Project Polish 2018 Update 6

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Here’s the latest for my Project Polish. Peace and love.

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Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 14

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Two weeks in and I seem to have taken a step or two backwards. I’m not sure if it’s part of the healing process, but I seem to have to clear my throat a lot and talking is very difficult due to being hoarse almost to the point of losing my voice. I am also still sore, especially if I try to open my mouth all the way, and I also have been experiencing some uncomfortable itching.

Enough of the negatives — it’s time to focus on positives. My pain level was a manageable 3-4 without having to use medication or stay in my humidified bedroom all day. I didn’t even nap today (though I definitely could have — I was pretty drained). All I took were my last two Hydrocodones today, one this morning at 10-ish and one a few minutes ago, around 8 p.m. I was able to manage pain by drinking water, talking less, eating a bit (seriously — it felt like it was helping gently rub my throat instead of scratching it), and, of course, cold therapy (by which I mean a strawberry malt and some popsicles). I think it’s fantastic that I’m healed to the point that I can choose whether or not I’m going to take meds, and just deal with the more minor consequences of staying off them when possible. This time last week, my pain level would absolutely not have allowed the option of skipping pain pills — even taking one an hour or two late would have resulted in complete misery. So, I know I’m on the mend, even if it’s much slower than I would have hoped.

I hope to be able to have more energy over the next few days, and to eat healthier, too. I was informed by the doctor that I should expect a substantial weight loss — and several people estimated it would be about 10 pounds. While I, fortunately, haven’t gained weight since my surgery, I’ve only (somehow) lost 2 pounds (thanks, PCOS!). I have been eating nothing but junk food, obviously — pudding and ice cream and popsicles, oh my! Mashed potatoes and pancakes and sodium-laden canned soups, oh my! Unfortunately, laying around and eating empty calories is not offsetting the calories my body is burning to heal me up, apparently. I’ve also been incredibly hydrated with the massive amounts of water I’ve been drinking, so I didn’t lose the expected “water weight,” either. (Though, my hair is very shiny and my skin is clearer than it’s been for months — thank you, water!)

But we are what we eat, and my body is letting me know, through cravings and low energy, that it would like some healthy food as soon as possible. Like, I would love a giant chef salad — is that too much to ask? I’m just a little gun-shy about pulling the trigger on the hard, crunchy vegetables. I still get zings of pain now and again from overly-salty food and I can’t open my mouth all the way, so I feel like anything requiring too much effort to chew and swallow will just set my progress back a couple days. So, tomorrow is more noodles and applesauce, I guess, unless I unexpectedly make substantial healing gains overnight.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 13

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Lucky number 13, or so they say. I started weaning off my strong prescription pain pills last night, trying to push myself as long as possible before taking them, and while I haven’t risen above a pain level of 4, I’ve had more discomfort today than yesterday.

I slept later in the morning, and that probably started my day poorly by dehydrating me, and though I spaced my pills about 5 hours apart instead of the recommended 4, it seems like they took much longer to kick in. Additionally, I’ve developed cough — sort of like there may be fluid building up in my lungs — which aggravates the soreness in my throat. It’s harder to talk today — like my throat is not just sore but a little tight and a bit itchy. I’m wondering if I could be starting to suffer a little from allergies. My hubby thinks it may be the last of the scabs falling off.

I did have mac-n-cheese today, and a hamburger (with home-grown lettuce!) on a bun, besides my typical jello/pudding/mashed potatoes menu. I tried a fry, but it was too scratchy, so I gave those up immediately.

I didn’t have much energy today, so I got literally nothing accomplished besides eating, painting my nails, video-chatting with relatives, and watching YouTube videos. That sounds like a perfect lazy day, but I’ve had 13 of those in a row and am getting quite bored. I just keep thinking of all the fun activities I wish I had the stamina to accomplish, and I’m getting a little resentful that this surgery and recovery has taken up so much of my time. But, as I discovered earlier this week, the more I do one day, the more worn out I am the next.

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Time for another pill, and then maybe an early bedtime. Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 12

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Just a quick update here before I head to bed. Today I felt much better, look and sound better, and had more energy and a clearer mind than I have had at any point since my surgery. I believe the scabs are almost completely gone, but I do still have pain — it’s mainly a sharp pain in specific places, as opposed to widespread dull pain spread all over. I completely missed my 7:30 a.m. pill today and didn’t take one until almost noon, when my level was about a 3 out of 10 — a real blessing.

