And for a movie of the operation being performed (not on me):*warning - graphic content*
I was told coblation offers patients faster recovery times and less pain - while bedridden, I found the study quoted by my doctor. Turns out the results are specifically for young children, no research I could find indicated this procedure offers any less pain or faster recovery in adults. This hurt. A lot. I had the procedure because I had chronically inflamed tonsils and tonsilloliths (aka "tonsil stones") see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsillolith. I wrote the following because I’m sure the people around me got tired of me complaining to them; and I could find nothing online on what to expect on a daily basis during recovery. So hopefully someone will find this helpful or informative. That said, based on your doctors skill, and your body’s recovery ability, you may have a different experience than I did. See below for daily photos I took of my throat recovery. Also grammatically, please forgive my jumping between tenses through this journal.
Check in for surgery at 11:30 & wait around for hours doing absolutely nothing except watch nurses leave and then return from their lunch breaks. Finally get wheeled to the O.R & put to sleep. Wake up with pain and convince the nurse to give me 2 more doses of pain killer via the IV. Leave by 3:30 & go home. Not too eventful as I was pretty well drugged up. Take a dose of liquid Vicodin before going to sleep.
A few quick notes: The Vicodin I was prescribed consisted of 7.5 mg Hydrocodone and 500 mg Acetaminophen. The medical community feels the daily max intake of Acetaminophen is 4000 mg. & exceeding that can cause serious liver damage. That makes for a maximum of 8 doses of my Vicodin per day. However, my pharmacist recommended 1 dose every 4 hours or 6 total per day. Also, an E.M.T. buddy gave me a bottle of 2% lidocaine gel, to which I add a small amount of water and spray directly onto my throat. I did this almost every time I took the pain meds or attempted food for the first 8 days. Additionally, because of the throat muscles damaged during this surgery, in the weeks that followed I had a difficult time blowing my nose, spitting, opening my mouth, sneezing, coughing, talking, and not to mention painful swallowing.
Day 1 – Friday
Woke up at 5:30 in terrible pain. Took Vicodin & went back to bed. Kept on max Vicodin schedule (see above). Pain was still there on the meds, but tolerable & even felt well enough to go to a movie and then sip down 2 cups of Miso soup while watching my friends eat sushi.
Day 2 – Saturday
Woke up with pain again (& will do so every morning around 5am for two weeks) Stayed on max Vicodin schedule again. But noticed I am running low and will be out early on day 3. My doctor was unavailable over the weekend & Vicodin refills need his approval (Kaiser Permanente in case you were wondering). A phone consult with a nurse got me a bottle of liquid Codeine/Acetaminophen. Im happy to get down an Ensure and half glass of water for the whole day.
Day 3 – Sunday
Codeine just isn’t cutting the pain. My uvula is now overly swollen. As much as I try I cant even choke down water. This sucks. I cant eat, drink, talk, even sleeping is hard because of the pain that just wont go away.
Day 4 – Monday
Throat & Uvula is still very swollen, hurts to open my mouth. Swallowing is harder than ever. I talk with my doctor & get another bottle of Vicodin approved. Dinner consisted of a slightly undercooked scrambled egg, avocado slices and black beans.
Day 5 – Tuesday
Still swollen and now dehydrated. I look pale & weak. Ive lost 10 pounds (I’m a 6’3” tall and skinny guy - before the surgery I weighed 166 and today Im down to 156). Starting to feel intestinal pain – all the vicodin & lack of water/food has made me constipated – I haven’t had a bowel movement since before the surgery. Considered going to Urgent Care but called a nurse friend instead. She was able to give me two large saline IV bags. Instantly felt better. Had a few bites of shredded pork/lettuce/avacado from Chipolte – which I latter regretted because something in it made my throat hurt very bad, not sure if the excess pain was caused my something scratching or a spice that was irritating.
Day 6 – Wednesday
Still in pain & swollen & hurts to open my mouth but feeling much better than yesterday, feel as if the worst is over. The pain is only really bad in the mornings and when I try to swallow something. The rest of the time it’s numb but bearable. Im rationing the Vicodin so Ive been switching back and forth with the Codeine. Today I took a small dose of Codeine upon waking up at 5am, then Vicodin at 7am, 1pm, and 6pm, then a full dose of the codeine at 10pm before bed. I did go into work today from 10:30am to 2:00pm then went home and slept till 6. Down to 155 lbs. Received 2 more IV bags of fluids plus an injection of sucrose from my nurse friend. It kept me out of the ER yesterday so I figure it cant hurt.
Day 7 – Thursday
About the same pain in my throat as yesterday. It woke me up at 5:30. Ear pain started this morning and became worse thru the day. Went to work today from 8am to 1pm and then went home for a nap. I’m still taking my pain meds 5 times per day - before each meal, when I wake up (early from the pain) and before bed but cutting back on the dose sizes. Liquids are easier to swallow. Had more to eat today than any other day so far – 20oz mango smoothie for breakfast, 8oz of Gatorade mid morning, bowl of luke warm miso soup & 8oz of Gatorade for lunch, water before nap, then jello, apple sauce & chicken noodle soup for dinner followed by more water before bed. Took a mild laxative but still no bowel movement.
