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Hey everyone, there's a lot out there about how you will recover from a tonsillectomy. Some will say it's the worst pain they've experienced, some will say it's a breeze. Here's my experience. Hope it helps some people deal with it, because it's definately not the best few weeks of my life!

Pre-op.. you'll be told not to eat or drink anything, and they mean it! Don't even have a sip of water for about 8 hours before you go in. But do make sure you have a good meal the day before, preferably lunchtime, and a light evening meal. Ask for an oxycontin, a temazepam and a panadol as a premed - you'll get barely a sip of water to down these. They'll relax you, take your nerves away and make you just abit more ready to do this. I was nervous as hell going in, not for the pain funny enough. The scariest idea for me was waking up with an IV in my arm - I don't like needles! :-P

I went in for surgery about 10am, I got gassed out using Sevoflurane before the IV was even put it. Do this, it is "da bomb". It's a slightly sweet tasting gas, you breathe it in deeply, and before you even realise it you're out cold. I woke up, not sure if I had been dreaming, but feeling pretty comfortable considering, and I wasn't even that perturbed about the IV in my arm.

Now you will feel abit of pain, how much is dependent on how good your anaesthetist is. So pick yours wisely, or atleast ask someone how they went and if well use theirs. You'll be asked if you are in pain. I felt a fair bit of discomfort and knew it would soon be pain so I rated mine as a 5/10 when asked. On hearing this the nurse pushed 5mg morphine into me, which makes life a whole lot more easy :-)

I was taken back to my room, about 12:30pm nurses came in with panadol and endone (5mg fast acting oxycodone hydrochloride - remember these because these are the meds you want your doctor to prescribe you after!).

I was given icecream, juice and a jug of iced water. Drink plenty of water, it will help! Sip it slowly to avoid discomfort. I went through two jugs between coming out of surgery and leaving the hospital. It's very important to keep yourself hydrated, both to avoid pain and also for health!

About 3pm i was feeling pain, not heaps but a fair bit of discomfort. I asked for more endone but was told 'no' as I 'had to take 6 hours before taking my next dose', I was given two panadol instead.. which do not help! About 3:30pm I was really not happy, I got up and was chasing after nurses to give me something for the pain, but they were insistent they couldn't help - in the end they offered me morphine, but said I would have to stay in overnight. This part is your choice - personally I had no intention of sticking around, not a big fan of hospitals, so I said 'ok, give me my meds and I am going'. I got picked up, the smart thing to do because you would never want to try and get home on your own in this state! The nurses were very insistent not to have any more endone until 6:30pm. As soon as I got picked up and got home I had another endone. I had spoken to my doctor prior to surgery and she pretty much said that I would be screwed over on the pain meds. The reason for this is because they don't want you to become addicted. But when you are taking them for pain not pleasure, addiction is the least of your worries. Just don't overdo it. Typically take one endone and one panadol every 3.5-4 hours. Over your first week you may take a double up of endone after about an hour or two, but then try and make it atleast 5-6 hours before your next. Don't take ibuprofen, while effective for pain it does promote bleeding - which you definately don't want!

I was given a weeks course of antibiotics - I was given Keflor(r) CD - which is Cefaclor Monohydrate 375mg tablets. These are taken one every 12 hours, which I took like clockwork. I picked 7:30pm for my first and then next at 7:30am - seemed like an okay time to wake up quickly in the morning, take a antibiotic, a panadol and an endone, and go back to sleep. When it comes to your pain meds it is a good idea to keep a record of what time you are having them. It's easy to forget when you had your last one and you don't want to overdo it, if you do the downside can be they become less effective at managing your pain!

You're going to be in pain regardless, there's discomfort, waking up in the night thinking "Goddamn it, I need drugs now!", so have an endone and one or two panadol when this happens, drink some water and get back to sleep.

