I’m 29 years old and was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I’m in pretty good physical shape. I don’t have a belly and I’m pretty slim. It was either try to use this CPAP machine or do something a little more permanent. I had the feeling that my tonsils were culprit because they are the size of golf balls so I went to see an ENT doctor in NYC that specializes in sleep disorders due to blockages in the upper airway.
She recommended I have a tonsillectomy, uvulectomy and adenoidectomy performed. She thought it would really help my condition. She also recommend that I fix a deviated septum that I have but she said to try the other recommendations first. I went for two visits with her. I told her how scared I was, she seemed to understand and she didn’t sugar coat that the recovery was not going to be fun.
I got a physical 2 weeks before my scheduled surgery. It was pretty standard draw blood, check blood pressure, measure height, measure weight go home.
I saw the doctor again 1 week before surgery she gave me all the prescriptions I was going to need and told me to pick them up so that I can have them ready before the surgery. I dropped them off at my pharmacist and told him I would pick it up the day before the surgery. When I got the stuff it seemed like she gave me a pretty good amount of liquid pain killers and antibiotics. She prescribed generic Lortabs for severe pain, which is just Tylenol and hydrocodone. She prescribed liquid tylenol 3 for moderate pain which is the weaker Tylenol and regular old codeine. I also had some bubble gum flavor amoxicillin to prevent infections.
Tonsillectomy Recovery day of the surgery July 10, 2013
This is me pre surgery. Sure I’m smiling but I’m scared to death.
Everyone at Lenox Hill Ambulatory center was great. They were very friendly and very kind. I got my own private little room post surgery which was pretty cool considering everyone else was out in the open. I guess I just got lucky. I spoke to my doc who was going to be performing the surgery, the anesthesiologist who was a sweetheart and really calmed me down and a nurse. I went into the operating room and I spoke to the anesthesiologist for a bit and next thing I remember I’m in recovery. I’m not feeling bad at all. Actually I felt great with very little pain. I was a little woozy from the anesthesia but surgery day has been by far the easiest. I had arrived at the hospital at 9:30 am went into surgery at 11:15 woke up at around 1:00 and we were out the door at around 3:30. Do not be scared of the actual surgery if you ever get this procedure done. It is nothing!
Day one was a breeze. As soon as I got to my ex girlfriends house, who was taking care of me for the first few days, I took a some of the pain medicine and the antibiotics and continued taking the pain medicine every 4 hours even at night. I didn’t really sleep much like they said I would. I would sleep for an hour wake up for an hour and then go to sleep for maybe another hour and so on. This is me the day of surgery as you can see no where as miserable as everyone makes it out to be. That’s a big kale, mango, banana, almond butter and almond milk smoothie. It’s what I had for dinner. Earlier in the day I had a bunch of applesauce, chocolate snack packs, and tapioca pudding. I’ve been using a silver a spoon just because I heard they are a good natural antimicrobial. The worst of the pain I had on day one was maybe a 3 out of 10 discomfort is better a description of what I feel. Pain was almost non existent.
Tonsillectomy recovery day two July 11, 2013
sleeping for more than a few hours at a time is a bad Idea. Your throat is still swollen and you might breathe through your mouth like I do. This will dry out your throat and cause a little bit of discomfort. So far day 2 isn’t that bad either. Day two I ate a few Greek yogurts. It’s a good idea to get lots of protein to repair the damaged tissue. I also made a protein shake for breakfast. Through out the day I kept eating pudding snack packs and at around 6 O’clock I couldn’t take it anymore and had to eat some thing with a little more kick than a snack pack so I fried up some crispy bacon.
I really needed this bacon in my life. I had to chew it for a good while but in the end I managed to get it all down. My plan was to eat a steak by day three I really thought I could do it right now though it seems a little out of reach.
Tonsillectomy recovery day three July 12, 2013
After sleeping for about 4 hours I woke up with an awful sore throat. Again I only recommend about 2 or 3 hours at a time unless you don’t mind waking up in pain and discomfort. I took my pain medication right away and within a half hour I felt much better. Today I went out but I couldn’t wait to get back home. I’ve drunk lots of ice water and put a nice cold pack on my neck to help with the swelling this is something I’ve done since day one. It really helps. I wanted to eat a steak by day three so I kind of cheated and had my father go to a Cuban restaurant and ask for beans but told them to also throw a steak in there and pass it through a food processor. So in a way on day 3 of my tonsillectomy I ate a steak. Here are some pics of the back of my nasty throat.
