I’m going to write about something a little different for this post. Last Friday (August 11, 2017) I underwent surgery for a tonsillectomy. Let me start off by saying this is my own personal experience. Everyone is different in terms of how their body manages medicine and its healing process, so how I reacted may not be how anyone else reacts.
With that being said, my experience was terrible. I have a pretty high threshold for pain and this knocked me down for days on end. I started this entire process off at 105 lbs. It is now one entire week later, and I’m currently weighing in at 97 lbs. So expect to lose a significant amount of weight by the time you’re fully healed.
This process was nothing short of torture. I’m sure in the long run this will be the greatest thing I could ever do for my body and my health, but at this point it just straight up blows.
Now, lets take a walk down memory lane.
Day 1: I couldn’t eat or drink anything before surgery (typical for any invasive surgery). So, as mentioned in previous posts, I’m a fairly anxious person on a regular basis. Therefore, this surgery (thankfully) required me to be drugged up a lot so I would be calm enough to not fight off every doctor that came within 5 feet of me. If you are anxious, tell the doctor/nurse when you get there. I was lucky enough to be doped up on anti nausea meds and sedatives right away, so Day 1 is extremely fuzzy for me. What I do remember is yelling at the poor nurse for waking me up because in my hazy state, he sounded like my mom yelling at me. I apparently also asked my doctor if my tonsils bounced too (I was told they didn’t, so it’s a myth before you ask your doctor). Expect that your family will be recording you, so choose wisely on who to bring with you.
When you go home, you are going to feel great and in practically no pain!!! Savor this time. This will be the only time for the next week and a half or more that you will be painless.
Before I get into the rest of my week, these are some bits of information I accumulated in the days leading up to my surgery that may help you with yours.
-Drink as much water as you can during this time (and for the subsequent 7+ days)
-Take your pain meds at least 15-30 minutes before the time you are supposed to take them. Staying on top of your pain is much easier than catching up.
-Make sure you have ice packs and frozen veggies (peas are great for this) to alternate between for your face/ears.
-Remember to stay up to date on your pain meds. They will make you loopy, and you will forget everything the moment after it happens. Preferably, have someone there to remind you to take your meds because you’re going to be too doped up to remember anyway.
-Talk. You’re going to think you can because your mouth doesn’t hurt yet, but it will. So don’t push it.
-Try to spit, cough, sneeze or do any other bodily function besides breathing for days 1-4.
Pro tip: If you are someone who gets nauseous or motion sick easily, make sure you tell the nurse and doctor ASAP. Request a nausea patch behind your ear that stays on for 7 days to reduce any nausea you will feel, because trust me, you’re going to need it.
Day 2: Woke up in excruciating pain, but still not as bad as I anticipated it to be. The doctor prescribed me Vicodin along with Prednisone and Zofran (to combat the nausea). Boy oh boy did I need anything and everything that would take away my nausea. Make sure you eat before taking any pain meds. You aren’t going to want to, but you NEED TO so you don’t vomit. I found the easiest food for me to eat for days 2-6 was watermelon cut up into small pieces. The juices coated my throat and the watermelon seemingly dissolved in my mouth without needing to be chewed. Days 2-5 you will sleep, a lot.
Days 3-4: Definitely the worst days in my opinion. I barely slept more than 2-3 hours both of these nights because I was in unbelievable pain from my neck up to my eyebrows. If you have a bad reaction to pain meds, switch to Tylenol. I was having a terrible reaction to the Vicodin, so I switched to Tylenol on day 4 and it actually worked better and for longer. Pain meds will make you loopy, and extremely forgetful (so be mindful of this). On day 4 I tried driving and had a full fledge panic attack and had to pull over about 200 feet from my house. Don’t try to drive when you’re on pain meds either, it’s not a smart idea. Also, your jaw is going to hurt, A LOT. You probably won’t be able to open it wider than an inch for a few days. Make sure to rub and massage your jaw and your temples any chance you get to loosen the muscles. It helps, believe me.
Days 5-6: The doctors had told me that around day 5 my scabs would start coming off (yummy) and I should watch for bleeding in my throat. Well, I am not someone who can just sit and let things happen so I was doing my best to cough, gargle, sneeze, anything and everything to make sure those suckers were off of my throat. Don’t. Just let them be. When they come loose, they bleed, and then you’re stuck in the bathroom with a flashlight to your mouth to make sure you’re not swallowing any blood. It’s not worth it. Just let them fall off on their own. You’ll be happier and less stressed out. However, if you don’t choose to take my advice and do what I did to try to shake them loose, you will be nauseous and you probably will throw up. The taste is disgusting and they surround your gag reflex, so, choose wisely.
Days 7-9: On day 7 I felt the last of my intense pain, thank goodness. This isn’t to say that everyone will be as lucky as me when it comes to this, but hopefully you are! By days 7, 8 and 9 I had gotten majority of my scabs off and was sick of eating popsicles for every meal. On day 7 I said “forget it” and had some chicken and rice soup with bread. Oh my goodness, bread. If you dip bread in broth it is one of the best things in the world after days of having nothing but juice in your stomach. By day 8 I had some Pringles, and by day 9 I was eating french toast and clam cakes. I’m still taking Tylenol but I can go 8-9 hours in between each dose before my jaw, ears and throat begin hurting.
Now, my experience is completely different than any of my friends who have had this done, and 1,000x different than any testimony I read online before getting this done. I psyched myself out thinking all week that I was going to bleed out, or I would be hugging the toilet for 14 days. Thankfully, my experience was nothing like I had expected it to be. Granted, it was something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but it’s something you can get through.
Now, here are some tips that I had to figure out on my own because no website nor doctor told me.
- Watermelon is the easiest food to eat for the first few days. Cut it up into small pieces because your mouth will hurt too much to open widely
- Pepcid or motion sickness pills are your best friend on days 4-10 when the scabs begin coming off. The taste will make your stomach churn, but the medicine will keep your stomach from feeling queasy.
- Pain meds will back you up so plan on not pooping for a good amount of time. This will make you nauseous, so take a stool softener or laxative if you haven’t gone by day 3.
- Gatorade and juices will thicken up the mucus in your throat so be prepared to choke a bit. Water down the juice so it is 50/50 if you don’t want this to happen.
- Brush your teeth every 2 hours. It will keep you from tasting the back of your throat and your scabs.
- Peppermint gum will help loosen your jaw, soothe your stomach and take the taste of scab out of your mouth (after day 5 or 6)
- Don’t turn your neck too quickly because it will feel like your ripping your scabs open with a fork.
Foods to eat:
- Broth and bread
- French toast doused in syrup
- Scrambled eggs
- Muffin (be prepared for crumbs to get stuck in the pockets of your tonsils)
- Pancakes in syrup