I'm posting my experience after having my tonsils out 2 and a half weeks ago. I'm 21 and had the operation done in Australia. I had recurrent tonsillitis for over 5 years.The procedure was supposed to be a day procedure and go home that afternoon, however I felt nauseous the minute I woke up in recovery. I was given maxalon that didn't really relieve the nausea feeling, however the nurse ordered a ginger ale that helped a little. I requested to stay in hospital overnight as it was covered under private health insurance, and the nausea was so terrible but atleast the pain was tolerable.
The operation was a combination of scalpel excision and electro-cautery to reduce bleeding in the area. There aren't any stitches as they irritate the back of your throat and you want to cough them out.
Day 1 - Surgery day/post op in hospital
The pain wasn't too bad - pain scale: 5/10
I was given two soluble panadol every 6 hours. Once on the ward, I had iced water and ice cubes to suck on that helped to relieve some of the pain. Also managed to have an icy pole. I managed to get down some steak and roasted vegetables for dinner cut into tiny tiny pieces which was good and tasty.
Then at 10pm I felt so nauseous and threw up a litre :( felt so much better though! Had 1 endone (the stronger stuff) to assist in reliving the pain, not sure if it did anything but eventually drifted off to sleep.
Bed was elevated at about 30-40 degrees so I was lying on an angle on my back. Helped to drain the blood down into my stomach instead of spitting it out.
Woke up every half an hour to drink plenty of water.
Uvula and area next to it were very swollen/inflamed
Day 2 -
Still having two panadol every 6 hours. Had stewed fruit salad, a banana, icy pole and plenty of water. Got to go home at around 10am.
Continued with two panadol every 6 hours, timing it so that I had the panadol 30 minutes before meals.
Drank plenty of water, ate pureed lamb stew for lunch and dinner.
White slough starting to form at the back of my throat.
Chewed gum to help keep the throat moist during the day.
More white slough developing in the area where the tonsils were.
Pain manageable, eating solid foods and drinking plenty of water. Had some ginger beer to ease the nausea feeling.
Had slow cooked steak and roasted pumpkin for dinner.
Still on two panadol every 6 hours.
2 Panadol every 6 hours. Had a little ear pain that lasted for around an hour, tolerable and relieved by heat pack on the ears. Loud noises exacerbated the ear pain.
Eating solid foods
White slough still there
2 panadol every 8-10 hours as I felt necessary. Generally 30 mins before meals, but the pain was tolerable that I didn't need it just before I went to sleep.
Scabs started to form in the back, but the white stuff is still there.
Ear pain also came back for a little bit, but the heat pack does help
Day 6 & 7
Uvula and area next to it still a little swollen, but has decreased since day 1.
Down to 4 panadol a day. Pain is really tolerable.
Scabs still forming and becoming darker
Scabs starting to fall off. Painful when I yawn and sneeze. Had a bleed unfortunately on the right side in the evening, sucked on ice again and had a clot form in the back of my mouth. Not the best sleep, but pain didn't really increase, just terrible blood taste and discomfort.
Scab on left starting to fall off more. Right side starting to scab again.
4 panadol for the day
Pain when yawning and sneezing. Scabs falling off with some white stuff still visible.
Overall I had a really good recovery in terms of pain management. I didn't end up taking anything stronger than standard panadol 2 tablets every 6 hours, eventually decreasing it as the week progressed. My ENT warned me that the pain would increase for the first 7-10 days but I never had that pain increase, and it was never too bad that I couldn't eat food. I didn't really experience any trouble swallowing food or tablets, and made sure to drink plenty of water frequently.
At the 2 week post op visit to the ENT, he said that the pain that I was experiencing when I yawn would subside in another 2-3 weeks. The scabs had pretty much come off and disappeared. Not on any pain meds any more and back to a normal diet and activities.
Hopefully I will never had to experience any more terrible sore throats. I have to say that the pain during recovery was less painful than the worst tonsillitis I have experienced, it was very manageable with basic, over the counter panadol.
Advice to anyone going to get their tonsils out:
- Be positive
- Be prepared, have everything ready and waiting, your medications, chilled water, ice, extra pillows etc
- Keep on top of your pain control, if you need more pain relief use it.
- Take pain relief about 30 mins before meals to make it easier on your throat
- Drink plenty of water, all the time!!!
- Chew gum to help saliva production and keep throat moist!
- Gargle with salt water/ betadine to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and throat, and help reduce some of that swelling
- Sleep elevated in bed, use pillows to prop yourself up at night
- Feel nauseous? Drink some ginger ale/ ginger beer (fizzy drink)
- Eat! Soft foods at first, but then go as you can, it gives you energy to heal and feel so much better
- Have a great support team whilst you're recovering.