How to Survive Recovery After Tonsil Removal

How will the operation go, what will help to cope with the pain and when will the long-awaited relief come. mindalin-2f8e57c.jpg” alt=”How to survive recovery after tonsil removal” />

Lizaveta Dubovik Director of Medical Projects Office at Palindrome.

In early March, my tonsils were removed. Before the operation, I read a lot about recovery, and in good sources: I work as a medical editor and I know what I can trust.

But in fact, everything turned out to be much more painful and unpleasant than described: I could not drink for a week water and sleep, ate almost nothing and groaned in pain in the morning. Therefore, when I felt better, I decided to collect in one material tips for those who will have their tonsils removed and want to prepare better than me for recovery.

Important: I tried to take information from trusted sources about the average course of the process and recommendations for recovery, but I also added my own thoughts. My experience may not match yours. Be sure to discuss recovery expectations with your doctor.

What you should know before removing the tonsils

If you are going to remove the tonsils, it is unlikely that you should explain where they are: these are the very lumps lymphoid tissue that swells and hurts with a cold. In people with chronic tonsillitis, they are usually especially large, become acutely inflamed during illness, covered with plaque, fester.

If tonsils interfere with life and normal sleep, inflammation cannot be cured with antibiotics, abscesses and bleeding occur, the doctor may recommend Tonsillectomy/Mayo Clinic to remove them.

Children undergo surgery much easier than adults and recover faster. That is why, if you have lived to 21 with your tonsils, then you will have to fight for them. There are certain Tonsillectomy/Mayo Clinic criteria for their removal:

  • At least 7 episodes of acute inflammation in the previous year.
  • At least 5 episodes per year in the last 2 years.
  • At least 3 episodes per year in the last 3 years.

If at this stage you understand that perhaps the operation is still not needed – sore throats are not so frequent and the condition is not so bad – contact another lore for a second opinion. And think again, are you sure you are ready for removal. Because it will be very painful.

How the operation goes

Believe me, the operation is the simplest thing that awaits you. I had my tonsils removed in a private clinic with a trusted doctor, because I realized that I had to provide myself with at least some minimal comfort. And I also had to do everything quickly, because my state of health turned into already very bad: after the coronavirus, my tonsils became so huge that I could not breathe normally.

In private clinics, the patient is not kept for a long time: the operation was performed at 18:00, and in the morning at 10 they were already sent home, fed with a baked pear. In state hospitals, the patient is observed. S. Gaidukov. Tonsillectomy – removal of palatine tonsils/St. Petersburg Research Institute of Ear, Throat, Nose and Speech of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation for five days. To be honest, I didn’t really understand why, because, according to my feelings, you are discharged in the midst of horror.

The operation is done under general anesthesia. It hurt a little when I woke up after it, but the nurse deftly poured an anesthetic down my throat, and I felt good. Then they injected me with some very strong and pleasant injection, so after half an hour I was already recording a video in Telegram about my own heroism and even scribbling in work chats. I felt very good: in the morning I calmly swallowed food, and immediately after the operation I drank water.

True, then the doctor said that it would be like this for a couple of days until I recovered from anesthesia and drugs. And on the third day, the main tin will begin. And so it happened.

What to eat if it hurts a lot

On the third day after the operation, I really felt unbearable pain. It all started at night: I woke up feeling like my ears were burning from the inside, and my saliva was acid. In a sitting position it became easier. But lying down did not work at all.

A couple of days later, I bought myself a pillow for patients with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease – when acid from the stomach breaks up the esophagus) to lie at an angle. It also helped with bouts of acid rush into the mouth wounds that the pain pills provoked.

I drank a lot of painkillers and with its help I somehow held on. It was possible to eat only after the pill. The pain did not go away completely, but at least a couple of spoons of food fit. By the third day, the entire throat was covered with a nasty white coating and swollen so that it was not clear how to push food into it.

I had to look for the right products. My discharge letter stated that I could not eat hot, spicy, sour and irritating food for two weeks, and alcohol for three. Then the doctor suggested that I independently look for what would come to me. He did not recommend children's fruit purees because they contain lemon juice, and suggested trying ice cream at first.

