Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Speach/Voice Recovery time

A recent posting inquired about when I regained my normal speech, or voice.

I reviewed my journal and was surprised to find that I never noted when my voice was back to normal. My wife says it wasn't until the end of my recovery, although, she also says I was a baby about the whole thing and drove her nuts. Taking her colorful comments into account, I think it was during the third week that I was speaking comfortably again.

I'd like to hear what others have to say about this, so if you've recently, or currently, are going through recovery from a tonsillectomy, please comment.

In any case, you should be back to normal after about three weeks. My voice didn't change permanently and is back to it's normal tone and range.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Note to Primary Support Providers

It's been about two years since my tonsillectomy and I want to share a few thoughts that my wife has shared with me about taking care of me while I was recovering. Every time I mention receiving another comment from this blog she reminds me of a few things.


First, be prepared for all the whining and complaining you're going to get from your patient.  All I wanted to do was sleep and when I wasn't asleep I wasn't that much fun to be around.  I didn't want to talk and playing on the computer in bed, or on the couch, only made it worse since I wasn't any help around the house or with our four year old son, at the time.


Second, I complained about everything I ate, drank, or couldn't have but wanted.  So my suggestion is to keep it simple.  Don't try to find a lot of different things unless asked to and just offer whatever the patient finds to be acceptable first.


Lastly, don't take anything personally.  It sucks to be in pain but I never meant anything personally and it's hard to think about how you say something when it even hurts to talk.  I think my wife remembers the whole recovery better than I do and makes it sound a lot worse too.


If you're a support provider, please share your experiences here so others can be better prepared.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Posting commments

I've had a few questions about posting comments and want to let everyone know that I moderate all the comments and must approve them prior to their showing up on the site. I do this because I have seen other blogs with comments that I consider immature, rude, childish, inappropriate, and some just don't relate to the subject. So if you do post a comment please be patient and give me some time to review and approve it.

Someone inquired about a really long comment just a bit ago and I just want to let that person know that it never made it through to me. I saw your test post to see if everything was working but not the real long one you spoke about.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Thinking about getting a tonsillectomy

It took me a little over one year to finally decide to have the tonsillectomy and I'm glad I did. I was getting Strep and Tonsillitis about every six to eight weeks apart. I kept thinking that it wasn't that bad and I really didn't want to have surgery. The though of being away from work for a week or two didn't appeal to me either. So I kept putting it off.

Then I finally came to my senses. I realized that getting my tonsil's out would end this cycle of sickness and pain once and for all. The suffering I was doing just didn't make sense. By the time I would start feeling like I was swallowing glass and when I could get a prescription filled and start feeling better was between four and six days. Mostly because I couldn't always get to the doctor fast enough. So if getting a tonsillectomy would only hurt for a few more days than my normal suffering, why not just do it.

If you get sick on a regular basis and you feel like you're swallowing glass, like I did, I would highly suggest you go through with the tonsillectomy.

Now that it's over, I am so happy that I don't have to think about another swollen tonsil.

Good luck,

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nine Months Later

It's been over nine months actually and I can say that having my tonsils out was correct decision. Since then I haven't had a sore throat and I've had Tonsillitis only once, which I'm betting I picked up from my son. The interesting thing about getting Tonsillitis again is that I had no symptoms at all. Actually, I was having some blood work done for some swelling in my knee and it showed that I was positive for Tonsillitis. Otherwise I would have never known.

Another positive note is that I sleep better now too. My snoring is a lot less, according to my wife and son, so they're benefiting from my tonsillectomy too.

I've received a number of comments from a lot of people going through the same thing and I'm glad I can be of help to them and I wish them all the best in their recovery.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Just About Over - Day 17

I just cannot believe that it has been seventeen days since I had surgery. The good news is that I'm eating and drinking without any pain. I still feel some scabs in the back of my throat and I still get nervous that I'm going to rip them off but nothing seems to bother them. I still feel some tension when I yawn but that's it. Oh, and when I try to blow my nose or inhale my Nasonex, which is nasal allergy medicine you snort. To put it bluntly.

I just keep remembering that the doctor said this would go one for another two or three weeks. It's a little comforting knowing that, but that's it.

