Oh My Kate

For Kate, 2014 so far has been the year of viruses. She has had the endless cough (still has it — it’s endless!), random fevers, vomiting, and on top of all that, she’s currently harboring a double ear infection (probably; scheduling an appointment with the pediatrician later today).

She’s been waking up at night; she is still having separation anxiety (if you ask me — again, she is wholly undiagnosed, which means I’m a mom talking out of my ass); behavior is still an issue, but we’re working on it.

Her pediatrician suspects her waking up is probably a form of sleep apnea. Her tonsils are HUGE, and she snores like a grown man when she sleeps. She’s been evaluated by an ENT. His preliminary assessment is that her tonsils and adenoids are going to have to come out, and ear tubes are going to have to go in. She’s on a course of allergy meds to see if that reduces the crud in her head, and it looks like she’s going to get antibiotics if she has ear infections.

She has a follow up appointment Friday to see if anything helped.

She’s missed five days of school (at a conservative estimate) this year. If we decide to have her tonsils out before summer, she’ll miss at least a week.


Kate had non-stop ear infections once she started full-time in daycare. (M was the same way.) In the year after she turned 1, she had at least ten infections — or three or four really long ones. She caught a break in the summer, because she didn’t have the runny nose endemic to children (and especially to children in daycare). But October hit, and she started right in with them again.

She had ear tube surgery the April after she turned 2. And it was like a miracle. The look on her face was pure amazement. She could *hear* things. The world was full of *sound*. At first she started at every little thing, but eventually she got used to this new reality. Her language development exploded. Within two weeks, she went from her occasional word to complete sentences.

Now, I stand in her room at night, and I listen. Children are beautiful when they sleep, in case you didn’t know. Kate is a vision: her smooth cheeks, rosy lips — open so that she can breathe — blonde hair all around her little face, dark lashes resting on her skin. And then she’ll twitch, her snoring will pause, and she’ll toss or turn, snort, and resume her snoring. It’s heartbreaking. (It also drives Flora straight up the wall. If she doesn’t fall asleep before Kate does, she’ll sometimes go sleep in our room. Even earplugs don’t always help. Kate snores LOUDLY.)

Is it too much to hope that having her tonsils removed would have a similar salutary effect as ear tubes? That taking out her adenoids would be as miraculous? I have no doubt that some of her behavior issues stem from the simple fact that she is TIRED. Being fully rested, and, especially, not being in pain from ear infections or sore throats (more from mouth-breathing than infections, but still) could change her world.


I just want her to feel better physically. I worry about my Kate, worry about how these physical issues are effecting her emotionally. I worry about how missing school is affecting her socially, or if it’s having a negative impact on her education.

Of course, Kate sucks a lot of my bandwidth the way she clamors for my attention. Getting rid of her tonsils and adenoids won’t change that, but at least if she’s rested we can all be more reasonable. One hopes, anyway.

8 thoughts on “Oh My Kate

  1. It hasn’t been that bad in my house, fortunately, but I understand where you’re at. I’ve been in a similar situation. It never got to the point where we explored getting the tonsils out, but we’ve been close. I feel for you and Kate.

    • We’ve been toying with the idea that her tonsils are a problem for years now. They have been noticeably, remarkably large from the get-go. At her 7yo well-child visit, we finally made the call to get back to an ENT. Things are progressing from there, not in a surprising way, but having a child facing surgery — even routine surgery — can be stressful. We’re trying not to be visible anxious about it because that won’t help our sweet Kate.


  2. Aw, poor Kate. I think you’re right… the tonsils and adnoids are the fulcrum of many other issues. I hope you can get them out, without distrupting her schooling too terribly. Maybe you can tough it out until summer… which I know sounds like something written by…

    Another Childless Douche.

    • The pros of summer: she won’t miss any school.
      The cons of summer: she will be out just when she will want to be the most active. Plus, the other two children will be home as well. I’m going to take the week after her surgery off, but I’d rather it just be the two of us most of the time in the house. I think it will be better for her, and WAY better for my sanity.

      • Your post made me go back to when I had my tonsils and adenoids out, when I was around 4. I don’t remember there being a health issue, but I checked w/ my mother and she said I was having trouble breathing through my nose. (Which I vaguely remember.) After the surgery, I don’t think I was down for more than a day or two, so I’d expect your little ball of energy to rebound quickly. The “state of the art” in tonsillectomies has to have gotten even better since the early 60s.

        I’m planning on posting the story tonight. Sneak peak… I woke up in the hospital, the morning of the surgery, with a net over my bed.

  3. It sounds like my nephews. They had their tonsil/adenoids out a couple of years ago due to snoring, possible apnea, extremely oversized glands, constant infections, and poor sleep. The difference afterward was like night and day. They could breathe normally, they had fewer infections, they gained weight (in a good way) because they weren’t spending all their energy fighting infections. They still have behavior issues but I don’t think those are related (or the same as Kate’s), and they still have asthma. But there was a dramatic difference. I would expect the same for Kate.

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