Tonsillectomy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

I had my tonsils and adenoids out on August 31st, 2018. I’m 23 years old. Here is my experience:

First off, the reason why I had to have my tonsils out was for obstructive sleep apnea and my tonsils had been enlarged my whole life. Removing my adenoids was an extra bonus, I suppose. I mean, I definitely have noticed a difference without having adenoids, so I’m grateful. I would also like to mention that this was my first surgery. 

I had five doctors, including my surgeon, tell me this was going to be a rough surgery and I was going to be in a lot of pain. It made me extremely nervous about what was about to come; I don’t deal well with pain. I couldn’t stop thinking about what recovery would be like while I waited desperately for surgery day to come. I started reading horror stories on the internet (and trust me, they were horror stories) about how much pain some people were experiencing. Some said it was worse than childbirth. I’ve never been through childbirth, so hearing that a tonsillectomy was worse than childbirth sent me through the roof. I mean, it definitely made me nervous, but I just had this feeling my recovery wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought.

The day before surgery I went shopping for water, ice cream, jello, mashed potatoes, pudding, and popsicles (and let me tell you, popsicles were my best friends). The next day, my ride arrived to pick me up and take me to the surgery center. Long story short, my time at the surgery center was excellent and everyone was super nice. I came out of anesthesia with some pain in my throat which was to be expected. The nurse kept feeding me popsicles. It was great.

So, begins the recovery process. I honestly feel terrible for the individuals who experienced a significant amount of pain during their recovery. I’d have to say my recovery has been pleasant so far (I’m 11 days postop). The worst day for me was surgery day and the pain began to slightly decrease after that. I was eating solids right away because I was so hungry. Unfortunately for me, I still had an appetite… So I managed to eat 1/4 of a McDonald’s cheeseburger literally the night I got home after my procedure. I took baby bites, and yeah it hurt to swallow, but the cheeseburger tasted so good and I just wanted to finish it.

One thing I can’t stress enough is to TAKE YOUR PAIN MEDS EVERY 4 HOURS OR WHEN YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO. Keep on that schedule. I think that was one of my saving graces and the reason why I wasn’t in a lot of pain during my first week of recovery. 

I anxiously waited for day 3 to approach which I heard would be one of the most painful days. Day 3 came and I honestly felt fine. I ate my popsicles and had some food and drank plenty of water. I was up and moving and keeping my talking to a minimum since it hurt to talk. I was eating solids, as well. I did have some pain but it was manageable; it felt like I had strep throat, to be honest. 

So yes, it will hurt to swallow but I managed the pain by drinking lots and lots of water. Ice cream and popsicles were my best friend. It hurt to talk so I tried not to talk a lot. When I was resting, I felt fine, no pain. I did wake up one morning in a significant amount of pain. I managed to push down a popsicle and took my scheduled pain pill and it helped a lot. Other than that, the pain was manageable and I really felt fine. Now that recovery is almost over, I’m close to feeling 100% again. 

I really lucked out with my recovery. I didn’t even have ear aches from the adenoidectomy. My pain didn’t go over a 6/10, and it only reached a 6 when I was eating and talking. I slept, a lot, and stuck to my pain regiment and kept myself hydrated. 

I do feel terrible for those who had horrific experiences. It really depends on the person. I wish everyone luck who has to have a tonsillectomy… and I pray it’s not bad for people!

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