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. Had my tonsils out 20/4/18 so coming up to 8 weeks ago now, was wondering how long this feeling of something in my throat and having no taste is going to last??? Any info will be most welcome.

    1. It is reasurring that someone else is experiencing the feeling of something in the throat all the time. It is 2 weeks since mine came out and i was thinking for the first 7-10 days it may have been the scabs dropping off but the feeling just isnt going. I have pain in the jaw and neck and bottom inside of mouth. Hoping for some answers at follow up appointment in 4 days.

  2. I’m 32 I got my tonsils out 5/24/18…I’m in so much pain I think would’ve preferred to stay with tonsil stones and strep all the time. While my throat isn’t hurting quite as much my left ear is in an amount of pain I can’t describe every time I swallow it feels like a knife stabbing my ear drum and left side of my throat. I’m sure my local pharmacy thinks I’m up to something since I’m going through Tylenol, ibuprofen and alieve like peanut butter m&ms. But man eating regular foods still hurts like the dickens. Any pointers anybody ??? Asking for a friend

  3. I’m an 18 year old female and I am currently on day 8 of my recovery. The first 2 days were painful, but in retrospect they were heaven compared to what I would soon have to go through. Day 3-6 felt like someone was constantly torching th back of my throat, pouring acid into my ears, and punching me in the neck for good measure. The ENT did not prepare me for the pain in my ears. I have been drinking water fairly consistently, but the thought of food leaves me gagging. I have lost 12 pounds and I was only 138 to begin with, so I am very weak and I find it hard to move around too much. The medicine was great the first few days, because it would immediately put me to sleep but I ran out fairly quickly and am now taking tylenol only which is so painful. The taste in my mouth is foul and every time I talk I can smell it which leaves me gagging and in pain. I wish I had never done this surgery… tonsillitis is way easier and this is absolutely excruciating.

  4. Hi all! I had my tonsils removed on 5/8/18. So today is day 7. I am so thankful for this forum it prepared me. It wasn’t as bad as I expected luckily (I did however prepare for the end of the world). On day 1 I was choking on mucus and saliva to the point I vomited three times. But after that I haven’t felt sick or even needed the anti nausea medicine once. My doctor makes these suckers that numb your throat and mouth so that helped me get through day one. I took the medicine on schedule the first 2 days. Apple sauce then medicine every six hours. Day three i spread it to 8 hours, day 4 was 12 hours and on day five I only took them at bed. I haven’t had any since day five. I’m only taking 2 advil as needed every 6 or so hours. I’ve only had them once today. I think what has made my recovery so much better is on day 4 I forced my self to eat more than just apple sauce or jello. I ate toast (barely qualifies as toast it was just warmed on the lowest toaster setting) and felt so much stronger instantly. I rinsed every very small bite down with ice and water. Now on day seven I’m talking more and eating like normal – still only soft foods no crackers chips etc obviously. Ice also helps. That awesome crushed ice has helped lower the amount of mucus and saliva that was pooling in the back of my throat. I forced myself to start talking yesterday and In doing that it has made that god awful test/smell in my throat go away too. It doesn’t hurt but it’s not always the most comfortable to talk. I still have to sleep sitting up or I feel like I’m choking and drowning instantly but 1 more week and I should be good to go back to sleeping normal and in my bed. I know everyone’s recovery is different but listen to your body. Try to eat something with substance so you don’t get weak. When you’re weak recovery is harder and longer. Best of luck to all and remember it will be worth it in the end!

  5. Oh my god. I’m so scared! I got my tonsils out the 10(Thursday) of May and I guess I’m on day 4 if you count day or procedure. I thought I was in pain now. I wake up in the morning miserable. I’m constantly drinking, but that seems to be doing nothing but hurt me. The pain meds are wonderful but they make me Itch. How much more pain am I going to be in?

Your Thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.