Saturday, July 1, 2017

My tonsillectomy experience, day by day

It's been forever since I posted, and the boys are doing amazing! I promise I will eventually do another update on what we have all been up to soon.

After years of problems with my (giant) tonsils, I finally met with an ENT in March. I was asking if there is anything I can do, and he had a simple solution: get rid of them. He told me they really served no purpose and if they're causing me problems, it's a good idea to remove them. He warned that the recovery isn't pleasant, and said it would be a rough week or so. I thought about it for a while, and decided in early May to make an appointment to bite the bullet and go for it. I googled A LOT about the recovery process and almost backed out many times after reading all of the stuff I was able to find; it really sounded horrendous. Here's how things went for me:

Day One 
My Mom and the boys dropped me off at the hospital at 7:30 and I got checked in to 'Day care' ie where people are there just for day surgeries. I got changed into a gown and had my IV put in around 8:30 and it only took two tries which was a nice surprise. I must have been nervous because the tape would NOT stick and she actually had to cut it away and put down a new piece, and then tape all around that. They left me to wait for a little bit and I tried to have a nap but I was way too nervous. All of my googling the night before had left me seriously traumatized, I tell you. They wheeled me into the waiting area, where I met with my doctor and the anesthesiologist, as well as the nurses who would be in the room during the procedure. We talked a lot about my diabetes, and everyone was absolutely blown away by my Dexcom. I was joking that I would have to come back and give a demonstration one day in the future, no one had ever heard of a CGM before. I was running in the 9's, and told them that they really wouldn't have to worry, only if by some odd chance I went low and it started alarming, they should probably stick some glucose in my IV.
While waiting my turn, a nice woman got wheeled in next to me and we started chatting - turns out she used to be our neighbour and lived 5 houses down from us, such a small world. Finally it was time to go in around 11AM, and I got brought into the OR. We chatted quickly, I asked my doctor to please be gentle, and I was out like a light within minutes. I woke up in recovery, and mostly just had a really dry mouth. I had trouble keeping my eyes open and it felt like something was stuck in my throat. The nurse kept looking for me and reassuring me everything was fine, and it's common to feel like that after having a breathing tube. I got brought back to day care, and had an amazing nurse who let me get dressed pretty quickly and brought me some gingerale. I mentioned that everything I had read online said that patients were pretty much unable to get out of bed for at least a week, and asked if I could go for a walk if I was feeling up to it. She said that it was important to get out and do stuff - take it easy of course, but there is no need to lie in bed the entire recovery. Her positive attitude was such a relief and I felt pretty good when my Mom and the boys picked me up to take me home!
My fancy surgery socks!
The boys went to stock up on popsicles with Nana
Good ol' IV - taped down to the max 

I HAD to be taken out of the room in a red wheelchair - the hospital was very specific!

Ready to go home! 

On the way home, we stopped at the pharmacy to put in my prescriptions, an antibiotic to prevent infection, some form of Tylenol that is like T3's but no codeine, and some pain preventing mouth wash. The first day was not that awful, it was uncomfortable for sure, and my Uvula (dangly ball at the back of the mouth) swelled up like crazy and was basically sitting on my tongue. In the evening it made me throw up a few times, just by triggering my gag reflex. Not a whole lot of fun, but it wasn't as painful as I was expecting. Went to bed pretty early as I couldn't keep my eyes open, ready to bring on day two!
Hanging out with my ice pack - trying to reduce the swelling 

Day Two
I woke up with a pretty dry mouth, and some difficulty swallowing. My uvula was still giant and I was not feeling amazing. I had a shower, and we left the house to take the boys to swimming lessons (which they did SO well at!!) Talking wasn't easy, and I was pretty pooped after leaving the house for a while. At this point I had eaten 2 popsicles, an applesauce and a thing of pudding since Thursday night, so I was pretty excited when I managed to keep down some chicken noodle soup for lunch! The boys went to their cousin's birthday party with Jamie, and I stayed home and slept most of the time. The weirdest thing is by far how tired I've been, it must be a mix of the drugs and just the whole having body parts cut out of you thing? My blood had been pretty amazing, which is a good reminder that my basal rates must be pretty bang on. I went to bed early again, and set an alarm for 2AM to take my Tylenol and drink some water.
Gotta keep that thoat iced! 

