Tatanja’s Tonsillectomy Experience and Tips

Hi,
I’m 24/f and had a UP3, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy the day after my 24th birthday (15/12/2017) in AUS. I was originally booked for one month previous, but due to a poorly timed temperature and a productive cough, I had to postpone. I went through the entire process of admission – giving all my details, weighing, putting on the gown etc and then was told to go home. Disappointing, but glad it happened because I was sick for another week and now looking back – I’d hate to have been going through that + this recovery. So if you’re feeling unwell in the lead up, make sure you ring and tell your anaesthetist and err on the side of caution. They will advise you on what to do anyway, but from my experience, it’s better to wait until you are at 100% health (or as close to) as possible because the recovery is going to be horrendous already. I’m on day 11 of my recovery and I’m so glad I found this website. Solidarity in knowing other people are going through this, being able to check what is normal for each day of recovery and just general advice has made this process somewhat bearable for me. I decided to get the surgery after many bouts of tonsillitis in my late teens and reoccurring sickness throughout the year. It was starting to impact my work and health, as well as my sleep because my uvula was so large. When I’d get sick, my uvula would swell to the point where it sat on my tongue. I know many of you have said this happened to you as well, and so when I consulted with my specialist I asked if it was a possibility to do a UPPP at the same time to remove it. It was a lot to get removed at once, but I’m glad I did because I never want to go through this again. People aren’t being dramatic when they say this is a genuinely terrible experience – but if you get sick as much as I (and it sounds like a lot of people on here) do, it will eventually be worth it. That’s what everyone I know who has had it, has said.

Here’s my experience so far: Waking up from surgery was terrible and I was in recovery for about 3 hours. I had used all my energy worrying about everything before surgery that I was not ready for the feeling of coming out of that surgery and the awful weird feeling in my throat. It feels like a combination of something crucial missing and something big stuck. That night wasn’t so bad because I stayed in hospital and was on a good schedule of pain medication. Day 2 was probably my worst day as I didn’t react well to the opiates in the pain medication and spent the day experiencing the worst nausea of my life. From then on I just took Panadol and set a timer for every three hours (this was the best advice I could have gotten from this website!). I made sure I woke up during the night to take it and whenever I felt like I was in too much pain to sit still, I’d go and sit in the shower for a while. A shower first thing in the morning also really helped. Day 3 – 6 were pretty unbearable – I didn’t eat a lot, tried to drink but that was very painful, the ear pain was off the charts and night time was really tough. I spent a lot of time crying over a cold bowl of porridge while my partner or mum tried to console me. A tragic visual.

On the afternoon of day 6 I felt something warm and metallic in my mouth and realised my left tonsil bed was bleeding. Nothing drastic, definitely not gushing out of my mouth, but enough to concern me. I made my mum call the private hospital and they suggested an ice pack on my neck and drinking cold water. While this slowed the bleeding, it continued for a few hours and when I looked at my throat I had developed a blood clot. My specialist hadn’t really given me information about this level of bleeding, only haemorrhaging, so I wasn’t sure what to do. I insisted we go to the hospital and it was lucky I did because I had to have an emergency midnight surgery to recauterise the area and the blood clot (which had moved in to my airway) had to be suctioned out. The surgery and recovery at the public hospital was a lot better than the private, everyone was really lovely and kept me informed. I was scared recovery would go back to square one, but day 7 was probably the day it started to get significantly better. While I was there, I was given soluble Panadol which was a GODSEND and I have been taking this instead of tablet form ever since. It helps the pain subside so much quicker and I feel human again. I take it with a small amount of lime-lemon gatorade and I can actually feel the difference ten minutes later. I’ve been sleeping 8+ hours every night and the daytime, while still sore, is much more bearable.

Every day feels 5% easier, I can eat a little more and swallow water and drinks with more ease. The ear pain is still bothering me, and my back teeth are beginning to get a little sore from clenching my jaw when I swallow, so I’ve been trying to stop that. The things that helped me not throw myself in front of traffic have been:

• Soluble panadol (though it sounds like most of the users here are American and use liquid painkillers anyway) mixed with lime-lemon gatorade. It tasted disgusting mixed with water so having something sugary helped me get it down.
• Setting alarms for medication and FOLLOWING THEM.
• Sleeping and sitting elevated at all times.
• Salt gargles and brushing my teeth when the taste was really bothering me.
• Nice warm shower first thing in the morning, and anytime during the night that I was in profound amounts of pain.
• Lemonade iceblocks
• My specialist suggested coke, but carbonated drinks were painful, so I stayed clear. Instead I had gatorade for a sugar relief from water. I tried not to have too much sugar and balanced it with some broth when I needed savoury liquids.
• I got sick of eating the same thing back to back so I’ve had applesauce, broth (sometimes with rice in it for fibre), porridge, risotto, pasta etc (the latter later in recovery). I know some people can barely get anything down, but you’ll need to push through at times to take your medication. Try to think of some options and stock up on a couple things before.
• You’re not going to have the energy to read or play games, so get lots of movies and tv ready. I would even play these and then nap 10mins in, I think the noise helped keep me from feeling completely lonely when I woke up crying at 3am.

All this stuff is popular advice and this website is full of good suggestions! I’m so thankful I found it. I’ve still got a while to go, but I feel like I’m in the clear of the worst of it. Thanks to whoever runs and regulates this website. Good luck everyone! It’s going to feel like it will never end, but I promise it slowly gets easier. It’s true that it is bad, I’ve never experienced anything this painful before in my life, but all the people saying they haven’t been sick again is pulling me through. You can do it :~)

Your Thoughts?