On Friday, my older son (not the one I would describe as higher functioning) had his tonsils removed and his fourth set of ear tubes placed. Although he has had four surgeries in the past (three sets of tubes placed and his adenoids removed), this is the first one that has presented significant post-operative restrictions. Returning to my opening statement, I usually feel very fortunate that my sons do not exhibit many of the hallmark traits you may think of when you think of a kid with autism. But they do have their quirks. Since the biggest restrictions post-op are dietary, let’s talk about food. I’m forever grateful that they don’t live off of McNuggets or the orange stuff in the blue box. What foods they do love are not brand-specific. Texture doesn’t seem to be an issue so as even the pickier one eats mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and ice cream, but there is a world of foods to be avoided, particularly by the big guy, and related quirks.
Post-operative hurdle #1—no straws, especially with frozen beverages. Though he can proficiently drink out of a traditional cup, he prefers a no-spill cup with a silicon straw—when he drinks out of this, he’ll guzzle down the liquid and easily stay well-hydrated. With a cup, he’ll take small sips and drink significantly less. He also has at least one smoothie per day, which is how he gets a variety of fruits and veggies since he only eats bananas, apples, and sweet potatoes.
Post-operative hurdle #2—no chips or crackers. Although he eats bread, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes, he doesn’t like pasta or rice. Thus, his regular day’s menu often consists of several snack cracker items and a sandwich for lunch, and then sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes with a protein for dinner.
Post-operative hurdle #3—no pizza or grilled cheese. I’m usually grateful that although he doesn’t eat pasta, he eats the other things nearly always found on the kid menu: fries, chicken nuggets, pizza and grilled cheese. Now that menu is cut in half. In this cold weather, that’s also nearly half of the “hot” (put in quotes because he prefers room temperature food) dishes he eats.
Post-operative hurdle #4—no lollipops. This in general does not sound like a bad thing and it isn’t terribly. However, after avoiding them for years, when we started using them as incentives to potty train the little guy, my older son fell in love with lollipops. They’ve become an obsession. (Obviously a bad thing, but I pick my battles). Whenever he poops, he gets a lollipop. My kids have great digestive systems, so pooping might happen twice a day. Running to get a lollipop from their hiding place, and then carrying it around a long time afterwards (because he doesn’t ever finish them—another reason, I don’t hate this obsession) is a daily preferred event. We made it through day one without lollipops, but it was a struggle. I baked cupcakes so that’s my plan for the moment, but we’ll see.
I’m sure there will be many other hurdles, but these are the ones I can think of at the moment, about 44 hours post-surgery.