First things first, my biggest mistake was jumping on the net and reading blogs on this procedure because let’s be honest, why would anybody take this much time out of their day to blog about a positive adult tonsillectomy experience?
Second, the only reason I’m blogging about my positive experience (as positive as surgery can be) is to give future patients some hope because it’s not always as horrible as you think. Bottom line though, you’ll get through this, just like I did!
With that being said, I’m a 30 yo female, 5 days post opp and feeling good. Unfortunately, the couple of days leading up to my surgery were probably the worst because the only thing on repeat in my brain (that I read on a blog) was “THE PAIN WAS WORSE THAN LABORING A CHILD”!
Thankfully my recovery has been pretty mild. When doing nothing, the ‘resting’ pain has been a 0-1. Try not to swallow or talk which is where the most pain is felt but thankfully medication helped with that. The worst I felt was around a 5 out of 10. For the most part I was able to interchange Tylenol and Advil. If you set some alarms on your phone and regularly stay on top of both meds, whether you need them or not, they actually stabilize your pain. My doctor also prescribed me liquid oxycodone (without acetaminophen). I took it a handful of times, mainly at night, because the pain seemed to be the worst this time of day and also relaxed me which helped me sleep.
I brushed my teeth everyday. Careful brushing your tongue. The biggest thing is to remember that although soup may sound soothing, it actually burns because of the open wounds so make sure anything you put in your mouth is either cold or cooled down to luke warm at minimum. Also, although the stitches can be a little uncomfortable at times, the primary irritant’s been the over production of salivation. For whatever reason your throat will mass produce saliva from day 1 through 4. Today is the first day it’s back to normal where I don’t feel like there’s a waterfall of saliva draining down my throat. The hardest part is to let it drain without swallowing because remember, swallowing is the most painful part.
I realize everyone’s experience and pain tolerance is different. I’ve experienced much more painful events and no, I’m not talking laboring a child. I had 2 surgeries due to a broken leg/knee. And last month I had endoscopic sinus surgery and a septoplasty which was 5 times more painful than this surgery, hands down.
Another consideration is that there’s multiple surgical methods for tonsillectomies so make sure you speak with your doctor on this. My surgeon placed 3 stiches on each side and I never feel a burning sensation associated with cauterizing. If you experienced a lot of colds and throat pain growing up, like I did, this basically feels like a bad case of strep, without all the other symptoms. Maybe I had it so many times I’m just used to the pain…..Not sure. But it wasn’t awful by any means.
Anyways, here’s some suggestions I hope you find helpful and also some things you should avoid. Best of luck!
Angle yourself in bed at 45 degree angle
Gel or ice packs on your glands, below your jaw
Drink lots of water with ice (the colder the better)
Buy childrens liquid acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Buy children’s liquid ibuprophen (Advil)
Buy stool softeners (if on prescribed pain meds from doctor)
Suck on small ice chips (chewing ice hurts)
Slushies (blend 2-3 popsicles together)
Smoothies (blend seedless fruit with some apple juice
Luke warm broth (no added sodium) with small egg noodles
Gerber organic fruit ‘smart flow’ packets (only ingredient is fruit and vit C – avoid lemon)
Chew gum (reduces associated ear pain)
Yogurt (with live probiotics in you’re on an antibiotic after surgery)
Cream of wheat or grits (luke warm)
Sliced lunch meat/cheese (small bites, chew thoroughly)
Steamed vegetables (the softer the better)
Soups (chunk free, no or low sodium)
Talk for the first week or so
Cough/Clear throat/Burp/Sneeze (if you don’t have to)
Chew on ice
Open mouth wide
Acidic foods (pineapple, grapefruit, etc)
Spicy foods (black pepper, hot sauce, garlic, etc)
Sodium/Salt (soups, etc)
Suck thick fluids or shakes (can cause bleeding, hurts)
Warm/Hot food (hurts, colder the better)
Lay flat in bed
Pills (take everything in liquid form if you can)