For dinner tonight I had some more pureed beans with pureed steak, half an avocado, a chocolate pudding snack pack and a flan snack pack. Although it still hurts day three is wrapping up and it’s actually getting much better than what it was earlier. Again This is nowhere near as dreadful as I thought it would be. come 10:30 pm I’ll take some more pain meds to keep it at that nice 4 hour interval and probably snooze out for an hour or two. I need to get myself some more Greek yogurt. I’m fresh out and that stuff is loaded with protein!
Tonsillectomy recovery day four July 13, 2013
Waking up sucks!!! The throat gets all swollen again and you wake up in a good amount of discomfort. So far I really wouldn’t call much of my experience pain but more like discomfort. My breath must be horrendous since I haven’t really been able to brush my tongue just my teeth.
The pain medicine is still very effective I haven’t had to increase the dose or anything I have just been taking it every four hours. I started switching from the stronger pain medicine to the milder one. The milder one works but nowhere near as good as the stronger one. The problem with the stronger one is that I can’t do crap. I get a little loopy and drowsy and then I just want to fall asleep. So far the stronger hydrocodone is the way to go codeine is so so.
Today I have to go to the bank and the post office. It might be good for me to get out. I’m a little afraid of driving even though its been like two hours since I took some pain meds and I didn’t take the good stuff.Also, I really don’t want to talk to anyone because of how I perceive my breath must be, but alas I must.
For breakfast all I had was a protein shake. I’m going to need to eat to keep my strength up. I noticed that even though eating is a little uncomfortable at first when you get towards the end of what you’re eating it becomes much easier and it feels like if the throat is being repaired. Especially if its real food. I’ll post a nighttime update after 8:00 pm.
Today wasn’t to bad. I’ve been just as uncomfortable as I was yesterday. I don’t really see things improving for another day or two. However I experimented with taking the pain medicine for less severe pain and stretching it out a little bit to see if the pain was tolerable and if the results were similar to the effects I had with the stronger Hydrocodone. It was a little more painful but nothing major and I waited an extra hour to take the dose from 4 to 5 hours.
I went out today I got a haircut. I stopped by my job and spoke to a few people. Bumped into a trusty friend of mine and asked him about my breath he said he couldn’t smell a thing so my self-consciousness appears to have been just that. For lunch I had more of the famous beans and steak and for dinner I had chicken soup with big chunks of chicken. I almost had a scare when I realized I only had one tapioca pudding and 2 chocolate pudding snack packs left. The rests were disgusting jello. Luckily Lauren picked some up for me and I have enough pudding to hold me down for another couple of days. Pics of my chicken dinner.
Tonsillectomy recovery day 5 July 14, 2013
Another day down. Last night I think I got the most sleep since the day of the surgery. I probably slept a good 8 hours total. I woke up at 10 am and had gone with out my pain medicine for about six and half hours. So I’m definitely seeing some improvement there.
Waking up is still the worst part. That is when my throat feels the worst. I’m still using an ice pack about 4 times a day for about 20 minutes. I’m still drinking a whole lot of water. Apparently the pain medicine doesn’t let you go to the bathroom. I’ve been in and out trying to get out what I can but it hasn’t been much in relation to how much I’ve actually eaten. Someone should have mentioned something along the lines of “Hey by the way that hydrocodone will stop you the help up you might want to take some preventive action” but I guess pooping is to much of a taboo subject even for doctors, nurses and
Today the pain and discomfort is at about the same scale as yesterday. We’ll see if it improves as the day progresses. So far all I’ve had to “eat” today has been a protein shake. Last night I actually ate two mangos and some candy after dinner. Plus my required 2 snack packs. I’m probably going to try to eat some eggs in a little while.
I’ve noticed some small spots on my white scabs that have turned red and look like a bit of coagulated blood. I think it might have been from sleeping so much and the dry air irritating the wound. I’m going to put the ice pack a few more times than usual today and continue to drink ice water. The last thing I want is to bleed.
I slept most of the day away. I finally got out of bed at around 5 and went to staples to buy a paper-cutter, some toner and paper. When I got back home I saw that someone had brought back some fried shrimp I couldn’t help myself I had to eat it. I chewed and chewed and chewed but it still wasn’t a lot of fun going down. Later I had a pear Greek yogurt and a caramel snack pack. At around 7:30 I ate a Cuban dish called tamal en casuela. It’s pretty much ground corn meal with chunks of meat in it. I also ate a regular old tamale and I made scrambled eggs. I ate everything with very little problem. The tamale was a bit salty so I think its causing a bit of discomfort now. I looked at my throat in the mirror and I don’t like what I’m seeing. I’m seeing some spots where some red is showing. I think it I need to take it easy with what I eat and also with the sleeping too much. To much sleep and mouth breathing is causing my throat to become dry and making matters worse. I’m going to ice my neck and take my antibiotics here are some pictures of my throat today.
