Guerrilla Tactics for Surviving Adult Tonsillectomy

Guerrilla Tactics – Adult Tonsillectomy Tips

Adult Tonsillectomy Tips

Adult Tonsillectomy Tips

So you’ve read my top 10 tonsillectomy tips.  Good. Those will get you through. But some of us like to operate outside of the conventional. The top ten are solid pearls of wisdom that anyone can benefit from, regardless of their personality. Let’s face it- not everyone is comfortable making demands on their doctor, pharmacist, employer, or family. For those of you who are though, I offer the following guerrilla tactic adult tonsillectomy tips.

Advocating for Yourself

The cornerstone of these tips is self advocacy. By researching the internet and finding this site, you’re already ahead of the masses. Like me a few years ago, most adults go into tonsillectomy surgery like sheep. They take the information from their doctor and perhaps nurse and press forward without questioning. Sometimes this works out fine. Some ENT doc’s and their staff do a great job of preparing their patients for tonsillectomy surgery and its subsequent recovery period. Some don’t.  Some employers respect their employee’s judgement of what their needs are in regard to recovering from adult tonsillectomy. Some don’t. It’s up to us to make sure that we get what we need. Take those first 10 tips and you’ll be ahead of the pack. Take a few of these and lead it.

Work- Taking Time Off

I’ve researched the time required for adult tonsillectomy recovery. I can tell you that ten days is about the minimum. I would tell your boss that two weeks is the minimum. You may need two full weeks. You may not though. If not, you’ll look tough as nails as you come back to work ahead of schedule! If the boss gives you grief about two full weeks, refer him or her to this website. Let them read about the experiences people have. It will open their eyes the way it has yours.

Your Family- Asking for Help

This is a tough one. Most people struggle when it comes to asking for help. Get over it. You are going to be worthless for at least a week. Don’t spread yourself thin. You don’t want anyone counting on you. Have a heart to heart talk with your spouse, mother, brother- whoever might pick up the slack for you. You might be surprised. I was recently divorced with four children when I had my surgery. My ex wife and I were not on good terms. It was a jagged pill to swallow, but I asked for her help. She covered the kids for a full week and even took a nice video of a holiday concert I had to miss. Be direct. Be specific. Ask for help.

Your Doctor- Be Assertive

Here are few adult tonsillectomy tips that you won’t find in the literature in your doctor’s waiting room. They just might make your life a lot better though.


  • Ask for a steroid.  I’m not giving medical advice here.  I’m not a doctor.  When you talk to your doctor, ask for a steroid.  The first challenge most adults face after tonsillectomy is a hugely swollen uvula.  No kidding- that thing can swell up so much that it’s hard to swallow and breath. Icing can help, so can gargling with ice cold water, but a steroid will do even more.  Just ask.
  • Ask for a stool softener.  Narcotic pain medicines will constipate you.  Many people go for over a week without a bowel movement.
  • Ask for an anti nausea drug.  Those pain killers that help so much can really do a number on your system.  You won’t be eating much, so nausea is a pretty likely side effect.
  • Get an order for ENOUGH PAIN MEDICINE TO LAST THROUGH RECOVERY.  This one makes me furious.  My doctor wrote an order for enough hydrocodone to last about four days.  If you’ve read enough accounts, you know that that’s about the time the pain gets worst.  I ran out in the middle of the night.  I had to wait until morning to ask for a refill.  The staff acted like I was some drug seeking junkie.  Don’t accept this.  I finally walked into the ER.  The doctor there understood completely and thought my ENT was a jerk. He wrote a prescription to cover the next week. I did not become a drug addict.
  • Ask for your pain medicine prescription to NOT include Acetaminophen. This is a tricky one. Most narcotic pain med’s contain Acetaminophen.  That’s fine if it’s the only thing you’re taking.  But at some point, you’ll want to ween off the heavy pain killers in favor of an over the counter pain medicine like Tylenol. (Acetaminophen) Suppose you try this and BAM- not cutting it.  You’ll want to go back to the narcotic pain medicine. But wait, how much Acetaminophen do you have on board? Too much can be very dangerous.  Keeping the two separate allows you to monitor this more easily.
  • Ask for IV fluids.  Yes, why not?  A nurse on the forum suggested this and I thought it was brilliant.  So many people become dehydrated while recovering from adult tonsillectomy because swallowing is so difficult.  Knowing that she was seriously dehydrated, this brave and smart woman walked into an emergency room and asked for a bag of IV fluid.  She got it and was no longer dehydrated. You might have a conversation with your doctor about this in advance.
  • TETRACAINE MEDICATED LOLLIPOPS -I never got them but people rave about the relief they give.  Ask your Doctor.

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Well there you have it- the insider’s guide to adult tonsillectomy recovery.  You may feel like a pain asking for these things.  You may feel less pain because you do.  I wish you well.

Do you have a Jedi mind trick or ninja tactic for getting the upper hand in tonsillectomy recovery?  Please share in the comment section.  Thanks, -Greg

74 thoughts on “Guerrilla Tactics for Surviving Adult Tonsillectomy”

  1. A few interesting notes following my tonsillectomy yesterday:

    1) I asked my surgeon about the tetracaine lollies, and he said that he rarely uses them because patients misuse them too often which can cause nasty side effects. For example, only a few licks are needed to numb things, but because they are lollies, adults and kids both tend to forget and ingest more than that which can cause a dangerous condition where there is an issue with hemoglobin in the blood becoming dangerously low (I think that’s what he said anyways).

