Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 5

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About an hour after I took my early morning pain pill, I awoke at 4:15 a.m. with an unusual and unpleasant sensation in my mouth. My pain at some point in the hour had defied the medication and soared up to about a 6 out of 10. I’d been coughing a lot, off an on, because it’s difficult to lie flat in this condition. If felt as if I had somehow managed to get a piece of soft but firm plastic lodged in my throat, just below where my ears meet my jawline. You know, in the tonsil/adenoid region. Obviously. In addition, there was a dull thud in my right ear.

I coughed, and distinctly felt. . . something come up. The dreaded “scab shedding” had begun, and about five days early, according to the approximation given by my doctor.

I gently gargled with some ice water and ate a popsicle, but both were as ineffective as an Independent running for President. Around 5:00 a.m., I began drinking coffee — four cups in total — and it helped the pain SLIGHTLY, mostly because I’d heard the warmth was supposed to help the scabs slough off easier. I’m sure that didn’t work, either, but it was a bit soothing.

At 6:30, I dutifully took my next prescribed medicine. By 7:30, I’d eaten 3 more popsicles. Nothing was helping. I was weak and shaky from hunger and lack of sleep, but Josh was still asleep and I had to care for Niko until my sister woke up. As though he could sense my discomfort, he was as well-behaved as a 13-month old baby could be. He was also super content to lounge with a mostly-asleep Daddy for a while.

 

By mid-morning I couldn’t take the exhaustion any longer and collapsed into bed. Niko was in the care of his aunt and his dad, and I was in the care of my cats. I slept, off and on, nearly the entire afternoon and evening. My pain level has been fluctuating between a 2 and a 5. There was coughing. There was also a little blood.

I woke up to eat lunch (a warm bowl of chicken broth and some jello). I woke up to eat a snack (a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream — no crust) and take pills. I woke up to eat dinner (more of the same) and take more pills. I woke up to tend my new farm on that stupid Township app I’m now addicted to. I woke up to say goodnight to my baby when he was off to bed. And, I woke up to write my blog.

I’m hoping the more I sleep, the faster this whole gross, painful, horrible process will go.

If you are squeamish, look away now. I’m posting below a picture of my mouth in this stage of healing. You seriously don’t want to see it.

You have been warned.

And now, for the image you’ve probably been waiting for….

Now, I’m going to lay back down until it’s time to get up and take more pills.

Peace and love.

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Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 4

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Today was a day full of regret and honing poor decision-making skills. The alarm failed to go off for my 3 a.m. pill, so I awoke at 7 when the realization (and burning) hit me full force. In addition to the fire raging in my throat, one of my ears was feeling the dreaded “referred pain.” Though I immediately forced myself to drink some liquid, suck a popsicle, use my numbing sucker, and take my medication, it helped only minimally until I was able to fall back asleep; thereafter, for the next few doses, I was trying to both abate the pain and prevent its spread/growth. I mainly read my book or slept all morning and afternoon, and awoke several times throughout the day in a cold sweat or with a minor fever.

In the discharge papers, it states that I’m supposed to return to normal activities as soon as possible, so, over the course of the day, I spent a little more time outside my humidified bedroom, playing with my baby and helping a bit with his nighttime routine. He enjoyed it, but it exhausted me. And, it turns out, being in the humidified air is a super effective way to keep the soreness from coming back. The more time I spent out of the humidity, the sorer my throat got.

Additionally, I was incredibly hungry (due not only to eating so little — mainly liquids — but also from the lack of regular, uninterrupted sleep), so about lunch time I had a scrambled egg with cheese, and for dinner I had another egg and some mashed potatoes with gravy (delicious and absolutely worth the extra pain). It felt like both foods managed to get caught in the sores, despite my cautious over-chewing and small bite-taking. It was a highly unpleasant feeling. Eating mashed potatoes may have failed to relax my throat muscles, or whatever, but they succeeded at finally comforting my rumbling tummy.

To sum up, for multiple reasons I was terribly unsuccessful at managing my pain, and it kept climbing up to a 5-6 out of 10. Clearly, this initial attempt at stretching the prescribed pills from 3 to 4 hours apart was a complete and utter failure. Day 4 could have gone better, to say the least.

Here is a picture my sister took of the bruises from my faulty IV insertions today, a couple days after surgery.