Day 8 – Friday
Woke up at 4am in searing pain. It’s such a sharp stinging pain I can do nothing but focus on it until I swallow some meds and spray my throat with lidocaine. I also noticed a small amount of blood in my spit this morning. Throat & ears hurt more than yesterday. Im assuming it has to do with the scabs cracking. Finally had my first bowel movement since before the surgery, such a relief. The right side of my throat has considerably more scar tissue and hurts much more. If both sides looked & felt liked the left, I believe Id be eating a normal diet. Why there is scar tissue near my right wisdom tooth and a small protruding flap of skin where my right tonsil used to be, I can only blame my Kaiser doctor.
Day 9 & 10 – Saturday & Sunday
So other than my damn throat I finally feel pretty good. I’m restraining not going to the gym. My right side is still hurting so much worse than the left. I am still waking up between 4 & 5 a.m. in unbearable pain that is only relieved with meds. Mornings are still by far the most painful part of my day. Sunday I took 500mg liquid OTC acetaminophen at 4am then the Vicodin about 9am then more acetaminophen in the afternoon and again before bed. But no bleeding all weekend.
Day 11 – Monday
Happy Cinco De Mayo! I started my day by spitting up a small amount of blood . Took a turn for the worse today. The right side of my throat will be the death of me. Swallowing anything, from yogurt to chicken breast, stings like I have my very own killer African honey bee nest in my throat that punishes me every time I swallow. Today’s food & liquid consumption was minimal and as a result I started feeling bad. On the bright side at least I physically can swallow; this is an improvement from a week ago. It’s been a few days but I resorted to numbing my throat with the lidocaine before dinner. About 7pm something strange was happening on my left tonsil and so I felt it with my tongue only to have a chunk of the scab slough of. I did all I could to avoid gagging and quickly found a place to spit it out. The best way to describe this feeling is like a small scab peeling away from your skin, painlessly, after soaking in a hot tub for an extended amount of time – the only difference is it was in my mouth.
Day 12 – 13 Tuesday & Wednesday
Still having my 4:00am painful wakeup call. Talking is much easier today. Everyday becomes noticeably better. My left side, although still partially scabbed over is relatively painless - or the pain on the right is just trumping it. Regardless, if both sides felt like the left I think Id be in good shape. Spitting up a little blood and more scab sloughs off each day.
Day 14 – Thursday
Finally slept through the night! Don’t get me wrong I still woke up in pain, but at least I was woken by my alarm rather than the stinging in my throat. Mornings still hurt more than the rest of the day. Still spraying lodocaine to eat but have cut back on the prescription pain killers except opting for over the counter ones instead.
Days 15 thru 22 - Friday thru Friday
Everyday is a little better and more scab disappears everyday. The pictures don’t really show it, but on the sides, there are still a good amount of white scab. I am no longer taking the pain meds at all. The new development this week has been an awful taste in my mouth that taints everything I eat. Im not sure what is causing it, but nothing helps relieve it: brushing, gum, listerine, large amounts of water, gargling warm salt water - nothing helps and all food just taste rotten. But I am eating and gaining back a little of the weight I lost (18 lbs in total), but have a long way to go.
So that’s the first 3 weeks of my recovery. My throat still isn’t healed completely but its to a point of a mere persistent annoyance & if there was a doubt, I’m sure Ill live! But was this whole ordeal worth it? After all, my tonsil stones could be painlessly removed manually with a toothpick in a matter of seconds & they weren’t debilitating in any way; they didn’t impede eating, drinking, or breathing and other than a chronic scratchy throat, I was in good health. So was it worth it? Not yet, but I hope I'll be saying otherwise soon.
I was pretty good at remembering to take photos thru day 31. As a result I noticed what looks like tonsil re-growth on my right side (left side of photo). I have an appointment soon to see my doctor.
oh men,it really hurts,this morning was woke up coz of the earache.its difficult to swallow,i only eat softfoods like porridge,chicken soup,oatmeal,juices etc..
i took my meds religiously..i hope can eat normal foods by next week,coz everything it tastes like metallic.
just hope for the best XD
Where did your daughter have it done?
You should look at Thermal Fusion by Microline (formerly Starion)
Check out teh YouTube video by an adult patient who was back at work just a few days later.
Alright, so it looks like the operators either scratched something in your throat, or you're just sore. Remember, you won't heal in a day. My best friend had her leg removed and was in severe pain for a year, but now she's just fine, and I think it was better for her than suffering. Just be patient and make sure your doctor knows and is doing everything he/she can to help you.