    2) Apparently, I hardly bled at all during my tonsillectomy, and he wasn’t using a laser–forget which method he used. However, there was very little bleeding, and when my tonsils came out, he found a bunch of tonsil stones. I must have been collecting them to cough up at a later date as I’ve been doing that for months now…just hacking them up whenever–annoying.

    3) I know I’m still in the honeymoon period as it’s not quite been 24 hours yet, but I’m on a combination of toradol (awesome antiflammatory) with tramodol and amoxicillin. I’m not getting a lot of sleep because of the med schedule, but I’m dozing and not in pain, so I’ll take it. I also want to have that nailed down so I don’t suddenly have screaming horrible pain.

    4) Sipping ice water every 15 minutes or as soon as it starts to get dry really, really helps. The sugar from the gatorade was too much until I mixed it 50/50 with water. When I’m sleeping, I make sure to get up every hour and swish water around until I’m not thirsty or dry at all. All the suggestions for using a humidifier are also great!

    5) Since I couldn’t get the tetracaine lollies, I went for over the counter children’s pectin pops. They offer a mild numbing effect to help right before eating/taking meds, if I need it. Other useful items are gum, stool softener (not laxative), chloraseptic spray without alcohol as well as ear relief drops. I found kids iburprofen and tylenol in liquid forms in case there is trouble swallowing after the heavy duty meds wear off.

  2. Request an antinausea drug just in case and take a stool softener while on narcotic to help relieve constipation
    Also make your own applesauce and avoid any products with citric acid since it will burn your throat
    Mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs good soft foods

  3. Still recovering from tonsillectomy surgery and highly recommend staying hydrated. Am on day 10 todsy.Room temp liquids might feel better than cold ones initially. Although ice chips seem to help right after surgery. Recommend asking your ent for a narcotic to help with pain initially since pain is excruciating. I was determined to get off narcotic as quickly as I could to not be so sleepy however nice to have if you need it. Recommend tylenol extra strength in liquid form and getting a rx prior to surgery for 3 tetra lollipops which are very helpful to numb throat. Not covered by insurance but so worth getting. Also for ear pain get clear pop from Amazon. My ear pain resolved 20 minutes after sucking on that lollipop. Get a few packages. So worth it. Very difficult to swallow or talk most of the time so resting voice important. Recommend popsicles, clear broth for entire 1st day postop then medicate yourself half hour to 45 min before meals to enable eating. Loving the tablespoon life with portions. Orgain protein powder with some nondairy yogurt pretty good. Avoid dairy initially due to mucous buildup. Recommend brushing teeth several times per day gently and flossing too. Grateful for surgery but it is an ordeal postop.

  4. Thanks for the info gathering! My surgery is in 2 days and I’ve prepped as much as I can. Two tips that I came across and plan to implement are drinking aloe vera and taking a teaspoon of coconut oil a day. Both promote healing and seem to keep the scabs moist where they tend to reabsorb/disintegrate without pain rather than dry out and painfully pop off. I have some plain aloe vera juice as well as some coconut water + aloe vera (no sugar added) from Trader Joe’s ready to go. I have my humidifier ready, but in our open floor plan downstairs where I have my setup I’m a little nervous it won’t help as much as it would if I were in a small, closed bedroom. I also checked with my local pharmacy today and they do not have liquid hydrocodone in stock. I don’t know what the doctor plans to prescribe for pain, but now that hydrocodone is a schedule 2 there is a major shortage. I’m nervous!

  5. What really helps me is gargling a warm cup of salt water. It’s disinfects the wounds, washes out some of the scabs and is an instant pain relief! Highly recommended and good luck to everyone recovering! 🙂

  6. Hi Mrs Mack- doctors seem to be split on this question. One whom I trust told me it’s safe but I guess I’d recommend asking your own doc. Take care!

  7. My Number 1 Tip!!!

    Buy dissolvable aspirin/ibuprofen tablets and lozenges WITH anesthetic!!!! Put 2 tablets in a glass of water, drink it all slowly and occasionally gargle, then suck on a lozenge.. when finished your throat will be completely numb for 20 minutes giving you enough time to eat whatever you want to but doesn’t give you that weird completely numb tongue feeling that the numbing liquid does. This was how I managed to survive my recovery past day 5. It even works better for me than the strong pain killers.

    Good luck with your healing!!!

  8. Hi Greg, I have been taking daily photos of my tonsils and am currently at day 8. Would you like me to email them? Will you post them on the site?

  9. I am EXTREMELY lucky in the fact that my father is a nurse so he brought me IVs. On day three when the pain got so bad to where I couldn’t keep drinking he hooked me up and I got three or four bags of fluids over the course of the next four days. It was a lifesaver for me and I know my recovery would have been even worse than it has been if I hadn’t gotten the fluids. I’m on day 7 right now and wishing for a time machine so I can go back to being a normal person again. I’m a group leader at a summer camp starting on Sunday (my day 10) so I’m hopeful that u can heal up in time to do my job well. At this point I’m cursing my doctor and surgeon for not preparing me like they should have, I had no idea about any of this. I was indeed a mindless sheep, thinking everything would be fine after the first 3 days like the doctor said. Don’t fall for the lies guys!!!

  10. I am on day 4 of my recovery – still in pain which I didn’t expect! However I believe my recovery is being sped up by the fact I am drinking 2-3 glasses of iced water per hour! I have been eating solid foods like bread without the crusts (which my nurse told me helps clear the scabs and prevent infection) and also soft veg like avacado. i was worried the scabs would just suddenly come off and give me a shock but apparently they just gradually fall away the more you eat. I have found pasta helpful too with just some oil drizzled on. I find the more I swallow the easier it gets each time but do keep eating to help your body in recovering! Crunching up ice and then tilting your head back so the ice rests gently on the tonsil bed is good too for when you are waiting for meds to kick in. keep resting and stay positive!

