I have always gotten sick frequently with anything from bronchitis to strep throat to the mono. I seem to get sick every time the weather changes. Each time is happened, my tonsils would swell up and become so big that I would have kissing tonsils. Basically, what this means is that they are touching each other. Because of so many frequent infections, my primary care doctor sent me to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.
The ENT basically tells me that my tonsils need to come out and they are causing more harm to my body than good because they tend to hold infection. You always hear of children getting their tonsil out at a young age, but it is becoming more of a commonality for adults.
Managing the recovery from surgery can be more challenging that you would think. It was honestly the most painful experience of my life. I am not going to sugar coat it. I had no idea that a human being could possibly feel so much pain. But was it worth it? Yes. So, I would like to share a few tips on how to survive a tonsillectomy as an adult.
The doctor described it to me like this. He said that each time a person gets sick and their tonsils swell, more and more tissue builds up so there is more tissue behind the tonsil. A child is young and hasn’t gotten sick nearly as often as an adult, so therefore it will be much more painful for an adult because there is more tissue coming being removed.
Based upon my experience, I have compiled a list of tonsillectomy survival tips for anyone who has to undergo this procedure. And trust me, you are going to need them.
1. Eat as much as you can the day before
Seriously. You are not going to be able to eat real food for a while. I don’t even care how health conscious you are, you are absolutely going to want to pig out and eat as much as possible the day before. I am a total health freak and I was still down 10 pounds after surgery.
2. Go shopping before your surgery
You are going to want to stock up on as many soft foods that you can. It will hurt to eat. It will hurt to drink water. I lived on popsicles, pudding, jello, mashed potatoes and easy mac. Pretty much anything else hurts or burns.
3. Waking up after surgery
Honestly, it’s not going to be that bad when you first wake up. You will feel some pain but nothing too terrible. The surgeon puts lots of pain meds and steroids in you before you wake up so you will be good.
4. When the pain hits
I was also given a prescription steroid. My doctor said the steroid reduces the swelling which is what helps the most with the pain. Once your steroids wear off, that is when you start to feel the pain.
5. Your meds
I was in severe pain for about 11 days. It truly seems unbearable, but I promise, you will get through it. The two best pieces of advice that I can give you is to stay ahead of your meds. If they say take it every 4 hours, take it every 3-3.5 hours. The meds started wearing off at 4 hours. Do not let them wear off. This is truly one of the worst things that you can do. Even if you don’t get much sleep, still set your alarm consistently to wake up throughout the night. If you don’t, this will be your biggest regret. Sleeping makes your throat get dry enough as it is.
Popsicles are truly going to be your best friend. Always have them prepared for when you first wake up and after you swallow. They will sooth your throat the most.
7. Waking up in the mornings
Each morning when I first woke up was truly when I experienced the most pain. Be prepared.
No matter how bad it hurts, you must drink as much water as you possibly can. I was so dehydrated that I was throwing up and trembling. The pain meds will dehydrate you enough already. Throwing up while feeling that much pain is not something you want to do, believe me. The more you drink, the more you will stay hydrated and the more it should help with the pain.
Even though this is a brutal experience, it is worth it in the end. You are strong and you can survive.