Sleeping soundly

The past two nights have been a whole new experience for us. Our eldest has slept soundly, peacefully and deeply for the time properly since he got his first cold aged 9 months. Each year tonsilitis has taken a greater toil on our boy and his life. This year has been the hardest with constant trips to the family doctor to be told he has congestion or a virus. To be honest sometimes I have not taken him because I could not face being told its just the virus, there is something going round.  Along with the tonsilitis has been the sleep apnea which has steadily worsened leading to night terrors and to a delay in him being able to stay dry at night. Many have offered all sorts of sleep advice to get a full nights sleep. While thankful that folk have cared enough for us to want to see us get sleep, our eldest has never intentionally sought to disturb our sleep. He did not need to be disciplined to go to sleep. Lying down was simply uncomfortable and he was aware even if he could not express it that lying down made breathing harder and therefore swtiching off to sleep was not pleasant. The truth often is that he does not wake during the episodes of sleep apnea or night terrors but we cannot help but be aware of them. They leave us tired, they also leave him tired as he is not properly rested. This impacts his days greatly as he does not have the energy to cope with a full day. Preschool was too much stimulation for a boy who was exhausted. And this tiredness during the day is one of a number of reasons we are choosing to homeschool right now as we were disuaded from letting him go part time. We were told to let him try full time because all children find the full day tired and if he really could not cope to go back to part time till he was 5. We knew his exhaustion was more than normal and it felt like a step back to start full time and then go part time rather than begin with part time and allow him to build it up as and when he was ready.

Eventually having done our own research and discovered the link with large tonsils causing sleep apnea and that in turn leading to night terrors, which I would wish on no parent, which caused adrenaline rushes impacting his ability to stay dry at night, which he hated, and the encouragement of our midwife and a friend who is an anesthetist, I went back to the surgery to ask politely/demand an appointment with an ENT specialist. At last consent was given, this was not the first time I had questioned whether he should be referred, and two weeks ago we saw the specialist who having taken one look at the boy’s tonsils turned to me and said that they would be coming out. Two weeks later, just this past Wednesday eldest and I went to the our local Children’s Centre for him to have them out. We stayed over night as they wanted to ensure all was well with his breathing levels. Surgery went smoothly and for the first time I could not hear my son breathing, for which I must confess gave me a few heart stopping moments as he was so still and peaceful, it was almost like having a new born and constantly checking they are still breathing. Last night at home Mark and I just sat in our room soaking up the silence in our house while both boys slept silently. A novel experience.

I appreciate that GP surgeries are filled with little children with colds all winter but my plea is for them to ask three questions re their sleeping pattern and to look at their history. Our doctor in Vancouver always got a throat swab and always ended up needing to give him antibiotics due to the results. Neither he or I liked giving them but the boy needed them and he had periods in between when he got better. Here more often than not his throat was rarely looked at even if that was what we raised with them, never was he given a swab. More often than not were we told it was a virus and but if I came back within a fortnight I might get antibiotics depending on which doctor I saw. The surgeon’s words to me were that they were ‘massive’ and that there was only one place suitable for tonsils that size and that was out. He also commented on how scarred they were with the likely impact being that they could not do their job anyhow of stopping infection.

So now we are journeying through the so called two weeks of rest and recuperation. The boy is bouncing off the walls, adjusting to having had a night’s proper sleep, anaesthetic come down, pain killers and erratic eating. We are adjusting to quiet nights, a boy whose speech is so clear and somewhat higher than before and working out how to get him to rest. Thankful for the lend of a Tractor Ted DVD one of his homeschool buddies lent him. And thankful today for Grandparents here to feed us and play with the boys giving me time to catch up on rest, sleeping on an armchair on a busy ward is not really sleeping, and letting Mark and I have some time to ourselves to touch base and debrief all that has happened this week.

Looking forward to his check up in 4 weeks to know that we can put this season of life behind us and move forward with energy and sleep filled nights.


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