To all of you that have been keeping up with me, and some of you that are ahead. I want to thank you for all your words of compassion and gratitude. I am glad that I am able to help and I wish you all the best with your own adventure. Hang in there, and know it will end.

For all of those who are nursing a tonsillectomy patient back to health, hang in there. My wife keeps telling me she should have created a blog about what a pain I was. I thought I was pretty good considering. The only thing I can say is, we all need you very much and your patience, love, and support, makes all the difference.

My only advice, tell them to go to sleep. I think that is the best way to get through the pain. And tell the to try and sleep on their side or belly if they can breath while on their back.

Good luck and hang in there.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I had my follow-up on Wednesday and the doctor said everything looked good. He said I would still have some pain in the neck for the next two or three weeks, especially when I yawn. He also confirmed that the pain is caused by the removal of the tonsiles and not strained or pulled muscles from the procedure. I will have some grey-brown scabs for a another week but I am not on any restrictions.

The white coating on my tongue was from damange to the tissue and as new tissue grew in the white coating came off. I did try scraping some off early on and it cause more pain than I ever imagined. My suggestion, don't mess with the coating on the tongue. It will come off by itself one morning when you're rinsing out your mouth or spitting up phlegm.

For all those going through this, all I can say is hang in there is does end. I hardly have any pain now.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Recovery Days 10 & 11

Other than a little pain drinking I am doing pretty well. I still feel some discomfort when I yawn but that's the worst.

Of course, I have only been eating soft foods still. I'm a little nervous about hard crusts that might scratch. I don't want to rip anything open.

I ate a muffin, pancakes, and pasta today without any problem. Drinking is much easier, I could even drink a whole glass at one time. Finally, no more sipping everything.

Wednesday I have my follow up with the E.N.T. so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Recovery Days 8 & 9

What's there to say, yesterday was mostly like day 7, pain swallowing and chewing. I didn't eat much but was able to get down some mashed potatoes later in the evening. I think I had three maybe four tablespoons in all.

Last night was pretty good. I went without any medication and slept through the night . Well, I was woken up at 3:30 AM when our son came in because he had a bad dream.

When I woke up this morning my mouth was a little dry and I hacked up some disgusting stuff, which hurt a little so I took a dose of medication around 8:30 AM.

I've been pretty good ever since. I haven't had any more medication. It still hurts to swallow but I think that is more a muscular discomfort in the lower part of my neck, closer to the Adams apple. Again, I think that this is related to the scope they had to put down my throat during the procedure.

I ate the rest of my mashed potatoes this afternoon and didn't have any other discomfort so I got daring for dinner. For whatever reason I had a craving for Wendy's Chili. Yes, I had chili for dinner and survived. I did have the swallowing discomfort but nothing else. And yes, I ate the whole thing, with hot sauce.

I think what gets to me more than anything right now is talking. It seems that after talking for a bit my jaw begins to hurt. Good for my wife, bad for me. lol...

Anyway, it seems that I am finally over the worst.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Recovery Day 7

One week later...

It has actually been my best day since the surgery. I was hurting this morning but it was mostly at the back of my tongue and jaw bone all the way up to my ear. I also felt like there was something stuck in the back of my throat.

As the day progressed, I used cold and hot packs to ease the pain in my jaw. It hurts most at the end of a swallow. I get the same pain when I try to smile, must be a pulled muscle or something. Anyway, heat really makes that feel better. I also noticed that if I support the throat just below the jaw, it reduces the pain when swallowing. Go figure...

I ate noodle soup for dinner, an entire serving. It hurt a little but not more than my desire to eat.

I also had tea in the evening and it went down very well. I would recommend trying tea earlier on for anyone going through this.

If tonight goes as well as the day had I am going to see if I can sleep through the night without any Codeine.

One interesting note, my sinus congestion has been nil, maybe it's the Codeine, I don't know, but I haven't been so clear in ages. I would love this to be a result of losing my tonsiles but I'm not usually that lucky.

Anyway, just to check in on the pain levels for the day:
Swallowing: 4ish
Throat: 3-5
Jaw: 3-5, only when swallowing or smiling

Uvula: is back to normal size and I can breath laying down on my back

And that's it for day 7.

Recovery Day 6

What a pain.

