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  • Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery

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    Old 03-22-2014, 03:50 PM   #1
    lovelifebella's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2014
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    lovelifebella HB User
    Smile Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery

    I would like to share my tonsillectomy experience with you. If you are preparing to get the procedure and reading every blog you can find on the procedure, I hope that this will be of help to you.
    I had tonsil stones for a few years and I was so embarrassed and self-conscious about them that I became a little anti-social! I stopped dating and I was constantly worried about my breath smelling horrible (which it did! Tonsil stones are gross and stinky). I tried at-home remedies such as a water pic, gargling with hydrogen peroxide, tongue scrapper and anything else I could think of. None of this worked. I felt so lucky when I was able to cough one up but I knew there were several more back there. I was at a loss so I decided to see an ENT. He recommended a tonsillectomy stating that this is the only way to get rid of tonsil stones for good.

    After I scheduled the surgery, I started doing some research and reading blogs from people who have had this procedure. I was terrified by some of the experiences I read but I also read some great tips and stories! I decided that I would keep a journal about my procedure and recovery and post it so people going through this process could read how it went for me. I will also post what I did at home including things that helped and things that did not. I hope you enjoy reading this and I really hope it helps. If you were anything like me, you are probably scared and unsure if this procedure is worth it. I would like to say that this was not an easy recovery, but it was not as bad as I thought. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Nothing is worse than tonsil stones. Good luck to you and be healthy.
    Day of surgery – (pain level 2-3) The surgery was a breeze. I was in and out of the operating room in 30 minutes. As I was wheeled into the operating room, I heard hip-hop music playing and the nurse told me to watch my surgeon because he knew how to twerk. This was hilarious to me and also the last thing I remember after the Anesthesiologist put me under. No need to say that the operating room staff was amazing AND hilarious. I had a wonderful hospital experience. I stayed in recovery for about 2 hours and during this time my doctor and each of his residents looked into my mouth about 10 times. The nurses stayed very close to me monitoring my vitals and administering fluids. I was on oxygen with humidification to help keep my mouth and nasal passages moist. At this point the nurse applied a scopolamine patch for nausea. I was hydrated, on heavy medication and I felt very little pain. My vitals were normal and I was sent home. Once I got to my house, I immediately started drinking water and aloe vera juice. My throat felt a little sore, but it was not debilitating. I still had the anesthesia in my body and I wanted to take advantage of this so I ate potatoes, rice, avocado and a piece of wheat bread (not toasted) and later a few popsicles. I was able to eat with no issues; in fact it was not painful at all. My tongue and throat were both very swollen so I had to eat slowly. I drank more water and more aloe vera juice and rested. I was very adamant about taking my pain pills on time. I was able to sleep some that night. I set my alarm for every 2 hours to drink water, this helped maintain the pain. I had a humidifier on full blast very close to my face which helps to keep everything moist and I had ice packs on my neck all night. I would HIGHLY recommend a humidifier as well as waking up every 2 hours to drink. Everything went way better than I planned and I was able to rest. My voice sounds funny! It is a little nasal-y. My family keeps making fun of me. Oh yea, laughing hurts! I have made a bed on my couch with several pillows and I sleep with a neck travel pillow to ensure my head stays upright. I have TV trays next to me with my humidifier on one and my meds, water, chap-stick and hand lotion on the other.
    Do eat as much as you can. Take advantage of how the lack of pain you feel on the first day. This will not last! EAT, EAT, AND EAT!!
    Do drink as much water as you possibly can. I also drank coconut water, vitamin water and cold tea
    Do take your pain meds on schedule
    Do have a humidifier blasting
    Do ice your neck often

    Day 1- I woke up this morning and I felt O.K. During the night I slipped down to a flat position and I choked. It is important that you are able to sit up when you sleep as chocking was not fun. I ate a big breakfast, oatmeal with peanut butter, bread with butter, a banana and a lot of water. I got up and stretched then took an Epsom salt bath. It felt good to get clean and put on a fresh pair of PJ’s. I ate vermicelli beans; I drank vitamin water and a TON of plain water. My mom got ice chips from Sonic (a fast food place here with really small ice chips) which I munched on all day. My tongue was really swollen and sore as was my throat. I had sores from the breathing tube that was placed from anesthesia. Luckily my uvula is not swollen at all.
    I felt really good all day until the early morning hours. I slept through my alarm which was a total of 4.5 hours. When I woke up at 2 am, I was in significant pain (probably a level 8-9). I will NEVER let this happen again. OUCH! PLEASE be AWARE that taking a drink when you are in this much pain REALLY hurts! REALLY, REALLY hurts! I had to hold my mom’s hand and mentally prepare myself before I swallowed. On a pain level from 1-10, swallowing is at a 12. BUT each drink becomes easier, so don’t quit drinking. Just get through the first few drinks. Ice cold water is the best.
    My mouth was parched and I got off my pain med schedule. My jaw was very stiff and I could hardly swallow. The pain had traveled to my ears. It REALLY hurt, sort of like a burning hot rod being pounded into my ear. I had to FORCE myself to drink water and take a pain pill. I ran a hot bath and soaked with ice packs on my neck and the backs of my ears. The pain went away about 20 minutes after taking my pill and I was able to drink more water and eat a banana and a piece of soft bread. This has been the most pain since my surgery, however, very short lived. Fortunately, the pain meds are very fast acting and had I not slept through my alarm, this level of pain could have been avoided. The lesson I learned today was to not ever sleep this long. SLEEP IS NOT MY FRIEND! I changed my alarm tone to the loudest, most obnoxious sound. No pain meds in the world are strong enough to allow me to sleep through my alarm now. In fact, I think all my neighbors are now on my 2 hour schedule. The alarm is that loud.
    My voice still sounds ridiculous and I scare myself when I talk, ok, not really, BUT it is a bit shocking. I have learned that talking helps loosen up the affected area and while it initially hurts very badly, the more I talk, the better I feel. I have not had a bowel movement since the morning of my surgery. This is obviously horrendous and I am hoping my bowels start to work VERY soon.