I am going to start spreading my pills out further than the recommended 3-4 hour dosage. They are, after all, prescribed opioids, and I’m truly scared of them, their addictive potential, and their possible withdrawal side effects. I know that I’ve only been taking them about 2 weeks, but I still feel uncomfortable about the whole situation, particularly since I’ve been on them for five days longer than my doctor originally intended. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to transitioning back to regular old Extra Strength Tylenol until I am totally healed up.

I wound up taking a nap this afternoon, but it was only an hour long, and it did refresh me enough to become more adventurous in my eating. I had hamburger gravy on my mashed potatoes and, just now, had a piece of baked chicken. Hamburgers topped with home-grown lettuce and dill, with sides of mac-n-cheese and green beans are on the menu for tomorrow’s Father’s Day lunch, so hopefully my throat’s up to the challenge! We can do it, me! I believe in us! (I’ll leave off the Sriracha mustard, I suppose. How sad.)

Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 11

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I should have known better. I was forewarned. I thought I could beat the odds. I am a fool.

I pushed myself too hard yesterday, because I was finally able to get up and move around without constant pain. I definitely felt it today. Loved ones told me this exact scenario would happen, but I thought, “Surely that’s earlier on in the recovery than this!” I am an idiot.

All of that aside, I made it through most of this morning pleasantly without incident, even (unintentionally) taking my pain medicine an hour later than scheduled. While I felt it a little bit, my world didn’t completely collapse. That grew my confidence: I must be almost all the way better, if I’m only at a 3 when I’m not on pain meds! I haven’t been coughing — my scabs must be nearly totally gone. I can drink and eat without idolizing the dead. Full steam ahead!

Then I made an epically bad decision, one on par with Oedipus marrying his mother. After my delicious, vitamin-enriched breakfast of a chocolate protein shake, I attempted to eat a lunch consisting of one-half of one piece of Oscar Mayer Ultra Thin Roast Beef. You know the kind: the almost see-through slices people put on sandwiches. The ones that are loaded with salt.

To say it burned like the sand and rain in the inner-most ring of the seventh circle of hell is an only slightly exaggerated descriptor. It was as though the lava from a volcano had formed a hand, like in the cartoons, and was reaching down my throat to tickle my stomach with fingers licking of flames. Tears instantly sprang to my eyes. I cursed myself, time and again, while furiously drinking ice water until the pain receded. I am the jester in my royal court.

After lunch, I decided it was time for a nap. I fell asleep around 1:30 and woke up at 5:30. That’s approximately as much sleep as I typically get in a full night. I evidently needed it, though, because I awoke with a pain level of only a 1-2 and high enough energy to eat two small pancakes for dinner.

Life is looking up. Peace and love.

 

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 10

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I’m almost scared to say it, for fear of jinxing myself, but I actually had a much better day today. My throat was still sore, but overall the pain never got above a 4 out of 10. I slept from midnight until 10:00 a.m., waking every four hours to take a pain pill and go right back to sleep. In fact, my baby and cats all slept until I woke up, so Daddy had the house to himself all morning long. I’m sure he’d tell you it was glorious.

For the first time since my surgery, I did not nap or even so much as lay down once I got up today. I was able to do some light house-keeping (putting away laundry, picking up after my son, that sort of thing). I made a YouTube video for my channel (with, admittedly, very little talking in it, as my throat still feels tight and it sounds like I’m talking through a ball of cotton). I video chatted my parents and Josh’s grandparents and aunt. I had a little extra energy (possibly due to the delicious, vitamin-packed protein shake I had for brunch), so I did a manicure and pedicure, too. I feel like I packed a week’s worth of activities into one day. I’m sure I’ll feel it tomorrow.

It was just so wonderful to feel relatively good. This is what summer is supposed to be about. Look out, s’mores: I’ll be coming for you soon.

Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 9

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Picture it: it’s 2:30 in the morning, you’re in pain, and you just want to be able to take your two Extra Strength Tylenol and fall asleep for a solid 6 hours to heal peacefully. You’re propped up on a plethora of soft pillows and surrounded by cats who are purring softly, creating an ambiance that is almost spa-like. You quietly drift off, to be awoken by the sound of your next alarm gently rousing you from slumber, with only a mild tingle in your throat to remind you to take your next dose of medication. You almost consider skipping a dose — you feel so good — but that would be foolish, so you take half of what is recommended and head into the living room with a cup of coffee to listen to the birds sing gently in the trees. That was exactly my situation this morning, in nearly no way.

