Patient Comments: Tonsillectomy - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with tonsillectomy.

Comment from: Polly, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 13

My tonsillectomy was overall a good experience, I didn't need to take any pain killers, and listened to my body. I am a 20 year-old female. As a kid, I constantly got tonsillitis, strep throat, etc., and I got quinsy a couple years back. I also got occasional tonsil stones. In the last 10 years, 90 percent of my ailments have been sore throats. With my tonsillectomy everything went according to plan. They gave me popsicles, water and apple juice in the hospital while they monitored me for a few hours before sending me home. It didn't hurt to eat/drink, but it felt weird because everything was beginning to swell. I was home by 6 PM and I drank ice water/ate right away. I had fruit popsicles, mashed sweet potato/soft fish and some mangoes. I didn't take any pain killers because the pain was minimal. Also, I still felt loopy from the general and the drugs were hitting me in waves. I was fine one minute and felt stoned the next. Before bed, I decided to take the prescribed Percocet just in case things got bad overnight and boy, was that a mistake. I don't know if it was still the anesthesia wearing off or if it was the pain killer (or both combined), but every time I was about to fall asleep, it felt like I suddenly stopped breathing. I would then wake myself up gasping for air and crying because I really wanted to sleep, but couldn't. I finally managed to drift off to sleep around 6am. I didn't have the need to take any pain killers (not even Tylenol) after that first Percocet. As long as I didn't talk, yawn/cough/sneeze, eat, or drink in large volumes (I drank through a straw), there was no throat/ear pain at all. If I did have to engage in any of the listed activities, I just pushed through it and the pain abated quickly after I was done. The first couple of days, I had a lot of trouble chewing/swallowing because everything was swelling. The peak swelling period was around 1 to 2 days post-operation. The pain was okay because the scabs were thick, so even though there was some pain swallowing, it was dull and dispersed. During this time, I also had a very low-grade fever and felt lethargic. Additionally, my jaw and tongue were recovering from being clamped down, so my muscles were very tense. By day 3, the swelling started to go down and so did the scabs. The pain in my ears slowly increased and I had sharper points of pain in the region where they took the tonsils out. During day 4 I tasted a bit of blood after swallowing food, felt sharp pain and had an associated ear ache, so I drank a bunch of ice water and it seemed to stop. I haven't had any bleeding since. Days 5 to 7 were the worst. Although the swelling and muscle cramps were almost completely gone, the scabs were falling off, so with every bite of food/water, there was either stinging, shooting, or ripping pain in random spots. My ears were also suffering and water had this weird sweet flavor to it. I think my breath was also rank at this point. I am now day 8 post-operation and I feel marginally better. Now, I only feel pain when I eat, especially if it's a tiny bit spicy/sour/hot. My main piece of advice is to try and live the same routine you had before surgery, but with modifications depending on the day of recovery and what kind of pain you're in. Try to listen to your body and its needs, if you don't need pain pills, don't take them. Drink lots of ice water even if you feel like you don't need it. I didn't drink anything other than water (to avoid excess sugar), and I made sure to avoid alcohol too. Try to resume a normal diet (apart from super spicy, hot, sharp, sour things) as soon as possible. Make sure the food you eat is super nutritious and filling. Do very light exercise as soon as possible.

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Comment from: coolbloke1324, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 30

I had a tonsillectomy today, about 8 hours ago. The pain is bad but I can fight through that. The really scary issue I have is that if I drink any liquid, even quite small sips, I go to swallow it and immediately panic because I feel like I am drowning. I cannot seem to swallow even water, and have to spit it out and then try to calm down because the feeling of drowning is very, very scary. This is going to be limiting my recovery I'm sure. I know I'm only on day one but I'm scared to drink water and suffocate, the nurses might not find me for 30 minutes and I will be dead. Also scared to sleep if I choke and suffocate in my sleep.

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Comment from: KMAE, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I am 25, I had my tonsils and adenoids removed on April 3rd, 2017. I read before I had surgery and saw so much negativity and complaints of horrific pain and bleeding, and it scared me to death. Let me tell you, this procedure was a walk in the park compared to every testimony I read. I did some things differently though to help my chances with pain. I am auto immune and have Crohn's so I was very afraid of added pain to my life, but had no choice when it came to the removal. Firstly, I did not consume any sugar post-surgery. I started cutting sugar out of my diet 2 weeks before to help myself not have a withdrawal problem. This surgery obviously leaves you with open wounds, why would I want sugar in an open wound! That is like eating candy when you have a canker sore. Secondly I ate every day, 3 times a day. I ate plain eggs (no salt or anything), apple oatmeal and pasta (pasta was day 4). I drank water all day. The pain is when things get dry so drinking room temperature water is your best goal. Be careful about using a straw, it is not recommended. Third, I had a large humidifier that was on all night right by my head. I slept propped up which really helped with the pressure in my throat. Ice is always good for swelling, but massaging the jaw muscles was my best choice, they will be tender but keeping them loose helps you not to clench your jaw from pain. I had no ear pain at all, but was prepared for it with cotton balls, garlic and organic olive oil. I mixed the garlic and olive oil in a small Tupperware and put it in the fridge ready to be used. I took my pain medicines in liquid form every 5 hours for 9 days and then switched to Tylenol. Keeping food in you helps so much with healing because you are getting nutrition required so your body can focus on the ailment at hand. This was not a horrible terrible time, yes it hurts, and it felt like severe post nasal drip to me. I brushed my teeth 4 times a day to keep bacteria down and I stretched my jaw (as far as comfortable) very often so it would not get too tight (the massaging helped a lot). Don't be afraid of this procedure. Mentally I told myself I would handle whatever happened and being prepared with water, humidifier, massage techniques, pain medicines, eating and keeping my mouth very clean landed me a fine experience. I would go through this surgery again if I had too (we all know that won't happen though).

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