    Day 2- (Pain level 2-3) Woke up this morning in a little pain but I think it was mostly from clenching my jaw when I was asleep. I opened and closed my mouth wide a few times and the pain went away (or at least to a manageable level). I ate a big breakfast and took my pain meds with children’s Tylenol. I have been alternating between Children’s liquid Ibuprofen and liquid Tylenol along with my prescribed pain med. Children’s medicine is helping and I am taking the maximum dose for a 95 lb. child (I weigh more than that). Who knew this would work so effectively?! Unfortunately, my bowels are not working at all and still no BM to speak of. My doc prescribed a stool softener for me. Hoping this works!! I was able to sweep my floor, change the sheets on my couch and fold some clothes. I am trying to get up and do something each day as well as talking, exercising my jaw and drinking almost constantly and eating often. I KNOW this is the LAST thing you feel like doing, BUT it has been effective for me in healing.
    I ate a bean soup with kale and spinach today. It was easy to swallow, healthy and filling. I had a lot of mucous today so I ate a piece of bread which was very effective in grabbing the mucous and taking it down when I swallowed. Eating the bread took a long time and I had to take tiny bites! It was a painstakingly slow process, but totally worth it. I have noticed that the swelling in my mouth fluctuates. My tongue continuously gets less swollen however there are sores on the side of my tongue from the clamps used in surgery which are sore. My throat swells up and then goes down with no rhyme or reason. The sore from the breathing tube is getting better, however still sore. It feels like a flap of skin hanging down, do not try and cough it up! It hurts.
    I iced my neck pretty much all day and ate ice chips and Popsicles frequently. Ice seems to help keep the pain and swelling at bay. I also started chewing gum today to help my jaw not become stiff. I tend to tense up in my shoulders and jaw when I am in pain. Chewing gum kept my mouth hydrated and my jaw loose. I have started taking my prescribed pain pills every 3 hours vs. every 4 hours (with my doctor’s consent). I have noticed that the pain is becoming evident sooner that every 4 hours.
    I had a few bites of the bean soup for dinner; I was in more pain at this time. I was able to eat a bowl of orange sherbet which was fantastic! The cold feels amazing on my throat and it numbs my mouth. Sleep was sporadic; I woke up every two hours sometimes before my alarm in pain. I am still continuously drinking a lot of water. This was a rough night and I was in a lot of pain (about a 7). Iced my neck and ate ice chips all night.

    Day 3- (Pain level 8) Today was a bad day. I woke up in a lot of pain, on a scale from 1-10, I was at a 8. The scopolamine patch quit working today and I felt nauseous for the first time but fortunately I did not vomit. The pain in my ears was the worst today as well. I ate a piece of plain bread for breakfast, which took me about half an hour and I looked like a camel on Novocain due to the fact that I was drooling and mouth breathing. This is a good time to advise entrusting a caretaker who loves you for who you are on the inside. I recommend a parent or a sibling. You are going to look atrocious and you will smell just as bad. I have unfortunately caught glimpses of myself in the mirror and wondered if the reflection I saw was a hallucination brought on by the pain meds. It is a sad moment when I realized it was just me. Be prepared for some rough looking days. After I got the bread down (about 30 minutes), my nausea subsided and I was able to take a pain pill. It has been my experience that the pain pills work pretty quickly, about 20 minutes max.
    My doctor ordered an anti-nausea medication which helped, but also causes constipation which is not good for my already underactive bowels. I could not do much and I slept most of the morning and did not eat much. In the afternoon, I was finally able to get my pain under control and I ate a banana for lunch. I slept until dinner and I was able to eat eggs and corn bread. I felt pretty good after dinner and I was able to get up and move around a little. I did a little light cleaning and bathed my daughter. This got me tired and I got into my couch/bed. I slept with ice packs on my neck changing them out when I took my meds. My humidifier was on full blast very close to my face. I had a good night (pain around 2-3).

