My adult tonsillectomy experience

After countless years of bad sleep, I finally resolved to get my large tonsils out at age 24 so I could breathe easier. The doctor confirmed this was the right course of action after looking at my tonsils and exclaiming, “If I had these tonsils, I’d get them out!”

My surgery was scheduled less than a week later. I of course immediately turned to the Internet and read everything I could about the procedure, which meant plenty of horror stories. This, coupled with the doctor’s warning of possible arterial bleeding, kicked my anxiety into overdrive (thankfully, unnecessarily).

I arrived the morning of the surgery, bleary-eyed, wishing I could have a chicken biscuit, and grateful for my parents’ company. There were two babies ahead of me on the schedule, but the overall wait for both prep and surgery was actually quite short.

After changing into my surgery gown and cap, a wonderful nurse named Brenda covered me with two heated blankets, completing my transformation into a happy little burrito. It was pure bliss.

The worst part was the IV, mainly because I’m a big baby about needles. Very soon after though, I was wheeled into the surgery room. There was a moment of panic when I started coughing while they administered gas, but the anesthesiologist assured me it was normal and then I was out like a light.

When I woke up, I immediately asked the most important question of my parents: “Did you guys get donuts?”

After ensuring their breakfast needs had been met, I requested water. And then more water. In my quest for information about tonsillectomies, the one piece of advice I saw most was to stay hydrated, so that’s what I meant to do. I believe this simple but key bit of advice is what made my recovery so, well, easy.

My recovery buddy

By the time we left the surgery center, I’d had almost two glasses of water. When we got home, I continued to drink, drink, drink. Other than having trouble staying awake that day (even while trying to eat a popsicle), I didn’t have much difficulty after the operation. I was even able to eat mashed potatoes later that same afternoon.

In fact, I was never unable to eat solid food. It was obviously all soft (mashed potatoes, soup, etc.), but I wasn’t restricted to a liquid diet. Just two nights after my surgery, I even ate some chicken! In very small pieces and chewed very well, but chicken nonetheless.

I helped throw a surprise party Saturday night and took it easy Sunday, then was back at work Monday.

Adhering to my medication schedule plus staying hydrated made my recovery a cakewalk. The only pain I experienced (and it wasn’t much) was about two weeks after the surgery, when I would yawn too big.

At my two-week recovery check-up, the doctor was impressed with how easily my recovery went and was pleased with my answers to her questions. I still had a small scab on one side of my throat, but other than that everything looked perfect and I was given the all-clear to resume normal activities.


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