Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Andy and I took Kayley to the pediatric ENT this morning.  We really liked the doctor and feel very comfortable with him.  Of course, it helps that he went to medical school at Iowa!  We went through her symptoms with the doctor - snoring or loud mouth breathing when she sleeps, restless sleep, apnea episodes, waking during the night - all are consistent with obstructive sleep apnea in a child her age.  Then we talked about some other issues.  One is that she chews her food for a REALLY long time.  On more than one occasion, I have noticed that when I had her in the bath she was still chewing on a piece of steak or pork chop from dinner!  The doctor explained that this is not uncommon with someone that has very large tonsils. 

After we discussed all the symptoms, he examined Kayley.  First, he checked her ears.  She has a lot of wax build-up (she always has), but he didn't see any concerns with her ear drums.  Then he looked in her nose.  Then he asked her to open her mouth.  When he looked in her mouth his eyes got big and he said, "Whoa, those are big!"  And this is a specialist who sees kids like this all the time!  He had Andy and I look in her mouth to see them.  Then he showed us a chart and explained how they grade tosils by their size.  A grade of 4 means the tonsils take up more than 75% of the "space" (clearly not the clinical term) in the back of the throat.  Basically, to be a grade 4, the tonsils touch each other or almost touch.  He then said Kayley is clearly a Grade 4.  Based on his reaction to seeing them and her pediatrician's reaction when he saw them, we weren't surprised by this. 

So, Kayley will be having her tonsils and adenoids removed on October 3rd.  I realize this is a minor surgery in the grand scheme of things, but I am already worried about it.  She had two endoscopies when she was an infant due to her feeding issues so she has already been put under general anesthesia, but I'm still worried.  On the other hand, Kayley is very proud of her large tonsils and willingly shows them to anyone and everyone!  She knows she is going to have them out and that she will get to eat ice cream and popsicles so she is pretty excited at this point!

On a lighter note, it has been noted that some kids' behavior problems improve after their tonsils are removed because they get more restful sleep and don't act out as much.  This is an added bonus of surgery in our opinion!  Ha!  Any behavior problems Kayley have are likely due to her personality more than lack of restful sleep, but we can dream!  :-)

Wanna see my big tonsils?

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