Having recently had my adenotonsillectomy done (aged 24), I thought I would write a little a bit about my day to day experience after the operation. Reading other people's experiences on this forum, as well as blog posts, helped me a lot (mostly to prepare me mentally for what was to come). My reasons for having the adenoids and tonsils removed were due to recurring tonsillitis, a constant feeling of something stuck in my throat (from when my tonsils would be inflamed) and more recently, the development of tonsil stones. Safe to say that the stones COMPLETELY knocked my confidence. I didn't even know they were a thing until I started getting this revolting taste in my mouth whenever I swallowed. I did a bit of research, got a torch and had a little look. To my horror I saw these little white dots (mine were quite small and I had to prod my tonsils for them to express - they were pretty stuck in there). The constantly inflamed tonsils and feeling lethargic all the time was one thing, but to now breathe and for it to smell like something crawled into the back of my throat and died was something else. Not ideal, especially as a previously confident and vivacious female in her 20's (now picturing herself in 20 years, single with 10 dogs/cats, gargling salt water and shoving cotton buds down the back of her throat). So I went and saw my ENT on the Thursday, and the surgery was booked for the Friday. It all happened very fast. I didn't have time to do much prep, but I made sure to wash my sheets, get some books and DVDs and do a food shop. I decided to cut out dairy during my recovery as a few people said it helped lessen the mucous build up (yum). I'm also not one to really sit around and eat ice-cream and sugary things, so i opted for healthier, low-carb, nutrient dense options: eggs (boiled, mostly), avocado, hummus, beans, coyo yoghurt, papaya.
Day of the surgery: Safe to say I was sh**ting myself. Logical thought and my work in operating theatres went out the window and I was convinced I'd be the one in a trillion to wake up, paralysed, whilst they were hacking into my throat. My hospital (South Perth) was small and very homely. My surgery was scheduled for the afternoon and I had to fast from 8am. I woke, had breakfast and coffee, and then did a hard gym class. Got the the hospital and my surgery was delayed by 2 hours. I wasn't too fussed. The staff was incredible and reassured me to no end. As was the anaethetist and my surgeon (I work in hospitals and actually knew two of the staff, which I thought was absolutely hysterical whilst I was going under). Anaethetist gave me anti-nausea meds throughout the surgery, as I am prone to nausea. Woke up feeling like someone had run me over. Only a 25 minute procedure and then I was rudely awoken. Had insanely bad restless legs from the anti-nausea meds (I knew I would get this but I had to weigh it up against vomiting acid post throat hack - restless legs won). I had to stay overnight. Spent a good hour wandering the corridors like a loon trying to get rid of the restless legs. Restless legs finally wore off and I was beside myself with exhaustion. Managed to eat some soy ice-cream and a chicken salad. Felt victorious and thought this meant I'd be able to eat normally the whole time (big fat LOL).
Day 2: Woke at the hospital. Barely slept due to being woken up every 3 hours for blood pressure readings and meds. One of the pain meds they gave me also had the effect of making me incredibly alert and increasing my heart-rate (apparently it knocks most people out). Had breakfast at 8am (porridge, prunes and tinned fruit) and then was picked up by mummy dearest. Pain at about a 2 at this time. Based on the fact that the pain meds made me feel a bit shite, mum decided to instead get me some liquid codeine (this is basically banned here but she's a doctor and she gets what she wants). I also got some liquid panadol (tutti frutti - v addictive). Got home and felt fine. Thought I would be exception to the rule. Ate some fried tempeh (bad idea), avo and hummus. Did some coaching work. By 5pm I was so so sleepy so I decided to put myself to bed. Sleep was not great - waking up every 3 hours in pain. Took pain meds and eventually got some (broken) sleep.
Day 3: So all that mumble about being the exception to the rule was complete lies. Woke up in AGONY. Like razor blades in throat. Pain: 7. Tried to eat some papaya and yoghurt. Fail. Now, I don't fall asleep easily, but that day I basically just slept anywhere I could (by the pool, on the couch, standing up). Ate ice chips when awake. Ate some soup for dinner. Then slept some more.
Day 4: Very much the same as day 3. Pain still around a 7/8. Drinking a lot of water consistently seems to help. Take pain meds regularly - don't try to be a hero. Night time I actually felt normal. Ate a fry up (grilled eggs, banana and mushrooms). Felt well before going to sleep. Tried to sleep lying down... woke up choking on my uvula twice. Lesson learnt.
Day 5. I definitely feel better today. My ears have started playing up and a lot of pain in my jaw but I certainly don't feel as bad as the last few days throat-wise. Pain about a 5. Ate some papaya and coyo yoghurt for breakfast. Ate a boiled egg with some tamari sauce at 4pm (so that I could take my antibiotic). BAD MOVE on the tamari sauce. It burned my throat like you would not believe. Stay away from sauces. Stick to soft, plain foods. Nothing acidic at all. ... And that is currently where I am at.... will keep you updated. Any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch!
Overall, my biggest tips would be:
- Stay on top of your meds. Set an alarm for every 4 hours in the night to drink water and/or take more meds if the pain is bad.
- If the painkillers they give you make you feel horrible, try and get an alternative. Codeine syrup and oxycodone tablets once a day helped me a lot (take with food or nausea will be heinous). Sometimes panadol and/or anti-inflammatories are sufficient.
- Don't make the mistake of trying to sleep lying down, even if you feel okay before bed - you will choke and it ain't fun.
- The first few mouthfuls of food are usually the only ones you can tolerate, so make sure that the first thing you eat is protein-packed (egg, avocado etc...).
- Drink A LOT of water - even when it hurts. Just force it down.
- The painkillers completely stop you from taking a dump, so if don't want to feel 4 months pregnant in a matter of days, take some form of natural laxative (I took Movicol - OTC).