  11. Hi Sam! Thanks for posting. Hope your recovery goes well. If you’d like to share your photos, you can email them to me and I’ll add them to the site. I’ll post my email here for a day and then probably take it down to avoid spam bombs. lol gregtooke @ hotmail . com

    I added spaces to throw off bots.

    Thanks and take care!

  12. I am from England and on day 4 of recovery. I stopped breathing during surgery and temporarily intubated.

    I coped with eating/drinking/meds….until today. Today the pain is horrific, I’m struggling to swallow and I’m unsure about what is right and wrong with regards to my healing.

    I have taken high quality daily photos but unsure how to post them?

    I tried eating some banana earlier and it felt like acid. The sugar in Popsicles is causing mucus. I’m feeling miserable.

    However! I’ve just remembered I had some anti- inflammatory suppositories. I never thought that would make me happy!

  13. I had my tonsillectomy April 14 2015. Im 23, F from Canada. I found this site days before my surgery, read through a lot of stories.. mostly bad.. LOL so I was scared but I felt like it prepared me for surgery, I got my humidifier up and working and a nice supply of popsicles…since I read that a lot of people couldnt handle ice cream due to it causing mucous.
    Soo I got my tonsils out.. was sent to recovery I woke up in extreme pain… the most pain ive ever been in.. .prob 8/10… I felt like I couldnt breathe because I was in so much pain. they gave me morphine (via IV) it helped immensely. I was on Tylenol 3 (Tylenol with codeine). This was my first time ever being on codeine..I honestly was in too much pain the first day which I wasnt expecting at all.. from what I heard the worst is day 4/5.. so I was scared it would get worse.. I took my pain meds as the doc advised me.. every 4 hours. I ended up taking 2 pills at a time because I couldnt handle the pain the first night/day after..the pills knocked me out every time. I was nauseous and very hungry All I had that first night was stuff that was acidic which made everything 10 x worse. I stayed away from ice cream and stuck with popsicles and gatorade…big mistake.. I had major acid reflux – and I never get heartburn or anything like that EVER. and the Tylenol wasnt helping at all. I ate solid food the day after surgery because honestly I was hungryyy. I had fries and an iced cappuccino (which helped with the acid because of the dairy content) I had no problem with mucous I also noticed I was hungry but had no appetite to eat because I was so nauseous. after the third day I stopped taking my tylenol 3’s and switched to Extra strength tylenol (2 pills at a time every 4 hours) it helped so much.. .no more nausea..and I started eating ice cream…soft food – aka mcdonalds french fries…milkshakes…nothing with acid. By the 5th day… with regular icing my neck with an ice pack i brought home from the hospital I was fine! Solid foods.. rice and chicken for dinner… I kept myself hydrated to a point.. it still hurt to swallow water but I forced myself to take regular sips of it. After 6 days I was off my pain meds and was back to eating solid foods (obviously taking my time to eat.. dinner took about an hour to eat) But yeah now its been a little over 14 days post op im completely back to normal. I also didnt notice any scabs coming off.. I havent looked in my mouth..but I havent felt anything either… Overall my recovery went very fast and overall not unbearable. after 4 days after surgery I was fine… pain controlled, I was able to eat and yeah.. this proves that everyone recovers different.. just because something works for one person that doesnt mean it will work for everyone. I hope I helped !

  14. Great Site, Greg!
    I am an Ear Nose and Thorat Doctor, practicing in Massachusetts. In over thirty years of practice and thousands of tonsillectomies , I have been searching for ways to make the admittedly difficult experience of tonsillectomy easier for patients.
    Your Guerilla tactic tips are great….I’d like to make some amplifying comments and useful additions:
    Being your best advocate- this is really great advice. Preparation is key. Having all the pain meds in sufficient quantities, having all the soft foods, having a place to sleep in a recliner with head elevated near a humidifier….All this is great. As a professional, I will also make the controversial comment that tonsillectomy by cautery technique results in needlessly prolonged recovery. I studied this question early in my career, and published the results in Laryngoscope, one of our professional journals. We took one tonsil out with cautery, and the other with scissors. at one week, the pain was almost always worse on the cauterized side. One look in the mouth also told the story: The cauterized side always had more delayed healing, thicker more extensive “scabs.” Aside from scissors removal, other techniques have been developed in an attempt to decrease the pain of tonsillectomy, including coblation and Harmonic scalpel and ligasure all of which are comparable to scissors dissection, and superior to cautery. ADVOCATE THIS: IF YOUR ENT INSISTS ON USING CAUTERY or LASER FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE TONSIL, CONSIDER FINDING ANOTHER SURGEON.

    Taking time off from work: I tell my patients that they can do non physical work in a week (physical work after 10 days), and that works for most all of them. Fast healing requires hydration, which requires drinking, which requires pain and nausea control. I have found the use of spray LIDOCAINE very helpful in getting patients to eat and drink. I invented the TONSIL FIRE EXTINGUISHER. It is a spray bottle that your doctor can purchase and fill for you with lidocaine. Using this alternative allows less use of narcotics, and better hydration, therefore less nausea, We have done this for our older children and adults, and they have found it helpful to give them 20 minutes without pain to drink or eat or fall back to sleep. You can see their testimonials on YouTube If you take my advice above, you will get to work sooner than 2 weeks. ADVOCACY TIP: Ask your doctor to provide you with one of these. Doctors can order the TONSIL FIRE EXTINGUISHER AT

    Asking the family for help: Perfect!. And if your kid is having tonsillectomy, you or your spouse must be there every recovery day and night.

