Nixon’s (He’s 4!) Tonsillectomy Recovery Diary

By | The Brothers May | No Comments

These are only our personal experiences as parents. We are not licensed healthcare professionals so any advice or experiences should be treated as such.

Nixon had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy at the end of February. One of the things that we wished we had during his recovery time was an idea of what the next two weeks would look like. There’s lots of information saying that recovery is rough and takes 12-14 days, but other than that, there’s not a whole lot of specific information available. I did find one great forum post from a mom in the UK, which was hugely helpful, so I took similar notes so I could do the same.

A little background on our decision to have Nixon’s surgery. He actually had zero issues with strep but he had a whole lot of other symptoms, like poor sleep habits, light sleeper, teeth grinding, speech delay, constant nasal drip and trouble swallowing food. His tonsils were huge and touched in the center.

We made an appointment directly with our ENT (we did not wait or ask for a referral from our pediatrician) and within 15 minutes, he recommended a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. He actually first observed something we never caught—Nixon’s “hyponasal speech.” We knew Nixon’s speech was delayed but we never considered the tone of his voice. Looking back at old videos, his speech and his tone sounded so blocked, nasal-y and halted. Now we know!  (What’s interesting is Teller’s tonsils are the same size, but Teller has none of the symptoms. We are not planning to have Teller’s removed unless he has similar symptoms.)

As far as prepping Nix for the surgery, we kept it mostly positive. We read books and watched videos about it online, and talked somewhat frequently about his upcoming trip to the doctor to help his throat. At church, we had him do the Blessing of the Throats (conveniently also in February). Lots of throat talk. 🙂

We checked in for his surgery at Cincinnati Children’s early the morning of February 21. He was super calm the entire time and also excited too, not exactly sure what lie ahead. We hung out, he played and watched TV and soon, it was time to change into his gown, a Pull-Up (he’s potty-trained but not at night, so I played it safe) and fuzzy socks and wait to be taken back to surgery. I had major anxiety about him going so long without food (12 hours) and water (3ish hours), but honestly, he never mentioned it.

The hardest part of the whole thing came next. Anesthesia. Ugh. Even with all the prep and the nice anesthesiology team walking us through Nix’s likely reactions, it was SO hard to see him be confused, then dazed, then fearful and then finally… sleep. Ugh. The worst part BY FAR. I left in tears while they wheeled him back. It’s hard to even think about without getting emotional.

It was just about 35 minutes later when they called us to meet with the doctor. We met with him, he said that Nixon did great, and that we should go back to wait for him to wake up. It was really important to me for us to be back there before he woke up. Aaron and I headed back to the anesthesia recovery unit and it was so overwhelming to see all the bays with kids still under (often intubated) waiting for their anesthesia to wear off. (Side note: I wish we would have done the hospital tour before this to help prepare for some of this, but I blew it off when they offered…). We waited for about 3o minutes and then he started to fidget a little. The nurse helped us coax him awake, and it was probably another 15 before he started to react to us. He freely drank water and popsicles, he was a little cranky, but mostly just sleepy. They did some vitals, removed his IV (ouch!) and said he’d be ready to go whenever he’s up to it. I think he would have slept there all day if he could! He finally was alert enough to head home.

A patient transporter wheeled him out in a wheelchair alongside us, which he thought was so cool. In the car, he asked for crackers, which he ate with no problem. At home, he had lunch (it was Noon at this point) with no issue, and then slept until 5. His brothers were at school, so there was lots of much-needed peace and quiet. We had Aaron’s parents here which was super helpful from a support standpoint and it was certainly a special treat for Nix.

Ok, so the diary. These are my exact notes I took every night. Each night during the first 6 days we woke him around the clock for pain meds. That was absolutely the key in staying on top of the pain and his overall mood during the recovery. I hope these will help you get some peace of mind and support if your child is facing a similar recovery!

Nixonʼs Tonsillectomy Diary

Day 1 (Surgery day)

Surgery at 9:45
Saw him at 10:20
Got home at 12:30
Slept from 12:30 to 5
Lots of energy from 5 to dinner
Eating per usual
Downed a hot dog and cheese like nothing!
Set up our pain med routine (rotating Ibuprofen and Tylenol every 3 years)
Filled prescriptions for steroid and anti nausea (never used the anti-nausea med)
Night was fine… somewhat of a struggle to take meds (didn’t want to take them) but overall did ok

Day 2
Emotional today but overall goodday
Meltdowns around toys and sharing
No complaints of pain and let me look in his throat, which is starting to scab white
Doesnʼt want to drink a lot
Doesnʼt want cold things, lukewarm is preferred
Teller is emotional about Nixon attention
Night was a little rough… not wanting to take pain meds.
Sleeping between us

Day 3
Up and down day
Eating hot dogs and cheese (only thing that seems appetizing to him)
Teller throwing tantrums, still struggling with change of routine and Nixon attention  (especially at dinner)
Night was rough… was a struggle to get him to take medicine (burns?) and takes a good 2-3 minutes each time to convince him.

