I am from the UK and am 31 years old and I want to tell you my story as it is much more positive than most of the stories you will find on forums like this.
Prior to my tonsillectomy I had enlarged tonsils. This had been the case of years! They were so massive that they almost touched at times. I never had many acute sore throats (perhaps once a year) but I did feel c**p a lot of the time. I would have cold like symptoms for perhaps three months of the year. This would include hoarseness, a constant sensation of phlegm in my throat, a cough and general fatigue. I persisted with this for a long time before eventually going to see an ENT consultant. When i eventually did he said my tonsils did not look at all healthy and although he could not guarantee it a tonsillectomy would likely solve my problems. I have private medical insurance and this first consultation was at a private clinic. I also was fortunate to get called (at almost the same time) for a consultation on the National Health Service. I treated this as a second opinion. This ENT consultant had a more certain message i.e. your tonsils are a mess they need to come out!! I went ahead and had the surgery just a few weeks later. This was done at the private clinic where I had my first consultation.
Here in the UK they do things slightly differently. To main differences are 1) you usually have to stay overnight, 2) you are encouraged to eat as normally as possible after the operation.
On the day of the surgery I went to the clinic about 11 am. Checked in and went to theatre about 2:30. I woke up in recovery (not sure when that was) and felt sick just for an instant. This soon passed and I didn’t feel so bad. They asked me out of 10 how sore I was and I said 5. The nurse gave me an injection and the pain went away. I was taken back to my room after about an hour ( I think). At this stage i didn’t feel at all bad. They would come and check my throat with a torch ever 15 minutes. Shortly after I returned to my room I was given a glass of water. I was able to swallow it ok, which surprised me. I had thought that because i had these massive tonsils for years i would take some time to swallow properly again. This wasn’t the case. About two hours after I returned to my room in the clinic they brought me two slices of toast and tea. I thought this would be a real challenge but it actually was not bad! I ate the toast (chewed it up really well) and it went down fairly easily. About two hours after this they brought me a cheese and tomato sandwich. Same again, I chewed it well and slowly i managed to eat it all! By this time I was also up walking around. I was so glad at this stage that the surgery was over that I think I was on real high (pain meds contributed too perhaps). At this stage i had really no pain at all, but as the night went on it did get a little bit sorer. They were very good at checking me for pain and when I started noticing it was sore they soon gave me some tablets (co-codamol I believe). It worked well..
I got down to sleep about midnight and slept quite well on and off throughout the night. To be honest I was a little bit nervous about bleeding so I probably didn’t sleep as well as I could of because of this.
The next morning at about 7 I was brought some more tablets. Again my throat was beginning to get a bit sore again. I took these and fell asleep again and was woken up about 8:30 with my breakfast arriving. They brought me cereal, two slices of toast, a boiled egg, a glass of milk and tea. And like before I was able to eat the lot. It tasted great and I felt great afterwards.
About 9:30 the surgeon came back in to see me. His first words were “you will be much better off without those things”. He said I had a chronic infection which was probably dragging me down by about 10-15% all of the time! He did say that there was a bit of bleeding from the left hand side during the operation and he had to put in a few stitches to stop this. ( I should have said earlier, when i asked him prior to the operation what technique he would use he said he would use a small tool that would cut and stop the bleeding as it cut (coblation perhaps??) I wish I had have asked him more about this so i could tell you exactly. . )
After he left i was good to go home. I was collected from the clinic at about 11:30 and went home. Before I left they gave me a packet of co-codamol tablets (30g-500g) and a packet of voltarol (not sure about the strength). I was to take the co-codamol every six hours (30 minutes before food preferably) and the voltarol every eight hours (with or after food).
I know a lot of you will find this hard to believe but I really ate loads (this is what they told me to do after all!). When I got home I had two hot dogs for lunch. I went to bed for a few hours and woke up about 6 pm. My throat was a little bit sore then so I took some of the meds they gave me. I then had my dinner which consisted of a fillet steak, French fries and onion rings. The pain meds hadn’t kicked in properly but I was still able to eat it. And again it tasted great! Later in the evening i had some smoked salmon and bread, this time with no problem at all.. I found that to keep on top of my meds I had to make up a schedule and tick it off as I went along. I can say that i never missed a single meal (Christmas dinner included). Another piece of advice that they gave me in the clinic was to eat crisps (potato chips) as these help clean your throat. I did that too!!! I know that some people on these forums say that it crazy to eat anything like this, but think about it. If you really chew everything up (even potato chips) it will become soft before you swallow it!