I don't know what happened. I had this very sore spot in the back of my throat, seems like the very back of my tongue, and everything I tried to eat or drink hurt. So I didn't eat or drink. At least not until later in the day. Around 7 PM I tried to have some juice and it didn't feel like I had a hole burning through my throat so I had juice, then some pudding, and finally some watermelon.

When I went to bed only my jaw was really hurting but I slept great. I even overslept my 2 AM dose of Codeine. Only by 30-minutes though, and I did get up and take it. By 6 AM I was feeling pretty good. I'm still nervous about swallowing, even the Codeine, but everything seems to have gone down well. My jaw still hurts so I used a cold pack for a couple of minutes and then switched to a hot pack and I must say I feel pretty good.

If Day 7 goes well, maybe I'll go to work tomorrow.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Recovery Day 5

Yesterday I thought I had finally started on the road to recovery; today I woke at 4 AM with the worst pain yet. It feels as if a scrub brush was thrust down my throat and the last four days never happened. The pain starts two hours after taking the Codeine and increases until a half hour after taking the next dose. The only problem is the next dose isn't scheduled for two more hours; or every four hours.

The best medicine is sleep. I seem to make it about two and a half to three hours if I can fall asleep after taking a dose of Codeine. Otherwise it's just suffer through it.

Eating doesn't hurt any more than swallowing water but it does hurt a lot, about a 8 on a 1 to 10 scale, which really makes me not want to eat at all.

My worst thought is that I made the pain worse myself. While I was taking a shower I spit up some thick pieces of white stuff, something that was coating the back to middle of my tongue. So, when I got out of the shower I brushed my teeth and scrubbed my tongue a little to clean it to. I thought it was dried saliva, like when you have a cold and snore a lot and get dry mouth, but now I'm thinking it is like a scab. I think I loosened it up and that is what is hurting so bad now.

I'll have to ask the Doc to find out for sure.

All I want to do is sit and breath. I have no desire to eat, drink, or talk.

I hope tomorrow is better.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Recovery Day 4

I was hoping that today would be better than yesterday. No such luck. I feel about the same, no real improvements anywhere. My throat still feels all bruised and my jaw still feels like it has been pulled open too far. Swallowing still hurts, but wait, I think my Uvula might have shrunk a little. I don't feel my Uvula when I swallow, so I guess that's one thing that has improved.

I've decided to stay home from work on Monday and I'm leaning towards staying home on Tuesday too. My wife says I'll be home Wednesday too but I don't want to make that assumption yet.

I slept a lot today and it felt good. I didn't toss and turn or constantly wake up from the pain. I was able to get a good three hours of sleep in, which has been the maximum since the surgery. It seems that the Codeine wears off in about three hours and that's when the pain really starts to kick in, so it's no wonder that it's waking me up too.

I ate more noodles, mashed potatoes, and sherbert. Drank more water today than the past three days.

My wife says my throat seems to not be as swollen as yesterday.

So, in summary, pain is around a 4 -5, 5 - 6 in the fourth hour between doses of Codeine. Headaches seem to be lightening up. Jaw still hurts like a B!@#.

Maybe tomorrow will be better...

Recovery Day 3 - Part Three

This was the best day, hopefully the first day of feeling better. Don't get me wrong, I'm still in pain; still taking the Codeine and still having difficulty swallowing. It's just that the pain has dropped about two points and I am able to eat more. The biggest pain seems to be from jaw and tongue.

I can feel the areas where the tonsils were and they feel like two rough patches. I'm guessing these are the scabs, which by my research are due to fall off between day 5 and 8.

Otherwise I have a pretty strong and constant headache, which seems to come and go with the dosages of Codeine.

Today I ate more noodles, some mashed potatoes, sherbert, and ice cream.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Recovery Day 3 - Part Two

I actually feel a little better. My throat isn't hurting as much but my jaw bone is and my head is still throbbing.

I was able to eat some noodles and a smoothie.

I can only imagine that during the surgery they had to wrench my mouth open and press my tongue down while pushing my uvula up out of the way. I bet the surgeon fit his whole hand in my mouth, the way it feels right now.

I got some more sleep this morning and I'd still be sleeping if my ears didn't hurt so much.