At about day 5-7 the pain get's abit worse, this is a sign you're healing to don't be too put off, you may need an extra endone here and there around this time. In my first 10 days I have taken 60 endone, which may seem like alot, but that's pretty much one every 4 hours, some I had early when I was in pain, and others abit later when I felt I could deal with it. If you think you can deal with the pain then hold out for your meds.

I did have bleeding! I went to a 21st birthday on the Saturday after my operation on the Monday. It was great, I didn't feel any pain (probably a mixture of the alcohol and the meds) and I drank Wild Turkey and Coke - vodka is made from grains, for whatever reason I got told to stick clear of that and stick to bourbon instead if I was going to drink. I got home late (about 4am), had another endone and panadol, and went to bed. I woke up the next morning with a funny taste in my mouth. I had a mouthful of blood. In my sleep a clot had formed or the right side where I had bled, it was about the size of a plum. My guess is I bled because I didn't hydrate myself enough before going to bed. The alcohol probably did some good at cleaning away the scab gunk at the back of my throat - but don't take my word for it, i'm not a doctor!

When you bleed, luke warm salty water is the best. Gargle it gently to get rid of excess blood and help the clot to heal. It is important to stay calm if you notice a bleed, because upping your heartrate will only make it harder for a clot to form. This time I got off pretty lucky. Monday evening, I decided I wanted the clot gone so I made it my choice to eat KFC chips soaked in potato and gravy until they were a soggy mess. I ended up swallowing the clot, which was gross and made me feel abit sick, but because I was eating soft foods all week I recovered from this fairly well. I gargled a bit more salty water to help stop any more bleeding and was careful after that.

On Wednesday night I decided that I was okay to eat some pasta, by this point I was very hungry and very over cup-a-soup. I cooked some penne until it was very soft and broke it apart and had it with a tomato base sauce, make sure it doesnt taste too acidic as it won't do you much good painwise. Seeing as I did okay with this I got abit cocky and cooked up some more, did not break it up, and started to eat away. I ate too quickly, cleared my throat without even thinking, and started to bleed. This time I wasn't as lucky. While I did stop the bleeding in about 5 minutes using salt water it was in a bad position, so every time I even swallowed my own saliva it got knocked around and bled again slightly. This happened about 11pm (yeah late dinner I know). At 2am I took another endone and panadol and went to relax in bed. At about 3am I was still not asleep but lying in bed watching tv when I noticed my mouth had filled with blood. I made the mistake of getting stressed out, which didn't help at all. I bled a fair bit and had a lot of trouble stopping it. Truth be told, if I had relaxed and been abit more careful I probably could have caused the clot to form well and gone to bed. But instead I took the bleeding not stopping as a bad sign, called a friend and got him to take me to hospital. I had swallowed a fair bit of blood and kept spitting up clots that had started to fall down the back of my throat. By the time I got to the hospital just after 4am I wasn't too fussed about being careful, I just kept spitting up as much blood from my throat as I could as by this stage I was looking abit pale and feeling abit sick from the blood I had swallowed. I went in, they put me in a bed and they came to put an IV in my arm. Now, as I said before, I don't deal well with needles. So I had a minor panick attack when they did it, turned out to be a great thing because even though I was feeling queasy as and close to passing out the bleeding stopped. Your body is pretty good at looking after itself if you look after it, so the fact that I had been eating fairly well considering everything probably worked in my favour. At about 5:30 I had been checked on a couple of times already, a clot had formed and it didn't appear I was bleeding any more. I discharged myself from the hospital and my mate took me home. I got inside, sipped some luke warm water very slowly and not much of it, and went to bed. I had decided if I bled again I would head straight back to hospital.