I’m still in good spirits.
Tonsillectomy recovery day 6 July 15, 2013
Today was my first day at work. It was pretty funny being at work feeling a little loopy from the pain medication. I had a lot of people come in to bother me today at work for no reason. They came to talk knowing that I had just gotten back and that I was in pain but some people just aren’t very perceptive to how others are feeling. Some came in to bullshit, others came in to actually shit and a few came in for absolutely no reason other than they were bored. All wanted to talk to me. I wanted to talk to as few as possible.
I don’t think today would have been as miserable if I would have stayed at home. I was trying to space out the pain meds. I’ve gone five hours a few times already but today I went for six and made it once in pretty bad pain and couldn’t make it the second time to that six-hour mark. Still this recovery has not been as dreadful as I thought it would be considering what I’ve read online. Other people’s’ experience doesn’t seem to apply to me. Maybe other people have a really low pain tolerance or maybe they just like to whine I don’t know but so far this isn’t half bad.
Today I ate more eggs for breakfast, had coffee for the first time in a week, had a mango milkshake, ate 2 Greek yogurts, ate about an 1/8 of a piece chicken breast and for dinner I had some more ” tamal en casuela” that was left over from last night. When I came home I put an ice pack on my neck since its really the first day that I have gone without one for more than a few hours.
I would say todays pain level has been the worst of all days but as far as pain on a one to ten scale I would only consider this about 5 and maybe a 6 when I waited to long to get the pain meds so definitely tolerable. People have made seem like its as bad as broken femur. I think attitude has a lot to do with recovery and how you feel. If you are generally miserable and grumpy you’re probably going to have a bad recovery. I for one just can’t wait to be able to use my tongue to clean the food from and around the inside of mouth. Right now trying to move my tongue through teeth is the most painful I can do. Until tomorrow, stay healthy and enjoy your sleep.
On a semi brighter note, about a week or two before surgery I ordered about 100 dollars worth of tamarind candy from Amazon. Some came from Thailand, others from Jamaica others from Mexico. They just started trickling in the mail and I want to ravage them all but this crappy recovery isn’t letting me.
Tonsillectomy recovery day 7 July 16, 2013
It’s been seven days already. I can’t believe it. Actually its more like 6 but I count from the day of the surgery. That way it makes it seems like more time has passed. I had a coughing fit in the middle of the night. I hurt my throat somewhat during said fit but I drank some ice water put an ice pack on my throat for about 20 minutes and was able to go back to sleep. I went 7 hours last night with no pain meds. Its a new record and it wasn’t that bad. The only thing that is aggravating my throat is all the talking I have to do at work with my customers. But I keep a bottle of water handy and it really helps with the discomfort.
This morning I had Colombian corn flour bread called an arepa. These things taste like ass but I ate because it’s not as hard as toast although its toasty and it has some carbs. I think my carb intake except for the snack packs I’ve been eating has been near zero. I think just a few more days and all the
pain discomfort will be gone. So far for those of you that are thinking about getting this procedure done but are panicking a little bit don’t be scared, its not half as bad as all these pansies on the interwebs are saying it is. I think a lot more people who had a shitty time are more inclined to post about their experience than those who kind of just breezed through it. I’m not saying that its fun or that its not annoying as hell but from what I’ve read and from what I have experience until now its more than tolerable.
I had a steak for dinner finally. Ate the whole thing. My ent surgeon told me to “let her know how that goes” in a kind of sarcastic fashion when I told her about it so here you go doc.
Anyway here we are 7 days from surgery day, six if you don’t include the surgery day as day one, and I ate a whole steak.
My dad is in the background of this one.
This Tonsillectomy thing is cake. Sure you suffer some what sure you get a little drowsy and sore throaty. But this will all be worth it when I’m no longer snoring and I’m sleep apnea free.
Tonsillectomy recovery day 8 July 17, 2013
So is this really day 8 or day 7? Well if you count the day of the surgery as day 1 then I guess this day 8 but since its only been exactly one week since my surgery in reality its been only seven days but I’m not going back to edit all the dates and what not. This is day 8 it makes me feel better mentally to thinking than I’m further along in the recovery than what I actually am. Today I had pizza!!!! 4 slices. It was wonderful and amazing. I think today might be the last day of pain meds. Well meds with narcotics in it anyway. I’ll be switching to acetaminophen tomorrow not out of choice but because I’m out.
