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Old 08-15-2010, 07:07 AM   #1
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Adult Tonsillectomy

I'm an adult female, age 32, and am having my tonsils out in 2 days. I've been reading message boards for several weeks now and think I'm freaking out more and more each day! The horror stories are awful!
I have a very high pain tolerance so I'm hoping I won't have to much problems with the pain, though I know there will be pain. I am really, REALLY worried about the bleeding part. Had anyone had bleeding issues?
What kind of pain meds did your doctor prescribe? I can't take Tylenol with Codiene or Vicodin. Not sure what else is out there that will give me substantial pain relief....
Thanks!
Traci

 
Old 08-15-2010, 10:45 AM   #2
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

I'm an adult female, age 58, and had my tonsillectomy on Friday, July 23. It wasn't anywhere near the nightmare that I thought it would be after reading some of the posts on this message board.

I have had no bleeding after over 3 weeks.

My ENT prescribed Lortab Elixer (hydrocodone bitartrate & acetaminophen) for the pain. I had trouble keeping it down until I started eating some instant mashed potatoes before and after taking it. I was also taking the antibiotic Keflex in capsule form. Since I had no trouble taking the capsule, but hated the horrible tasting liquid pain killer, I called the office on Day 4 (Monday, July 26) to ask if I could take Norco (hydrocodone & acetaminophen) pills instead. (I had some leftover from nasal/sinus surgery in '09.) He agreed to the switch and called in a prescription in case I needed more. I took them until Day 10, when I switched to extra strength Tylenol. I took Tylenol only at bedtime for a few nights, and then stopped taking pain meds altogether.

The worst pain occurred at 3:30 in the morning on Day 7. I awoke to horrible throat pain, some difficulty breathing, and a ticking sound in my left ear. I took 2 Norco pills, crushed some ice to suck on, and grabbed a homemade cold pack from the freezer to put on my neck. Shortly thereafter, I spat out a couple of chunks of the soft, white scabby stuff and immediately could breathe better and felt better. My eating on Day 7 and Day 8 pretty much consisted of very thin instant mashed potatoes. On Day 9, I was back to eating thicker mashed potatoes, and, as I mentioned before, stopped the Norco on Day 10.

I had no ear pain at all. I don't know if this had anything to do with it, but before my surgery, I had decided to sleep in a recliner until after the painful stage was over, hoping that doing so would lessen any ear pain. Maybe it worked. As I said, I didn't experience any ear pain whatsoever. Just the ticking on Day 7 that stopped soon after taking the Norco.

I had instant mashed potatoes every morning for breakfast and as part of my lunch and supper every day during the first week or so. Wonderful invention! Fast and easy and you can make them as thin as you want to. I highly recommend them.

Homemade cold packs: Pour 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 2 cups water into a gallon sized zipper bag, then put that bag inside another one and keep in the freezer. I made 3 of these to rotate. To use them, I wrapped a flour sack dish towel around them, so they wouldn't feel overly cold.

Be sure to chew lots and lots of gum! It helps with the spasms that cause much of the pain and also keeps your throat moist.

Good luck, Traci! Let us know how it turns out!

Last edited by choirgirl; 08-15-2010 at 10:50 AM.

 
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Thank you so much for the information! I do believe I will sleep on the couch, elevated so I can avoid to much pain from laying down. I am also going to me making several ice packs! I didn't know I could make them like that! I will keep posting on here during my recovery. I want people to know how it really goes.
Thanks again!
Traci

 
Old 08-17-2010, 01:43 AM   #4
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Hi, my name is Michele. I am 18 years old and I got my tonsils taken out last Thursday. This is the beginning of day 6 for me since surgery. I'll admit, this has been a terribly painful experience for me, but with the help of the pain killers it has been pretty bearable. My advice would be to stick with cold foods such as sherbert or chilled pudding for the first day or so. Orange sherbert has been my go-to food this whole time. It is cold so it feels good on your throat, and it melts so it won't feel like it's stuck in your throat. To be completely honest, I haven't really eaten much since the surgery. My doctor flat out told me that he didn't care if I ate at all, as long as I drank plenty of water. So don't be too concerned about eating, you probably won't even notice how hungry you are most of the time.