My little Popsicle thieves

Day Three
Today I woke up at 10:30 with some serious discomfort. Jamie was sweet to let me sleep in, but that meant that I hadn't had water (or painkillers) for 8 hours, and that was a pretty crappy wake up. I had read all of the horror stories about how days 1-2 are easy and day 3 is where the real pain starts. Swallowing was not easy by any means, but I got down some Advil and water and started icing my throat again. We took the boys to my inlaws after lunch for a sleepover, because I'm pretty worried how waking up will be tomorrow. Other than this morning, I feel great though. I've been on top of my pills, and drinking lots of water. Still haven't really eaten much of anything, but I haven't had my appetite come back either. I had a craving for some soup from Safeway which Jamie got for me, but it tasted gross, so I just had more applesauce instead. I really wonder if I could eat solid foods yet, but I'm way too scared at this point, I don't want anything to poke back there. It seems to be healing really well, but at the same time I don't know what I'm looking for! I'm looking forward to going to bed early again, at the very least this whole experience has really helped me fill up my sleep bank.
My sweet little nurse, Adam 

Day Four

I woke up today feeling fantastic - no pain whatsoever even after a pretty long sleeping stretch. The boys were at my inlaws, so I was able to sleep in a bit, and enjoy the morning! I mean there was still some discomfort while swallowing, but that's to be expected. But none of the mind numbing horrendous pain I was envisioning, thankfully. I went over to my parents' house and hung out there for a bit (ate a freezie), and my Mom and I went to Starbucks and Thriftys. I had a frappe which was good, and somehow decided on chili for a meal I would be able to tolerate. It was a little too hot/ spicy so I really just ate the beans out of it and considered that kind of a win. After 'lunch' we picked up some stuff for the boys' upcoming birthday party and I went to pick them up. My doctors office called to see how I was doing and was really surprised with how well I was healing and the lack of pain. One thing I wasn't aware of - when you get your tonsils out, there is essentially a giant... cave in the back of your throat where they used to sit. I assumed that would just stay there, but the MOA assured me that over time it will close up and I won't always have it. I still can't really see how it will close up (because it's huge) but we shall see. 
Picked up the boys, and they had dinner with Jamie. We walked over to Booster Juice after dinner and shared one, so it was nice to get something in me. I put the boys to bed (Jamie was away at a course tonight) and fought low blood sugars from pretty much 6PM on. So frustrating. I'm on so little insulin already, but it feels like they just keep falling. 
I'm getting a little grumpy tonight, I think I may have overdone it a bit during the day. I'm starving, but nothing looks or sounds good, aside from stuff I know I can't eat yet (sandwiches etc). One can only survive on pudding and applesauce for so long. I know I need to get some real food in me tomorrow, because I really haven't eaten much of anything since Thursday night, and that is a little too long to go without any real food. Fingers crossed! I'm hoping to go back to work earlier than next week, but I still get tired super easily and sound funny with talking, so that might not happen. Will have to play it by ear over the next couple of days. 
Enjoying the sun with Mom & Harley (who wasn't ready for the picture!)

