Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tonsillectomy aka Hell

   Knowing that I am off my parents Health Insurance soon I decided that it'd be best to get all things checked before that happens. I went to an Ear Nose and Throat Dr about a month ago and after 2 different opinions, I was told it would be best to get my tonsils out. They told me that my tonsils were in bad shape and that they weren't doing me any good. The Dr thinks that the reason I was getting sick with sinus infections and swollen lymph nodes was because of my bad tonsils, or as he called them, my cryptic tonsils. It happened fast and before I knew it I had my surgery scheduled. I was very scared the week leading up to the surgery. I had looked on Youtube and read lots of blogs about the experiences of those who had their tonsils out. These were grown men and women saying it was the worst pain that they had ever had. Several Women even said it was worse than their c sections. I thought there was no way that could be true. It is a relatively minor out patient surgery. I didn't read one persons experience saying it wasn't as bad as they had thought it would be. Everyone said how horrible and awful it was.

The beginning
    I wasnt feeling confident about the surgery in any way. I was even doubting if it was really for the best. I was sick over the thought of getting it done. Everyone (aside from friends who had one done and told me it was like death, or the worst pain they've had) told me it was going to be ok. I felt like people were making light of it. It really made me feel like I was dumb for feeling so scared. The thought of going into something that I knew was going to hurt scared me. I got a priesthood blessing from my home teacher in my new ward. He gave me a beautiful blessing. In the Blessing he talked about it being a good thing. He said that after my surgery my tonsils won't make me sick like they have. He blessed me saying after the surgery I would be stronger. He said I would feel peace and comfort and that it would all go as planned. I still felt so un easy about it. The night before my surgery I asked my uncle Brent to give me a blessing. He has been the dad who gave me blessings when my own dad no longer could. He has been there for a lot of my difficult times. He along with my step dad gave me a blessing. He also blessed me that I would feel patience and peace at the time of surgery, after, and while recovering. He told me that I need to get this done in order to be strong for other trials that will come along my path. It was one of the longest blessings I think I have had. The things he said were so personal and I am grateful for my uncle for giving me the blessing. His blessing helped more than a blessing ever has. I needed to hear a lot of the things that he said and blessed me with.

  I was a nervous wreck Sunday. I packed everything up that I would need at my moms and then ate my last supper. I chose chicken and veggies. I prayed pretty hard that night.

My last picture with the tonsils

   On the drive to the hospital I heard the song "Don't wake me up" by Chris Brown. It made me laugh because the whole chorus is him repeating " don't wake me up." Those were my thoughts exactly when I was thinking of the actual surgery part of that day. I don't think I am alone when I say that it crossed my mind what it would be like if I woke up during the surgery. Thankful for modern medicine, that's for sure.

   The nurses were great. My first nurse even tried to line me up with her son who is in dental school (um, yes please !) I had my surgery done at my moms work and she hand picked my nurses and anesthesiologist. They were over an hour and a half late in the operating room so I had to wait all that time. That didn't help my nerves at all. My mom told me that my dad was there. I thought she meant he was in the hospital himself since I hadnt seen my dad for over 3 years. I guess my family updates him on my life more than I realized. He came to see me right before they took me in to the operating room. It was awkward, but nice to know that so many were worried about me, even if others didnt seem to be.  

I took a picture of the floor I parked my moms car on so after anesthesia we would know

saw this and thought to myself I am really doing this

This is what my family does while waiting



I was supposed to be in surgery by this time
The mom and me right before I went into surgery

here we go

   I didn't know it until later, but my surgery went almost double the time. I think I was in surgery for 55 minutes when it is really only supposed to take 30 minutes. The Dr. told my mom that the first tonsil came out fine, but when he went to operate on the second one it separated and came out in pieces because it was so infected. Awesome. He also told her that they were huge. They were in worse shape then he imagined. That was kind of reassuring to me. It made me realize that they really did need to be removed and that it was a good decision.

   They let my family come in right away after coming out of the operating room. That's the perk of your mom working at the place you have your surgery done. I was hoping I'd be way funnier than I was on anesthesia. Get something funny out of this yucky experience. I just lay there until I was able to go home. I kept complimenting the nurses and giving them my approval for their hard work. My mom said I kept calling them mam. My mom told me at one point I told the nurse that I was not a fan of their no bra during surgery policy. This is the video of me waking up and seeing my tonsils. I had asked the Dr. if he would take a picture or my tonsils so I could see how big they were. He instead kept them in a jar so I could see them. I don't remember any of this because I was still out of it. I am actually surprised I can talk. Apparently I named them Lulu and Fritz.

Mark took this one of my tonsils and the bear my mom got me. I thought it was funny.

   The recovery for an adult tonsillectomy is 10-14 days. It seems like a long time, but it really does take that long. Here I am day 10 and I am still not feeling even close to being able to do much of anything, even talking is difficult. I imagined the surgery being bad. I went into it knowing that the recovery wasn't going to be easy. I can say that it wasn't. It was way worse than I had expected. I don't really know how to even begin to explain the pain. I can just say it was the most painful thing I have ever been through to this point in my life. All 25 years of it. I still cant swallow anything but water, jello, pudding and now mashed potatoes. Even eating those is still a real challenge for me. I think total I have lost 10 pounds. I weighed myself day 8 and I was down 10 pounds. I am not complaining there, but its not exactly how I would want to lose 10 pounds. The ear pain was un bearable at times. I was worried I would be gagging all the time and I did. I had to learn to focus more on my thoughts and try to not think of any of it. I kept an ice pack on my neck the entire time and I think it really helped. Days 1-3 really were more discomfort than pain. I was very dizzy and nauseous. Days 4-5 I was super irritable and sensitive to any sound or light or temperature. The ear pain started then. Days 5-8 was by far the worst pain I have ever felt. Not being able to swallow was a scary thing and not only that it was frustrating. My ears were so sore. I didn't know that ear pain was associated with Tonsillectomys. It makes sense that it does affect the ears too.

