Preparation for Tonsillectomy for older children and adults
Douglas G Mann, MD, Board Certified Otolaryngologist, Graduate of Yale University School of Medicine
Just because tonsillectomy is an outpatient procedure does not mean that the recovery is a breeze. It is not. In Germany, adults stay 4-5 days in the hospital!
So you should be ready to have a really sore throat, and to find drinking eating and sleeping challenging. You won’t be doing much useful work.
Make sure your employer or school has given you at least a week off for recovery, with the understanding that it could even take a little longer.
Get together some mindless entertainment, like a list of movies or TV shows you’ve been wanting to see. If you don’t already have Netflix, or Amazon or Google play or Apple TV, see if you can get it. A bunch of good CD’s is and alternative.
Don’t go it alone. You should be cared for by a loved one for at least a few days. Come home if you’re away at school. Have your wife or husband stay home with you. If you’re not married, this is a good test of your serious relationship!
Get prescriptions for your pain medications BEFORE your surgery day. You will be taking liquid medications meant for children, but your grown-up dose will be large, so you will go through a bottle of ibuprofen or acetaminophen quickly. You’ll need a pint 16oz of one of these if you’re a regular sized adult. Your doctor may prescribe a liquid narcotic. Some pharmacies do not stock these routinely, and you don’t want to be hopping from drugstore to drugstore just after leaving the hospital. You’ll have no problem if your pharmacist has a day or two to get your medicine for you.
Ask your doctor for a Tonsil Fire Extinguisher. It’s a little spray bottle that looks like a fire extinguisher that your doctor can fill for you with Lidocaine, a throat numbing spray. It’s very inexpensive, and it can be a godsend when your throat is really sore and you need to drink or eat something, or fall back to sleep. You’ll just spray twice on each side of your throat where your tonsils were. It stings a little, and tastes horrible, but it does the job, relieving the pain almost immediately. The relief lasts for about 20 minutes, and you’ll be able to safely use it every couple of hours.
Now you’re ready for your surgery! Don’t worry, everyone gets through it. You’ll do better because you prepared!