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Old 11-08-2010, 02:07 PM   #1
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Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Hi All. I, like many others out there, have done lots of reading and research on having a tonsillecotomy as an adult. I just turned 40 last month, and am VERY concerned about the recovery. I have been obsessing when it comes to reading posts. It is to the point where my husband is tired of hearing about it already, and I still have a month to go before my surgery. So I figured the best thing was to come to a place where others understand. I am looking for any advice on how to make the recovery easier. I have one point drilled into my head already: DRINK, DRINK DRINK!!! My surgery is scheduled for December 13th, so if there is anyone out there that will be going through this at the same time, let me know so we can commiserate together... Anyone wanting to offer advice or encouragement, please feel free to offer up your experiences and suggestions. Thanks!!

 
Old 11-18-2010, 08:05 PM   #2
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Hi, Mom! Choirgirl here! You asked me to come over here and tell you about my recovery, so here goes.

I'm 58 years old and had my tonsillectomy on Friday, July 23, which I call Day 1. Sorry, but I have no idea what method was used. I never thought to ask. My surgery was at 8:30 in the morning and I was on my way home before noon.

Recovery wasn't anywhere near the nightmare that I thought it would be after reading some of the posts on this message board. I had a sore throat, of course, but the pain was quite manageable by taking my pain meds on schedule. As for eating, I was instructed to begin with clear liquids and advance to a regular diet as tolerated. My diet on Day 1 consisted of jello and a popsicle. On Day 2, I found my "miracle food"...instant mashed potatoes. After I discovered the wonder of instant mashed potatoes, I didn't eat any more jello or popsicles. More about that later.

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. (Surprisingly, however, throwing up didn't hurt.) 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 ENT 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.

On Day 6 I decided to try cutting my Norco dosage to 1 pill each time instead of 2. All day, it seemed like it was a little harder to breathe and my jaw started aching a little, like a mild toothache. That evening I went back to the regular dosage.

My worst pain lasted maybe 15 minutes beginning 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.

The only time swallowing was really, really painful was when the "scabs" were coming off on Days 7 and 8. My diet on those days pretty much consisted of very thin instant mashed potatoes. On Day 9, I was back to eating thicker mashed potatoes. From then on, things just got better and better.

I took the Norco until Day 10, when I switched to extra strength Tylenol. I took Tylenol only at bedtime for a few nights, just in case my throat would dry out when I was asleep and start hurting, but I think I would have done fine without it. Then I stopped taking pain meds altogether.

I didn't have any bleeding at all.

I lost around 6 to 8 pounds. I gained it all back way too fast.

TIPS:

After reading posts about people having ear pain when they woke up, I decided to sleep in a recliner instead of lying down. I don't know if that's what did it, but I had no ear pain whatsoever. I didn't sleep in a bed until the night of Day 9 post-op...when the "scabs coming off" pain was over with.

What went down the easiest? My "miracle food", instant mashed potatoes. 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! They're fast and easy, they go down great, and you can make them really thin if your throat is having a bad day. I highly recommend them. I later discovered that peanut butter & jelly sandwiches were easy to swallow, too, and wished I'd tried it sooner. I also bought some baby foods and applesauce to eat with my mashed potatoes.

I found that some solid foods that I could chew up into tiny pieces would stick to the back of my throat. So, I chewed the food, then took some liquid into my mouth, then swallowed the food and liquid together. That really helped keep the food from sticking.

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 to guard against leaking. It freezes slushy so it can form around your neck. 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. A T-shirt or pillowcase would also work.

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.

And, of course...DRINK! DRINK! DRINK!...lots of water or Gatorade type drinks.

Set up your recovery zone before leaving for surgery. I'll share my set-up with you in another post.

Last edited by choirgirl; 11-18-2010 at 08:59 PM.

 
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

MY TONSILLECTOMY RECOVERY ZONE

I slept in a recliner. I had a small throw pillow and my bed pillow nearby, and an afghan to cover up with. I put a sheet on the recliner to make it feel more like a bed.

Before I left for surgery, I set up my recovery zone. On a table beside my recliner, I had:

* a travel alarm clock (to wake me up when it was time for my pain medicine)

* paper and pencil (to keep track of when I took my meds and when it would be time to take them again)

* a box of tissues

* an old ice cream bucket (for vomiting in if I got sick...I used it twice)

* gum

* a spot for my medications (I used a little plastic basket so my cats wouldn't knock my meds off the table.)

* a My Little Pony thermos from my daughter's old lunch box (You can use a travel mug instead.)

* an airpot full of cold water (a thermos or insulated pitcher, or a pitcher of ice water would work just as well) for refilling my little thermos

* a heating pad (I never needed it.)

* hard candy (I didn't care for it, but you might. I only ate 1 or 2 pieces.)

* a puzzle book

* the remote control for the TV

I also placed a waste basket beside the recliner.

