Caitlin’s Tonsillectomy Experience and Tips

I had my tonsillectomy on February 23rd. Today is March 6th. I am on day 11 of recovery. I am only taking Tylenol at this time and I’m able to eat normal softer food without much pain or difficulty. This experience has been a rollercoaster for me but now that I am almost at the finish line, I can say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

I had heard horror stories from friends and family so I chose to not read anything on the internet about recovery until I got home from having the surgery. I found this website on FB. Thank goodness I found it! Here is my recovery story.

After the surgery I awoke and had a lot of swelling in my tongue and uvula. The doctor who did my surgery told me I had bit my tongue when they knocked me out. I didn’t think much of it because pain control was my number one concern. At home I was barely able to swallow with my big huge tongue but made it through the night. I set a continuous alarms for every 4 hours so I would remember to take my liquid pain med. The next day I could not swallow at all. My tongue was huge and hanging out of my mouth. Between the huge tongue and huge uvula I was in rough shape. I couldn’t even swallow saliva. I went to the ER and was given steroids via IV. Within a few hours the swelling had gone down considerably and I was back on track to swallow. They gave me five days worth of steroids to take at home. This was a game changer for me because I just wanted to be able to swallow my meds. The days sucked and the nights were hard. I barely slept bc of the dry mouth during the night. I used a humidifier, but still had to wake up often to drink water. I had a little bit of bleeding day 7 during the night. The hunger started to set in around day 7 as well. I had the second wave of pain from day 6 to 9. I had to piggy back my liquid medicine with Tylenol to make it through the 4 hours. But by day 10 I was feeling a lot better. I cut down the liquid medicine and just started using over the counter Tylenol.

Here are a few things I did:
* Drank coconut water instead of Gatorade to keep hydrated. Gatorade burned my throat.
* Ate Pedialyte popsicles
* Cepacol lozenges every few hours to help numb the throat when I was due for medicine
* Set an alarm for every 4 hours continuously
*Cold packs under the chin and around the neck
* Piggy backed liquid hydrocodone with Tylenol
* Humidifier
* I chewed gum as recommended on here. It helped with pain which I thought was weird. But I was willing to try anything
*Set goals to get thru each day. Do not focus on pain or it will become much worse
*Don’t be afraid to swallow. The more you swallow the easier it becomes to swallow
* Save your energy and shower! A nice hot shower was magical
* Use a toothbrush to brush your teeth and tongue to get the nasty taste out of your mouth
* Call your doctor if you are unable to swallow or have swelling. If you can get the steriod early to cut down on your suffering, do it!

This is gonna suck. You are gonna be exhausted and hungry. I suggest over preparing yourself for the pain. Just know that it isn’t as bad as you think it will be and though it will feel like the recovery goes by slow, I can not believe I am already 11 days after my surgery. It will go by fast and you’ll forget how awful it is in no time. Good luck!

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