Oh, sure, there was the two extra-strength Tylenols and the cats. There were a bunch of pillows, but those were mainly thrown to the ground in the sudden surge of adrenaline brought on by the torturous and terrifying coughing spell that awoke me around 4:00 a.m., arms flailing, consumed by the fear that I would create a throat bleed that would require medical attention. As the coughing abated, the alternating sharp and dull, but ever-constant, pain set in. And I was completely aware of the time (my insomnia has honed my ability to determine the hour from the angles of the shadows on the wall — plus, you know, I had a clock beside me): only an hour and a half into this dose of meds, with four and a half hours to go. As it turns out, I was, from that point on, up for most of the day, with only the equivalent of a long nap to help drag myself along.

There was no spa. There was no singing bird. There was no miraculous healing just because all the internet sources and documentation from the doctor’s office had convinced me there would be by this point. There was no peace.

Allow me to elaborate upon what there was. There was coffee, when I could force my aching throat to open far enough to allow me to choke it down. There was a snoring husband and a coughing baby and a bunch of cat-games going on throughout the house (occasionally sleeping, often running and jumping). There was more than just a “slight tingle” in my throat; there was a never-ending throb of misery made worse from swollen glands, referred ear pain, and sticky, but loose, wiggly scabs. There was a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a hand towel, laying on my neck and dripping into my hair.

I’m not going to lie. I had known in the previous days the swelling wasn’t quite ready to quit (I mean, I’m old and sickly, so I expected I wouldn’t get better as soon as a child would). I had called my doctor (who is out of the state) and informed his office of the swelling and struggles I was still facing, and asked if they thought it would be best to give me more steroids and prescribed pain medication. Today, they reached my doctor and that prescription was called in. Not all heroes wear capes.

Around 12:45, my hubby got my pills from the pharmacy. Around 1:45, I was feeling well enough to sit up, refreeze the peas, and eat a couple more popsicles. By 2:30, I was having mushroom soup. It was like a miracle.

I don’t mean to imply that Extra Strength Tylenol is worthless. I am stating, outright, that it just isn’t strong enough to help me at this point. What a miserable lesson to have to learn. I’m really appreciative that my doctor gave me a few extra days of the meds that were working. Hopefully when they run out this weekend, it won’t be nearly as bad as it is now. Optimism is how I live my life!

Here’s me, in the competent hands of my nursing staff, with a bag of peas and a mountain of pillows. Note the look of anguish.

Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 8

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“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains.”
If that excerpt sounds familiar, it’s from “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. In what way does it apply to a tonsil and adenoid surgery recovery? Well, it’s simple. I am Ozymandias: prideful, overly-confident, and foolish.
I was so smug yesterday. “Oh,” I said, “I’m feeling better. I have the answer! It’s so simple! Sleep sitting up! I’m a genius to have figured that out. It’s all smooth-sailing from here, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing but blue skies. Listen to the master of healing and take note.”
Nothing beside remains.
Today I awoke, as I should have suspected from the cockiness reflected in yesterday’s blog tone, in what I shall elegantly call a crap ton of pain. I even went so far as to cancel a coffee date I thought I couldn’t make it to, because I lost track of days and was a day ahead of schedule. As it turns out, my friend had to cancel for a totally different reason (in other words, she isn’t a complete moron like I am and is successfully adulting during her recovery, taking care of bills and house upkeep and pet care and talking to the cable company, while here I am eating six-packs of Jello pudding while painting my nails and watching The 40 -Year Old Virgin). But that is neither here nor there. The point is, I was so out of sorts due to the pain I so richly earned through hubris that I lost track of time and cancelled a date I didn’t have.
Nothing beside remains.
It turns out that I have no idea why I have been waking up in the morning miserable and have a lot of swelling until about lunch, after which time I start feeling better and more normal until night. It just comes and goes in waves, I guess. I don’t actually know anything. I don’t even know what day it is.
Meanwhile, I took my final Prednisone and my final prescription pain pill today. I’m about to take an Extra Strength Tylenol and hope for the best. I should be fine, right? I mean, how much longer can this agony truly drag on?
I have not, in actuality, been in agony since this morning. In fact, I’ve been hovering between a pain level of 1 and 4 all afternoon and evening. I ate some soup (with noodles!) and a piece of pumpkin pie filling today, in addition to an ice cream slushie and about ten popsicles. I’ve come to remember, through this experience, how much I love Cup a Soup! Do you remember that? Little packets of broth with a noodle in it that you heat in a mug in the microwave! I haven’t had so much of it since I left college, but now it’s like the best thing I can eat. I’ve also had a can of mushroom soup, which I would have married if he’d asked.
Clearly my diet has been poor this week. I’ve had either too few calories or too many bad calories. I was getting concerned about becoming malnourished — losing vitamins and minerals because I’m not eating the right types of foods. I’m already anemic, and haven’t been taking my iron at all, so there is valid cause for concern. While talking to a friend, she suggested I buy some ready-made protein shakes that have a lot of healthy nutrition in them. Those should be arriving tomorrow. Possibly, my lightheadedness and lack of concentration will be exiting tomorrow, too.
My doctor’s release forms say that the potential for excessive bleeding and also the prevalence of regular pain should be abated by day 11, so just a couple really bad days left, right?
Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 7