So far recovery has been easy peasy. I’m still concerned that I’m still snoring but I’m pretty sure that my throat is still pretty swollen and on top of that all the scabs in my throat can’t be helping matters.
Last night I took some pain meds at around 12:30 and slept from 1 am to 9 this morning with no pain meds. I woke up around 5:30 feeling a little uncomfortable but I was able to fall back asleep. When I woke up I waited until 9:30 to take the pain meds. Today has been pretty smooth. Had yogurt for breakfast and lunch and then at around 3 I was starving so I ordered a pie. Here I am with said pie.
Tonsillectomy recovery day 8 or 9 I don’t even know anymore, July 18, 2013
Last night I went to bed at around 2 tapering back on the pain meds makes me pretty uncomfortable around the 7 hour mark. Yesterday at around 8 pm I wasn’t feeling to hot I tried going for 8 hours with no pain meds didn’t really work to well. I ended up feeling fine afterwards and took another dose at 1:30 before bed and then didn’t take anything again until 9:30 am. I woke up feeling pretty sore but some cold water helped a bit and when the pain meds kicked in I forgot all about my throat.
Today I have only taken pain medicine once after this mornings dosage and it was 7 and a half hours later. Hopefully tomorrow I can be completely off the stuff because whether I like it or not I’m going to be out tomorrow anyway. Not much to report today the throat looks like its healing pretty well. A lot of the white stuff in the back is turning back into a nice pink color and things seem to be healing just fine. I can pretty much eat anything I want now with caution. I plan to be fully healed by Sunday and look forward to drinking a glass of fine Scotch once this whole ordeal is done.
Tonsillectomy recovery day 10 July 20, 2013
Ok I fixed the dates. I’m calling this day 10.
I thought I would be all healed and feeling great by now but it’s still pretty bothersome. Most of the scabs have fallen off. I still have a few that need to come out. I haven’t felt them or realized they have fallen off. They have probably gone down as I was drinking water or eating food which is a good thing since I was concerned about how disgusting it would be to feel and taste one of those scabs.
There has been a little tiny bit of blood when I spit up after brushing my teeth or purging some phlegm from the back of my throat. I was a little concerned but it wasn’t major so I just drank some cold water and forgot about it. I’m all out of pain meds which sucks! Tylenol is not working to bad. I take about 1000mg, two extra strength capsules, at a time and it does seem to help.
I’m pretty much eating anything I want and I should probably take it easy. The other day I had coconut shrimp and it was covered in toasted coconut flakes. I probably shouldn’t have eaten that but I went all in and ate it anyway, it looked way to good to pass up. I tried drinking some seltzer water instead of water and that did not work out at all. Finally I think I might be the only person in recent history that has actually gained weight after their tonsillectomy. I was always hungry and all the little puddings and stuff just weren’t cutting it so I’ve had a bunch of meal replacement shakes, a crazy amount of Greek yogurt and I really only changed my diet for the first 4 days or so after that well you’ve read this blog entry so you know.
My next update will be when I feel like I’ve returned to 100% I will also write my recommendation on what I think you should do to make your recovery as easy as possible.
Tonsillectomy Recovery day 18 July 28, 2013
It’s been 18 days and I’m still not fully recovered.I recorded myself sleeping and my snoring volume has been greatly reduced however, I still have some recovering to do. I saw the Doctor on Friday and she said I’m recovering really well and that everything looks great. She told me it will be about another 2 or 3 months before they send me for another study because they want me to be fully healed. I really hope this was all I needed to get rid of my sleep apnea. Eating still hurts sometimes and I have a little discomfort from time to time but I’m finally at the point that everyday is progressively better although at an incredibly slow pace. A huge downside to getting my tonsils and uvula removed is that now I can’t stop a sneeze. This could be detrimental should I ever have to evade a psychotic killer or something and I have to sneeze but hopefully I’ll never be in a situation like that.
Well over a year with an over due update March 15, 2015
Last week I went for another sleep study. My snoring is minimal and very light and nothing like the bear sounds I was making pre op. Even better news is that my sleep apnea is completely gone. I should have made this update a long time ago to let you know that the recovery while a bit painful, was nothing to be scared off. I feel much better and sleep much sounder and I don’t have to worry about the problems sleep apnea might bring as I get older. About a week after that last update I wrote I made some pretty big life changes and this blog kind of slipped into the internet dulldrums of forgotten webpages. I just wanted to close this chapter and give courage to those that might be having some doubt about this surgery and give hope to those who suffer from sleep apnea due to tonsils the size of tennis balls 🙂