Patient Comments: Tonsillectomy - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with tonsillectomy.

Comment from: Raahhyynn, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 07

I had my tonsillectomy on 7/26/17 and although it has not been pain free, it has not been the most painful thing ever. The first couple days I took my pain medicines (I was given liquid Hycet, hydrocodone/acetaminophen) every 4 hours, in fear that if I didn't the pain would be unbearable. After around the 4th day or so I started spreading them out to every 6 to 8 hours and I was fine. The pain changed around day 5, and my ears started to ache, but nothing unbearable. Keep in mind I am not known to have a high pain tolerance. But maybe this wasn't so bad because I have had so many tonsillitis/strep episodes. The pain overall I would say is a 6/10 for the whole experience and I am still recovering but back at work today. I read a lot of these reviews and freaked myself out a bit, but this was not as bad as I expected. As far as diet went I ate nothing but fruit Popsicles for the first 3 days and then moved to instant mashed potatoes which went down okay. If it hurts to eat, I would eat about 20 to 30 minutes after taking pain medicines and that helped me a lot. My advice would be to get a humidifier and have that right next to you when you sleep so your throat doesn't get too dry and drink a lot of water/Powerade Zero to stay hydrated. Although it may not be comfortable to drink, the pain will be worse if you don't. The worst thing you can do is let your throat get dry. When that happens you will have more pain and you risk bleeding. Like I said, my experience wasn't awful like the others, but maybe I just have a really good doctor (he told me he has done 3 to 5 tonsillectomies every month for the past 15 years). Lastly, make sure to listen to yourself and don't push it. It's not worth the pain or the chance to end up in the hospital again due to bleeding.

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Comment from: kitsune, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: July 10

I just had my tonsillectomy a week ago and I must say, it hurt terribly. I spent the first night in the hospital and I felt okay because I was on morphine and the IV but the moment I went home a world of pain followed. I had always suffered with swollen tonsils so I had no choice. But here is some sound advice, drink water, ice is your friend, and when the pain gets going, use an ice pack (these speed up recovery as they reduce swelling faster too).

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Comment from: brittanynsmith0803, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I am 26 and had my tonsils removed on the 19th of June. It has been one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my entire life. I am sure every one's situation is different and everyone has a different healing process but mine has been terrible. I haven't eaten anything since day 1 of my tonsillectomy. I can barely swallow any kind of water to take my pain medications and my medicines wear off within the first two hours and I am only allowed to take them every six hours. Piece of advice; day one you drink as much as you can. For me it was room temperature water, because by day six if you are any kind of dehydrated it will only make the experience that much worse. The past two days I have had the worst pain in my tongue, it feels like every time I swallow I am swallowing razor blades. The only thing that helps is to get through the first few painful gulps of water and drink as much water as I can.

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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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