Tonsillectomy Diary

Elle’s Story

Hi my name is Elle! I am 21 years old. I had my tonsils removed on October 9, so I am currently wrapping up day 7. Here’s an outline of how my days have gone so far:

Surgery Day: I had the surgery at 9:00am, and the procedure only took about 30 minutes with no complications. I woke up 2 hours later feeling GREAT. I was talking, eating ice cream and jello, and drinking lots of water. (Sidenote – I asked my surgeon to take a picture of my tonsils afterwards so I could see what I have been dealing with for the past while and wow was that something! If your surgeon is willing, it is pretty neat, and only a little gross). I was discharged from the hospital early that afternoon. Still talked lots throughout the night and ate Mac and Cheese for supper. Drank water every 15 min when I was awake, and when I went to bed, I set my alarm to wake every 30 min to drink – in hindsight, this was a game changer! Drink as much as you can, even at night, your tonsil beds will thank you!

Day 1: I was still able to talk, but the internal swelling in my mouth took me by surprise. My uvula was so enlarged I could hardly swallow. Stayed on top of my meds (Tylenol, Advil, and hydromorphone), drank water and apple juice every 15 min, and slept lots. I ate scrambled eggs (great for protein), jello, ice cream, and popsicles. I tried pudding, but found that it coated my throat instead of sliding down it, so I opted out of pudding. Woke up every 30 min to drink at night.

Day 2: I was no longer able to talk, the swelling was reaching it’s peak in my mouth. To help, I found comfort in ice pack wraps around my throat and jaw. I drank as often and as much as I could (drink lots when you feel good – it’s hard to judge when the pain will strike again). Didn’t eat much this day – mainly just Jello and ice cream. Horrendous taste in my mouth, changes the taste of every kind of food, even my favourite ice cream.

Day 3: Swelling went down substantially and I was able to talk more (somehow managed to go on a date?? – I don’t remember much of it though). Was able to eat Mac and Cheese again. Continued taking Tylenol and Advil religiously, but only took hydromorphone at night if pain was bad enough. 

Day 4-6: The days the spitting and earaches began. With seemingly every swallow, my jaw, head, and ears would ache. Nothing a little Tylenol and ice wraps couldn’t fix, but uncomfortable to say the least. Also, the amount of saliva my mouth was producing, and refusing to swallow down, was alarming. I grossed out my family by carrying a little cup around the house with me, but let me tell you it made all the difference! I started waking up every hour at night to take some sips, but often times my throat would be too sore to get anything down. 

Day 7: Today has been a turn around day. I was able to eat a bowl of oatmeal (cold), 2 bowls of soup (cold), and 2 plates of Mac and Cheese. Drinking lots of apple juice, water, and Gatorade. My speech isn’t really back yet, but it’s getting there. Also, I think my scabs are starting to make their exit so that is also exciting. It’s not painful, just uncomfortable as always. My earaches are my biggest problem currently, which is usually triggered by swallowing. My breath is starting to improve, but it’s still so strong and changes the taste of most foods and drinks.

All in all, the procedure and recovery is not as bad as I worked it up to be in my head. The pain can be manageable if you stay on top of your meds, drinking lots of fluids is critical (it’s okay not to if it hurts, just wait and drink extra when you feel better), and don’t forget to ice, ice, ice! There is a light at the end of this seemingly eternal dark tunnel, just keep your head up and try to think about nicer things, such as all the tonsillitis free days ahead of you.

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