Nights will probably be when the worst of your pain is, that's how it has been for me at least. No matter what I do, every time I fall asleep my mouth ends up being wide open so my throat dries out. Let me tell you now, that pain is awful. The best way to fight that problem is to sleep with a glass of water next to you, and drink some every single time you wake up. Also, have a humidifier running in the room whenever you are sleeping. I've noticed a huge difference in the levels of pain since I started using the humidifier.

Oh and don't be freaked out if your uvula swells. Mine did, and a lot of others' have too. It'll be a little sore and you'll probably gag on it a little bit but there isn't much you can do about it. I found that eating those cold foods helped to ease the swelling of my uvula.

My last bit of advice is to not push talking too much. For the first couple days I solely relied on notecards and pens to "talk" to everyone. I looked absolutely ridiculous writing down my response to everything but it didn't matter to me because talking hurt. After a couple days you should be able to talk a little bit, but don't push it because it will make your throat sore after talking too much. I keep making that mistake, haha.

And to the response before this about sleeping elevated, that is brilliant! I never would have thought of that. I have slept a couple times in my recliner but never realized that that was the reason I wasn't in as much pain when I woke up. Thank you so much for that!

Good luck with your surgery! Drink lots of fluids and keep up with your doses of medicine, it'll make all the difference!

 
Old 08-17-2010, 01:45 AM   #5
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Oh and by the way, my doctor proscribed me Roxicet, which is basically liquid Percocet. It works amazingly.

 
Old 08-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #6
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Interesting, isn't it, how different tonsillectomy experiences can be.

After Day 1 (the day of surgery), I stopped eating jello (my cold food of choice) and went straight for the mashed potatoes, sometimes mixed with a little baby food. On Day 3, I had potato soup from a local restaurant...thick, creamy soup with big chunks of soft potatoes. It tasted soooo good and went down remarkably well. I drank lots and lots of cold water and, on the excellent advice of my doctor, I chewed lots of gum.

The instruction sheets from my ENT and the hospital said "Food is to be encouraged. The more you eat, the better you heal." "Remember that although foods are important for the first week, FLUIDS ARE ESSENTIAL." "Chewing is very important in order to shorten the length of those early painful days. Chewing gum is very helpful to encourage the use of the jaw muscles and relieve the spasm which contributes greatly to the pain."

I agree with you about the sleeping, Michelle. As soon as I'd fall asleep, my swollen uvula would flop back so I couldn't breathe through my nose. Then I'd either wake up, or my mouth would open and my throat would dry out. As the swelling went down, sleeping got a whole lot easier. At 3 1/2 weeks, my uvula is still a little swollen. It doesn't get in the way of breathing anymore. It just makes my throat feel thick when I swallow.

I used a humidifier, but it didn't seem to make much difference in my case. At the time, we were having very humid weather, so maybe that's the reason. I know humidifiers have helped lots of other people, though.

As for talking, I talked just much as ever. I sounded kind of funny sometimes, I think because of my uvula getting in the way, but talking was never painful. Thank goodness for that! I'd have been in quite a pickle!

Well, Traci, I guess today's the day. I hope and pray that your surgery goes/went well and that your recovery is at least as easy as mine has been.

Last edited by choirgirl; 08-17-2010 at 07:11 AM.

 
Old 08-18-2010, 02:49 PM   #7
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Hello!
I am now 10 hours out of surgery and feeling better than I expected. My uvula is swollen as is my tongue. It is SEVERELY bruised! Didn't know a tongue could become bruised! It is from having the tube put down my throat. I am on Lortab every four hours and have not laid completely flat since surgery. I have little ear pain and hardly any swelling in my neck. I've been eating ice chips, drinking water, eating Jello and Ritz crackers. Talking hurts a good bit so I've been limiting it. I'll write more in the morning and let you know how my first evening went.
PS: I had a tonsillectomy, septoplasty, and turbinate reduction.