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Today, I felt much better than I did yesterday. My pain levels consistently stayed between a 1 and a 4 the entire day. Part of it, I’m sure, is I’m continuing to heal. The other part is I slept sitting at an extremely elevated angle. As I mentioned previously, I thought that lying down was affecting the swelling in my throat. To test the theory, I slept basically sitting up last night and overall had a much better, less painful night and morning.

I have been eating more in terms of solid (but still super soft) foods. I had the normal popsicles, jello, and pudding, of course. I also ate applesauce, but it had citric acid in it. Big mistake. Seriously. Do not recommend. But, after having such a sore throat yesterday and eating almost nothing, today I was able to add back in more scrambled eggs with cheese and several bowls of mashed potatoes with gravy, as well as the filling from a piece of pumpkin pie. A friend sent home an iced coffee smoothie for me today, and it was incredible. Being Italian, when I’m full, I’m happy, and today I was really happy. There’s still some slight burning pain on the right tonsil area, which my husband believes is the sensitivity from the little new patches of pink skin peeking through where it’s healing. I also feel like I’ve developed another canker sore under my tongue on the right side, where I had one a few weeks ago (that is an altogether different type of soreness, with which I am recently all too familiar).

I had a little more energy today, as well. I’m not sure if it’s due to better sleep, better eating, a little more healing, or a combination, but I appreciated it. I snuggled my baby in the rocker and watched a couple cartoons with him this morning before he left for daycare. That wore me out a bit, and I did have to nap for a while afterwards. Then, before he ate dinner, I spent a little more time with him. I have been completely run down this week, so even this small amount of play time with him was extra special for me.

And I was in generally better spirits today, too. I’m feeling, overall, more like myself. I’m back to trying to find humor and enjoying looking through my nail polishes. I’m still playing that stupid farming game Townlife or whatever it’s called. No, this blog isn’t sponsored. I hate the darn game. But I can’t let my chickens go hungry, and I just fully restored the airport. I also watched, for the first time ever, The 40 Year Old Virgin. I made it through an entire movie without drifting off to sleep — that alone shows I’m healing more quickly. A few days ago I wouldn’t have made it more than a half hour before nodding off.

I’m anxious for tomorrow. My prescribed pain pills will run out and so will my Prednisone. I think it won’t be a problem to switch over to Tylenol only: all day today the highest my pain reached was a manageable 4 out of 10, so I’m certain some extra-strength Tylenol will be able to handle it. In fact, my friend has only been taking Tylenol because she doesn’t do well on prescription pain medications. Hopefully, with tomorrow being day 8, I won’t need so much pain relief, and also I’ll be able to start thinking clearly again once the strong stuff is out of my system.

I’m considerably more nervous about running out of my steroids. I know doctors don’t want to keep people on steroids if they don’t have to be, but the swelling in the morning has been the most consistently uncomfortable part of this whole week for me, and so far the only thing that’s reduced it (and the accompanying pressure) is the steroids. So, I guess I’ll let you know how it goes in a couple days. Maybe I won’t even need any more after tomorrow.

I do appreciate all well-wishes, good thoughts, and prayers you could send. So far, I’ve been very lucky and have had very few major problems/complications. I’d love to keep it that way so that this time next week I’ll be back to eating tacos.

And, because I know I would want to see it if I were you, here’s a picture of how my throat looks today. We think the little areas of pink are the newly healed patches. (Skip it if you’re squeamish.)

Here’s hoping for an even better tomorrow! Peace and love.