    Regarding your medicine recommendations: These are very good. The page written by the pharmacist is very helpful as well. Taking the ibuprofen liquid every 6 hours round the clock is key…it is worth the trouble to wake up and take the dose; DO NOT fall behind on the acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen. Avoid the narcotics if you can. The Tonsil Fire Extinguisher can help with that. ONLY disagreement: Chloraseptic. The active ingredient in this medication is Phenol, and organic acid that numbs by burning the tissue. This would slow recovery and should not be placed on a healing wound.

    Finally, If you’re having trouble, CALL YOUR DOCTOR. We all have answering services during off hours and expect you to call us if there’s a problem. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised by having the benefit of your doctor’s experience and expertise.

    Keep up the great work, Greg!!

  15. I ended up in the ER my sixth day since the scabs fell off and I was bleeding a lot. Luckily, the bleeding stopped and I didn’t have to have the surgery. They kept me for a night and luckily I didn’t have any bleeding again.

  16. I am going through the same thing with the pain med withdrawals. I was on dilaudid every 3-4 hours for two weeks. I stopped them on Tuesday and I have the worst night sweats too! I didn’t realize it was withdrawals until this morning when I started googling it. I am eating pretty good at least but it is hard to deal with the pain without the pain meds. At least we are both moving forward and getting better, even if it takes time 🙂 Keep me posted on your progress!

  17. I forgot to mention not long after posting that message I did go to the ER and it was the best decision I could have made. They put me on steroids, antibiotics and IV. They kept me over night to get the pain back under control. After i was discharged the next day the recovery was smooth sailing.

  18. Lisa- I am so sorry to hear that, sounds like you had it a bit worse than I did! I am feeling pretty good except for the fact that I am still suffering with some withdrawl from pain meds. I am not really sleeping more than 4 hours per night. The night sweats are horrific. Things are a bit better when I am awake. But I just dread sleeping now. My throat feels pretty good and the pain is totally controlled with advil. I am back to eating most foods, but still shying away from super crunchy items. Hopefully you pain tapers off soon, I know exactly how miserable it is.

  19. I had surgery the same day as you and it totally sucks! I went back to work yesterday 4/1 for like four hours and needed to come home and told my boss I can’t work the rest of the week. How are you feeling now? I can’t wait to be back to normal. I still have pain and I am only on advil and steroids plus I am so tired and keep crying for some reason? I know it’s going to get better but this was a harder than I expected. I hope you are getting better and making progress.

  20. I had surgey on 3/17. Most says have been bearable until today. I am in agonizing pain, the liquid hydro/aceto mix with Advil in between is barely touching it . No matter what I eat or drink I am in horrible pain. Throat, jaw and ears are pounding non stop. I have messaged the doctor asking for a better pain medication . But as it is Sunday clearly I have another day on the same non working medicine. Any ideas please help!!!!!!

  21. I’ll look for that gum. The ear pain isn’t unbearable compared to the throat and ear pain combined of days 3-10. It’s more annoying than anything, but, this too shall pass. I’m looking forward to it.
    Thanks for your care.

  22. Sorry to hear this Flo- 15 days seems like a long time ou – I’ll bet you’ll see improvement soon. People lso report that a warm compress on the jaw helps. Can you find gum that is less….caustic??

    Hang in there!!

  23. Yeah, G., but the gum I have is spearmint and the whitening kind. That cooling sensation hurts like I just got my wisdom teeth out. I need to try a different flavor/kind.

    I did get some “sweet oil” and it’s helping some. When will the ear pain subside? Today is Day 15.

  24. I just discovered something. I’m having constant ear pain. Covering the ears really helps. I’ve never been a person to wear ear coverings, but it works. I’m wearing those that look like a headband. They make them for men, too. The fleece ones seem to be the best.

  25. See if this will help you from Day 4 on:

    Steam became my friend. Fill your favorite mug 1/3 full and microwave it for 1-1 1/2 min. Inhale the steam opening your mouth as wide as you can inhaling deeply. Continue doing this until you feel relief. Sometimes, I had to reheat the cup of water a couple of times more.

    Even water began to burn my throat. I found tepid/lukewarm (don’t make it hot—–could bring on bleeding)plain decaffeinated tea was a soothing lifesaver. The fancy flavored teas that I love had spices which burned. Insomnia is already a problem. Be sure to use decaffeinated. I would chase water with the tea, so that I could continue to stay hydrated when my scabs screamed.

    When ice doesn’t soothe anymore, turn your surgery ice pack bag into a hot water bottle. This is to soothe that resonating ear pain.

    Chicken noodle soup with a heavy broth thoroughly coated my throat. If you live where you have a Hy-Vee grocery store, have someone pick up their brand of chicken noodle soup. It tastes homemade and works wonders. Campbell’s is okay, but the broth is thicker with the Hy-Vee brand. You might could use the Campbell’s and add chicken broth to it.

    Acid and bacteria will build up in your mouth making you feel like you have hundreds of ulcers. Gargle with 1 tsp. of salt to 2 cups (500 ml) warm water 30 seconds for each sip twice a day (thank you to the person that noted that on this site).

    Starting @ Day 7, my scabs begged for a change. Foods that I lived on:

    scrambled eggs with no pepper and little salt, oatmeal, & chicken noodle soup (I added chopped up pasta).