Day 4
Really rough morning… took awhile for painkillers to start up then things were ok
Could see the pain set in at times
After nap finally had interest in really eating and asking for cold drinks
Ate tortilla chips from Chipotle!
Still running around with brothers like crazy
I needed a break and ran to Jeffersonville to look for furniture
Took his steroid today
Lots of dribble and not wanting to swallow
Altered sore throat voice

Day 5
Another up and down day
Lots of dribble and we gave him a towel to carry with him to wipe his mouth, which he liked having
Totally averted to pain meds
Swallowing very painful
Getting tired during the day
Horrible night… waking up in pain but refusing pain meds. Up every 3 hours or so.
Had to restrain him to force meds

Day 6
Bad morning with pain… holding jaw and ears curled up in a ball
Constant struggle to take pain meds
Will tolerate mini muffins or hot dog and cheese about 30 mins after meds
Went to target to get meds (hopefully bubble gum will be a better flavor)
Altered voice due to sore throat
Mouth always full of spit bc not wanting to swallow
Horrible horrible breath
Not much activity day and actually fell asleep on the couch for the first time in forever
Feels more flush than usual
Nighttime was a tiny bit better but we are still up every 3-4 hours with an inconsolable Nixon
Ear pain started today

Day 7
Complaining of ear ache and headache
Moved from 3-4 hrs to 4-5 hrs for meds (poured the medicine into a cold applesauce pouch, which mostly did the trick!)
Only woke once at night for meds
Still not wanting to eat a whole lot
Drinking is still a chore
Sleeping in late
Notice heʼs skinnier

Day 8
More improvements… we have turned a corner!
Went to skyline and Michaels with him and he did great
Keeps having ear pain and headache spasms of some sort (they told me this is nerve pain)
Night was ok… got pain meds around 11 and not again until 8:30 am

Day 9
Interest in food and drink has skyrocketed
Only complained maybe twice of pain or some kid
Mostly headache pain
Trouble with potty training… had two accidents
Energy has gone through the ceiling

Day 10-11
Great days
More food
Lots of fun breathing through nose
Has been interested in drinking lots of milk
Lots of talk about smells and scents… seems to notice these more than ever before
In the late afternoon I noticed some some painful/careful swallowing so gave meds before bed
Slept through the night on Day 11!

Day 12
Back at school!

We have seen so much improvement in our Nixon Ray. The improvements we noticed the most are:

  • Noticing smells (you should have seen him breathing in through his nose deeply and exclaiming, “I smell things!”)
  • Interest in food/finishing his dinners
  • Deeper sleep
  • Stays in his bed/sleeps all night most of the week
  • Incredible improvements in speech
  • New, slightly higher-in-tone voice that’s clear and much louder!
  • No more constantly runny nose
  • Better listening skills
  • No more snoring in the evening
  • Less grinding of teeth
  • Closed mouth when he sleeps (this one took about a month after surgery for him to figure out)
  • A sudden interest in milk! He never used to finish his milk in his cup since we transitioned him to whole milk. Turns out it was just really hard for him to suck it out of the sippy this whole time. He downs milk now and asks for more!

Here’s one of my favorite videos of Nixon around three weeks after his surgery, enjoying his new abilities.

Nixon Post-Tonsillectomy from Go Haus Go on Vimeo.

I hope this can be helpful to someone!

xo,

emily

Get The Layered Doormat Trend for Spring 2019

By | Haus Hacks | No Comments

The layered doormat trend seems to be here to stay! It all started for a very functional reason—most doormats sold today (18″ x 30″) are usually not the right scale for a standard front door. So to solve the issue, without spending lots of dough on a custom or larger size, we started to layer them with larger cotton rugs underneath. Problem solved! And super accessible—nearly all of these links below are from Target or Amazon.

I’ve gathered all my favorites, in the right sizes you’ll need to layer them perfectly. Nearly all of the bottom rugs here are cotton flatweaves meant for indoor or outdoor. Most cotton flatweaves are washable, so can be tossed easily for a quick clean mid-season.

