I should have written this sooner but I figured better late than never, so here I am sharing my Tonsillectomy experience. Last Novemberish I had gone to see a Sleep Medicine doctor because I pretty much knew (and everyone constantly told me) I had sleep apnea. I did…side note, he was an arrogant asshole… Moving on… he told me at that appointment that I had “enlarged tonsils” and recommended I see an Ears, nose an throat doctor about it.
Being the stubborn hard-head I am, I put it off until basically my family had just drove me crazy insisting. On April 5th I met with the Otolaryngologist aka Ears Nose and Throat Specialist. Now believe me I was dreading this appointment. Every person I had talked to who was an adult when they had their tonsils taken out had told me it was absolutely awful.
The doctor was very nice and professional but he definitely didn’t sugar coat anything. He made it very clear that I would experience a good deal of pain. My boss who had it done at the same age said he would rather have the steel rod put back in his leg than have his tonsils taken out…thanks boss man for the reassurance! XD
By the end of the appointment he had me scheduled for surgery on the 18th…he sure didn’t waste any time… which I guess I’m glad, less time to psych myself out.
My experience was sort of different then what the “norm” is I guess. Due to me having severe obstructive sleep apnea he wanted me to stay overnight for observation. This meant that I had my surgery at the Hospital instead of the Surgery Center at the Clinic. I have never had surgery before…never had an IV…never stayed in a hospital… So my anxiety level was off the charts.
Before the surgery I made plans to stay with my grandparents, due the the doctor advising I stay with someone. I had my Australian Shepherd boarded, the little Chorkie came along since he’s more portable and my grandma just likes him better because he’s tiny.
I had to be at the hospital at 9:45 and the surgery wasn’t scheduled until 11:45. We get there and get all signed in and go to pre-op. Considering what I knew was coming, I was pretty calm. To be honest I was more on edge about the IV then the actual surgery. (I have an issue with veins…not blood…veins…I know I’m weird)
When the time came to get the ball rolling I had 2 nurses and a nursing student. Which if I learned anything from Grays Anatomy it’s not to trust someone in training lol. She asked if I was ok with her doing my IV… I wasn’t but for the sake of education I agreed. To her credit she did a good job, I didn’t feel a thing. Unfortunately I had a bum vein or something in that hand so they had to re-do it in my other hand. This time the Nurse did it and again I didn’t feel a thing.
It was pretty humorous because I had told them how freaked out I was about the IV so the second nurse was asking me all sorts of random questions to keep me distracted. I was very impressed with these ladies.
Once they were done the doctor came in and talked a little bit about how things were going to proceed and then the anesthesiologist went over some things with me… My grandma was quick to comment on how young they were… I think she had a crush on the surgeon haha.
We just sat there and waited for a while before someone came to take me to the surgery room. Ironically she had gone to school with my sister and since my sister and I look a lot alike (according to everyone else) she knew who I was. Which was kind of nice because we were able to chat on the way and again keep me distracted.
The surgery room was as intimidating as I expected it to be. Bright and packed with big probey, scary looking equipment. Also there were like 5 people in there, which to me is way too many. I was already feeling super self conscious and awkward. I had on zero makeup, I was in nothing but the ugly hospital issued gown and I had my hair tucked up into one of those net cappy things. Luckily for me…again…all of those ladies were great. They asked me about myself and exchanged corny jokes while they were getting things ready. I did sort of freak for a few seconds when the one woman put the oxygen mask over my mouth and nose. It sort of took my breath away and I kind of panicked, fortunately that only lasted a couple seconds. The assistant anesthesiologist explained what was going to happen, she would administer the anesthesia liquid stuff through the IV and that it may sting… I didn’t know she was already doing it though, so all of a sudden I could feel the liquid come through the IV and I had time to say “Yeah that definitely stings” and that was it…lights out… And that stuff did sting, thank goodness I was out quickly!