    I was so bummed to have to give up the foods I had especially purchased for this surgery. I could no longer eat orange sherbert, popsicles, applesauce, jello nor drink orange juice. Anything acidic or cold hurt.

  26. Ha ha- Thank you for the kind words! I am not yet retired, though it sounds nice. I put lots of time into the site for a few years. These days I just review comments once/day and respond to those that address me directly or don’t seem to be getting answers.

    Thanks for all you’ve been sharing!

  27. Hi, Greg!
    Thanks for letting me know. Now I see where you can click on “older comments”.

    What a lovely photo of you!! What a handsome guy you are!! As my G/F would say——you’re a fox!!

    HOW do you keep up with this all by yourself? You’re too young to be retired; right?

    Your site is a Godsend!! I feel like I can get through this now. I wasn’t so sure at days past Day 3. I began your site @ Day 7. I can’t thank you enough.

  28. Okay, Everyone. It’s day 8. I only discovered WONDERFUL Greg’s site yesterday. Now, I have the ammunition for attack on THE SCABS!! LOVE IT!!

    Here’s something I thought of during my all-nighter last night. With the Polar Vortex here now, it’s not easy to ask someone to jump out there and go get a vaporizer/humidifier.

    So, my memory reminded me of a cold/sore throat ritual my aunt used to do. She’d boil some water or make chicken noodle soup, set it on the table. Then, she’d grab a towel and put it over her head and make a tent over herself while she inhaled the steam.

    Well, I don’t like the trouble of the tent thing. That was “back-n-the-day”.

    Get your most cherished mug. Fill it 1/3 full or water. Place in the microwave for a min. to a min. & 20 sec. You can sit at the table and inhale the steam or sit on the couch, in your recliner, or carry it around with you from room to room inhaling all the while.

    This has made ALL the difference in the world to help keep those scabs moist as well as give soothing swallowing relief so you can swallow.

    *****This is not a guerrilla tactic substitute for skipping drinking water. You know you’ve got to stay hydrated. You must still drink your water.

    I hope this helps anyone who is suffering more than they have to.

  29. Hi FLo- if you subscribed to any of your other posts, you should still get a notification. Only most recent comments appear beneath the comment. Prevesious comments are still accessible by clicking the “

  30. November 11, 2014

    I posted a comment last night and forgot to check the boxes below. I don’t want to miss out on any replies or posts.

    Thanks again to you, Greg, for establishing and maintaining this site as well as all those who share.

    I don’t see the November posts? They were there last night?

  31. This website has been so helpful for me. I am 25 years old and had my tonsils removed along with my uvula shaved down just over one month ago. Luckily, I found this website a few days before my surgery and it really helped me prepare. As a past time during recovery, I would visit the recovery forum and see what each day would bring to me. I have to admit that even though I was prepared for the surgery, there were some days when I was in so much pain. I agree that you need to ask for help. I have a great family and they helped me so much. Like Greg, I ran out of medicine after four days. My mom saw it coming and luckily had it refilled in time. Having a humidifier also helped the sore throat. The biggest pain that I had was the ear pain. At times, I felt like my head was going to explode. I found that using an ice pack over the ears and peppermint oil inside my ear really helped! Because they also tampered with my uvula, it was enlarged so much that I had to keep my mouth open. The numbing medicine really helped. I also had to sleep sitting up for the first two weeks. Personally, it took me a full two weeks before I could do anything. Definitely take at least two weeks off of work but you may need three. My tongue was severely burnt after surgery and I still can’t taste a lot of things. It’s getting better but many of the foods I eat, there is a main ingredient missing or all I can taste is salt. I have noticed that I am sleeping better so that is a plus. Overall, things are good. I still have some scabs and slight pain in the throat but I’m completely off medication and things are looking up. Thank you for creating this site. I hope my post is helpful as the other posts helped me out so much.

  32. I will definitely look into that numbing lollipop. Most of my scabbing is gone now (yay!), but it is still unpleasant. The spray has been a life saver, but the lollipop sounds like it would be a nice addition. According to my surgeon they had to do a lot of additional removal so I had some extra scabbing, so I will take all of the numbing agents I can find. Thanks for your help!

  33. Hi Jessica- thanks for the kind words. I remember those sharper pains. I think it is from the scabs pulling away. I’d be sure to keep the area moist. (water, ice, popsicles, humidifier…) Also, I used Chloroseptic (sp?) spray. Other speak very highly of a numbing lollipop- the brand escapes me. Perhaps someone else will remember..??

    Best of luck and good health to you!

  34. First, this site has been so helpful as I’ve been going through the recovery process, so I thank you greatly for all of the information here. I’m a 30 year old female and I had my tonsils and adenoids removed exactly one week ago. I don’t generally like taking steroids so I did not request any and my ENT did not offer, but I’m starting to wish that I had. Luckily the scabbing is starting to come off and that’s where my question comes in. I’m having a lot of the normal pain, especially the ear pain, but since the scabs have been coming off I’ve had this new, sharp pain that feels like perhaps the new skin is extremely sensitive. I’ve been taking the hydrocodone/acetaminophen 7.5/325 that was prescribed but that is doing nothing for this, nor are any of my various numbing agents. The ice chips that have been so amazing are starting to become painful too. Any suggestions?

  35. Hi Greg! My name is Jen, I’m 24 y/o and I just got my tonsils out today! From shopping lists to guerrilla tactics, this site has done a lot to prepare me for the battle ahead. I just want to say THANKS for all of your great tips and advice.

  36. Hi Greg! I have my tonsillectomy July 30th and it’s been a struggle to find any good quality information – thank you for this site! And thanks for all the comments people leave.

