Post-Tonsillectomy: Days 1-4

Hello, my lovely readers! I am writing you today, because I recently had my tonsils removed, about 3 days ago. While searching the web for information on what to expect, I wish I would have found more personal experiences/stories of people who had gotten their tonsils out as an adult. I will definitely continue to share my experiences throughout this healing period with y’all. I can only hope that this blog post finds its way to someone who is contemplating getting a tonsillectomy and wants some truth on what to expect. So, let’s dive right in. 

I was warned by my doctor that, as an adult, the tonsillectomy procedure has probably one of the most painful recoveries. My doctor informed me, that on a pain scale of 1-10, my pain level would be a 14. He told me that knives, guns, or anything else sharp should be kept away from me the first 2-3 days. He said I’d hate him for the first few days, because of the pain I was about to endure.

Day 1

Let me tell you, he wasn’t wrong! When I first awoke from the surgery, I was already in tears. I must’ve started crying as I was gaining my consciousness back, that is how much pain I was in. I woke up in a panic. I turned to my nurse and started telling her how much pain I was in, how I wanted it to go away, and asked when my boyfriend was allowed to come in. I did not even consider what might happen if I spoke, I just went for it. Luckily for me, there was just excruciating pain. I hadn’t lost my voice, thank goodness.

About an hour passed before my boyfriend and his mom were allowed back in the room with me. By then, I had an ice pack draped across my neck, I was drinking water, sucking on ice-cubs, and attempting to eat jello. The cold was an amazing relief on my throat, both inside and out. My pain was tolerable by then, and I was hoping I never experienced anything as bad as that initial pain again.

After another hour or so, the nurse told me I could go home when I was ready. I decided pretty quickly that I wanted to head home. The hallway outside of my hospital room was so loud that I couldn’t even try to take a nap while there. I was feeling loopy and tired from the pain meds and anesthesia still wearing off. So, off to home I went.

That night wasn’t terrible. I drank a good amount of water. I ate some ice cream, and most importantly, I kept sucking on those ice cubes.

The challenging part of day 1, minus just coming out of surgery, was trying to sleep that night. I had to wake up every 4 hours to take more pain meds. I’d be awake for about 30 minutes to an hour after taking the meds, because it was hard to fall asleep in that kind of pain. Then, I’d fall asleep for maybe 2 hours and wake up and do the whole cycle all over again.

Day 2

Considering the lack of sleep that I received the first night, it is pretty safe to say that I was exhausted by morning. My pain level wasn’t nearly as bad as the first day though. My voice was starting to fade away a bit, meaning that I started to really sound hoarse. I spent a majority of the day sleeping, drinking water, eating jello and ice cream, and watching TV. Nothing too exciting happened on day 2. I can say that I was very optimistic that I’d feel so much better by day 3.

That is, until my boyfriend and I realized that I only had 1 dose of my pain meds left around bed-time. I went about 6 hours without my pain meds, so I knew I would have some to take before bed so I could fall asleep.

Sleeping that night was awful. My throat felt like it swelled up a bunch. I was choking on phlegm in the middle of the night. I was waking up in a panic because of how badly my throat was burning every time I had to swallow in my sleep. It felt like someone was taking a razor blade and dragging it down my entire throat every time I swallowed.

Day 3

This was the WORST day. The pain wasn’t quite as terrible as when I first woke up from surgery, but it was pretty close. I was choking on phlegm still, even worse than before. I was completely unable to talk. There was no sound coming out of my mouth and it was incredibly difficult and painful for me to move my tongue. My gums, neck, and ears all hurt intensely. I was unable to nap because of all the pain I was in.

The reason I was feeling this way, was because I had run out of my pain medication. I didn’t have any until 5:30pm, because my doctor’s office was having difficulty getting my prescription sent out and filled. Let me tell you, please please please, if you ever have a tonsillectomy pay attention to how much liquid pain medication you have left before the end of the day. I got stuck essentially an entire day, in excruciating pain because I didn’t pay attention. I was barely able to sip on water, my throat hurt so badly. I was choosing to spit up any of my saliva because it hurt so bad to swallow it.

Once I got my pain meds, it was a whole new day. I was able to get some jello in me, some cold chicken broth, a few glasses of water, and, of course, some ice cream! I went to bed feeling like a whole new person. I only woke up once during the night, which to me was a miracle.

Day 4

Here I am, on day 4, writing this for you. I woke up this morning so happy. I woke up and attempted my first swallow of some water. I winced in fear that it would hurt as I was swallowing, but guess what?! It barely hurt. It felt more like the way my tonsils had felt the 3 weeks leading up to the surgery, just like my throat was swollen/thick.

Today, I feel so much better. I can talk, although I do still sound a little hoarse. It doesn’t hurt to move my tongue around my mouth or talk. I am actually able to eat pudding today and I got a few bites of some banana pancakes and banana slices in me this morning. I am definitely going to be moving on to more solid foods by tomorrow or the next day I think.

My energy levels are up and I am one positive girl right now.

One final note for the day: I do not, for one second, regret getting these tonsils taken out. I am not sure that would have ever been a thought that would have passed through my mind no matter how much pain I was in. These suckers have been tormenting me for 5 years now, and it was time for them to go! 

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