I hope this means the worst is over...

Recovery Day 3 - Part One

Well, it's 5:21 AM and as you can see I'm up for my medication at 6:00 AM. I still have a throbbing headache, my jaw bone hurts, if that makes any sense. My throat if fine as long as I don't swallow or move my tongue. Moving my head can cause my throat to hurt too, mostly when it stretches the neck to one side.

I don't know what to expect today but I hope it's a better day than yesterday. I'm going to try and get more sleep today and at some point I need to eat something other than ice cream.

Let me know if you have any ideas. The hot and cold packs on the neck and around the jaw felt good but didn't seem to have any lasting effect on my situation.

I'll check in later today and let you know how I'm doing.

That's all for now.

Recovery Day 2 - Part Two

This has been by-far the worst day yet. The pain has continued to increase to what I would say is between an 8 and 9. My head feels like it is in a vise and I can feel my cheekbones as if someone were pushing them in with their thumbs. My throat still feels swollen and even swallowing saliva, water, or ice cream is difficult. I forced myself to eat some noodles but I could only get a few fork-full’s down.

As the night progressed, I seem to be going down hill. I broke out in a sweat and my head is pounding. There isn't a comfortable position to sleep in and just laying my head down, hurts.

I hope this is the break-point and things start turning around for me in the morning. Otherwise I'll probably be calling the doctor for help. I can't imagine going on like this for two or three more days. I just hope this is normal and not me getting an infection on top of everything else.

Well, I'm going to try and sleep some more. Not because I'm tired but because it's more comfortable than being awake. At least when I'm asleep, time seems to pass quicker and I don't feel as much pain. It's just getting to sleep that is painful.

This really sucks and I did it to myself. I hope it's worth it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Recovery Day 2 - Part One

It's difficult to say but I am actually in slightly more pain now then I was yesterday. It seems that my lower jaw bone all the way up to my ears are sore. I can only guess that it is from having my jaw held open while the surgery was performed.

I'm still using the cold compress only now I also put it on the side of my head, which feels good but doesn't really relieve any pain. My tongue seems to be swollen most of all. I can't stick it out to look at the back of my throat without a lot of pain, so I stopped trying.

Talking isn't the easiest thing to do either, whispering is too painful though.

I was able to take a shower and brush my teeth, which actually felt good. I also scraped my tongue and got a lot of white filmy stuff off it. Don't know if it did any good but I feel a lot cleaner now.

Pain Report
On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the worst:
  • Swallowing is about a 5-6
  • Headache is around 2-3
  • Ear ache about 1-2
More to come...

The Day After - Part Two

The Second Half

Well I got through day 1, it is 1:12 AM on Friday, I woke up because the pain is starting to come back and I'm due another dose of medicine in about a half-hour, then I'll be able to go back to sleep.

The pain is like the worst sore throat you've ever had. If you get them as often as I did then just think about your worst case and you know exactly what I'm talking about. The only good think is that I don't feel like I'm swallowing my tonsils every time I swallow. Everything in the back of my throat feels bruised and that Uvual is still swollen and making it difficult to sleep on my back.

To add to the pain, it now feels as if my tongue is bruised or swollen in the back of my throat too.

The pain at this point, with the codeine warring off is about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst I've ever felt.

My mouth has more saliva that normal, which is a pain because I either have to swallow it, which hurts, or spit it out, which also hurts. I find that drinking cold water seems to help, but swallowing the water hurts so it's a catch-22, your damned if you do and damned if you don't. The one thing that seems to feel the best is eating ice cream or frozen yogurt. I can even swallow half a spoon full at once without a lot of pain. The large cold chunks feel good going down, just make sure you mix it up like soft ice cream. I haven't tried eating the cold hard chunks and I don't want to.

So, the second half of the day was pretty much like the first half. No more or less pain at anyone one point except when the Codeine wears off. Stay on schedule and try to drink as much cold, ice cold, water as possible. Just sips at a time you don't have to drink fast. Eat ice cream or frozen yogurt and you get through this too.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Day After - Part One

Recovery Day 1

If you have ever had tonsillitis or Strep Throat where it felt like you were swallowing glass every time you tried to swallow, then you will be happy to hear that the pain in no where near as bad as that. I do have pain, don't misunderstand me. The pain is more from my swollen Uvula and the sides of my throat where my Tonsils use to be.

