My tonsillectomy diary | Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery Guide

I woke up this morning feeling nervous, the typical butterflies feeling I have had so often. It’s worse though because I feel that some food would make me feel much better but I can’t eat as it’s finally the day of my operation. It’s now 8:10am and I am scheduled to be at the hospital at 11:00am. I thought I would be desperate for a drink of water given that I can’t have one, but somehow I’m not, thank goodness!

I arrived at the hospital half an hour ago and have already changed into my gown and awaiting my fate! A few minutes ago the nurse anesthetist visited me and asked me a bunch of questions about my weight, my diet, if I smoke, etc. It’s all very real now and I’m nervous. When I mentioned this to the anesthetist she gave me some type of tranquilizer to calm me down which I really appreciated.

It’s 4:30pm and I’ve just woken up! The operation went smoothly I am told. I remember waking up after the anesthetic and feeling a little clumsy and quite ‘high’ actually. I think I said some silly things to the nurses! Anyway, I don’t feel that bad right now. I can feel that something big has happened to my mouth and my jaw is very stiff. I guess this is exactly how I was told I would feel afterwards. I feel a little nausea though. My mom should be here soon to collect me; I wonder how if my mouth looks any different?

I’m home and its 9:00pm and I’m not feeling so great. I can definitely feel some pain coming on and it feels very similar to the last tonsillitis I had. Anyway, I’m taking my ibuprofen and going to sleep now.

Day 2

Well, this is not as bad I thought it might be. I did get up to go to the bathroom at about 4am this morning and I made a note of drinking some water and taking another ibuprofen. I’m noticing that my tongue is really sore. It’s not a striking pain but more of a dull pain when I move it around inside my mouth. My mom is staying with me for a few days to help me and made me some scrambled eggs without any toast. I couldn’t enjoy them really as it was quite painful trying to swallow, again not a sharp pain, but a dull pain. I’m already missing my cereal and milk! Maybe I could just let the cereal soak for a few hours in the milk. Good idea, I’ll try that tomorrow. I’ve got about ten DVD’s to watch, so I’m actually quite excited about this and not having to go to work!

Its 7:00pm and I’ve just had some dinner. Whoopee! Oatmeal for dinner! Mom cut up some bananas in the oatmeal not knowing that I don’t like them so I can’t say I enjoyed it. I did pass out for a few hours this afternoon and when I woke up my throat was a lot more painful. A sip of water and 20 minutes later it was feeling ok again.

Day 3

I’ve just realized that frozen lollies are very popular during recovery and so I’ve asked mom to grab some. It’s crazy how much information there is out there on the internet about recovery, some of it doesn’t seem right though. It seems that in England the doctors tell their patients to eat rough foods like toast and pop corn etc. The theory behind is that it ‘scrapes’ the throat and keeps it clean and also somehow makes it heal faster. This doesn’t sound right to me; I would have thought to give it some tender care before ‘scraping’ it with food like toast. My goodness, I can’t think of anything worse now that having to eat toast!

Yum, lollypops! I’m loving this whole eating flavored ice exercise.  They’re definitely making my throat feel numb and I know it must be hydrating my throat and I feel like a kid again!

Its 6:30pm and I’m feeling very nauseous, I don’t know why. Mom has cooked me oatmeal again and I just don’t feel like eating. My throat is feeling ‘scratchy’ and I’m not feeling in such a good mood

Day 4

Mom has left and I’m on my own! I can’t say I feel any better than day one, I would say it’s about the same. I’m getting used to this constant dull pain now but am already fantasizing of what I am going to do when all this is over and what I am going to eat etc. Yesterday, mom bought me a humidifier that I pumped  into the bedroom all night. When I woke up I definitely felt slightly better. I’m thinking of just staying in my bedroom all day today and taking my laptop to bed to watch movies.