  37. Hello Katy- I am so glad that the site has been helpful to you and thnk you for the kind words. Best of luck to you in your recovery!

  38. 31 year old female, tonsillectomy surgery 5/22, traditional cauterization method

    I would like to thank the creator of this site. I researched the internet like crazy before my surgery and although what I read did scare the heck out of me, it also helped me to be prepare. This site was a big contributor to that preparation. I must have ordered $200 worth of stuff from Amazon (many of those items were from the shopping list provided here) and I truly believe that every penny spent was worth it and needed. Thank you.

  39. I’m 38 yrs old, Friday and surgery was on Wed, Along with having my tonsils removed I had a septoplasty, and additional trimming of skin in my throat. First of all, I am thankful for the steroids. After all I have heard and read I’m betting this has made sll the difference. I’ve been eating soft food without a problem, no issues talking (though I would not want to raise my voice), I have been staying on top of the pain meds and thankfully the pain hasn’t even compared to what I felt when I had Strep.

    A few things I have been doing that I believe may be helping…prior to surgery I began to limit my sodium intake and continue to in hopes this will reduce swelling. While I was still in recovery I asked for the head of my bed to me raised, I have not layed down flat since, again hoping to decrease swelling. I’ve been chewing gum regularly to keep my throat from getting tight and remain moist. Everytime I wake (and the meds seem to keep me sleeping in 15 min intervals) I sip ice cold water. I am using a humidifer. Today I began using heated rice filled socks to relieve ear discomfort. I have been using saline and Afrin to clear my nasal passages and am thankful that I can finally breath through my nose today.
    And really just taking it easy…staying in bed and not doing much more than get up for the bathroom, meds, and detox baths (warm bath with Epsom salt).

    I believe all these things help but also think there’s quite a bit of luck involved with how relatively easy this has been this far. Really hoping I don’t get a surprise wake up call further down the road which is all the more reason I will be sure to continue what I am doing and not try to warrior through this to later end up paying the price for it.

    Thank you for this site. It’s been very helpful and encouraging.

  40. Yes I forgot my comma haha I’m starving but when I eat with the pain meds it tends give me a tummy ache, my doctor was not to thrilled about writing me a script for zofran to keep the nausea under control. I’m still worried about the bleeding but other than that stuff I’m thoroughly enjoying being off work and school for 2 weeks 🙂
    Thankyou for your website and your support ! I facebooked you pictures of my tonsils for the tonsillectomy diary ! Would you prefer me sending them to an email of yours instead?

  41. Hi Kierstin- glad you found us! Did you say,oxycodone cough drops? -or did you just forget a comma? That would be a pretty cool innovation! Keep doing what you’re doing. It probably will get a little worse before getting better. Best of luck!

  42. Thankyou so much for your advice Henry ! I’m on day 2 as of midnight and so far so good I’ve eaten pancakes buttered noodles lots of ice oxycodone cough drops and Gatorade. If the pain stays this under control I’ll be great ! Definitely not as bad as I thought it would be, but everyone is telling me it gets 5times worse before it gets any better ! I appreciate this website and your advice to the fullest ! I’ll be submitting daily M.I.A tonsil pictures to Greg lol no bleeding so far just lots of ear pain !

  43. I (22 m) had my tonsils and adenoids out 12-18-13. Today I am on day 10 and can talk with an ease of swallowing and no ear pain. I had no bleeding. Though I would cough throughout the days yet it did hurt but to a level 3. I made sure to rinse my mouth with cold water every day, religiously. Day 2-3 sucked with a level 3 but I believe day 4 I didnt eat nor drink because of the discomfort of swallowing. Make sure to take sips of water to prevent dehydration, I had force myself, which the next days got easier to drink. Also have a humidifier. I used a warm humidifier. Make sure to ice neck and jaw. Brush teeth and tongue to prevent thrush. I would suggest sleeping with a neck pillow. I used it while sleeping on the recliner, comfy. Day 5-7 is when my scabs started to fall, though I choked but had to spit or swallow them, but I most spit them out. It scared me, but remember if it happens, remain calm. Just know the healing process is tiring yet rewarding at the end. Day 7 is when I decided to talk a bit. Day 8 I talked more until day 10. Throughout the process I had chocolate and vanilla pudding, green jello, then started day 6 with gravy followed by day 7-10 with a blended mix of mashed potatoes, shredded turkey, ham, crumbled toast, and gravy combined in a mug. It was delicious and tolerable for me. I barely chewed. I wanted to have nutrients and a good bowel movements haha.I also had cream pie. Make sure to drink to moisten the throat. As of day 10, I feel great knowing after each day will be better. Also avoid dairy products bc it’ll build up mucus and you wont like it. I did it for day 1 and regretted it. Once you feel well to swallow, start drinking water like crazy to hydrate. I started dwindling away from my pain meds around day 4 and stopped at day 5. The ear pain was not bad, probably a 3/10 when swallowing. It did not last long.

    Enjoy the days leading to your surgery, especially foods and drinks and of course friends. Oh and if you get nausea from surgery or anesthesia, request a anti-nausea. Just to be safe, I recieved a 72 hour anti- nausea ear patch, which helped during surgery and recovery.

    Good luck and may you have a tolerable recovery

  44. Hello ! I’m Kierstin 20yrs old from Kansas, USA ! I have a tonsillectomy scheduled for 1-3-14. It’s 11 days away and I already can’t sleep haha I haven’t had much time to prepare I’ve only known about the surgery for 2 days. Apparently my tonsils are that bad and they need to come out stat. Needless to stay I’ve absolutely freaked myself out watching all of the YouTube videos and reading the blogs warning me of my painfully horrid recovery. This is the only blog/tip website that is bluntly positive and strait forward And that I thank you for that ! This website has eased some of my fears.

