How To Endure a Tonsillectomy Recovery

Remember writing "How To" papers in elementary school? I do. I'm pretty sure my first one was "How to Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich." I still think that's pretty great skill to know. But this is not about PB&J sandwiches. That's right, another tonsillectomy post. I know it probably feels like I'm beating a dead horse here, but I enjoyed (not sure if that is the right sentiment) reading others' accounts of their experiences and tips they shared. So in true twenty-something fashion, here is a numbered list of things I discovered/learned/would recommend while recovering:

(Just a side note here, there are some obvious things the doctor will tell you to do. I'm not going to mention those here because duh do what the doctor says...ya know like drink water. Also I am not a physician and therefore this is not professional medical advice. Don't sue me.)

1. Eat Food. Your body just went through a traumatic experience and it needs something besides gatorade and water to get through this. I ate applesauce and mashed potatoes to the point at which I'd like to never see either again.

2. Pre-surgery, make sure the doctor gives you something for nausea. Anesthesia really screws with your system. You don't want to be sick after surgery. I got an awesome patch that went behind my ear...something you would use for motion sickness I think. I was not sick afterwards and was grateful for everything they gave me.

3. Get a humidifier. Or borrow one. I loved sleeping with this thing running. You don't want your throat to get dry and this puppy helps because you are breathing in damp air. This is the one I have and you can pretty much get them anywhere. I've had mine for a while; winters here in Indiana are cold and dry.

4. Do not take your pain medicine on an empty stomach. It may be a struggle to eat. Suck it up and eat because you do not want to see the contents of your probably empty stomach. Eat the food. Eat it. (Yes two food related points. I love food.)

5. Have ice readily available. I really liked putting ice on my neck. It helps with swelling and numbs the area. The surgery center gave me this ice bag thing but it sucked so I didn't use it. I wish I would have gotten some of those gel ice packs. I put ice in plastic bags and wrapped it with a towel. Fancy.

6. Mentally prepare for a two week recovery and plan accordingly. After a week I was not better. I did not feel like myself. I still needed someone to help me. Do not freak out but understand this recovery is not like a child's. It takes longer and hurts worse. I struggled with this. Days 8-11 were the hardest for me. I thought I should have been better and I wasn't. It was frustrating. I cried a lot.

7. Essential Oils. Get them. I've seen a huge rise in popularity of these over this past year (thanks mom!) I can't prove if they helped but I used them every day. Frankincense was my bff. I put it on my neck several times a day and used it a diffuser (like a tiny humidifier.) Much of the info I came across said that the wounds/scabs/whatever would taste and smell horrible. I never experienced this. I attribute that to the oils. It felt good to put something natural in my body after all the crap that it had been subjected to.

8. Don't believe everything you read on the internet. I read a lot of stories -- some really good and others horrible. It seems to me that no two person's experience was the same. Everything from recovery time to pain levels. Everyone's was different. Yours will not be like mine. Take all non-professional advice (including mine) with a grain of salt.

Listen to your body. Make wise recovery choices (eating and drinking regularly.) Get lots of rest. Do everything in your power (really have someone else do it for you but you get the gist) to help yourself get better; ice, humidifiers, friends, flowers, crying, essential oils, Netflix, cats, whatever you know works best for you. And don't worry because in the end it gets better.

Happy Healing!



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