Its 2:30pm and I just got off the phone with my doctor. I was really scared! I was trying to brush my teeth (for the first time since the op!! – yugg!) and when I was spitting out I noticed some blood in basin. I’ve been warned by the nurses to contact my doctor if I saw any blood and so I panicked a little. Thank goodness, he said it was nothing to worry about as it was so little and also very dark, so unlikely to be fresh blood – something like that. I’ve noticed that I can sleep for at least 3 hours if I try getting to sleep within half an hour of taking my pain medication.

Day 5

Last night was uneventful other than feeling very frustrated. I want this over now and  even though the  pain  it isn’t that bad, is just irritating. Can’t I just have one hour of no pain! I looked in the mirror this morning and got a bit of a fright. It’s so gross I almost felt sick. It’s like thick greenish white scabs where my tonsils would have been. This morning I have a new problem though, ear pain. Every time I open my mouth slightly, I have this very sharp pain in my left ear. It’s so painful than when I eat or yawn; I grab my ear and squeeze it. I don’t know how serious this is or what it is, I’ll give it a day until I call the doc.

Day 6

5:30am – Can’t sleep. I’ve just taken some Tylenol with codeine medication and hoping that it takes the ear and throat pain away and allows me to get back to sleep. Drinking water is becoming harder, I don’t know why. I just take very small sips as often as possible now.

I did fall asleep after about an hour and I’ve just woken about two hours later. I feel a little bit like I have flu today. It could also been the codeine which I’ve been taking quite a lot lately. I believe that all narcotic drugs such as codeine have pretty bad side effects. I just hope I’m not getting sick with my flu like symptoms. I’ve also developed a small headache which I haven’t had since the operation.

It’s just before 10pm and I made myself some ramen noodles for dinner. It was painful, but I enjoyed having something savory for a change. I took a sip of water between every mouthful. The ear pain is still there but after doing some research online I believe it quite normal so I’m not too worried about it. One of my friends from work called and wanted to chat but I couldn’t, talking is quite painful and just chatting is not worth it!

Day 7

06:45am – Oh cr*p! I’m not happy Wow, the last time I felt this kind of pain was when I had tonsillitis and got ulcers on the tonsils which was excruciating. I tasted a bit of blood this morning which obviously made me feel a bit panicky. When I brushed my teeth, I looked into my mouth and I think some of my scab might have come off. The pain in my throat is no longer a dull scratchy pain, it is sharp and intense.

2:15pm – I called the doctor and asked exactly how much codeine I could take because the pain is really bad right now. I can’t believe that I’m unlucky enough that my period had to start yesterday, the timing couldn’t be worse. I’ve been crying all morning from the pain and I feel very emotional. I wish I could just fall asleep now but I’ve got pain in my head, ear and throat. I can’t even call one of my friends to have a chat and share what I am going through. This really sucks.

4:00pm – I’ve just had a meal; I don’t know what to call it, late lunch or early dinner. I first made myself some two minute noodles, but there were some spices in it which was too painful to eat. I remembered that mom bought me some baby food last week so I tucked into that and it was ok. My taste is off, so it tasted weird. I don’t know how I am going to sleep tonight. Time feels like it is going so slow.

2:30am – I can’t sleep. I’ve got bloody period pain and everything else! I’ve taken the maximum amount of pain killers and I don’t feel much better. I haven’t smoked in three years and I’ve just had my worst craving. I’m going to cry myself to sleep tonight I think. I’ve just thought I should try watching something on my laptop to cheer me up, maybe Seinfeld!

Day 8

I don’t care what time it is, it’s dark outside which means that I haven’t slept very much The pain when I woke up was excruciating. I feel angry that I am in so much pain, but I don’t know why. I can feel something in the back of my throat; it feels like a piece of scab hanging down. It tickles my throat and is so irritating, but I can’t see it in the mirror. I want to try coughing it up, but I am scared it will be too painful and I also don’t want to encourage any hemorrhaging.