    But I still have one question,
    has anyone experienced the horror movie bleeding associated with the scabs sloughing off ?? If so please do explain, and what are some tips for prevention
    This is the only possible complication (besides death) that is absolutely freaking me out.
    Thank you 🙂 ~ Kierstin

  45. Rebecca, 37 yo. Day 4 of recovery: Scabs are schluffing off and it is more raw and swollen today. Called the parmacy yesterday to renew my liquid Vicodon scrip. They did NOT have it in stock and had to place an order. Order did not arrive today either. After spending the rest of my afternoon and early evening tring to find a pharmacy that had it in stock, I found out that the US FDA has reformulated the amount of Acetaminophen that is an acceptable lower dose to use with narcotics. As a result, what my doc perscribed is discontinued; lucky me! Hopefully, my doc will call in a new compriable pain med soon. Luckily I didn’t wait until I was out before tring to refill. I still have a couple of doses left to last me through tomorrow.

    Tip: call pharmacy before you need to refill to find-out if your medication is in-stock and ready to fill when you need it.

    Yes! The humidifier is my best friend!

    “Foods” and liquids: Jello, pudding (made with Silk, soy milk), soft boiled eggs (room temp.), egg drop soup (room temp). Tried soft cooked elbow mac with butter. It tasted good, but it caused more pain then what I was ready for. Ice water, ice water, ice water. I also put some already set jello in the freezer. It made a nice frozen treat!

    I’m also taking Prednisolone (liquid steriod), which is causing awlful acid reflux. Doc told me to add Zantac 150 2x’s day to relieve symptoms. It seems to be better today.

  46. Use cough drops! I’ve gone through two packs of ricolas in the past two days, and whenever I wake up during the night with horrible throat pain, I just suck on one of those Cēpacol numbing drops. I cannot stress how much it helps. I’m on day 10 of recovery and I feel sooo much better.

  47. I’m four days post op, and I’ve got to say, my ENT was not kidding when he said this woul be a killer.

    I have found that when I can stay hydrated, I am definitely much better. That being said, it’s so very difficult to stay hydrated. I do the ice pops, and ice water, jello and try to stay away from anything dairy, because I find I choke more on those. My oxy/Tylenol meds are also causing me a great deal of nausea, and I’m not so sure I can keep up on it. Just gagging kills me, but actually vomiting would probably be much worse. I’m on zofran for the nausea, but that doesn’t always seem to help.

    Has anyone started losing bits of their tongue? As in the top layer peeling off? My tongue is swollen and dis colored, but just today started having a couple of strips peel off….

    Oh, I’m a 23 year old female in the US, by the way.

  48. First I would like to say this site has been extremely useful! Thanks Greg.

    I am a 30 year old male and had my tonsillectomy on 11-15. Before leaving the hospital I recommend asking for Demorol into your IV . They wanted to send me packing and the pain was still around an 8, I received 2 doses about 30 min apart. When I left my pain was about a 2.

    I am currently on day 11 of my recovery and I must say that yesterday and today are the 2 worst days of pain so far.
    Days 1-4 were not so bad, then day by day it got worse.
    I had to call in to my doctor to get a refill of Roxicet and she was kind enough to do so. (Because it was the weekend I could not get ahold of my ENT, my doctor did not want to prescribe me anything, but it was the weekend and she could tell I was in pain)

    I have lost 13 lbs since the day before my surgery. I am sticking to Pedialite popsicles (children’s pops, great source of electrolytes), pudding, and the occasional blended smoothie I make with spinach, almond milk and coconut milk sorbet.

    My uvula is extremely swollen currently. It goes in waves of being swelled and not.

    I see that a lot of people on here seem to be getting better at this stage. Has anybody else experienced this much pain at day 11?
    Luckily where I work one of the employees has had a tonsillectomy and they were perfectly okay with giving me 3 weeks off.
    Yesterday was the first day experiencing ear pain.
    Has anybody used the Tetracaine pops? The Roxicet doesnt work that well, they still do not want me on any anti-inflamatories for another 3-4 days. I just am looking for ways to subside the pain without taking 15ml of roxicet in which they said I can do every now and again when it gets really bad.

    Thats enough rambling for now 🙂

  49. Thank you so much for this blog. After reading this I bought the cool mist humidifier and other things listed! This site is a life saver. Currently on day 3 of post tonsillectomy. Had to stop taking narcotics due to being way too sensitive to them. Now just working with liquid adult Tylenol. Throat really does not hurt at all. Went to a friend’s wedding yesterday. Don’t recommend doing that lol My uvula is very swollen today but not painful. Today was worse than the others due to a migraine most likely caused by the narcotics or lack of caffeine. My throat really hurt the day of surgery but I forced myself to eat and drink cool liquids. Day 2 and Day 3 my throat does not hurt very bad at all. Good luck to all of you thinking about doing it. I expected way more pain than this. To me it feels like my worse case of Tonsilitis. Really not bad at all 🙂

  50. THANK YOU Greg for your site and tips! What would I have done without you?

    And Hello to everyone out there!
    If you have yet to get your tonsils out, you can totally do this and will be SO glad you did! Find a great doc that you trust and go for it! (and by no means let him use a blade! Laser only)

    Here are some tips that really helped me through it.
    I had to be at an event two days after, and so was on a mission to heal super fast. (I made the event, by miracle was able to dress up, arrive, and smile (but that’s it). And thankfully for everyone I did not drive)

    1. Enlist family members and friends to help (i.e., pray, love, and cook.) I also received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick two days before (formerly known as Extreme Unction or Last Rites).