I’m sincerely hoping tomorrow will go better. But, in either case, I’ll keep you posted. Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 3

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Ahhhh, day 3. Day 3 began at 3:00 a.m. for me with my early morning pill, after which I was unable to fall back asleep until after my 6:00 a.m. dose. What does one do for three hours, awake and unable to eat, you may ask? Well, I fell down the rabbit hole that is YouTube while simultaneously decorating my heart out on a home design app, and when I ran out of money on it I had to start Fish Life and Town Life to earn more credits. Yep. I became a “gamer.”

I decided I’m going to try warm broth tomorrow and, perhaps, as was the advice of my friend, include a soggy cracker or two. That might be pushing it, but after the resounding success of eating pudding and fudge pops all day today, I’m feeling invincible. Unfortunately, I noticed, while drinking my Gatorade, that my taste-buds are, like, deadened — certain foods and drinks just taste “off.” Due to the pain in my throat and difficulty swallowing, a bit of the liquids I had today have been bouncing up into my nose, making me feel like I’m drowning.

I felt the need to sleep less, overall, but when I did sleep, the quality was better (longer and deeper, though fewer hours). My talking is still difficult, painful, and garbled.

Improvements include that I finally got to take a nice, hot bath (though the calmness and warm water temperature was dangerously close to lulling me to sleep), and up to this point I have managed to avoid the fever I was warned about by the nurse.

Graciously, my sister came to watch the baby for a few days, to give Josh a bit of a rest. It might be just exactly the right time, as I was informed that days 4 and 5 are, for some patients, the worst: new bouts of ear (referred) pain, throat bleeding, and coughing. My doctor also is having me monitor those exact signs for days 7 through 10, as well, so I’m starting to wonder if it all isn’t just one big, giant guessing game. “Haha! Stay on your toes THE WHOLE TIME!”

My pain was slightly greater today — staying in the 4-5 range before dropping down to a 1 again after my medicine kicked in. I think that’s why my boys were so observant and dutiful all night and day.

Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 2

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So, I didn’t die yesterday. I suppose that’s good.

Also, I was informed to cut off the hospital wrist bands (apparently there’s no “unbuttoning” them, so to speak?), and they are going into my journal.

Taking my normal medications last night (including the two irrationally large Metformin), literally brought tears to my eyes, for the first (and hopefully only) time since surgery occurred.

When I talk, I sound like I’m speaking through a mouth full of cotton. It’s unpleasant to hear and painful to do, so I try to speak aloud as little as possible.

My pain level has been fluctuating from a 1 (when not swallowing) up to about a 5 (when swallowing at the end of the time my pain pill wears off). The humidifier in my room has been running nonstop, thanks to the careful observations of my hubby, which I feel has helped a lot, particularly when I’m sleeping.

I slept for about two hours out of every three yesterday, last night, and this morning. Early this afternoon I was feeling slightly more lively, so I painted my nails, drank a cup of lukewarm coffee, and ate four Popsicles. In the midst of this energy blitz, I determinedly managed to do some online shopping, because I deserve new nail polishes. I’m even currently making my way through a Jello Pudding. I guess it’s true that every day is a holiday and every meal’s a feast.

I think today could have been a little easier, but I forgot to take the Prednisone my doctor prescribed me until literally just now (at 8:30 p.m.). I was supposed to take it this morning, but I was never going to remember to do that. It’s only a coincidence that I happened to be texting one of my good friends who had the same surgery one day before I did, and she was asking about my paperwork. When I looked at it, I saw the directions to take my steroids and immediately thought, “Well, huh.” I do vaguely recall the pharmacist yesterday telling me to take them right away in the morning. So it goes. Better late than never, right?

So far, the best part of all this is getting to snuggle the cats for days. The three of them snuggle me in shifts, like the good nurses they are. One comes in when it’s time to relieve the other.

 

That is, except when they fall asleep on the job:

I have no pictures of Hannibal, as of yet, because he takes the late shift: midnight to 7 a.m. I’ll snap one tonight, though, because wherever there is a Mommy in a bed, he shall be there!

Hopefully tomorrow I will see a decrease in pain as the steroids are meant to reduce swelling. That would be a dream come true. I did hear, though, that the two days following might be a nightmare.

I will keep you updated as well as I can. Peace and love.

Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy at 35: Day 1

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I’m sure you’ve heard that getting your tonsils out as an adult is way worse than doing it as a child. I’m not sure how it can be compared, since it’s a one-and-done procedure and each person handles pain differently. However, I thought I would chronicle my experience in real time so that if you find yourself in the position of facing this surgery in your adulthood, you will be able to get an understanding of what you may go through. I did a lot of research before my surgery this morning, and didn’t find a lot of post-op, step by step/day by day information. I hope this will be helpful (or at least interesting) for you.

*Disclaimer: I am on strong pain pills today. Hopefully you will be on Day 1, too. They do, however, affect my ability to think, slightly, so if this seems rambling, disorganized, or grammatically off, I apologize.

Let me start with a little background. I got strep 6 times in three years and was tested for it but got a negative result 3 more times (I believe — again, strong drugs). The majority of those times was just this school year (September through May).

Last month, I went to a specialist during the last week of school. He said my tonsils and, likely, adenoids had to go. Side note: he also gave me “magic mouthwash” to help with the 6 canker sores I developed in my mouth at once from having such a run-down immune system. That stuff is awesome.

Fast forward to today: surgery day. I followed all pre-op instructions to the letter, except drinking enough water (more on that later). I took a bath last night, removed all nail polish, stopped eating and drinking at midnight, and skipped my meds (I will be taking them in about an hour, as the anesthesiologist instructed). I left home with hubby and baby in tow at 5:45 a.m. and arrived at the hospital right on time at 7 a.m.

I got checked in and signed all the required forms, changed into my gown, and was given an I.V., which unfortunately took three attempts (so now I’m a little bruised on both hands). I’m sure the nurse felt terrible about it, but as I told her that was the LEAST of my worries today and I could not possibly have cared less that it happened. She was just trying to do her job, and I shouldn’t have had a half a bag of Dill Pickle potato chips the night before. I was likely dehydrated, which probably made the vein excursion more difficult. But it was totally worth it — Dill Pickle chips are the nectar of the gods.

By about 9, we were ready to roll. The surgery itself took less than an hour to remove my tonsils and adenoids, and as I was rolled into my room I was already waking up. The first thing I said was, “Is it too early for coffee?” The nurse chuckled and brought me some and now she’s my favorite nurse ever.

Josh and Niko had gone out for breakfast, not expecting me to be done and alert so soon (at the front desk, the nurse had said it might take as much as 6 hours for the whole process of check-in, surgery, wake-up, check-out. Mine took about 4 hours, because I think they underestimated the power of my insomnia!).

So, while I waited for him to get back (you must have a driver to be released), I answered the nurses’ and doctors’ questions, and found talking not as painful as I expected. The nurse reminded me to drink at least a quart and a half of water, or I could wind up in the emergency room (though for what, she ominously did not say, and I was too groggy to do anything but agree). She also told me to avoid dairy today, as that could interact with the anesthesia and make me sick, and was firm about not using straws for a few weeks. The doctor suggested liquids for the first 7 days, and nothing hard or crunchy for 2 to 3 weeks. I got some Jello, took a pain pill, drank some water and coffee, and was discharged at 11.

We picked up my prescriptions — a week’s worth of steroids, some pain pills, and numbing suckers — and drove immediately home. I slept for a bit on the way, came inside, and slept some more.

Continuously, my napping has been interrupted by the soreness and dryness in my throat, even though I have a humidifier directly beside the bed. I’ve been taking tiny (oh, so tiny) sips of water throughout the day, despite the pain.

I fully woke up about 2:30, right around the time to take my next pill, and did so after I ate another Jello and sucked my sucker (only 60 seconds at a time — no biting it!). My throat was sorer than before, which is what woke me up about a half hour earlier than the alarm, talking hurt more, and it felt (and still feels) painfully furry.

I woke up again around 5 (half an hour before the alarm for my next pill) and found it almost impossible to talk. It felt like there was fuzzy cotton clogging my throat. I had part of a blueberry slushie and more sucker, but even water was pretty painful.

I climbed back in bed and slept until 8 (again, about a half an hour before my next pill). I finished my slushie, sucked the sucker again, and am just about to destroy another Jello, but first I had to type this narrative while it was still pretty fresh in my head.

The alarms are set for every three hours, so I’ll be getting up all night long. Also, I don’t know how to take off the hospital bracelets and am too embarrassed to ask the hubby, so I’m still wearing them. Also, I’m starting to feel nauseous, so that’s a delightful little cap on the end of a fun day.

Peace and love.