlee Matlin on us, but still: I spent a lot of time as a half-deaf kid, before my operation, and had to go through speech therapy after I got my hearing back, yadda yadda. It sucks.
The adenoids are a different story. As far as I understand it, having oversize adenoids (a gland in the nasal cavity) basically makes you a snotty mouthbreather, which he is from time to time. But he doesn’t snore heavily, have sleep apnea or other breathing distresses. And the adenoid operation is a slightly more intense procedure. They don’t actually cut (misleading headline, right?), but they snake a cable through the mouth, reach up and cauterize (i.e., burn the crap out of) the adenoids. It swells up for a few weeks, but then it shrinks as it heals, and he can breathe easier.
The thing that gives my wife pause—and she should know, since she’s a tube jockey—is that he would have to be intubated for the adenoids, with an IV in his arm and the whole deal. For the tubes, it’s just some happy juice and a gas mask. Intubating is not a big deal, but there is a risk—however minute—that they won’t be able to ventilate him. Death is always a risk with anesthesia, and you just want to feel like you needed to do it.
So: any advice? Encouragement? Scorn for being such cowards—either too scared of anesthesia or too scared of mouthbreathing?