Layered Door Mats for Spring 2019

Links here (bottom rugs listed in the pair first): 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Layered Door Mats for Spring 2019

Links here (bottom rugs listed in the pair first): 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16

 

Layered Door Mats for Spring 2019

Links here (bottom rugs listed in the pair first): 17 / 18 / 19 / 20

Enjoy!

xo,

Emily

Behind The Scenes Of Our Hardwood Floor Project

By | Random | One Comment

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

I had two big project goals for 2018—the boys’ room (check out the reveal here) and new hardwood flooring on our first floor. New flooring was a utility need more than anything else. They were drafty as sub-floors were not a thing yet in 1902, the soft pine could not withstand the beating it took from our family and we had several spots that were crumbly and rotting.

Flooring

They had also been stained black and there is nothing more torturous than cleaning a home with dark floors. Truly the job that never ends. Public service announcement: do NOT for the love of all that is holy put dark floors in your home. The constant upkeep required is enough to make your head spin. I have spent far too much time the last 4 years hunched over these black floors sweeping up the dirt and dust. I was ready to be done with it.

So anyhoo, let’s get to the point of this post! A behind the scenes look at what happens when you have to move entirely out of your first floor for several days! With 3 kids ages three and under! An adventure that is for sure.

DEMO-ING THE ISLAND

We decided to demo our island because we had plans to update it anyways. I also felt socially responsible to the house to install flooring underneath it as I kept imagining the next owners decades from now renovating and saying, “Hey those jerks didn’t do the whole floor!” Ha! The island cabinets were stored in the basement to be used in the re-build and the drywall and framing wood was hauled off to a construction materials dump site. We turned off the electrical too (obviously!).

MOVING OUT

Moving out is the thing I couldn’t quite get my head around as we prepared for this project. It seems like an incredibly daunting task. The idea that every piece of furniture, rug, wall decor and all the accessories that come along with that had to be completely removed had me so intimidated. We opted to have a storage unit delivered (from a local Cincinnati company called UNITS which we LOVE!! Thank you Steve!!) and parked on our driveway for a month. I’ve seen others haul the furniture to other parts of the house, but the thought of dragging things up and down stairs and crammed into other parts of our home seemed awful. I needed the upstairs to feel normal to maintain some level of sanity, as that would be our comfort zone for about a month or so. Our driveway was only a few steps away, and very little stairs.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

We filled up a 16′ trailer with all of our contents from the first floor. We kept a little walking path down the right side so we could get to the things we needed, if we needed them. I can recall a couple of evenings running to the unit to grab a skillet or pot for Aaron as he was trying to cook dinner! I was worried about the dust too, as I had heard horror stories, but more on that later. It was a good call to remove everything.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

WHAT WE CHOSE

I knew I wanted a wide plank white oak floor with some character. I was somewhat indifferent between engineered hardwood and real hardwood as it ultimately came down to aesthetics and cost. We ended up with real hardwood that would be finished on-site for several reasons:

1.) Complete control over the stain color

2.) Felt like the right thing to do for a 100+ year old home

3.) Ability to refinish my floors forever and ever

4.) Integrated floor vents and special details around the thresholds and hearth

5.) No routed edges (most engineered hardwood and pre-finished hardwood comes with routed edges on two or all sides, creating a little “ditch” between planks)

6.) And probably the most important, it needed to be within our budget. Some of the above options could be achieved by an engineered hardwood but it meant an enormous cost. We’re talking $11/sq ft for the materials and $2+/sq ft for installation. Nope, nope not happening. Our flooring was around $3.50/sq ft.

THE DOWNSIDES TO OUR CHOICE

I would be remiss to not mention the downsides. They are absolutely downsides going the route we went. Engineered hardwood is easier and in many cases, less expensive. But, the advantages above were worth it to us. 

Downside #1 – It takes a lot longer to do it this way. Engineered hardwoods or even pre-finished hardwoods can be installed in a couple of days. Most folks don’t even find it necessary to move out like we had to. The installers just move the furniture from room to room as they work their way around the house. Furniture can be placed back on the floor immediately afterwards.

Downside #2 – The gigantic disruption. Moving out, the length of time post-installation you have to live without heavy furniture while the floor cures, etc.

Downside #3 – The fumes! Most of the reason why we were out of the house were the chemical smells. With small kids, this made me the most nervous and why we were out of the house the longest (about 5 days once it had been stained and sealed). Even when we moved back in, it was still somewhat smelly but livable.