I was aware that the first few days after the operation might be ok and it would get worse. This was somewhat the case for me as my throat became a bit more tender on day5-8. On these days I found that my throat was sore when I was tired (particularly in the evening) and acidic drinks like orange juice really went for it!! But the pain was not extreme. I’d just say it was quite sore (at times only). I found that it when it got very sore i just had to try not to talk, lie down for a little while and have a sleep and depend on the meds of course. Strangely for me the best time was in the mornings. My medication seemed to work better and faster then. What I would say to everyone is eat (and drink, i know i haven’t mentioned this but I drank gallons of water and coke) as much as you can. Imagine how you’d feel if you hadn’t eaten in 5 days and you didn’t even have a tonsillectomy. You’d feel pretty bad. Even worse. Imagine you didn’t eat for five days and took really strong meds, again without the tonsillectomy, you’d feel really really bad. Then put a tonsillectomy on top of this, obviously it is a disaster!!
I wouldn’t go as far as to say my recovery was a breeze as i was definitely out of action for nearly two weeks. I found that exerting myself made me feel worse. But all in all it hasn’t been bad. I never saw a drop of blood (yet!!) and I never threw up once.
The best part is this. I have been feeling more or less back to normal this past few days and i am noticing the difference already. I don’t have an irritated throat, I’m not hoarse, i don’t feel as if im taking the cold etc etc!! It is truly great.
I know my story is different to most of the horror stories you hear about. Maybe I’m just very very lucky. One thing i will say to encourage those who are scheduled to have a tonsillectomy and are concerned, is, that it seems that anyone who shares a tonsillectomy story will usually share a bad one. This is because they are usually going through a bad experience and use the internet to vent their frustration. People who are more fortunate like me tend to forget about it very quickly and don’t bother to write about it. I have to say that I know 4 other adults who had a tonsillectomy and they have all had a similar experience to me (one of them did have a bleed though). I don’t know anyone personally who had a really bad horror story.
I really sympathise with the people who are not as fortunate as I have been. There is no doubt that some people get a really really rough deal when recovering from a tonsillectomy. However For some people (like me) it’s really not that bad.
I had a experience similar to yours, once I ignored the advice to only have fluids for the first week . I was horribly sick to my stomach after returning home only 5 hours after the operation. I had to return to the ER for intervenous fluids and meds for pain and swelling. As soon as I got home I had mashed potatoes and then again in the morning when I woke up. The docs advised against this but I knew I was sick because of not eating, not because of the meds (had been on them before) or the operation. I ate real food (loads of cooked veggies and yogurt), drank buckets of water and stayed on top of my meds and everything moved along nicely. My next visit to the doc was a bit of a disapointment when he said that due to the first night of throwing up, my healing had been delayed quite a few days I was 8 days post op but my healing reflected 3-4 days) but he did tell me I could start taking advil to help with the swelling as bleeding was less likely.
I'm only about 11 days post op but I'm doing much better than I thought I would be based on what I've read on forums like this. I take meds (advil and ex strength tylenol) when I feel sore, maybe 3 times a day. Although when wake up I'm quite sore but not at all like I've read about. I get up and drink some water, take some meds and go back to bed. Durring the day I take some breaks and I am still taking it easy as far as social activities and exercise but I am able to participate in my family's day to day life.
I think the UK has a good bit of advice as far as eating regularly ASAP. I'm in Canada and it seems the whole 'stick to liquids' does nothing but slow progress and weaken the body. Your body need vitamins to heal, plain and simple!
My names Desiree and im 17.
I'm actually getting my tonsils out tomorrow! I'm a bit nervous.
Your story did change my feelings a little though. I feel a little better.
haha I'm glad you had a decent experience and hopefully i have the same!
Thank you for all the positive stories they really did help me !!!