In foreign recommendationsJ. Carew, K. Hayes. What Can I Eat After a Tonsillectomy?/VerywellHealth on nutrition after surgery, the following products appear:

  • any soft food;
  • apple sauce;
  • ice cream and popsicles;
  • warm drinks;
  • warm soup;
  • pasta;
  • Sprite-type soda.

Recommend Tonsillectomy: Surgery to remove your tonsils/The NHS also has toast and corn flakes. It will be hard, but it seems like it should help clean off dead cells. I came to this diet intuitively and really ate flakes just in batches – they are sweet and form into lumps that are easy to swallow.

Pureed foods, in my experience, go badly: they are light, just stick to the mountain and are not swallowed. You have to drink them down, and these are separate efforts for the throat – we will return to them later. As a result, you need to look for something moderately liquid, sweet (because it does not irritate), but heavy, so that it is swallowed by itself. Here are the foods I ate:

  • melted ice cream, better than regular ice cream – hearty, cool, fast;
  • steamed and almost cooled noodles with butter and broth;
  • micro dumplings and dumplings with butter;
  • sweet blueberries;
  • corn flakes heavily soaked in milk.

I also sucked on lollipops and tried to chew gum to loosen my clenched jaw. All for the sake of calories. Believe me, these days you will become a prominent hunter for them: your body will be ready for any format of complementary foods.

But smoothies, curds and mashed soups didn’t work for me at all. They are too caustic and liquid, so they strove to get into the wrong throat, I constantly choked. Literally from every spoon.

Water was a separate issue. For the first time in my life, I felt what it was like to drown when I tried to drink a couple of days after the operation. The water just flowed down the wrong throat. It was very painful to cough it up in this state.

As a result, any sip of water was dangerous, and in 30% of cases I really choked on it. I learned to drink only on the 8-9th day. Now I can’t stop doing it: drinking is wonderful. The tube helped me a little.

Another plaque in the throat smells unpleasant – be prepared for the fact that all food will be saturated with this aftertaste. For example, I can’t imagine now how I eat ice cream: it’s all for me with the taste of healing flesh.

This smell, as my young man noted, also extends to the premises. So yes, you will smell bad. It is better to ventilate more often.

What rules should be followed at home

Bleeding is the biggest danger after surgery. Therefore, almost all doctor's prescriptions are aimed at preventing their occurrence. Here's what to do:

  • drink special pills;
  • refuse to take a bath and do not stand in a hot shower for a long time;
  • reduce physical activity to a minimum;
  • refuse to go to the bathhouse and not overheat at all;
  • more lie down and rest.

These are very important requirements. It is better to provide yourself with at least 10 days of rest, taking a vacation or sick leave, and prepare for the fact that you won’t be able to move much.

I have already said that it will be uncomfortable to sleep – be sure to consider the option with a raised headboard or a few pillows. This will make it easier to breathe. I bought a pillow for GERD – it also worked.

In addition, you have to drink antibiotics, and this is a separate challenge for the body. Tune in to the fact that the first week against the backdrop of recovery and a mountain of pills, your body will sausage: fever, nausea and diarrhea, pain, weakness. This is all normal.

If you start bleeding or your general condition is too severe – it will be difficult to breathe, the temperature will become very high – you should immediately consult a doctor.

What is the result

It was a terrible two weeks: it was so painful and so difficult for me, perhaps, it had never happened before. Even severe sore throats did not cause such prolonged suffering, and the lack of sleep and the opportunity to eat and drink was debilitating. I am finishing this material three weeks after the removal – now I still have a little pain, swelling in my throat and I can’t eat all the food.

But there is much to be learned from this experience. I learned to appreciate the opportunity to eat and drink, I understood how sleep is connected with recovery and healing, and now I try to protect it even more. The pain also helped with anxiety. When you focus on solving physically necessary tasks, the rest pales against this background.

I took a course of meditations on Headspace about pain and with their help I learned not to concentrate on the damage that it brings, but to learn to coexist with it, observe and pay attention. When you don’t run away from pain, the truth becomes easier.

Words of support from relatives also helped to cope: everyone reminded me that I was going through such a serious challenge in order to get sick less, called me a hero and listened to my whining. Thank you very much to all these people for their support.

Please talk to your loved ones before the operation and enlist their support in such a difficult time. This is the best thing we can do for each other. Try not to be alone and remember: all this is really temporary and is done so that later you do not get sick and feel better.