Its midday and I’ve just brushed my teeth. I noticed that my tongue is an ugly grayish color, I have no idea why. I’ve read that your breath gets really stinky after a tonsillectomy but I can’t smell anything bad (although I bet it is!). When I was drinking some water today I felt it was different as it went down my throat. It felt as if it was collecting in the holes where my tonsils were before going down – hard to explain – not painful, just very weird.

It’s just before 8pm and mom is back! She heard that I was not doing so well on the phone today and offered to come over and stay for a few more days. She made me macaroni and cheese tonight which got me really excited. Unfortunately I couldn’t eat much as it was just too painful. I feel a bit bad about that, poor mom. I also got very angry with her  after she arrived today, totally out of character. I told her that I was feeling much worse than in the beginning and she said that I was probably not taking my medication properly or something. Obviously I have, but I got really angry with her and shouted and cried. I know she is doing her best to help, I think it’s the medication and pain which caused me to react like that.

Its 23:30 and I just managed to eat some more macaroni and cheese. I took my codeine about 45 minutes ago which I am assuming is the reason why I can eat now. It’s far from comfortable, but at least I got something in my tummy.

Day 9

When I woke up this morning I noticed that the scabs looks different, or are not there, I don’t know, but they are definitely smaller. I’m still in pain but mom forced me to go into the garden for half an hour and sit in the sun which seemed to take my mind off things for a bit. I’m beginning to realize that it’s all about distracting yourself and taking as much medication as I am allowed to. And drinking water, let’s not forget!

Mom just made some tea and made me a cup of lukewarm chamomile tea. It was sore, but sooo soothing, I cried. I asked mom to make me some peanut butter on bread, but that didn’t work out well at all. The peanut butter stuck in my throat and I couldn’t get it down. I drank lots of water until it was gone but it was a horrible feeling.

Its dinner time and mom made me some nice Italian minestrone. I finally managed to eat a full meal, albeit a bowl of soup! Tonight we are going to watch one of our favorite DVD’s, I still feel bad about my temper yesterday.

Day 10

Last night was ok. I set my alarm to wake up every 2 hours and have some water. My throat is still really dry. I feel like I have got over the worst. I feel totally exhausted, both physically and mentally. I want to go for a nice long walk today and get some fresh air into my lungs. I’m going to fill up a big bottle of water and take my iPod with me.

It’s about 9pm and mom just left. The walk was lovely and I’m feeling better. I really wish the pain would completely go, even though its much less, it’s still frustrating to me. I plan on calling some friends tonight and updating them on my progress. I actually look forward to returning back to work!

Day 11

Well, I think I can certainly say that I am over the worst. It looks like my scabs are gone and the pain now is very manageable. I’m going to continue taking the medication when necessary and drink a lot of water. I read a magazine this morning which is something I have not been able to do for a long time. The codeine just made me feel too drowsy to do anything but watch TV or sleep. I’m still eating soft foods, so I’m looking very forward to something a little closer to normal! Perhaps pizza!

Day 12

I went to my doctor today for a follow up. He said that everything looked good and I had nothing to worry about. He said I could try eating my normal diet and getting some very light exercise. I know exactly what I am doing tonight. I am going to call up my local pizzeria and order a delivery of pizza and if I’m feeling up to it, maybe even half a glass of red wine!

Day 21 – 9 days later

I just wanted to post one final entry in this diary. I’m totally recovered and am feeling great. In retrospect, the recovery was awful, but when I started feeling better, I got better so quickly. I don’t regret having the operation for one second; it’s totally worth it knowing that I won’t ever have tonsillitis again! I think I could have drunk a bit more water around the peak pain period (days 7-8), but overall I’m thankful that I didn’t have any real complications like hemorrhaging. I’ve got back into my daily gym routine and am back at work and feel great. Every now and then I drink something or eat something and I feel it get stuck in the tonsil bed when my tonsils would have been and it feels strange – but other than that all is great!