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    Old 10-15-2007, 11:39 AM   #1
    tonsils suck
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    Adult Tonsillectomy Pain

    I am a 33 yr old female who had a severe tonsillolith problem. For those of you who have this problem, you know how embarrassing and gut wrenching it is. For those who don't, don't ask. It's gross! Needless to say, I was desperate and felt a tonsillectomy was my only solution. But being the control freak I am, when I was scheduled for adult coblation technique tonsillectomy, I literally spent 2 full days reading message boards to prepare myself for what I would go through.

    In hindsight, I really wish I would have recorded the days following surgery as many people do. If only to give anyone considering this procedure another depiction of what happens. Unfortunately, I didn't think of it in the haze of pain and strong narcotics.

    I have a pretty high pain tolerance. I have had muscle damage and trapped nerves in my back/neck and severe migraines for over a decade. I have broken and sprained bones over and over again since childhood (either due to athletics or clumsiness). I even have had an emergency D&C performed WITHOUT anesthesia following a miscarriage at 3 months. From what I have read, a D&C can be even more painful than giving birth (at that point of pregnancy). So my thinking was; if I could take that stuff with little complaint, I could surely get through a surgery it takes small children only days to recuperate from.

    I thought for sure I would have no problem dealing with the pain of the tonsillectomy. My ENT Dr. and her nurse had been very honest. They told me it was the 3rd most painful surgery they do at that hospital. But I just thought it was the wimpy people who led to this perception. As crazy as it sounds, after all the warnings from medical staff, friends, family and message boards, I still went into the tonsillectomy day with great enthusiasm. Again, if you know what tonsilloliths are, you understand why.

    Well my surgery was September 17th. That was almost a full month ago. This following is what I want to share with any of you contemplating the procedure or suffering in the days following it:

    Everything I read on the boards about severe pain and suffering in the 7 or 8 days post surgery was surprisingly accurate. There is not one thing I have ever gone through that was near as bad as what I went through during the week following surgery. It was almost crazy how accurately each person described each day and what transpires.

    Side Note:
    The only thing I didn't hear much about beforehand was the blood clots. They burst on day 4 for me. The rupture of them caused me to cough up a crazy amount of blood (small mouthfuls). I first went to the Urgent Care and was told it was Strep Throat. But when I went to pick up the prescribed antibiotics, I began puking up blood again, nearly missing a very surprised Pharmacist! He sent to the ER. They of course told me the first Dr. was insane and showed me that 1/3 of the tonsil site was covered with clots. The ER Dr. just had me gargle over and over for a very long time with very cold water. No additional procedure was warranted and he sent me on my way. However, if you do experience this problem, do contact a doctor immediately. The clots sometimes do need to be recauterized.

    The other downside to the clotting is I ended up coughing up a large amount of the scabs which were in no way ready to go. So with what were basically raw, exposed 3rd degree burns in my mouth, swallowing anything more than liquid was impossible.

    Weeks 2 and 3:
    From about day 8 to 21, the pain just slowly dissipates. I took pain meds during this time (oxycodone) but only small doses upon waking and prior to eating anything solid.

    Another Side Note:
    I did go to pick up a refill at just under 2 weeks. My surgeon was out but some Jacka** doctor I spoke to in her office told me by then the pain should be gone and basically implied I was lying. I freaked! (Not in a crazy person way, just in an embarrassed, crying off and on, doubting myself kind of way.) But another ENT surgeon who was standing there at the time offered to examine me. I explained to him that I had weaned myself to 1 pill upon waking (Yawning brings tears to your eyes at that point, and forget talking!), and half a pill with meals. He looked at my tonsils and explained the pain would subside at week 3 and gave me enough pain meds to get to that point. Funny thing was, it was the week 3 point (to the day) that it was like all of the sudden the pain was just gone. I tell you this story so that you understand that as quickly as it comes on, it also goes. It's like you just wake up one morning and OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE SURVIVED!

    The only other thing I can think that is relevant to add is, do make sure you stay away from public places for the weeks following surgery. My first day out, my boyfriend took me to the movie theater. That way I could get out of the house finally but not exert too much effort. Great idea! However, within two days I woke with the flu. And of course due to a low immune system following surgery, that turned into an upper respiratory infection. So, STAY AWAY from germs until your immune system has time to build itself back up. As I said, it has been a month now and besides a lingering cold, I am feeling pretty good.

    In a nutshell:
    My thinking is this: It was by far the worst thing I have ever experienced. But it does get better and at this point I am so incredibly thankful I did it. The pain was TOTALLY worth it for the results. So if you are considering it, don't be scared off by the pain but do understand people’s complaints about it are VERY real. If you just had the surgery and feel as if you are dying, I just want you to know IT DOES GET BETTER. I promise, it does.

    Last edited by moderator2; 10-15-2007 at 01:19 PM.

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    Old 10-16-2007, 11:23 AM   #2
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    Re: Adult Tonsillectomy Pain

    sorry to hear you had some issues during your recovery tonsils suck. i had my tonsillectomy done in may at age 46. surgery was a breeze, recovery for me was non-eventful. yes - had some of the typical recovery effects/pain as described by others on the board, but by the 5th day i was off the liquid tylenol/codiene painkiller and onto tylenol alone. i also lived in the lazybody for 9 days/nights straight and kept myself iced 24 hours for the first 7-8 days with a humidifer right beside me.

    it has taken me several months to build back my stamina as the surgery did take it out of me but then how long i had infection inside the one tonsil - not sure as i have been presenting the problem for over 3 1/2 years before getting a second opinion from an surgical ent that my problem was chronic tonsillitis. i also had chronic fatigue and was not functioning at my even close to my normal energy level - attributable to the infection according to the lab reports in my humble opinion.

    so for all adults looking at having a tonsillectomy i would recommend it and do all over again in a heartbeat. no comparision with how i feel now as compared to before surgery. the surgery/recovery is not a cakewalk but there are some older ones like myself who are blessed with non-eventful recoveries. just don't push yourself during recovery, give yourself time to heal.

    Old 10-22-2007, 08:30 PM   #3
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    Re: Adult Tonsillectomy Pain

    I was 42 when I had mine out. I had the coblation procedure also. It was not the most easiest thing I've ever done but not the hardest. The pain was pretty rough for about 10 days and then it slowly let up. By about week 3 it was a lot better. The more you drink the better off you are. It helps the pain go away. The only complication I had was that three days after surgery I coughed and I started bleeding, went to the ER and stayed 2 more days in the hospital but they just put ice around my neck and it stopped, and they gave me some more medicine in an IV. Would I do it again, definitely yes. My tonsils were so big I felt like I was choking all the time. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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