Tonsillectomy Recovery – Adult | Child Tonsillectomy

Planning and Recovering From Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

Let’s start with my own tonsillectomy recovery story. I wasn’t always this healthy. As a kid I ingested more penicillin than a corporate-raised chicken. I was in the doctor’s office several times each year with a sore throat. As the doctor or nurse peered into my mouth, the reaction was always the same: “Whoa, those are some big tonsils!” The diagnosis was usually tonsillitis, or strep throat. As the doctor wrote the prescription, he’d explain that years ago, tonsils like mine would have been removed, but, “these days,” we try to hang onto them. “These days,” were the 1970’s. I guess the tonsillectomy pendulum had swung back from the days when kids got their tonsils out because their brother was getting his out.

Thanks! – Greg

Aunt Kate’s reassurance helped, but I still wrote out some just-in-case instructions for my brother and hid them in my closet. I sheepishly told him where they were, just in case.


“This is temporary. You WILL feel better. Hang in there and stay hydrated!” -Greg Tooke

As an adult I continued to suffer from frequent bouts of tonsillitis. It seemed that I caught every bug that passed through my house or workplace. I guess those big ugly tonsils were a nice home for those nasties. It wasn’t until my 40’s that I also became aware that I suffered from something called, Obstructive Sleep Apnea -a condition in which a person stops breathing while asleep. I snored often and would awake abruptly, gulping in big breaths. I felt tired most days. After raising four babies, I had come to accept fatigue as a normal part of life! One day at a routine physical my doctor remarked about the number of episodes of strep throat and tonsillitis I’d had. We also talked about the sleep problems. While he didn’t formally diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, he suspected that I had it. He recommended a tonsillectomy, because of all the tonsil problems I’d had. As a bonus, I might find relief from the sleep apnea as well.

If not, I’d undergo a sleep study. Forty four years old and father of four boys and a doctor finally said it: Those tonsils are doing you more harm than good! As much as I hated those tonsils, I was terrified at the thought of going under the knife. I started reading about tonsillectomy recovery on the internet and talking to friends. That didn’t help. “My cousin knew a guy who got a tonsillectomy and bled to death.” “At your age, tonsillectomy is dangerous.” When I met with the ear, nose and throat specialist, (an otolaryngologist), he told me that the risks are the same for an adult undergoing tonsillectomy surgery as for a child, but tonsillectomy recovery is longer and more painful. He was right about that!

Deciding to get a Tonsillectomy

Tonsillectomy Recovery Tips

Recovery tips for tonsillectomy patients and families

I scheduled the surgery for the day after Thanksgiving. A traditional day of feasting in the United States. If it was to be my last meal, I planned to make it a good one! As it turned out, I was so nervous and scared that I could hardly eat on that day. I was recently divorced and had shared placement of my four boys. So many people counted on me that I began to question my decision. What if I died on the table? How reckless to leave behind a family, simply to avoid frequent tonsillitis? My aunt, a registered nurse reassured me about how simple the surgery was, and how far anesthesiology had come. I had nothing to worry about. Aunt Kate’s reassurance helped, but I still wrote out some just-in-case instructions for my brother and hid them in my closet. I sheepishly told him where they were, just in case

“My tonsils were like a 400 pound gorilla on my back. I don’t miss them at all. Ever.” -from the forum ________________________________________________________________________________

I took a week off from work, asked my ex wife to take care of the boys that week, and asked my uncle to drive me to and from the hospital. (a requirement with anesthesia) That was about all the tonsillectomy recovery preparation I did. I was about to learn a lot!   Surgery went fine. I awoke in recovery with a serving of Jell-o in front of me. (“Jelly,” to my British friends) The nurse said that I had to finish it before I could check out. I swallowed it with great relish. It was divine! I called my uncle and we were out of there. I felt ok. I told him thanks and not to worry. I’d be fine. I believed this. Aside from a couple visits, I spent the next ten days alone in misery. The pain set in after about 24 hours. Streaming movies and television shows were my friends. Sleeping became my worst enemy. I’d wake up with my mouth dried out and my throat on fire. Oh my God. I was not prepared for this! I ran out of Popsicle’s on day three. I ran out of pain medicine on day five. The pain peaked on day seven. I broke down and cried in front of my brother on day eight- a combination of pain, drug induced depression, and sleep deprivation. Since then, I’ve read thousands of similar accounts on the tonsillectomy forum I created. It didn’t have to be so hard. If I’d known what I do now, I could have done so much to make my tonsillectomy recovery better. I hope to reach as many people as I can to help guide them through the tunnel. It has been my passion and taught me more about compassion and the amazing strength of the human spirit than any other life experience. When you shine a light for others, you also light your own path.

In the pages at follow, I’ll share tonsillectomy recovery tips with you that I learned from my tonsillectomy experience and years of coaching others through tonsillectomy and recovery. More about tonsillectomy…read more


1,271 thoughts on “Tonsillectomy Recovery – Adult | Child Tonsillectomy”

  1. I just had mine taken out on 01/08/2018

    It feels fine- no pain higher than a 3. I am just taking regular children’s Tylenol (19.5ml) drinking water and milk- and also eating ice cream and broccoli/cheddar soup

    In surgery at 10am picked up by11:35am

  2. Hi, I got my tonsils out on the 5th of january which would put me at day 6 (if u include the day or surgery) what I’m wondering is my scabs started falling out yesterday and I’m unsure if this is normal and what was everyone else’s worst pains days? Also I’ve been using strepsils and difflam mouth wash which numbs the throat and both have been helpful

  3. Hello! I recently had a tonsillectomy on 1/2/18 to bring in the new year right! Currently on 8 and the past 2 days my scabs have been slowly coming off which is a good thing but also bad…
    I majorly planned ahead and got everything I needed prior of surgery day

    Day before surgery- I ate big ole slab of red meat and drank a glass of water every hour. Even drank a glass of water at 1130pm since I was not aloud to eat/drink anything after midnight.

