Posted by: Jamie Stamm | January 11, 2009

Dreading January 21

I was in high school when my baby brother had his tonsils removed, and my grandparents took me to the hospital to see him shortly after his surgery. I don’t know if it was the heat in the room, the lingering smell of anesthesia, the emotion of seeing Steve laid up or the fact that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, but seconds after we arrived, I fell face forward on the end of his bed and woke up on a gurney surrounded by hospital personnel.

I had completely blacked out, which was terribly embarrassing for the teen-age me and most likely horrifying for my mother, who now had two infirm children to deal with instead of one.

Since then, I’ve made it through many hospital visits without requiring medical attention myself. There were the final visits with my grandfather before he lost his lengthy battle with heart disease, the births of my children and the miscarriage of another, and my mom’s kidney removal surgery, followed a few weeks later by her kidney transplant, with the donated organ coming from my dad. Those final two were brutal, with my sister and I spending hours at a time in waiting areas and hospital rooms.

But I don’t think any of those experiences have prepared me for what lies ahead.

Because on Thursday, after several failed hearing tests and diagnoses of enlarged tonsils and adenoids, an ENT recommended that my baby girl undergo surgery. So on January 21, Cera will have her tonsils and adnoids removed and tubes put in her ears.

Everyone keeps telling me these procedures are “routine,” but still – IT”S SURGERY. They’re going to put my 6-year-old under. They’re going to remove parts of her. And I’m not OK with that.

On the other hand, I know Cera needs to have this done. Anytime she gets even the slightest cold, her ear canals fill with fluid and her hearing suffers. She cranks the TV up so loud that I can barely be in the room with her, and I see her concentrating on my lips as I talk so that she can “read” what I’m saying. The audiologist who conducted Thursday’s tests said Cera hears what a normal person would while wearing ear plugs or ear muffs, and the ENT estimated that her hearing will increase by 30 decibels after the surgery.

Her enlarged tonsils and adnoids also prevent Cera from sleeping as well as she should, sometimes causing her to stop breathing for a few seconds and then gasp for her next breath. And that’s scary. Maybe even scarier than surgery.

But still, I worry about Cera going under the knife. I can’t help it. I’m her mom, and I love her more than … well, I can’t even find the words.

My daughter, however, is taking this all in stride. In fact, she’s started using the phrase “when I can hear” and is planning her pre-surgery grocery store trip. On the list: Jello for breakfast, ice cream for lunch and Jello and ice cream for dinner.

And that’s just fine with me. Because after this is all over, my little girl can have absolutely anything she wants.



  1. I still feel bad about yelling at you “Jamie , get off of your brother ” !!

  2. We know that Cera (and you) will be fine on Wednesday, but want you to know that we are thinking of you both and praying that things turn out just fine. I know how scary this must be and wish I could be there to hold your hand. Give Cera a kiss for me.

    All me love, Aunt Catherine

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