Join Date: Jul 2013
| | Tonsillectomy ... Please Read!!
On 4th July 2013 I had a tonsillectomy, at age 34! I wanted to write this blog to show that if you follow what the doctors tell you the recovery is much faster and not as terrible as the ‘horror stories’ make out. After all you only find the worst case scenario when you search online, who really posts a success story, right?!
In June 2012 I started with what I thought was a common sore throat. It lasted months and after numerous ENT and doctors’ appointments I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever (boy did it knock the life out of me!) Anyway, 12 months later and my left tonsil was still swollen and I was suffering from tonsil stones (horrible) so at my follow up ENT appointment my consultant decided it was time to take them out (FINALLY!). When I got the news they were coming out I was anxious. Why though?! This is what I’d wanted since the third week of them being swollen all those months ago! It was because I didn’t know how much pain I was going to be in afterwards, what a general anaesthetic was like and how long the recovery was going to take. So what did I do? I Googled it, big mistake! “My throat became infected!” “The pain afterwards was horrendous (yep, not bad ….. HORRENDOUS!” “I began bleeding!” “I couldn’t eat as it felt like I was swallowing glass!” “I honestly thought I was going to die because of the pain!” Now I didn’t want it doing!!
At the end of June 2013 I got my appointment through and was petrified, really petrified! I went ahead and here’s what really happens;
I had to fast from midnight to the time of my appointment (luckily it was at 8am). When I got to the hospital I spoke to the anaesthetist who alleviated all of my fears about ‘being put under’. She explained that I wouldn’t feel a thing, I would wake up with an oxygen mask on and I was in safe hands. After all they do this every day, right?! I had my temperature taken, my BP and my oxygen levels checked, all good! I was then taken to the preparation room and a cannula was inserted (a small tube into the back of the hand). I had sticky pads placed on my chest (to monitor my heart rate) and a blood pressure sleeve stayed on my arm. The anaesthetist explained that I would feel a stinging sensation up the back of my arm as the anaesthetic went in. I felt nothing and then woke up. It felt like I’d not been anywhere! My BP was taken again and then I was taken back to the ward. All was good! The nurse brought me some water and I had a sip and guess what?! Minimal pain! I went back to sleep and when I woke the nurse asked me if I was ready for some food. I thought maybe a sandwich so I said yes. She then asked ‘Brown or white bread?’ ‘Butter or margarine?’ So now for the filling! No, off she trotted! ‘Oh, no she’s going to make me eat toast!’ I thought. She came back with two slices of toast and a cup of tea (good old UK!) I began to eat and waited for the ‘I feel like I’m swallowing glass’, it never came! I ate both slices and then two digestive biscuits! I drank my cup of tea and was fine. A couple of hours later I ate another two slices of toast. Still no ‘I feel like I’m swallowing glass’.
I figured this was because the anaesthetic hadn’t worn off, all those people can’t be wrong surely?! After six hours I was allowed home. I was advised to ‘eat as normal’ (as this would keep the wound clean and help to stop infection), to take my pain medication regularly (Paracetamol and Diclofenac both soluble) and drink plenty of water.
Recovery Day One;
I was lucky enough to find one piece of advice that actually worked wonders, use a humidifier while you sleep. Especially if you sleep with your mouth open, it’ll stop your throat drying out overnight. Trust me it works! So I awoke with a little pain, but still not as bad as everyone had said! I got up took my painkillers and even took the kids to school with hubby. We went to our local café and I order a sausage sandwich, with ketchup and we took it home to eat. I waited for the ‘It feels like I’m swallowing glass’ again it never came. Ok, it was uncomfortable but not so bad that I didn’t finish that sandwich! So, now I’m thinking ‘When’s the pain going to kick in?’ I kept myself hydrated with water and used throat lozenges, hard sweets and chewing gum (stops your jaw from aching). I was okay! I took my painkillers, on time, and was fine. Well, I had what I can only describe as a ‘bog standard’ sore throat and my uvula was swollen but I was fine! Really! I had lunch, an egg mayo sandwich, again fine! It was a little sore but not painful. I had dinner, all be it small, of scrambled egg on toast. Again, fine! Off I trotted to bed, put on my humidifier and had a full 8 hours sleep!
Recovery Day Two;
Again I awoke in a little pain but with earache too. Not too bad, but earache all the same. I got up had my painkillers and a cup of tea and within ten minutes was okay. I had a slice of toast and again other than it being a little sore I was fine. So, I’m thinking ‘Am I a freak of nature?’ ‘Why did all these people write about how horrendous the recovery after tonsillectomy is?’ Maybe because you will only ever find the horror stories, with a few positives if you look hard enough! The kids went out with their auntie and the hubby was at work so my Mum and I decided to go to our local supermarket. Yep, really on day two! I was a little hungry but could I really eat lunch out this soon. The answer, yes! I sat and had a full English breakfast (2 sausages, bacon, egg, hash brown, fried bread and two slices of toast!) I waited for the pain …… Oh, you’ve got it, it NEVER came!
I’m not going to bother going on because you get the drift! I’m now on day eight and the pain hasn’t got worse, my uvula is back at its normal size and I have what I can only describe as a slight sore throat. I have grey scabs on my tonsil beds but they come away on their own and cause no problem. Yes, eating does sting a little but not enough to make me think ‘I need to stop now!’ So, am I bionic? Do I have an amazingly high pain threshold? Am I fabricating the truth? Nope! So why am I different to all of the horror stories?
I followed what my doctor advised to the letter! He told me to keep on top of my pain medication, I did. He told me to drink plenty of water, I did. He told me to eat regularly, I did. That’s why my recovery has been easier. Listen to the professionals! I have had zero bleeding (touch wood!) and I feel well!
Here’s my top tips!
• Use a humidifier as you sleep (godsend!)
• Eat normally (advised by medics in the UK), no soft foods only for the first week!
• Take your pain medication regularly
• Use lozenges, chewing gum and hard sweets
• Drink plenty of water
• Use icepops! They really help to keep the throat moist
Trust me, it worked for me. I’m actually really glad I had it done. No more tonsil stones!