Tonsillectomy Journey: Part 1

I promise I will stop going on about my tonsils and getting them out eventually. I wanted to write this post as I thought it would be helpful to anyone else going through something similar. The post will be split into two parts, this part will give a brief history of my experience with tonsillitis and talk about the procedure and part two will be a recovery diary.

Up until this past year I didn’t have trouble with my tonsils, if I got a cold it was always my nose that was the problem. On March 1st I woke up with the driest, scratchiest throat I’ve ever had and no matter how much I was drinking the dryness wouldn’t go away. It turned into a cold and a few days later I went and saw a doctor who told me it looks like tonsillitis. I was given antibiotics which were too high a dose so I ended up with stomach pains and cramps and couldn’t keep the antibiotics in me. This meant the antibiotics weren’t effective and the tonsillitis didn’t completely go away. A few weeks later I returned to the doctor and was prescribed a different antibiotic which did the trick this time. Fast forward to the end of June and I come down with tonsillitis again. I had been fine all throughout lockdown but once you start mingling and being around people again you’re more susceptible to catching something. It was the same for lots of people at work, the week before I was off about eight staff were sick some days. At this doctor’s appointment I was referred to the hospital to get my tonsils out. I was all for it as it’s going to stop recurrent sore throats every few months.

From the time I got referred to getting the actual procedure it was 3 months which is quite quick in my opinion. I had my initial appointment with the surgeon in July, a phone call with the pre-op team in August and then it was a matter of waiting for a surgery date. Originally I could have had the procedure done at the beginning of September but my mum was in hospital when I received the call and I didn’t need that pressure. A couple of weeks later I got a letter in the mail with a new proposed date of October 6th – I accepted.

On the day of the procedure I was up early and at the hospital before 7:30am. I changed into a gown and robe and was told my surgery would likely be late morning, any children having the same procedure that day get done first. An anesthetist came over for a chat and then it was a matter of waiting to hear my name called. I went into the operating theatre shortly after 11am and was out less than an hour later – the operation itself is very quick. When I woke up I remember initially feeling pain in my throat and was very sleepy from the anesthetic. Most people are allowed to go home the same day a couple of hours after the procedure but my oxygen saturation levels dropped a little bit so they wanted to keep me in to monitor those.

I spent the next few hours dozing until I was more alert. My mum was by my side the whole time but left to come home at around 4pm. After she left I went back to sleep and shortly before 6pm it was dinner time. I was nervous not only to eat in case it was painful but anxious to see what food was on my plate. Dinner was pork and apple meatloaf with mashed potato and vegetables with lemon curd tartlet for dessert. For hospital food the meal wasn’t too shabby and it didn’t cause me pain to eat. I was offered an iceblock after the procedure but I was too sleepy so didn’t feel like it at the time. I wasn’t offered an iceblock or icecream after that.

After dinner I was wide awake so I killed some time on my phone (thank you hospital wifi) and did some crossword puzzles in a magazine I had with me. I went to sleep around 10pm but didn’t have a restful sleep at all, I woke up several times during the night and even started reading an ebook for an hour to pass time. I went back to sleep around 4am and woke up properly between 6 and 7. Breakfast came around at 8am and I ate most of a piece of toast and some fruit salad, I wasn’t brave enough to face the cornflakes. A doctor (coincidentally one of the doctors my mum had during her hospital visits) and a house surgeon came to discharge me just after 9am and gave me a script for three different types of painkillers. After that I was allowed to go home.

Stay tuned for part two which will be up on Friday and will document each day of recovery for two weeks after surgery and how I was feeling.

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