    Day 4- (Pain levels 2-10) Woke up feeling pretty good this morning HALLELUJAH! I woke up at 7 am and did not take a pain pill until 11 am (I took one at 5 am prior to this time). I ate fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I read about people not wanting to eat dairy because dairy forms mucus, however, this did not happen to me. I ate Greek yogurt with probiotics, strawberries and blueberries. The stool softener is not working and my poor bowels are suffering! I drank a cold cup of coffee this morning to see if this would help to get things moving and it did not! So, I unfortunately have to insert a suppository WAAA!!! WAAA!!! I apologize for the amount of information provided, but I want you to be prepared. Updates to come.
    * My caretaker AKA my mother suggested that I watch a scary movie that will scare the sh*t out of me. Please note that she is a CPA and has never worked in healthcare. This method is not recommended. 
    **Poo update-Suppository worked QUICKLY and my bowels are in balance. I feel a LOT better however I may need therapy due to the PTSD which developed after the assault of my backside .
    I ate ravioli today for dinner with no problems. I am experiencing a lot of mucous in my mouth today and I can feel a scab hanging off in my throat on the left side. I ate two pieces of toast with butter to help the scabs slough off. I have increased my water intake to help with the mucous and scabs go down. I have not seen or tasted any blood.
    I woke up around 10 pm in the worst pain yet. I mean YIKES! The sensation was a burning, throbbing, aching pain, one I have not experienced yet. It could not be controlled by the oxycodone or ice which both have been able to control my pain in the last few days. I took ibuprofen and the pain dropped to a 7 in about 20 minutes, however the ibuprofen burned my throat so badly it was almost unbearable (I am taking liquid form). The pain is localized to the left side and I believe that my scab fell off. I have had some bad, painful days, BUT this pain was is no way expected or planned. I wanted to curl up into fetal position and suck my thumb. The ice began to numb my neck and I started feeling a little better. I was able to sleep in 20 minute increments. My pain was manageable after my 1 am dosing and I slept until 4 am. I forced down the water to not become dehydrated even though the water burned as well. This was a HORRENDOUS night.

    Day 5 (Pain level 4) Woke up a little freaked out by the amount of pain I was in last night! Luckily my day was a bit better. By mid-morning I was able to get my pain under control and I slept most of the day. I woke up around 5pm but I was not able to eat anything. My throat would burn anytime I ate or drank, including water. I took a hot bath which felt amazing. I put on fresh PJ’s and changed the sheets on my couch/bed. I feel asleep around 8 pm and I slept peacefully all night. I did wake up every three hours via my alarm to take my pain pills. I think I may be on the healing side of this ordeal! The left side of my throat feels better, just a little raw. The scab is off on this side. The right side still has a scab but it is slowly starting to come off as well. I can feel it hanging off in my throat.
    Day 6 (Pain level 2)- So….I am saying this and knocking on wood….I feel the best I have felt all day. I slept well last night and my pain has been under control all day. I woke up this morning and I made a big breakfast, eggs, potatoes, fideo, beans and toast. I ate a fair amount with very little pain. I was STARVING! I have lost 5 pounds so far, something I am not complaining about. My pain was under control all day. I am a little hesitant to say I am on the mend only because my Doc stated that this would happen. He said that I would have a day in between all of this where I felt great and then I would plummet back into the depths of hell with the pain. So….I will keep you posted.
    7pm- Pain level is about a 4. I had to take my prescribed pain med for the first time today (I was getting by on ibuprofen) and I feel the pain starting to ease its way up my throat. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Updates to come.
    Day 7 (pain 2-3)- Still on the mend! I got up today and got out of the house. I went to my moms and hung out in her garden. I sat in the sun and helped her plant a bit. This felt amazing! I think I really needed to get out of my house. My pain has been under control all day. At lunch, I ate a soft sandwich and the scab on the right side came off completely. This was not painful, it actually felt really good.
    In the evening I tried to eat and the right side of my throat is very sore and tender. The left side feels great, almost no pain. I had to take a pain pill before I went to bed and I slept all night with no interruptions. I have had a lot of drainage all day and night but still no blood.

    Day 8 (pain level 2-4)- I woke up this morning in a little pain, around a 4, but as soon as I started talking, drinking and exercising my throat and voice I felt better and my pain went down to a 2. The right side of my throat is sore and tender and I am assuming that by tomorrow it will feel better. The scabs are completely gone on each side and the left side of my throat is feeling way better than the right side (this scab fell off first). I am out of pain pills and I do not think I will need them anymore. I have a lot of discharge coming down my throat, but still no blood. I was able to eat eggs this morning. Down 7 pounds!! WOO HOO!!

    I believe that this is the end of my ordeal! I hope this has helped you and I wish you the best of luck in your recovery! This has been a hard recovery but I think I have actually had a good time of it. Some things I feel really helped me are:

    1. I iced my neck almost constantly
    2. I used my throat a lot by drinking, talking and eating. The more you use it, the faster you heal
    3. I slept sitting up every night
    4. I used a humidifier every night
    5. I took my pain meds on schedule
    6. I bathed and showered daily
    7. I walked around and did light work everyday
    8. I remained positive and I mentally prepared myself for the pain
    9. I had good support!

    The Following User Says Thank You to lovelifebella For This Useful Post:
    Umbra919 (04-11-2014)
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    ent, recovery, tonsil stones, tonsillectomy

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