Today is Thursday, I woke up this morning feeling abit average, likely because of all the blood I swallowed, and the loss of blood. A cup of black tea with milk was my first choice of beverage. Tannins in the tea apparently assist the formation of clots in the mouth. I sipped it slowly, my mouth turned abit gunky, but the clot appeared to darken more, showing it was better and less likely to bleed. Now i'm on the couch being quiet, sipping the same tea still, which I added ice to. Sipping a Sustagen prima pack, and have ice in a bag in a towel around my neck.. not sure why, but it seemed like a good idea. I'm not really feeling the pain at the moment but that could be the endone and panadol I had when I got up. Will have another soon though because today of all days I don't think I'll be too happy to withstand pain.

Overall healing pretty well, it's been ten days and while there is still white scab on the back of my throat, pink tissue is visible beneath it. I think I should be back to work next week, might take Monday and Tuesday off though... see how I feel.

It's not a fun operation, the pain is manageable with meds to a degree, but don't lose sight of the fact that it is a great deal of trauma to your body so you must take it easy!

What to eat:

They go down pretty well, and don't hurt too much when you're on your meds:

Continental Vegiful Cup-A-Soups - any cup-a-soup will do but these are great!

Sustagen and Milo - get the prima packs if you can, or warm the self mix stuff so that you get rid of the chunks.

Condensed soup - like tomato or pumpkin - these can be great when you add other things to flavour them. My favourite is pumpkin with a touch of soy sauce, honey, garlic, pepper, salt (or vegeta if you have it), sugar, oregano, mixed herbs and anything else that takes your fancy - might sound abit weird but it tastes great! Even add abit of tomato soup to pumpkin soup to change the flavour abit more :-)

Maggi 2 minute noodles - not the easiest thing to eat, but pretty good and doesn't seem to cause much discomfort.

Yoghurt - but you might want to rinse your mouth after, it goes down great but if puts a funky layer over everything in the back of your mouth.

Jelly - jelly is awesome, there's just not alot to jelly is all so don't try and live on it.

Any soft foods really are going to be okay, nothing with sharp edges!

After and during eating you might find that you want to rinse you mouth out abit as soups easily stick to your scab. It's not a terrible thing, it just gets abit messy. Very slightly salted barely warm water (just not cold) is good for this.

Now i ate other things like popcorn after not even a week, not necessarily the smartest idea as a few kernels got stuck in the scab, but I think the salt helped.

If you want to clear away excess scab then try Coca-Cola. Shake the bottle and release some pressure (close it quickly so as not to spray everywhere) as it goes down much better when it's abit flat. Some people apparently swear by this. I didn't go crazy with it but did try it a few times without problem.

I hope this helps anyone. I'm still getting there so if I think of anything else I'll make sure to post it. Good luck! :-D

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I am having my tonsillectomy this coming Monday, June 2/08. I haven't had much time to think about it because of finals exams...wrote my last one today :-D I finally have time to search for post-op stories and am finding all the information helpful. Thanks for the info and I'll try the Coke-Cola if needed. I am most concerned with the bleeding. Please keep posting if anything changes. I'm hoping I'll only need a week off work. Keep your fingers crossed! Good-luck, you're alomost there! :-)
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I will offer you a word of warning, as you are a few years older than I it should be expected you will be in a great deal more pain and take a fair time longer to heal. This is purely based on age, the healthier you are leading up to the operation the better. I know it's only a few days until you get your tonsils out but do the best to be very healthy for the next few days. Get lots of nutrients into your body and make sure you steer clear of junk food, cigarettes, and anything that may stunt your health.

All the best, you're not going to have the best time, just keep yourself quiet, stay relaxed as much as possible and make sure you drink plenty of water and get as much healthy food into you post-op.

