I turned 38 years old on the 3rd of February and exactly a week later on February 10th I had a tonsillectomy. I am writing this post because before my surgery and during my recovery I did a LOT of reading on the topic and I am here to say that as an adult I had what I would call an EASY tonsillectomy recovery!!!
As I write this, tomorrow will be two weeks since my surgery. And I really have no pain except for when I yawn!
Before my surgery I was very nervous about having my tonsils removed, I did a lot of research on the topic. I even watched a YouTube video on the actual surgery!! Because of my research I thought I was very well prepared for it. I lined someone up to take care of my two kids for the first two weeks, which I didn't end up needing. Below is my list of items I had on hand before my tonsillectomy.
My Pre-surgery shopping list
- Lots of ice packs - both reusable and instant. Because sometimes you just don't want to walk to the freezer!!!
- Liquid Tylenol - Although my Doctor wrote me a prescription for this as well.
- A Humidifier - I still use this and could tell the night we forgot to fill it up!!!
- Lots of pudding - I enjoyed this later in my recovery, not right away!
- Lots of Jell-O
- 7-up or other clear soda
- Popsicles - In the hospital they gave me two popsicles slightly melted with 7-up. and it was amazing, until it wasn't around day 3!!
- Root beer - I needed something besides water by day 7!!
- Lots and lots and lots of pillows. I slept nearly upright for the first 7 days! I probably used about 7 pillows.
I ended up getting strep throat the day before my surgery. Everyone at my Primary doctors said they would probably end up canceling my surgery for the next day. I was very disappointed. But they decided to go ahead with it anyways!!!
I had strep all the time as a kid, all of the time. I am not sure why they didn't take my tonsils out as a kid, but it is what it is. I went years and years without getting strep and then this year, since May I had strep 5 times!! So it was finally time for them to go! Thankfully!!!!
I felt pretty crumby the morning of my surgery. I couldn't drink anything but still had to take this monster sized Antibiotic with a sip of water. I was so glad to get to the hospital and get a nice big bag of an IV. I felt so much better.
Immediately after my surgery I felt pretty decent. I remember telling the nurse I was at about a 3 pain level. But I read that a lot of people weren't in pain for the first couple days, so I thought it was just normal. (I heard a couple times, wow those were some massive tonsils!!)
I don't remember much from the first 4 days after my surgery. I spent most of my time in bed. I didn't really sleep or watch TV. I just sort of did nothing. But still my pain was very manageable. I kept waiting for it to get worse and it never did. Around day 4, since I wasn't in a lot of pain and I hate taking narcotics I cut back on them to see how things went. I just took the Tylenol. On the narcotic I probably had a pain of 1. On Tylenol it was maybe a 2 but I felt so much better once the fog of the narcotics got out of my system.
Around day 4 was when I randomly threw up twice in the middle of the night. I am not 100% sure what that was about. Throwing up post tonsillectomy isn't the most fun thing you could do. But I survived. My son also was sick, so it could have been related to that? and not my tonsillectomy?
Yes, the back of your throat is disgusting!!! I tried not to look too much. I made my husband look and make sure it looked the same! And your uvula is going to be swollen and huge!! And yes your tongue is going to look disgusting and white!
At day 7 I went to my son's Hockey game. Even though it was a short trip out of the house I was tired from it. By that point I thought this has been too easy, the scabs are going to fall off now, so now its going to turn painful. And again it never did!!!!
Right around day 7 I think was when my scabs started to bother my gag reflux. Between days 7 and 9 I threw up 3 times because of the scabs feeling like they were gagging me. I still have a little trouble brushing my teeth because of this feeling, but I haven't thrown up since.
But by day 8, I pretty much went back to my normal routine. As my son said, "Mom must be feeling better, because she's downstairs."
One important thing to note is, I am still drinking copious amounts of water each day. And if I wake up in the middle of the night, I make sure to drink several ounces as well!! I make sure to drink well over 60 ounces a day. Before my surgery I bought a 24 pack of water from Target that I had at my bed side. I would drink those at room temperature until I ran out and my mom bought me a massive jug of water!
It does still hurt to yawn!!! It is getting better each day, but the pulling of that really isn't fun!! But breathing out as you yawn does help, or I like to plug my ears. My son also simply said I should just go to sleep before I feel the need to yawn... the wisdom of a six year old!!!
I don't know if I have a very high pain tolerance?? or what, but my pain was never over a 5. (For what its worth I didn't have an epidural for the birth of my daughter and I didn't think that was painful either.....)
I am sorry if this is not your experience!!! If it is not your experience, remember the end goal of getting those pesky tonsils out, and that the pain won't last forever. I feel like it is such a weight lifted having mine finally gone!!! If you are reading this right before your tonsillectomy I hope you have a similar experience like mine! And I just want to give you reassurance that NOT everyone has a horrible time with it! And hopefully that is the case for you as well!!!
Good luck and it will get better!!!