    I was sore all over. By this point I hadn't eaten hardly anything and I was taking lots of medicine. I just wanted real food so my stomach wouldn't hurt so much. On one of our drives out, I saw Chili's restaurant and I just started crying. It was funny, because I felt pathetic crying at the sight of a Chili's restaurant. I knew food would make me better. I just couldn't eat any. I really didn't think I could take any more on days 6 and 7. I know I sound like I am being dramatic, but wow, that pain was intense. It seemed like each day brought a new or different kind of pain. I was being brave and trying to just stay calm. Tell myself it is a good thing and that it's temporary and won't last. I think that is what was the hardest, the pain never seemed to let up. That many days with no real relief or feelings of it somewhat getting better was hard for me. I am happy that soon I can say I did it. It was something that was so scary for me, but I was strong and I made it through.

  I am so grateful for those who came to visit. I am lucky for friends that brought me ice cream. Friends that mailed or dropped pudding off at the house, and friends with protein drinks. The brother that was waiting for me at the house with a keva. The brother that was texting me late at night to tell me he loves me and that I can do it. The grandma that came and spent her whole day with me reading me family history stories. The aunt that took time to come help me while my family was at work. I am most grateful for my mom. She got frustrated a few times with me, but I had her there before and after work. Running to the 24 hour pharmacy to get more pain meds at 10 at night. Talking to me when she knew I was upset. Making sure everything was ok. Forcing me to drink water because she knew it was best. She was just the mom I've needed during the recovery.

The bear my mom got me. It helped a lot
The humidifier
Forcing liquids

The Hospital sent me a card
Grandma reading me stories. I love her so much.
Flowers from the grandparents.
My brother Brandon came to visit.
My mom gave me this
The neck ice pack that was heavenly
Day 2 I had a visitor. A raw throat with a side of cramps
The aunt and Duke
I felt bad I could tell my aunt was so bored
Frozen weight loss drinks from Costco were the only things I could stand for the first 5 days
Throat day 5 at its worst

I text this to my mom. My uvula was swollen and I honestly didn't think I had one any more.
It snowed a ton

Hallmark channel plays Christmas movies all day long Saturday and Sunday. I know this because I watched all of them.
Throat day 7
Liquid Lortab. I wouldn't have made it without it.
First time out of the house
First time out
First time out
First time out. I got so nauseous
We got low on Lortab and I was nervous so I left a note for mom I think I was out of it when I did this

This was the worst day pain wise. My ears hurt terribly, it was so bad it made it hurt to drink water.
Lortab burned when I took it. I hated it, but loved it.

My cousin came to visit she was in shorts and a t shirt after it snowed
My favorite movie Practical Magic was on tv
Duke being cute and making me smile
The roommate and my mom watched a sappy Hallmark movie with me
The guy from the sappy Hallmark movie that I want to be engaged to
Sappy Hallmark movie # 50 or something
Love that 24 hour sign
Day 9 I was finally able to eat mashed potatoes without choking or crying. I needed food bad. My stomach was starting to hurt
My dad gave me this card and a I tunes gift card
The card my dad gave me.
How I felt most of the time cause crying hurt too much
Even opening mouth was hard
I thought this Horoscope was interesting.

    I kept giving all the nurses the thumbs up in the hospital. So here's two big thumbs up for never EVER having to go through an ordeal like this EVER EVER EVER again.I am excited to start feeling more like me, to be able to walk around, not take Lortab every 4 hours for pain, not have to drink my food through a straw. I can't wait to talk, sneeze, laugh, drive, not be tired or sick all the time, and most of all, eat at Texas Roadhouse. A big steak with those amazing rolls and salad with the freaking crunchy croutons.


  1. haha. oh dear heather. i don't mean to laugh, i'm just remembering when i had mine out. i had forgotten about the neck ice pack! that was neat. it's funny how much i can't remember now....i was on a lot of percocet and it's all become a little fuzzy by now! haha. i always said if somehow my tonsils grew back, i would never have that surgery again. just be glad you haven't started spontaneously bleeding during all hours of the night ;) now THAT was good times. glad you're starting to heal!! text me if you need anything!

  2. Those notes on the fridge are the best! haha! Hope everything is starting to feel A LOT better now. Here's wishing you a speedy speedy recovery!

  3. Worse than a C-sections?!?!?! Who are these people. I would get my tonsils out again over having a c-section. That was the worse pain! I'm glad you are getting better!

  4. Yeah you can imagine how that made me feel though to read that before getting mine out. Im sure neither surgeries are very fun.

  5. Your post-it notes are hilarious. But, mouth pain is not. Mouth pain is the worst and we should curse whoever gave us such messed up mouths/throats. I'm glad you're feeling better!