Hi all,

37 year old male day 8 post op.  Grade 4 tonsils have been removed via the laser burning/cutting method. Reason for surgery was severe sleep apnoea diagnosis and recurrent chronic tonsilitis.  Had been on a public waiting list for 5 years before surgery happened. 

Post op was told they were massive.  The sluth covers half of my uvula as well. Initially when it was greatly swollen I assumed everything would get this sluth covering, now I'm thinking the doctor accidentally burned it during surgery. We all make mistakes and it isnt causing me pain.  What is causing agonizing pain is it feels like when my body wakes me up from sleep after 2 hours that my tongue feels stuck to the side of my mouth near the tonsils and it feels like it has peeled away in my sleep which is causing me to wake up.  Tonight was the worst pain I've ever experienced I almost passed out from it. Praise God no bleeding!  I think the surgeon has accidentally burned my tongue in the tonsil removal.  

In the lead up up to the surgery I wouldn't have had 10 paracetamol pills in 5 years leading up to it.  Now I am needing Ibuprofen, Paracetamol and Endone and steroids all together. I've never had so much medication in my life, but the tongue pain causing me to wake when it peels away from my skin is agony!!!

I'll follow this topic over the next few years and reply to adults wanting feedback from a patient example what is/isn't normal in recovery, I've found reading testimonies the only thing that has got me through this so far and I'm not out of the woods yet.  Some tonsilectomy survival tips:

  • Day 1 was awesome, its pain free, don't trust it, the world of pain is coming!!! I was eating normal soft diet, beef stroganoff  and mashed potatoes and peas, compliments to the hospital staff.  I had no pain medication inclination until about 12 hours after surgery and I had some paracetomal at that time, pain was very minor in the big scheme of things.  
  • Days 2-3 you could get a mild fever, I've read very normal, I had 3-4 warm showers to relieve symptoms and started to take paracetamol and ibuprofen at this time to help with symptoms. Odd for me as I avoid pills usually, like the plague!
  • Day 4 was similar to Day 1 and I was thinking I'm through it all, now for plain skies and sailing through clouds of happiness.
  • Days 5-6 the mack truck of painful misery decided to back over my head and pain levels from the back of my tongue and ear aches started.  Ear aches are normal and it is referred pain as they share the similar nerve endings where the tonsils are.  Showers helped relieve this pain. Also I discovered this forum and saw people used iced packs, DO IT, USE THE ICE PACKS!!!  Made a huge difference.  I started to barely be able to speak on these days and hasn't got much better since.
  • Day 7 my wife who is a tough nut herself saw my condition worsen so badly she had a doctor come to our house and I was issued some pain relief which did nothing.
  • Day 8 my wife took me to hospital and that's saying something. I could barely speak at this time.  Hospital gave me Endone which has helped within 15mins take some pain away.  At present from all pills I am having daily of endone, paracetomal, steroids and ibeprophen Im having approximately 15 pills a day.
  • Day 9 has started and same story 2 hours sleep and it feels like ive been awokened to someone peeling my raw tounge off my raw cheek, Im betting the surgeon has accidentally cut my toungue back there.  The pain I had though and am in right now the endone is only just edging it out.

That is my testimony so far, hope it gets better, and hope yours goes better than mine post op. One thing I have been blessed with is no bleeding.

Hints:

  1. Drink truckloads of iced water. I suspect that it is preventing the scabs from hardening and bleeding. Also pain relieving.  
  2. Get a notepad and create columns for each medication you have been given. Right the time down that you consume your pills and when the next one is due. Tick next to when you have had the pills. Its important to project the right times moving forward as the pain can get so bad that you can't think straight and do basic maths so if you have someone there to help you let them, medicine boxes normally have a statement like take x number of pills x number of hours not exceeding x number in a 24 hour period.
  3. When the pain days hit around Day 4 its part of the healing process and the burnt skin in our moths is going from shock and awe to healing and can go a little reddish and purple, I think of the pain is healing as a way of getting through it.  Don't be afraid to have stronger medication at this point, I waited till day 6, could have easily had Endone on Day 5 or late Day 4.  Use the ice packs around your throat as pain relief. I coupled this with regular showers to relieve some pain.
  4. I went to a more softer diet when the pain got bad and I am grateful I did.  I've read elsewhere that having rougher food removes the sluth and our bad breath goes away and the weird taste in our mouths goes sooner.  Seriously... with the pain experiencing if its bad like mine, you don't care about anything other than avoid pain, so soggy weetbix with honey, water, milk, custard, yogurt all are good.  I tried mashing up normal meals from days 4-8 but I get half way through a small portion (I'm a 120kg guy) and my body is shaking in pain from eating it.
  5. To avoid the worst of the pain for me is when I fall asleep and my tongue gets stuck to my mouth I stay up to about 1 am and about midnight have Ibuprofen and paracetamol. Go to sleep, get woken up by 3-3:30am in agony and have an endone and stay awake for another day.  This routine is all that is getting me through at the moment, sleep is not my friend.
  6. I have used my sleep apnea machine twice now, each time I thought it was drying out my throat and causing this intense pain from wakening up, now however I didn't use it tonight and woke up to the worst pain yet, so use your machine as you seem fit. I'm thinking of avoiding it till my tongue has healed. 
  7. I found sleeping elevated or on side worked better than flat on my back as my uvula had swollen significantly and I couldn't exhale through my nose for the first few days due to the swelling.
  8. No one knows how much worse adult tonsillectomy is over a child's by the way expect no empathy from anyone unfortunately.

Hopefully some of that helps you out, happy to answer questions, take care, and hope we all get through this.