As a follow-up:

I at as much as I could yesterday, had about 6 Cup-a-Soups after the iced cup of tea and Sustagen, gatorade diluted with water to get my fluids up, and I kept myself very calm as much as I could. I slept for a good 12 hours last night, had only one endone in two halves throughout the night at about 3am and 7:30am with a panadol each time, and I woke this morning without the clot in the back of my throat. The best thing you can do is keep yourself as healthy as possible and get plenty of rest, it really does seem to help. :-)
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hi my name is Danielle and i just got my Tonsils out thursday the 10th of january 2013. is coughing up a lot of spit and not being able to break it down. is there other ways of doing it i can hardly eat anything at all and when i do all the spit comes into one big clump and can hardly breath any ideas on what to do
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Hey I got my tonsils out on the 10th of January as well. I'm also experiencing coughing up spit. I would recommend drinking a heap of water as it helps to slowly break it down and try not to cough the whole thing up, just try to swallow it. I'm probably having 1 - 2 large glasses every hour, I know it sounds a bit excessive and I'm going to the bathroom a lot but I think the body really needs it to recover.
Also my specialist recommended that I try to eat food that is slightly rough, like lumpy mashed potato as it cleanses the wound and makes it heal faster compared to food such as pureed fruit and jelly. Also stay away from dairy products and don't sleep with your head totally horizontal, this results in a build up of mucus. Try to sleep with at least 4 pillows to elevate your head. I found this really helped. I know it hurts like hell but think about how good it will be in the long run :)
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I had my tonsils out 4 days ago and have had quite an easy time :) I am 16 and haven't really been taking my pain killers at as I don't feel I need them. the first two day I ate nothing a my meds made me feel spaced out, drunk and I though I was going to be sick. I hardly drank anything either but managed a milk shake twice a day and a glass of water. Best advice STAY AWAY FROM DAIRY! It gave me terrible mucous in the back of my throat and I was constantly spitting it up. Since I've stopped taking med and staying away from dairy (milk shakes and ice cream) I've found toast, weetabix and scrambled eggs are great and pain free to eat, try and only drink clear liquids (water, apple juice) as they are better on the throat, also flat coke is great as it's great for clearly rubbish from the system. 

Good luck everyone :) 

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How long did it take for you to feel completely back to normal? I am a 22 year old female with chronic tonsil infections and I am also a singer! my career depends on my voice and I am also in school. I'm trying to time my operation so that i have a month to heal at home and then start back at university in the winter term, do you think this is enough or will doing everyday things still be tough after a month?
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I am 20 years old and on Day 7 post op!
Day of surgery: my surgery was scheduled for 11:15am, my surgeon was right on time and said that the procedure itself would take about 45 minutes. Well, imagine my mom and boyfriends reaction when it took over an hour and a half for the procedure to end. My doctor said my tonsil to the naked eye did not look nearly as large as they were but the fossa they were held in was deep.

In recovery, I was given morphine through my IV for the discomfort I was feeling. The nurses brought me ice cream and Dr. Pepper which seemed easy to get down with just a little discomfort when swallow. I was discharged and sent home. On the way home, I was in excruciating pain. Finally I got home and was able to take Tylenol with hydrocodone. I took this every 4 hours as needed.

Day 1: While continuing pain meds, I was only in discomfort when I woke up and swallowing but other than that, I felt fine. I played board games, even built a gingerbread house.

Day 2: This was the day I started my antibiotic but after a couple hours, I broke out in a rash. Come to find out I was allergic to both my antibiotic and pain medicine. So I fought the pain. My tongue and back of my throat felt like razor blades every time i ate or drank anything.

Day 3 and 4: My doctor finally prescribed me some more pain meds, but unfortunately I couldn't get them until the next day. I felt a little better, like my throat wasn't as swollen as before. I also woke up in the middle of night 3 different times, to be sick. I had thrown up everything in my system. After I got my new prescription, Lora-tab, my throat and tongue was numb so eating was easier.

Day 5 and 6: I thought I was doing better until I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain in my throat and ears. I took my pain meds faithfully, every 3 and a half hours and half of the time it didn't even take away most of the pain I was in.

I am on Day 6 today and still have pain in my ears and do not feel as if I am recovering well.. I have an appointment with ENT tomorrow to see if healing is going as they want it. Praying they say it is well!
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