Patient Comments: Tonsillectomy - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with tonsillectomy.

Comment from: Sabs, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

I went into this operation with enough bravery to know that a little suffering would make my life better in the long run. I woke up from surgery in recovery, apparently spent a longer period in recovery due to the fact I went unresponsive after I returned from the operation room because I was given morphine and would not wake up. I spent a peaceful night on an ENT unit for the night, not much pain. On day 1 I felt quite woozy and had lots of nausea, I went home and slept, pain was about a 4. I ate a bit of scrambled egg and had lots of water, slept on and off most of the day. On day 2 I woke up in quite a lot of pain about a 7, made the mistake of taking pain medications and antibiotics on empty stomach, threw up 3 times. Later that evening I washed my mouth and began to bleed, went to the hospital, bleed had stopped, so returned home. I was told that a bleed that starts is bad but if it doesn't stop is an emergency, just be calm and wait a few minutes. On day 3 I woke up with sore ears and a tight sore throat that felt very dry, I slept more and didn't drink as much in the night. Pain was about a 4 all day. I managed to eat mashed potatoes, yam, noodles and a bit of egg in small portions with a bit of effort. On day 4 I woke up feeling fine, no pain and generally ok. I took a drink and the pain retuned, about a 4 to 5. I ate some cream of wheat, drank lots of water and tried to stay up during day to start returning to normal. I found that the smoothies make a good meal in a pinch for moments when you need something to eat but are in too much pain to eat solid food, frozen fruits and frozen yogurt feels good on a sore throat. Today is day five and I'm feeling pretty good, so far my pain is manageable, sitting at about a 3. My biggest tips: drink lots of water, don't do sodas or sugary drinks as they can cause more pain and you get more benefit from water anyway. Stay away from milk for the first few days, milk causes mucous to build up in your throat, and I found that I couldn't clear it without choking. Take any and all medications on time with food! Not taking meds makes the pain worse and skipping the antibiotics can cause infection. On an empty stomach the meds will make you sick. Sleep at an upright angle, this reduces the chance of you choking in the night; if you bleed, or get a buildup of mucus, you won't aspirate. Avoid mixed consistencies in food for the first few days, for e.g. noodles and broth, just have one or the other not together, I was unable to swallow properly for the first few days, and having liquid mixed with solids in my mouth was a disaster, I almost choked. It will get better, I'm already on the mend!

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Comment from: Mrs. Cleaver, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 17

I had my tonsils out at 18, ten years ago now. Constant bouts of sore throats and strep kept me out of a lot of my senior year high school activities. The surgery was miserable, I vomited blood a lot after and the recovery was slow. But it was so worth it! In the 10 years since I don't think I've had more than two very mild sore throats and I can breathe so much better.

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Comment from: JJ, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

I had a tonsillectomy 12 months ago and lost all taste and smell immediately after surgery. This went on for weeks and months - I could not taste or smell a thing. The surgeons and specialists I sought help from had no answers. It got to the point where, because I had lost two of my senses, my quality of life suffered tremendously. There was no joy in eating anything and I felt stressed as my body was not processing things in a normal way. As a result of this for a while I became dependent on alcohol (even though I couldn't taste it), I became ultra-stressed and my relationships with my family and friends suffered. I became severely depressed. After 6 or 7 months, I began to feel a taste sensation returning. I could taste salty foods like popcorn and chips. This gave me hope and I am began to get better over the course of the following few months. More foods began to provide taste and some foods sadly tasted awful, like rubbish or acid. Twelve months later I can taste most foods, but I cannot taste proteins at all like beef, lamb, chicken or fish. Tomato based foods now taste like acid. But I'm positive it will return. I'd say that my taste has returned by 60-70%. So at this stage I'm happy to be able to enjoy most meals and take in most of the smells in the environment. My advice to anyone going through this is to try to stay positive, be patient, try the zinc tablets everyday (I believe this helped me) and speak to your surgeon regularly. I saw multiple ENTs, doctors and neurologists in regard to this issue. A side note - I was never informed before my tonsillectomy that loss of taste and smell and taste distortion would ever be an issue. In speaking to others in the same boat, it would seem that most ENTs do not provide this information to patients, which I feel is a total disgrace. People should be informed in advance that loss of senses for short to long term periods could occur as a result of this routine surgery.

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Comment from: Uncle Bill, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 30

I am 61 and on day 13 post-tonsillectomy. I had adenoidectomy, turbinectomy and septoplasty at the same time. First few days weren't too bad. Days 5-10 were awful. Lots of pain as the scabs broke loose. I stuck with popsicles and ice for the most part, with some mashed potatoes now and then. I took the pain medications on about a 4 hour schedule. It is day 13 and I still have some minor throat irritation. I am only taking the pain medication once before bedtime. Overall, it was worse than I expected, but worth it for the result. I had sleep apnea and it is now gone. Sleeping without CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) for the first time in 6 years.

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