Day Five
I woke up at 8 AM - thank you boys, for sleeping in - and it was pretty painful right off the bat. There was a lot of pain at the base of my tongue (mostly on the right side) and it was really painful to talk. The boys luckily found it funny to whisper and we got dressed and I got them off to preschool. My Mom was sweet enough to pick them up from school and take them shopping for a few hours, so I had time to lie down and rest, and mostly to not talk. I feel fine if I'm lying around doing nothing, but talking, lots of movement etc is all pretty painful. I've been back to lots of ice and that seems to help. I was determined to eat food tonight and I managed to get down a bunch of blended watermelon (why didn't I try this sooner? so easy and good!) half of a bun soaked in beef broth, and some beans. What really sucks though are the giant holes left behind by my tonsils; the doctors office said they will close up over time, but they are so giant I just don't see how it can happen. I'm sure they know what they're doing though. I've noticed that the scab (gag) has come off on the lower right hand side, which is probably why I felt so much pain near my tongue there this morning, but everything else is still hanging on pretty tight for now. I guess as they come off and the fresh pink baby skin is exposed that will be painful each time, fingers crossed it will all come off in the next day or so and I can move on from this. So overall, not the best day ever. Still not extremely deathly painful so I'll take that as a win!
Nurse Adam
Day Six 
Well, the internet didn't lie - It gets worse as it goes on. I woke up today in a lot of pain and it was really hard to talk. I had a shower and made the boys breakfast, and my Mom was kind enough to grab the boys for their gym class and take them over to her place afterwards. I literally slept almost straight from 9:30-2:00 and still felt pretty crummy when I got up. Yesterday the pain was not bad when I did nothing, but today it kind of just hurt all of the time, especially when I yawn - and I yawned about 8000 times today for some reason. Seriously - I cringe every time I feel a yawn coming on because it is no fun at all. I picked the boys up and hung out at my parents' house for a little bit, and then took them home. Jamie and the boys had dinner and I fell asleep again for about an hour, before getting up to play with them and put them to bed. Looking in my throat it looks like one side is more pink rather than white, which makes me think that the scab is thinning out and the pink baby skin is probably what is so painful. I haven't had any instances of 'coughing up' my scabs or anything like that thankfully. I barely ate anything today; two popsicles, a small freezie and some blended watermelon. I am tempted to just endure the pain and get tacos or something, because I am officially craving some REAL food. Hopefully I'll be back to normal food in only a couple days. In other news, I've lost 5 lbs, which is less than I was expecting considering I haven't eaten in nearly a week! I'm sure whatever I do lose, I will pack back on immediately after being able to eat real food again, because I am excited for that day. Here's to a (hopefully) more pleasant day tomorrow!
My amazing Mom with the boys
It seems like Adam is the only one who wants to participate in my daily selfies 

Day Seven
Today, like yesterday, sucked. I woke up not really able to talk again and thankfully my Mom was able to come over and help... You kind of need a voice when you have two kiddos in the house! She took over around breakfast time, and they played at home for a while and then went to the mall. I literally slept all day. Not to be dramatic, but it kind of hurt all the time, so sleeping was a good way to not have any pain. Plus, I hadn't eaten really anything yesterday or today, so I think my body was just tired. When the boys got home, we hung out and watched TV until Jamie got home. They all had dinner and I went to Costco, I was feeling a bit better. The evening was not fun at all, until around 10PM and now the pain is way lower for some reason. Could this be a corner we're turning? One can hope... Doesn't seem to be much change in the white scabs, looks quite similar to yesterday with only some thinning on one side. I had some chicken noodle soup and a pudding and am feeling half decent right now. Bring on day 8! 

Day Eight and Beyond
Noooo! I had everything typed out until day 14, and went on today to add pics and post, and for some reason it has deleted everything past day 7. That sucks. Either way though - It was pretty painful until about 10 days, and improved greatly after that. I went back to work after 10 days - the first day back was hard because I was chit chatting all day, but it was manageable. By two weeks I would say I was back to 100%. I am now over a month out, and totally normal aside from a couple funny things: I pronounce certain words differently, at least in my head. People around me don't notice a difference. I also have trouble doing things like blowing up balloons, it seems like there is almost too much room back there or something? I'm not concerned though, and I will discuss it with my doctor in a couple weeks at my follow up appointment.

If you are waiting to get this done and you are like me (terrified of all of the 'this is the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my entire life' posts online) take it with a grain of salt. It hurt for sure, for a few days. But it also passed quickly and in the long run those two weeks are but a blip on the radar! I'm glad I had it done when I did. 

No comments:

Post a Comment