Erin’s Tonsillectomy Tips and Advice

Hemorrhage After Tonsillectomy
Tonsillectomy Recovery Experience

Hello. I’m a 30 yr old female in the US. I have always had slightly enlarged tonsils, but in early August of this year, found myself for nearly 2 months with multiple bouts of tonsillitis requiring antibiotics and lots of crying, feeling that I would never recover! I finally did, but one tonsil remained enlarged, taking up about 1/2 of my throat. Although it was soft and non tender at that time, my ENT advised that I would likely need a tonsillectomy eventually if it did not decrease in size.

Needless to say, I wanted them out but was extremely nervous!!! I have an anxiety disorder and everyone around me was saying horrible things and not being reassuring at all!!

Some were upset that I needed the time off work, some said “oh, I would never do that, its horrible, you will be in so much pain, you’ll bleed!” Etc….

Luckily I have a psych doc and was able to be prescribed some Xanax. Only needed it twice, but it was nice to have!!

The day of surgery FINALLY CAME and as soon as I was in pre-op all my fears went away.

So beyond the physical things that you purchase prior to surgery, I think its also important to take a moment with yourself if you are nervous and congratulate yourself on how brave you are for doing something that you don’t really want to do. Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up for being anxious! Everybody is at least a little nervous before any surgery and you are doing a great job!

Somethings that I wondered, but didn’t see a lot of people talking about in these support blogs:
1. Its a same day procedure in the US so you go to a same day surgery center. You where a gown, but keep your underwear on. Bra has to go ladies.
2. They give you a relaxation medication right before you go to the OR through an IV. It burns a little bit, so don’t be surprised, but then you feel very relaxed. You are awake enough to slide over onto the OR table. Then they put a mask near or on your face and tell you to take some deep breathes. Its not scary, just relaxing. Then you are out!
3. You will NOT wake up intubated and there is no cotton or gauze in your mouth. You will probably have a mask on your face when you wake up, but mine was blowing mist (humidified air).
4. You are intubated during surgery and they pin your tongue down and may pull it out of your mouth to keep it out of the way. Your tongue will be kind of numb for a while!

I woke up with some pain, but mainly everything was numb!!! I rested for a few minutes and the nurse called my mom back to post op. I was groggy but after a few minutes, my mom and dad took me home.
The doctor prescribed liquid hydrocodone 7.5 mg/Tylenol 325 mg. Its a common narcotic med. He had a difficult time getting it because it was liquid. Honestly, if your doctor prescribed it in pill form, it will be fine, just have some plastic sandwich bags and a blunt object and you can crush them easily.

Day 0(day of surgery) to day 3 are kind of a blur…
First, always eat something before taking the medication. It can be two spoon fills of pudding, doesn’t have to be a lot, but something.
Second, set an alarm on your phone or watch for 6 hours and take the medication, even if you feel ok or only a little bit of pain, take the pain meds. If you wait until your pain is more than a 5 (out of 10) it will a 10, 2 minutes later! When the meds wear off, they wear off quick!!

I actually took between 5-7.5 mg of the narcotic with a separate dose of liquid Tylenol at the same time. 325 mg of Tylenol isn’t much since one tablet is usually 500mg. So I would take the prescription med plus another 350 mg of liquid Tylenol. This seemed to work very well.
Just don’t consume more than 4000 mg of Tylenol in one day.

Buy a humidifier that blows mist and never turn it off!! You don’t want the air to be dry, and don’t use a ceiling fan!!!! It blows air in your face and dries out your mouth.

If you can, buy surgical masks. They are the type that cover your mouth and tie behind your head or behind your ears. You want to keep all of the moisture in your mouth at all costs! Saliva, ice chips, drool!! LoL. You want your mouth very moist.

Ice chips!!!! These are your best friend. See if you can stay with someone who has an ice machine or plan to make very tiny ice cubes for a week prior to surgery. Keep ice chips at bedside 24/7. Ice cubes are too big, you need to have the cube crushed.

Food: despite the stories, ice cream was too cold for me. Better: jello, pudding and yogurt.
I also drank an ensure diluted with milk.
Nothing red or orange. Stick to vanilla pudding/yogurt. Best yogurt: light and fit vanilla Greek yogurt. Perfect consistency!!
And lots of water and ice chips!!! Ice chips!!!! Have I said that enough.

Strangely, my tongue and jaw/ear area hurt more than my throat. You can let the ice melt in your mouth and it reduces tongue and ear pair.
Something that NOBODY told me or discussed was the difficulty swallowing. I don’t mean pain swallowing, because obviously it hurts… But for about 48 hours I had very poor motor function/coordination to swallow.
I work with speech pathologists so lucky I knew that you need to tuck you chin to your chest and swallow 2 or 3 times hard and quick to avoid aspiration. I can’t be the only person who had that issue!

Well, I think I covered some stuff I didn’t see in other posts.

In currently post op day 8. Feeling a bit better everyday.

Hope everyone feels a little bit everyday too.

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