Ice Cream, Ice Water, and cold soup are what seem least painful to eat. I even tried a banana but that stuck to the sides of my throat and I don't think I'll try that again.

I'm still taking the Tylenol with codeine and that seems to be the best thing for the pain. Don't miss your dose if you plan on having the surgery.

I am still using the cold compress on my neck. I don't feel that much relief from the use of the cold compress but it does take my mind off the pain in my throat. I think what I feel is more a bruising where my Tonsils were and that's what is hurting when I swallow.

So the day goes on and I'm hanging in there. The pain isn't so bad that I wish I hadn't had the surgery but it is painful.

July 26th, Day of Surgery

I arrived at the hospital at 8:15 AM and checked in.

The Short Procedures Unit call me back immediately but my wife had to stay in the waiting room until they called her to join me.

I was given a hospital gown to wear and put all my clothing in a bag, which they locked in a locker for me. Then I was given an IV, which is where they would give me the anesthetic when I was in the operating room.

My wife joined me and we waited for the anesthesiologist to interview me.

The anesthesiologist when through her pages of questions and warned me of the risks and then asked me to sign the consent form.

The whole process went really smooth and I was back in recovery in about 45 minutes. Once they got me on the operating table, I was given the anesthetic and went out like a like. The only thing I remember is how warm the blankets were. They must keep them heated because they warmed me right up.

When I awoke in the recovery room, I had a cold compress on my neck and could feel a little discomfort in my throat, nothing real bad but I figured that was because of the anesthetic. As I became more conscious I started feeling the pain more. It wasn't as bad as my worst case of tonsillitis but I still could feel the roughness of where my tonsiles had been and my Uvula felt like it was swollen up like a cherry.

Anyway, the nurse helped me sit up and then gave me my choice of juice. She asked that I try to sip the juice. She explained that I should try to drink a lot of fluids, water being the best because it would help with the recovery. Stating the tissue in my throat would heal faster if it was hydrated and the water would keep it clean.

After I was fully conscious, they brought me back to the Short Procedures Unit where I got dressed and was released. Of course they took me out in a wheelchair but that seemed like the standard procedure so I went along.

My wife drove me home and went to pick up the liquid tylonol with codeine from the pharmacy, which the doctor prescribed for me to take every four hours.

Once I was home, I sat in my favorite spot and sipped water and watched TV. The pain was tolerable and I even tried to eat chicken soup, which didn't go to well. The hot broth was too hot for my throat and I quickly put it down. I did have a lot of Ice Cream, well Soy Ice Cream, I can't handle dairy, I'm lactose intolerant like you wouldn't believe.

Anyway, the evening passed without too much fuss and I went to bed around 11 PM. I had discovered that I needed to sleep on my side because my Uvula was so swollen that when I lay on my back it blocked my breathing out through my nose.

Other than waking up every three hours I slept pretty well after taking a dose of medicine, which seems to wear off about thee hours after taking it. The medicine also made me drowsy so it was easy to get back to sleep.

Before the Procedure

I had a pre-op consultation with the Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor about one week prior to the procedure.

This is when doctor warned me of the post-op recovery pain that I would face. He said I would have three weeks of the worst pain I've every experienced. He then explained how the day of surgery would go.

I would report to the hospital about one hour prior to surgery where I would meet with the Anesthesiologist and be preped for the procedure.

Then I was scheduled for surgery, which was yesterday, and sent to the hospital for the pre-addmissions testing. This is when I completed all the insurance paper and blood work. The Hospital then when through all the questions about mediacations, risks, and complications with any surgical procedure. Then I was sent on my way with instruction to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure.

Adult Tonsillectomy at 37

Yesterday; July 26, 2006; I had my tonsiles taken out. I am 37 years old and have been having problems with frequent tonsilitus over the years and it was getting worse each year, so I decided to finally have them taken out. Dispite everyone's fear and discouragement I felt that the five to eight days of pain was nothing compared to the three to five days of pain over and over, six, seven, even eight times a year.

So this is my story of having my tonsiles taken out and the true accounting of what I experience.

Robert Railey