Tonsillectomies can help with sleep issues, chronic strep throat, tonsillitis and tonsil stones. I got mine out in my late 20s to combat most of those (if you’ve never heard of tonsil stones, they’re even grosser than they sound).
The older you get, the harsher the recovery is from a tonsillectomy. The doctor literally cuts holes in your throat. This makes basic things like breathing and drinking painful, and eating and yawning basically impossible. My ENT said to expect two weeks of bedrest minimum.
I looked at it as cramming all my future sore throats in to two awful weeks. Tonsillectomies make most people think of 8 year olds with ice cream and cartoons. The more I researched it the more scared I became; it’s a rougher recovery for adults and dairy actually coats your throat and makes it even harder to heal!
I prepared as best I could and while it was pretty awful, but I made it through without going back to the ER. Here is my shopping list:
- Water – set a goal, like 16 oz an hour. Keep multiple bottles and pitchers all around you to stay motivated and track your intake
- More water – GatorAde, VitaminWater, Pedialite all keep it interesting and give you some needed electrolytes
- Non-citrus juices (citrus stings!)
- NonDairy Super Drinks – avoid all dairy as it coats your throat awfully. These are good before you take meds to help line your stomach:
- Ensure Clear
- Naked Juice Chocolate Banana Protein – lots of calories! Yay!
- Chocolate Almond Milk – single serve boxes were easy to handle, and felt filling because of protein
- Veggie Broth – low sodium, as salt is icky on open wounds. Broths are a nice switch from sweet drinks
- Ginger ale – bubbles were ok after a few days for me
- Ice chips – I didn’t like cold, but some other bloggers loved sucking on ice chips all day
- Teas – I didn’t like hot tea, but lukewarm Yogi Tea Throat felt good around day 8 or 9
- Popsicles and frozen treats (non citrus, non dairy) – Sqwincher and organic mango pops were my go-tos, along with chocolate coconut ice “cream”
- Canned Peaches/Pears/cranberries/beets – starting after day 4 or so
- Soft scrambled eggs – I managed to get one egg down on day 3
- Pumpkin “pudding” – a can of pumpkin, a can of coconut milk, mixed together was full of real food nutrition and variety
- Avocado – super soft and a good source of fat
- Personal Humidifier – keep it blowing at your neck
- Sugar Spoons – the tiny kind used for coffee stirring – sometimes it’s hard to open your mouth at all so a wee spoon makes it easier to get food in!
- Ice Pack – I ordered a long skinny one from amazon I could wrap around my neck
- Travel Pillow – my neck was so sensitive that sleeping with it at any angle was painful, I slept basically sitting up so the travel pillow held my head upright for “sleeping”
- Netflix account – so much time in bed, and the meds made focusing hard. I read some and wrote some, but mainly I rewatched tv shows otherwise I got confused and frustrated with anything new
- New pjs/etc. – spending a lot of time in comfy clothes, it’s a nice to feel fresh and cozy in new clothes
- Biotene Mouth Wash – like the tiny spoons, getting a toothbrush in your mouth is hard, and also your breath will smell like rotting scabs. Gross. Some mouthwash has alcohol that stings so Biotin is great because it’s non stingy and helps with dry mouth.
- Notebook – you’ll probably get multiple prescriptions that can get taken at different intervals. And you’ll get confused because of the pain and the strong medications. I logged every time I took something to not overdose or wait too long before I took my next dose. Also you have nothing else to do so might as well keep yourself busy.
- White board and dry erase marker – I probably could’ve started talking on day two or three. I wrote notes for 8 days to be extra careful.
- Bell – goes with the white board; if you need something you don’t want to yell for help!
- Eardrops – I didn’t end up using these but read of people suffering massive ear pain post-surgery
- Cepacol Lozenges – the “hydra” kind felt very wetting and soothing, and the honey ones were comforting. Actually sucking on cough drops was ouchy, but letting it dissolve on my tongue worked.
- Tylenol Cold Sore Throat liquid – it’s hard to find adult strength throat meds that are liquid based and not full of other meds that conflict with prescriptions. This works.
- Emetrol Nausea and Upset Stomach – like ear drops I didn’t actually use this that much, but you’re eating so little and having such harsh meds an upset stomach is likely, and you don’t want to take pills so stocking some liquid stomach meds is smart.
Someone to check on you, make sure you’re following your med sched, mush your avocado, wash your dishes and pat your head.
I hope this helps if you’re about to go under the knife! It’s awful, but in the end I’m happy I did it.
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