    2. Post-op, Avoid Sugar, Casein (milk products), Gluten (Wheat) and Yeast.
    all of these can inhibit recovery and if you prep well it’s easy to replace these with almost-as-good treats. Smoothies can be great!, and you’ll have plenty of time to perfect them (almond milk, frozen fruit and stevia, etc.)

    3. Try brown-rice sweetened Menthol cough drops (ie., without artificial sweeteners)
    I went through bags of ZAND Menthol Herbalozenges in the first two days. In later days, I experimented with Brown-rice sweetened Vitamin C drops (but these might have a sting in the beginning).

    4. Detox baths are fabulous (IF you hydrate well with cups of Ice and cold water in hand)
    Buying Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) in bulk, I put about 1/2 cup in each bath, at times mixing in a tiny bit of Baking Soda, Ginger Powder, Mustard Powder, et. al. The bulk Vitamin C powder did wonders. Just remember to keep very well hydrated and have lots of ice nearby.

    5. Make sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate…and Eat!
    Stevia/Almond milk smoothies, unsweetened apple sauce, (not too thick) hummus, etc…
    Words of Love to you from my Italian grandmother: “You’ve eaten nothing! You need to eat!!”

    6. Things to have ready at home when you arrive:
    By the Bed:
    *If at all possible, your dear Mother!*
    Humidifier running constantly
    Ice water, Ice, coasters
    Meds from the doc with note-pad to record progress and times / Doctors orders and prep sheets from his office (these are good reminders on post-op care)
    DVDs, documentaries, booklets/magazines
    Multiple Bags of Zand Menthol drops
    NUUN sugar-free Electrolyte tablets (may sting in the early recovery days, or simply add more water).

    In freezer:
    frozen bananas (the frozen bananas give the smoothies an ice-cream texture)
    frozen berries
    bags of Ice

    In fridge:
    Applesauce, unsweetened
    Almond Milk, and/or Coconut Milk, Flax Milk, et al., all unsweetened
    Pureed food or appetizing baby food, always eaten cold

    On kitchen counter:
    Vitamix or blender
    Stevia powder

    PS. If you don’t have Mother or family members around, consider hiring a high school or college student to stay with you for two days. They can study or watch movies while living in another part of the house, and you can text them what you want or need..

    Best wishes to everyone! Congratulations on your Courage!

  51. Thanks Jane. Yes I am familiar with a couple products like the one you mention. I actually have a link to one called the HydroPulse in my shopping area.

    Best of luck to you. Take care!

  52. Greg, I was suppose to have my tonsils out last Oct. and cancelled days before, after educating myself from your site. I just had pockets in one tonsil that food was building up in. Doctor said if I could not keep it clean that they had to come out along with adenoids. I thought this was overkill. After some research I found an irrigation machine. Water pics for teeth just irate the tonsil. This I just use once a week by choosing the setting that is comfortable and irrigating that one tonsil. Please share this with your readers. It is called Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus irrigation system. I found it on line and it cost $79.95 when I got mine last year. Thanks for all the information you provide. My doctor did not tell me anything on what to expect.

  53. Well, Greg (and all the great posters here) I would like to thank you for all the info contained on this site. I have surgery Friday, November 8th, and feel somewhat prepared (not for the pain so much, but for everything I should and should not do ,etc).

    I plan on posting daily…as a 44 year old pain weenie, it should be interesting.

    Thanks again!

  54. I am in Ireland Jayne and more than Likely the same for us! Not looking forward to it! Op next Thursday 7th Nov x

  55. Great tips, but if you live in the UK – you’ve got no chance of getting any of that! We’re lucky to get some paracetamol on prescription x

  56. Hey going for my Tonsilectomy on the 7th of november. I am in ireland so am not familiar with the pain medication you mentioned Greg! I spoke to my family Doc about pain relief and she said the hospital should take care of all that so a bit worried that I might not get the pain relief I could need! Also my Doc didnt seem to keen on the procedure Arrrrgh

    Regards Dee

  57. Day 12 for me- I still have that annoying sharp ear pain-but narcotics don’t help anymore so I just chew gum a lot and try to stay hydrated. I am healing. I attribute my successful recovery to all the great info I learned from this website. I felt prepared for everything, the swelling, the scabs, the nasty ear pain, the taste changes, lack of sleep, and pain management. I had to go back to the Emergency room the same day I had surgery for increasing swelling and out of control pain (my doc only prescribed 1 vicodin every 6hrs) I appreciated your comments about advocating for yourself. I spent the night in the hospital, got a dose of steroids, and liquid dilaudid and tylenol. What a world of difference. Its been quite the journey, I appreciate so much all the help. My scabs are mostly gone I think, no bleeding, and I ate pretzels tonight! (carefully)
    Sarah B.

  58. Hi all. I’m a 34 year old woman who had my tonsils out in June.
    I read all of the horror stories online. And I guess I was one of the lucky ones.
    It was painful, don’t get me wrong.. But they gave me liquid roxicet. I never got nautious or constipated from it.
    I never bled either.
    Eat lots of iced watered down jello! Mine was orange flavor. Protein ensure drinks iced cold.
    Never anything hot!
    Definetly use a humidifier when you sleep.
    Rest as much as possible.
    Oh and tell nurses to give you anti nausea medicine before you go under for surgery.
    This way you wont get nautious incase the anesthesia usually bothers you.

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