    Surgery day- got to the hospital at 545am/scheduled surgery at 715am. Soooo glad my doctor does everything early in the morning!

    Post op- woke up unsure where I was and what I was doing ha! Surgery went good 20 minutes in and out dr said!… Pain wasn’t too bad just felt completely weird and instantly wanted to clear my throat. DONT! I accidentally did once and the RN was mad.

    Day 1 (post op)- made it home to my parents around 1130am. Pain was 3/10 mainly discomfort. I drank ALOT of water all day long. Ate jello, popsicles. Ice pack on all day. Pain gradually intensified greatly in the evening 6/10. Took liquid hydrocodone at 6pm. 6 hour intervals here on out for pain management.. 6p,12a,6a,12p

    Day 2- pain was constant. Hurt! 6/10 Did the same routine as day 1. Ate and drank same. I started to bled a bit but I was able to get it to stop from gargling water. I was trying to chop popsicles up into small bite sizes but I was pushing to hard.

    Day 3- pain intensified. Felt like strep throat. My uvula was huge. My neck, jaw ears all hurt. Forced water and applesauce in my stomach mainly all day long.

    Day 4- pain was same as day 3. I was in pain, starving and fatigued. I did the same routine as day 3. Struggling.

    Day 5- Still struggled to eat and drink. Felt like strep throat when I swallowed. Minimal pain when I was resting.

    Day 6- still on pain regime. Very minimal pain. Got out of the house. Pain ramped up towards the evening hours. Scabs coming off???

    Day 7- Oh yes. Scabs are coming off. Pain is severe but for me feels like strep throat but with a bit more pain. Pain in throat, jaw, tongue and ears. Holy crap this hurts…

    Day 8- tried my luck and took my last dose of hydrocodone at midnight and went to bed. Slept all through the night and woke up at 7am and very minimal pain! Felt like a normal sore throat!

    WATER! That’s all I drank. Occasionally had this tea that was a Throat tamer which helped a lot during the painful days.
    Humidifier!!! 24/7 directly at my pillows.
    Followed the regime that the hospital gave me. What to eat,drink daily.

    All in all I was completely scared outta my mind like most us adults leading up to this surgery. Overall the pain wasn’t to bad for me but then again everyone’s different. And I just want to thank my parents and my girlfriend who treated me awesome! And thanks to the doctor who was awesome!

    Don’t worry. You’ll get through it. SOME HIGH QUALITY H2O!!!!!

  4. I’m 21 yrs old & just had my tonsils removed 4 days ago (1/4/17). I’ve been reading up on others’ experiences as a heads up for myself. Although I’m glad I finally went through with the surgery, I’m COMPLETELY TERRIFIED of the next 2-3 days. I thought that the pain I’ve already been experiencing was quite excruciating but apparently I’m wrong & it just gets worse. It’s difficult for me to eat & to drink even when on medications so I don’t know how I’m going to get past these upcoming days. Thank you for sharing your experiences & your tips, I will definitely drink more water and hope for the best!

    1. Hi Arlene,
      Hope you soon recovery! remember the pain is temporary…
      Could you please tell what was the main rezone of tonsillectomy? I am planing tonsillectomy next month too .

      1. Thank you and of course!
        I wanted them removed for so many reasons. Because they were huge, they caused me a couple of issues throughout my life. I would get a sore throat every other month and I was just tired of that pain. I also had trouble staying asleep; at times my tonsils would get so big I couldn’t even breathe thru my mouth and that always woke me up. Lastly (but not as serious), I had started getting tonsil stones more often, I always had a bad taste in my mouth and knew it caused my breath to smell bad so it affected my confidence.
        I had been considering a tonsillectomy for so long but was afraid of the pain. I recently decided to just get it over with now than later, I’m glad I did.
        Hope that helps! And good luck!

  5. Hello guys,
    You are all more than nice people my high appreciations to all of you!

    I am really suffering from Bad breath for 4 years and sometime from sore throat too.
    One month ago I realized that I have tonsil stones and a removed some but I think still I have it. I am using hydrogen peroxide with water pick to remove it but no success. I am really tired of problem and I am hating my life. OMG How it is difficult aaa guys I am not eating meat, dairy products and suger still constant BB. I am loosing my weight I am so skiny nowI tried everything including TheraBreath products no results.

    I took a look at my tonsils they are really small I’am not sure if the doctor will agree to remove it and I am not sure by removing my tonsils the problem will solve.
    Please I am kindly asking if some can share with me any information relating to it.

    1. Hey Simmo!! I had the very same problems with the stones, and very small tonsils. im almost 2 months past recovery and I havent had a stone once. I think its going to be worth it. its taking me a while to heal, meaning I have had a sore throat every day since december 14 BUT every one is different!! I had so much strep I got tired of being on antibiotics so much! and the STONES oh lord I remember digging back there for hours with Q-tips and trying to push them out! best of luck to you!! contact your ENT today!

    2. Hi Simo, I too had tonsil stones to the point of causing chronic sinusitis, congestion headaches, earaches, chronic inflamed lymph nodes. It was awful. I had a tonsillectomy at 48 years old 6 days ago. As I’m going through this I would so no way could I do this again but I feel like once this acute pain is over I’m going to very relieved of all my other symptoms. My thought was I was only getting older and I couldn’t keep dealing with what I had going on. If you explain to your doc that it’s affecting you and getting in the way of life, they’ll do it for you. Good luck and I hope this helps, Carell

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