 
Old 08-18-2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Traci, I've been checking all day to see how you're getting along.

Wow! All that at the same time, huh? Those nasal/sinus procedures were part of what I had done in '09. I got along fine that time, too. I'm not so sure I'd want to do nose and throat at the same time, though. The tubes the ENT put through the packing in my nose clogged up and I had to breathe through my mouth until the packing came out. If I had the tonsillectomy at the same time, I think that would have dried out my throat and made it hurt more.

How are you doing with the Lortab? I assume it's the same stuff I had. I hate liquid medicine. To get it down, I had to take a sip...drink some water...take a sip...drink some water...

My tongue was swollen, but not bruised. Sounds painful.

Sorry you have ear pain. I hope it doesn't get bad. Like I said earlier, I didn't have that problem. Are you chewing gum? The ear pain is what the gum is supposed to help, but I think it helps with the throat, too, because it helps keep it moist.

I'll be looking forward to your next post.

 
Old 08-18-2010, 04:24 PM   #9
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Thanks for checking on me! My ear pain isn't really that painful. It's like my hearing is more sensitive or something. I am going to start chewing gum tomorrow. I bought a bunch after I read your post!
The Lortab is liquid, but it's not too nasty! I do like you did...take a sip, then water, take a sip, then water...till it's gone!
I finally looked at my own throat and it looks so gross! All gray and white and black! The nurse said the first 24 hours are the most risky for bleeding so I've been keeping the ice collar around my neck and eating/drinking nothing but cold stuff.
I wasn't really planning on having all the stuff done at once, but after talking with the doctor we decided it was best. The packing was the biggest concern for me for the exact reason you stated. I didn't want my throat to dry out. He used a different type of packing. I can actually breathe through my nose with little problem. I have zero pain in my nose. It's just annoying because it's dripping a little and I can feel the packing. I want to blow my nose SO bad! The packing is dissolvable and will be "vacuumed" out on Monday. Should be interesting!
So far so good! I'll keep you posted!

 
Old 08-19-2010, 09:20 AM   #10
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Day 1 post op:
Pain is not nearly as bad as I expected. The only thing that hurts in my tongue and my uvula (which is currently gagging me!). I hope it all goes down soon! Anybody know how long that takes?
I haven't slept about an hour or two since surgery. I can't breathe through my nose because of the packing in there so I have to breathe through my mouth. I dry out before I can get to sleep and have to drink water...it's a never ending process. My packing in the nose comes out on Monday so just a few days of this hopefully! I feel like swallowing a tube of Vaseline to keep my throat moist!
I ate some scrambled eggs this morning and some grits. Not much though. I didn't want to over do it. I ate less that my two year old son! I got a stomach ache after that so I went back to Jello. I feel much better!
Did anyone gargle with anything post op? Did it help? I feel like some stuff is loosening up in the back of my throat so I want to help it out a little bit!
Keeping everyone posted!
Thanks for all the info; it's been so helpful!
Traci

 
Old 08-19-2010, 11:14 AM   #11
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Tomorrow, it will be 4 weeks since my tonsillectomy. My post-op appointment is tomorrow morning. My uvula is still a little bit bigger than normal, but it's much, much smaller than it was. I'm just aware of its presence and it makes my throat feel kind of thick when I swallow. I know for a fact that it was still huge at 1 1/2 weeks post-op, so I'm guessing it was pretty bothersome for at least 2 weeks. I remember it took me a long time to eat anything. Certain foods I had to chew up, and then get some water into my mouth before swallowing so little pieces wouldn't stick to the back of my throat. I can eat anything I want to now with very little trouble. Ice cream hurts a little. Too cold on my uvula. Go figure!

Too bad you can't breathe through your nose anymore. That's a bummer. You were breathing okay yesterday, and I had hoped that would continue. Can't get a lot of rest when you have to keep drinking constantly just to keep your throat moist. Have you tried the gum yet? It really does help with that.

