Tish Cyrus might be best known as Miley Cyrus' mom. But the mother of five has been in full-on doctor mode ever since last week when her 18-year-old son Braison suffered a near-death experience following complications from tonsil-removal surgery.
Now Tish has come to E! News exclusively to share the details of the harrowing experience—and be warned, the details may be too much for some—in order to educate parents about the potential dangers of tonsillectomies.
"After five kids I have seen it all," she told me this afternoon in an interview near her L.A. home. "But I had never seen anything like this. It was just crazy."
Tish recalls how everything started off normal when she and husband Billy Ray went to an LA surgery center to have Braison's tonsils taken out on July 5.
"They did it in a surgery center and released him. The doctor said everything went great and sent us home. Just a normal thing, eating ice cream, soup, relaxing. He was doing okay. And then on the seventh day after surgery he had some bleeding. It scared him but it wasn't a lot. I called the doctor and spoke to a nurse. They said it was totally normal, just scabs coming off and there will be some bleeding, and said don't panic. But if there is a steady stream of blood that is not normal."
So far, so good. But then things started to go wrong.
"Then on day nine he woke himself up because he felt something running down his throat. He sat up and started spewing blood out of his mouth. As soon as he came to me I immediately put him in the car. We live three miles from the hospital, luckily. I got in there and you could see the nurses and doctors in the emergency room were alarmed. They started doing everything they could to get the bleeding stopped. The blood was just pouring out of his mouth," said Tish. "He was choking on his own blood! It was so traumatizing. You think a tonsillectomy is no big deal! But it was full-blown hemorrhaging. They took him back into operating room and stitched up the bleeding artery."
Tish says that he was stitched up and was able to go home the next day, which is when Braison tweeted a picture of himself in the hospital. "In the picture, he has a smile on his face, because he was so happy to be alive."
She cautions, "People need to take a tonsilectomy seriously. It can be life threatening. People really need to be aware of the complications and that fatalities do happen. There is no way he could have kept losing that amount of blood and survived. We are lucky we were a few miles from the hospital and I could get him there. If we were in Nashville it would have taken us 25 minutes to get there and it could have been the difference between life and death."
Tish says she has done research since her son's health scare and after doing so wants to remind the public that the procedure is not to be taken lightly.
"You think it is not that big of a deal. Even when they tell you before the surgery there is a less than five-percent chance of this kind of bleeding, you think, 'It won't be me,' she continues, noting the research that's available to parents. "Really, your tonsils are right near a major artery, and it can be fatal. People do die from bleeding to death. If I had not gotten Braison to the hospital it terrifies me to think what would have happened."
While Braison is at home and doing "well," he is understandably shaken by the experience.
"He is doing okay, she says, but adds: "Psychologically, it is really tough."