 
Old 11-18-2010, 08:46 PM   #4
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

i'm only 14 so my experience probably isnt as bad as yours, (srry to say that ) but everyone tells you to drink drink drink, well thats alot easier said than done. Prepare for it to hurt to drink, and to eat too. Just to be honest.
I lost 15 pounds in the week that i was recovering... the only things you should eat are things like pudding, cream of chicken soup, things like that. (My surgery was oer 2 years ago and i am only just now able to eat that stuff again, lol, you lose an appetite for the foods that people are practically trying to force down your throat that hurt to eat.)
People talk about eating ice cream but its not smart to do that until a few days after- it's thick and can coat the area in the throat and that is not good.
About 4 days after i was able to eat chicken noodle soup, barely. I literally had to learn to eat again after so many days of no solids!
But anyway prepare to have a very difficult time eating and drinking. It helps if u take the pain meds they give you about 20 minutes before you eat (if it doesnt upset your stomach) and it makes your throat pain a little better so you can manage to swallow.
I was a rebel and didnt eat and drink like i should so i was dehydrated but refused to go to the hospital :O
So youve probably heard this like 03710578739486135976413471 times, but try your best with eating and drinking, it makes a world of difference!
You are in my prayers and i wish you the best of luck.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:42 AM   #5
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Choirgirl~Thank you so much for your info! It is nice to hear something other than one of the unpleasant recovery stories found here! All your tips are great and I will definitely share with my husband so he knows what my plan is for recovery. Thankfully, he works seasonal, and living in Illinois, his season is just about over so he will be home during my entire time off. Thanks again for your advice, much appreciated!

PonyLover~Thanks for the post! Yes, you are right, I have heard eat and drink just about as many times as you thought!

 
Old 11-19-2010, 05:45 AM   #6
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Several people on the boards have recommended humidifiers, preferably cool-mist, if I remember right. Since your recovery will be in December in Illinois, that might not be a bad idea. I tried a humidifier (not a cool-mist one, however) and it didn't seem to make any difference for me. But, then, it was July in Indiana...humid...and no central air conditioning.

Last edited by choirgirl; 11-19-2010 at 06:48 AM.

 
Old 11-19-2010, 08:09 AM   #7
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

I definitely agree with choirgirl about all the recovery zone tips, thats what i did as well. And I also reccomend the cool mist humidifier. It helped my throat stay moist especially while I slept.
Good luck with everything!

 
Old 11-19-2010, 12:15 PM   #8
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Thanks Ladies! I will add that to my list. I did find out my ENT does the coblation method, which is supposed to be an easier recovery and means a less chance of bleeding, so i am quite happy about that!

It's very nice to be able to have discussions about it here, as opposed to talking to someone and getting the "oh boy, she's worrying about it again" look from friends and family. Yes, I still have three weeks to go, BUT I have to have ALL my Christmas preparations (cards, shopping, wrapping,etc.) done BEFORE the 13th. From what I have read, I am pushing the time limit for enjoying Christmas Day...

 
Old 11-19-2010, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

On my Day 10, I was back in church and eating out with friends afterwards. (Potato soup with big chunks of soft potatoes. Yum!) If you count your day of surgery as Day 1, Christmas Day will be your Day 13. At that time, I was still eating pretty slowly...taking little bites and doing a lot of chewing...but I was eating a wider variety of foods. The sore throat wasn't entirely gone yet, but I was completely off of any pain medication by then.

I agree that it's a good idea to do your Christmas shopping before your surgery. I got tired pretty fast if I did much walking. But you should be able to address cards and wrap presents during your recovery. It would give you something to do that can be enjoyable and won't tire you out.

Unless you have complications, or end up with one of the horror story recoveries (heaven forbid), I can't think of any reason why you can't have an enjoyable Christmas Day. I'll be rootin' for ya!

 
Old 12-04-2010, 06:31 AM   #10
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Still one week to go and the anxiety is already setting in. Going to get the bulk of supplies this weekend, so I can relax with the family next weekend. Christmas cards are all done and going out today. Yay! One less thing to worry about. Whew!

I guess it is a good thing I decided to get this done though, am currently dealing with another bout of tonsillitis and ear infections. I'll be done with my antibiotics and feeling good again just in time to deal with surgery and recovery. Yippee.

 
Old 12-09-2010, 07:41 AM   #11
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Only four days left and I am surprisingly not worried. Yay! Of course, I am sure that will change Monday morning. LOL! My prescriptions are filled and at home and my blood work is done, so now it is just a waiting game. But at least I have a fun filled weekend ahead of me, spending time with family and relaxing before the big day.

Gotta get that "recovery zone" set up for sure!

 
Old 12-13-2010, 04:37 PM   #12
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

was today the big day? hope you are resting and doing great!

Bpayne

 
Old 12-14-2010, 04:45 PM   #13
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Hi BPayne, yep yesterday was the big day. Wasn't too bad at all. Today is a different story though. I just keep telling myself it will be worth it in the long run. (Not that I can change anything now....LOL!) It's not even so much the pain that is bothering me, it's more the swollen everything in my mouth. If I lay the wrong way, it feels like my airway is closed off. I have been drinking various waters since I got home yesterday. Had about 20 macaronis today and have some chicken and stars soup cooling right now. No appetitie, but I am hoping if I can get that down, the naseau from the pain meds will go away. Thankfully I found this board well ahead of time, so I knew what to expect. Still....ugh.

Thanks for checking in! If I remember correctly, you have yours towards the end of the month. While it can really scare you by reading too much, at least with what we learn from this board, we are better prepared!!

Ahhhh, pain meds are starting to kick in, so I think it's time to attempt some soup and then another nap...

 
Old 12-14-2010, 04:58 PM   #14
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

Haven't tried mashed potatoes yet, huh?

 
Old 12-14-2010, 05:56 PM   #15
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Re: Countdown to Tonsillectomy

No, Choirgirl, haven't braved the potatoes yet. I may try that tomorrow if it feels like the swelling has gone down. Right now it just feels like my tongue and uvula have taken over my mouth. I know I will feel better about this in the long run, I'm just bummed right now cause I feel so icky and can't carry on a conversation with my kids. Thank goodness my 6 year old has the reading basics down, he thinks it's fun when I write on my dry erase board.

 
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