I think things are totally different in the UK..... Mine and my girlfriend both had our tonsils out in our late 20's due to chronic strep throat and I also had extremel large tonsils my entire life. This tonsillectomy was by far the worst surgery I had every gone through and I woke up from the anesthesia throwing up, which felt absolutely great (NOT) after having my entire throat ripped out.
It took me 2 weeks to get over this ordeal and I could not even swallow water or soft eggs or anything, despite extreme hunger and pain meds and lost 15 lbs. (which I was normal size before.) The pain medicine wore off during the night and I was actually shaking due to the pain. I can't imagine how you could even THINK of food.
I am glad it worked for you, but my girlfriend and I who have both had natural childbirth with complications will still say that this tonsillectomy at almost 30 topped the pain of that and other surgeries by far. I am glad it didn't happen to you.
I am glad that you had a very positive outcome from your surgery. The posts from people that had a bad experience aren't there to scare you, but to make you aware that SOME people, especially if you are OLDER (children seem to have a breeze, teens not so bad, etc... the older you get, the worse it seems to be.) All people are different. I should have had my tonsils out when I was a child, however, there was backlash in the pediatric community about doctors taking out tonsils at the drop of a hat, so many pediatricians pulled back.
I eventually became an adult and had chronic severe tonsillitis, at least every other month, with fevers of between 103 of 105 degrees F. I also was told I had extremely large tonsil and andenoids all my life. I'm sure these factors played into the difficulty of my recovery. You have to do what is best for you and should not decide not to do something based on something you read "might happen" that you read on the internet. Discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor. I asked my ENT doctor prior to surgery, or he told me, I'm not sure which, but he said that having your tonsils out at a late age (he had his own tonsils out as an adult), was much more painful than as someone much younger. I was glad that he was honest with me. It was also his own knowledge of the pain an older person endures that made him give me the pain control that was necessary to get through it.
All I wanted to say is EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. If you are considering a tonsillectomy, it is for a REASON. If you don't want to hear the bad stuff, don't read it. There are people who have good experiences, but I, unfortunately, was not one of them. Try comparing this to all the horror stories you hear about childbirth. Would a woman have a baby if ALL births were as horrid as many of the stories that have been told? NO! So, that is all I wanted to say.
One more thing, to end on a positive not, my tonsillectomy was almost 20 years ago and to this day, I have had NOT ONE case of strep throat or even a bad sore throat. The tonsils were indeed poisoning my system, because once I had them out, I felt like a new person. (of course, once I got through the recovery... which if you think about it, was probably so bad because of these chronic infections.)
As bad as it hurt, I WOULD DO IT AGAIN!!!
I was fortunate/ unfortunate enough to have watched my little brothers recover from the very same surgery 15yrs ago... It was a breeze! So when my tonsillitis became problematic - 15yrs later, I figured it'd be a simple procedure with minimal pain... All I had to look forward to was finally becoming a size 8!
I think it's important to note that I got over 20meds.... And I really dont know what's for what. My surgery was in RSA by the way. I experience the most pain during the morning - 4-8AM - I assume due to extreme dryness. Till 8am because I thought everyone has to eat before knocking back drugs, chef comes in at 8... So that's when my oats would be ready. I've since realized that I can't possibly be expected to go through this excruciating pain from 4-8am just because of food. So I've decided to pop the pain meds with or without food. Best decision ever! Since I started doing that though, my pain appointment has since moved from 4AM to 1:31Am.... This is what I was scared of re popping pills as and when I needed to... What if my body now depends on this!?
Oh well. Thanks for the posts guys, I'm just in a lot of pain - though it's beginning to subside YAY!
All the best to the future soldiers... The rest of you, soldiers... Solider on... And the veterans.... Where would we be without your wise words!?
Thanks for your positive story!
i had my tonsillectomy last monday. some people are so lucky to have had it okay. my recoverys been agony :( and i had a major bleed but luckily it stoped and clotted itself by the time i got to A&E. food was really difficult to eat but i strongly recomend eating a normal diet and avoid soft food. believe it or not but hard crunchy food helps the recovery ALOT. and sweets you can suck on and chewing gum helps the pain a little too. thats what i was told by the nurses at the hospital and it works! :D