The other big decision we had to make was what grade of white oak. Depending on the cut, you are going to get different levels of knots and color variation. Or as I like to call it, character. 😉 Between the Common 2 (lots of knots and variation, Common 1 (a few knots and some color variation) and Select (no knots, no color variation) options, we chose Common 2. It was also the least expensive of the three. Here’s a good visual that can explain it better than me!

DELIVERY DAY

A few days before installation was scheduled, a big pile of hardwoods showed up to acclimate to our house before being installed. We had five piles about this size around the house! They could not put them in one spot because of the weight. Good to know! We had only cleared one space, so we were scrambling to find other places to put them.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

INSTALL DAY #1 and DAY #2

It took them just two days to install the hardwoods. Even unfinished, it was GLORIOUS to see the transformation. So much lighter and brighter. We were able to stay in the house during this time and the guys were so careful to have everything cleaned up before we returned from work each evening. You can see they also removed the baseboards, which they’d later reinstall on top of the new floors.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

This is when we got to see all the little details come to life. The integrated floor vents were spackled in. Integrated floor vents are just wood vents installed flush with the rest of the floors. They also get sanded and stained like everything else.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

 

We also had them sand off the old black stain from the stair treads, knowing eventually I had planned to paint the stairs. 

 

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

SANDING DAY

They had the floors breathe for a few days (caveat: this was back in May so my memory is fuzzy!) over the weekend, then they were back Monday to sand. This is when I got nervous. Aaron and I covered the entire house in plastic sheeting—the cabinets, the entry to the upstairs, etc. (Watch the video below for proof. Ha.) I had heard horror stories. Turns out they use special dust collection machinery and there was barely any dust. When he showed up to my Dexter set that morning, he was like “Uh, you know we use dust collection right?” HA! There was barely any dust to be found. INCREDIBLE!! Because of this we were able to prolong the time we were able to actually stay in the house. I just remember we had to wear socks and be careful of skin contact so there wouldn’t be any oil transfer to the now-raw wood.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

STAINING AND SEALING

Now the fun could really begin! Picking our stain color! They brought in multiple stains for me to try, plus some empty buckets in case we wanted a few mixed up. Here is my biggest tip in this whole process. Find a stain color you really like that’s on a real-life object. On a chair, on a table leg, on a picture frame, whatever! I had a flooring sample from my search of a color that I LOVED, so I used this sample to help guide me in the process. I ended up with a custom color stain that more or less equaled 3 parts Minwax Natural to 1 part Minwax Classic Gray. This is swatch #4 in the picture below. We really loved the raw floor color, but mixed in some gray to neutralize any red, oranges and yellows we were seeing, plus it helped it to desaturate it overall.

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

We picked the color that morning, then we were out of the house for 5 days. This happened on a Thursday. I picked the kids up directly from daycare and drove to my parents house where we stayed until Monday morning. While we were out, they stained over two days, then took a rest day, then came back and sealed it all up. From there, it needed to be totally undisturbed for another 48 hours. We were happy to oblige because it was stinky! If I had to do it over again, I would have asked about no-emissions sealers and stains. Thank goodness it was mild out because we slept with the windows open for a few weeks!

THE NO-FURNITURE/NO-RUGS PHASE

Behind The Scenes Hardwood Floor Installation

Once we were back in, we entered the “no heavy things” portion of the project. For 10 days, we could have no heavy furniture on the new floors as the stain and sealer completely cured. We brought out a blanket (see above) during dinner but for the most part, we spent a lot of time upstairs. I also took some time off work during this part so that I could spackle, re-caulk and paint the floor trim that they had re-installed for me after installation.

After we passed the furniture deadline, we mostly lived life as normal except one small thing: NO RUGS! For an additional 22 days (specific, I know) we were to not put any rugs down. This was to avoid any color discoloration that may happen in those early post-installation weeks from the sun. Let me just tell ya… I was happy to have my rugs back. I do remember we went on vacation shortly thereafter and rolled up our rugs before we left for the same reason.

COST

To recap, here is what this 770 square foot job entailed:

  • 5″ white oak common #2 hardwood unfinished
  • On-site finishing, staining and sealing
  • Baseboard removal and re-installation
  • Integrated floor vents
  • Refinishing of stair treads
  • Installation of toemolding around cabinetry

We paid ~$7,300 for this job and we LOVED who we used. Please email me at emkmay@gmail.com if you’d like his name! He was awesome!! We are 9 months in and absolutely loving the look and durability of these floors.

 

 

 

 

 

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