When I had my nasal/sinus surgery, I could breathe through my nose okay on the day of surgery. On the second day, the little tubes in my packing kept plugging up and I spent all day trying to keep them flushed out. Not a fun day. I had many days before the surgery when I couldn't get any air either in or out of either nostril. So, for the third day, I just decided to pretend it was that kind of day and let my nose be plugged up. The packing came out the next day. (That was fun. NOT! Mine wasn't vacuumed out, though... mine was yanked. Mine wasn't dissolvable like yours, either. I think it was gauze. I'll be interested to hear all about your unpacking experience.) So, anyway, I only had a couple of days to put up with being a mouth breather.

Gargling? Nope. Didn't do it. I wouldn't have done that without calling my ENT's office first. I'd be afraid it would make me start bleeding. I was even told by the hospital not to drink through a straw. Too much strain on the wrong parts of the throat, I guess.

I look forward to reading further updates. Sounds like it's going pretty well, so far. Keep it up!

Mary Lou

 
Old 08-20-2010, 12:38 PM   #12
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Day 2 Post-op:
Last night went awesome! I chewed gum until I went to bed. I ate instant mashed potatoes (amazing stuff!) and Jello. I also drank so warm chamomile tea and had some Campbell's Soup At Hand. I slept through the night with very little pain. I woke myself up at 12 and 4 so I could keep on my meds and went right back to sleep. I felt amazing this morning.
This afternoon the area my tonsils came from is causing a lot of pain. It's weird that it came on suddenly. My husband looked in my throat and saw that my uvula has shrunk back down to more of a normal size and everything is now scabbed over. I'm guessing that is what the pain is from. My ears are also hurting a little more. I think it's from the swelling in my neck.
All in all I would totally do this again (so far). I have not experienced any of the horror stories I've read about. Hope tonight goes as well as last night!
Traci

 
Old 08-20-2010, 05:17 PM   #13
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Wonderful!! I'm so glad to hear that you're doing so well!

As for the horror stories, everything I read said that the pain would get worse when the scabby stuff started coming off, and that was true for me, too. That was Day 7 that I talked about in an earlier post. But the medicine soon made it bearable. I just made my instant mashed potatoes really thin for a couple of days. I see you agree with me about how amazing they are. I practically lived on them for over a week!

In case you're interested: My post-op appointment was today. He said everything looks really good, my test results were benign (YAY!), and I go back in October for another follow-up. Apparently full recovery takes awhile.

I hope tonight is another awesome night for you!

 
Old 08-21-2010, 08:20 AM   #14
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Day 3 Post-op:
Last night was another difficult night. My nose is draining into my throat so everything stayed really sore. I was up a lot last night. The pain today is about a 5. Cottage cheese is my best friend lately. It's cold and smooth and has plenty of protein so I don't feel super hungry afterwards.
Chewing gum is really helpful. I don't feel so sore after I chew a piece for about an hour.
We will see how tonight goes. I have been using saline solution in my nose to help flush the crud away. It helps a little bit.

Mary: I'm super happy your appointment went so well! The information you have been providing me has been so helpful! I can't stress fluids enough and instant mashed potatoes are amazing!!

 
Old 08-21-2010, 10:03 AM   #15
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Re: Adult Tonsillectomy

Sounds like you're on sort of a roller coaster ride, Traci. Up one day and down the next. I'm sure it complicates things having nose work done at the same time. Maybe things will get better after the packing comes out on Monday...until they get worse again when the "scabs" start coming off.

Your packing must be a lot different than mine was to be able to flush anything out with saline solution. I didn't do any rinsing when my nose was packed (except for using a catheter and syringe they gave me to flush out the little breathing tubes in my packing with plain water). The day the packing came out, they gave me a can of Simply Saline to rinse with. I asked about using my Neti Pot instead and they told me Neti Pots are great, so that's what I used. (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt dissolved in 2 cups of warm water; 1 cup per nostril.) I still have the can of Simply Saline.

Well, I hope tonight is a good one for you so you can get some sleep.

Mary Lou

 
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