When I woke up I was getting wheeled into the recovery room and the nurse was telling me I was out of surgery and everything went well. Now I was still pretty groggy and I couldn’t talk because apparently they had numbed my vocal chords or something. But the nurse was like “ok, I’m going to take this tube out of your nose” THE HELL YOU ARE!!! I didn’t even know I had a tube in my nose. Good thing I couldn’t talk because I would have said that aloud. Before I had time to react she was pulling it out…That was the worst feeling…ugh even in EMT Training that’s one thing that made me cringe was when we practicing inserting the Nasopharyngeal airway tubes on the dummy. Something about it just bothers me.
I was in recovery for 45 minutes I think, apparently they require at least that long. At that point my pain was at a 3, my main complaint was my tongue hurt and was like dried out and felt awful. The nurse gave me some ice though and after a while it was no longer an issue, she also gave me something for pain and after that I was feeling pretty good…all things considered.
Once I made it to my room, I was able to talk better but the drugs must have really kicked in because I quickly fell asleep and slept pretty solid for about 2 hours. For dinner they brought quite the spread. Pureed Cream of Chicken Soup, thinned mashed potatoes, vanilla ice cream, vanilla pudding, an ensure drink, cranberry juice, iced tea and hot tea. Most people always suggest cold food like ice cream and Popsicle’s but they hurt my throat. The warm (not hot) soup was the best option, followed by the hot tea (it had cooled significantly) which I added some sweetener to.
That night I (per doctors orders) had to sleep with my bi-pap machine. Which while I had one I never used it. I mean come on I am a single 25 year old woman… a bi pap is not exactly attractive. (Do not take this the wrong way, it’s not like men are frequenting my bed chambers lol) Anyway back to the story, that was not enjoyable at all. It was the oxygen mask experience all over again… Except this time that sucker was blasting out air. It was like when you walk outside and the air takes your breath away… except it was every time I put it on and every time the seal broke. Which it did often because when I swallowed it hurt so bad I would scrunch my face up… breaking the seal. Plus I had the thing all strapped on and the damn phone rang and I couldn’t get the mask off in time to answer…. I think I got at most 2 hours of sleep.
In the morning they brought me a breakfast of chocolate ice cream, Greek yogurt, cream of wheat, orange juice, milk, ensure and hot tea. I had a couple of spoon fulls of cream of wheat and some of the yogurt but that’s about it. My pain was between a 5 and 6 at this point, bearable but not enjoyable at all.
The surgeon came and checked on me about 8 and they discharged me just after 9am.
My grandma had come to get me and we went to Walmart to get my prescription and some Children’s Ibuprofen. Of course I forgot to bring my insurance prescription card, and without it I was going to have to pay $80. So I had to call my insurance….that was fun, with no voice and severe pain when I tried to talk… I ended up just handing the phone to the pharmacy worker. Luckily she got the info and I only had to pay $10. That whole interaction wasn’t even the worst part of that Walmart experience…Worst of all was the fact that I had broke my cardinal rule of never wearing pj pants in public…but at least they were black, without holes or stains.
The first few days after surgery weren’t too bad, as long as I kept up with my medicine. Obviously talking and swallowing hurt, it felt like when you have strep throat but magnified. Nights were the worst, I made the mistake of sleeping through the alarm I had set to take medicine…BIG MISTAKE…after that I stuck to the schedule. Word of advice to anyone having this done, it’s a good idea to keep track of when you take your meds. I set alarms every 4 hours to remind me.
It may not be what you want to hear if you are having this done but the pain does gradually get worse. The first few days for me weren’t that bad but it did progressively escalate. Today is day 12 and I think I’m getting close to being back to normal and it’s my second day back at work. Today was the first day I had “normal” food. Meaning I didn’t have to blend food or have liquids. I had some popcorn chicken and boy did it taste good after 12 days of soup and mashed potatoes.
In summary I will say that it was not as bad as I was expecting it to be. Either I was given better meds or I’m just a total bad-ass lol. Either way it wasn’t a fun experience and I envy those who had theirs taken out when they were kids.