They told me my throat might hurt for 10-14 days following my tonsillectomy. For this I was prepared, and planned to take whatever narcotics necessary to alleviate the discomfort.
Some people feel well enough to go back to work after 3 days, but in about 7 days, scabs start to heal and that causes more pain, especially in the ears. I was prepared to need a full week.
They TOLD me it would be the worst sore throat of my life. I thought, bah, how bad could it be?
My tonsils were causing a somewhat minor, mostly irritating problem and would continue to do so for the rest of my life. I reasoned that having them removed was worth the risk of two very unpleasant weeks.
I’m not sure it was worth it.
The first two days were fine. Boy was I a trouper. Days 3 and 4 were excruciating. That was to be expected, but I figured 5 and 6 would be better. They weren’t. I was in the same amount of pain, requiring a narcotic rotation every TWO hours. The doctor told me I should substitute the oxycodone with ibuprofen, to see if I could extend the time period between doses of liquid vicodin/tylenol to six hours. Yeah, right, like ibuprofen is going to do anything. But actually, I was almost out of the oxy and didn’t feel like it was doing anything anyway. Turned out the ibuprofen did about as much.
On Day 8, I started taking the drugs less often, but felt the same amount of pain. Not the worst sore throat of my life, but something entirely different. A swollen tightness blocking food or liquid from passing. Wicked, searing pain in my ears. A complete inability to swallow anything. Tiny chunks in cream of broccoli soup scraped past my scarred throat like gravel. So did mashed sweet potatoes. I pressed a hot compress against my ears so often that I singed the skin a little, but at least it soothed the ache inside.
During this time, I never left the house. I slept in a reclining chair with a humidifier aimed at my elevated head, waking every few hours to heat up the compress, eat some ice chips or watch another episode of Friends. Nick at Nite played marathons of Friends all Thanksgiving weekend. That was a highlight.
I also watched dozens of episodes of Felicity and Ally McBeal via Netflix and the entire first two seasons of The Vampire Diaries. I was surprised that I didn’t get tired of this routine. Sleep, watch TV, try to choke down some oatmeal, macaroni and cheese or ice cream. Repeat. I could do this forever, mostly because I couldn’t begin to fathom doing anything else, I was in so much pain.
I had complicated thoughts that I wanted to express, but it hurt too much to make the effort to form the words.
The worst pain came in the morning, probably because sleeping with my mouth open dried out my throat, despite the humidifier’s best efforts. I felt better in the evenings, maybe because at about 4 o’clock I started to look forward to Rob’s coming home. The evening of Day 9, I felt more like myself. This is it, I thought, I’ve turned a corner, tomorrow I will be better. I will turn on my computer and blog about the experience.
I felt shitty again the morning of Day 10. I did turn on my computer, but only to pay the mortgage. I felt just a tiny bit better that evening. Yesterday I was able to do a few more things on the computer. Speak a few more complete sentences. My mom said I sounded more like myself on the phone. And last night, I slept lying down in a bed. (Although Rob tells me I made horrible noises that were beyond snoring. He said, “No wonder your throat hurts.”)
Today, I woke up, showered, dressed and sat down at the computer like a normal person. I might even walk the dogs.
The pain is about a 6 out of 10, after being an 8 or 9 most of the time for days. I guess that’s progress. Someday I might be able to eat food again. Perhaps in time for Christmas, because all those cookies I’ve been seeing on TV look awfully good.