A Tonsillectomy Surgery and Recovery Story
Jessica’s Tonsillectomy Surgery Story
Hello! I am on day 11 of surgery and I am finally beginning to feel normal again! I wanted to post my experience for anyone who is thinking of having this surgery.
Most of my life I have struggled with my tonsils, but these days no one wants to take them out! Each year I would struggle with strep, sinus infections, bacterial infections… You name it…. Last year was my breaking point as it got in the way with my life. I missed 6 days of work and 2 trips during the winter. I was on antibiotics literally every other week. I became almost depressed because I just could not catch a break. Finally, my primary care doctor agreed that a tonsillectomy was in my best interest and a local ENT whom I knew personally agreed to take them out. I scheduled my surgery right after moving into a new home. The stress of moving plus knowing what was to come could be pretty overwhelming to me. I was terrified of having the procedure done because I had read everyone’s experiences online plus heard the stories from others.
HOWEVER, I noticed something. Most people who cringe when you tell them you are getting a tonsillectomy are the people who have not had it done. When I spoke to people I knew who had it done as an adult, the vast majority of them were like ” Yes, it was uncomfortable. I took my pain meds and got through it. It was not fun but I was fine.”
Then I started asking people who had it done a more important question. “Are you glad you did it? Did you see a difference?”
Every single person said Yes. Less sick days, less sore throats.
The point of my post is to tell anyone getting this surgery to not be too afraid because of all of the Internet drama queens. If this is something that you need, you will get through it. End of story.
I have a few suggestions that helped me get through it.
1.) Drink! Everyone says this. I’m going to say it again! Drink as much as you can starting in recovery. Yes, it hurts a little to swallow, but in my opinion only as bad as a horrible sore throat so do it! It also helps you get used to swallowing and using those muscles even though it hurts
2.) Take your pain meds and do not overthink it. Set a timer. Take them regularly. If they actually make you sick, get them switched. But most people I believe can take these just fine. Also, I see a lot of people get all worried about getting addicted or withdrawals. If you are on a narcotic for a lousy week, I assure you the withdrawals will be minimal. This is a ridiculous concern.
3.) Take your regular medications (with the OK of your doctor)… Ok this should be a given… I don’t know why anyone would not do this but I have read some didn’t know? If you need a medication, you need a medication… Discuss it with your doctor.
4.) Prior to having the surgery, go grocery shopping and buy everything you think you may want to try. Soups, apple sauce, ice cream, spaghettios, Gatorade, smoothies,…etc and a couple days after the surgery start trying to eat whatever works.
5.) Use a humidifier when you sleep. And wake up to drink and take your meds.
6.) Continue eating soft foods and drinking as much as possible. I could feel the scabs getting pushed down when I would eat. Kind of gross feeling but I also lost my scabs pretty early and I feel it is a result of this. It is day 11 today and I have almost nothing left.
7.) After about a week or when you think you can, get off your narcotics and switch to extra strength Tylenol. You will feel a lot better overall and you will finally be able to digest food and go to the bathroom. ( gross I know, but a real life problem… You will not go to the bathroom for probably a week)
8.) Take stool softeners, but don’t be surprised if they do nothing. If you are like me, you will take them for 5 days with no avail, but as soon as you get off hydrocodone, you will be back to normal.
9.) Have someone with you for the first week… But they do not need to be at your side. Just around. To help or in case of emergency. It was also nice to look forward to seeing my mom or best friend.
10.) the first few days, you need someone to care for your children. You cannot do this. You won’t be able to speak or have the energy to communicate the way they need. My daughter was very upset the first day when I could not speak to her. But then she got used to helping mommy.
11.) Avoid smoke of any kind. This one I haven’t read yet from anyone else. But if I came near any kind of smoke (even something smoking on my stove burner) I would cough violently. My fiancée cooked a hamburger on the stove and it smoked. I had to lock myself in my bedroom. My reaction to any smoke was INTENSE. I read that it can cause bleeding. So no campfires :-p and also, don’t get this done if you are a smoker and still plan on smoking. Aside from the fact that continuing to smoke is counterproductive, it may also cause you to bleed to death. So if you would like to think about getting healthy, putting the butt out is probably first.
12.) When you start feeling better, try new things with caution. Yesterday I got all excited because my mother had ginger ale. I took one sip of it and it burned my tongue so bad I wouldn’t let it hit my throat. I spit it out. 🙁 then I thought olive oil would be great to soak bread in to get it to go down easier…. It felt like. Battery acid. It’s amazing how I things will feel after.
13.) don’t be surprised when your tongue turns completely white, sore, and as the weeks go on, appears to shed. Mine was so gross looking. The tip hurt so bad from the clamp or whatever they put on it. And I ended up getting almost bald spots, like new skin.. That got bigger and bigger until the gross patches were small. However, my tongue is still very sensitive. Can’t wait for this to pass.
So that’s about it… I feel I have had a pretty good experience. It has been painful but nothing like i read. It has been frustrating to not be able to eat regular food or have good I energy for so long. I do admit the other day I cried because I was so upset. I Felt guilty that I couldn’t do much. I was tired of eating the same stuff. And bored of being home. I have read that it’s more mental than anything and I believe that. But remember, ITS ONLY 2 WEEKS OF YOUR LIFE and you will never have to worry about them again!!!!!