My Adult Tonsillectomy Recovery Day by Day Part 1

So ya’ll… This is by no means a glamorous post, but I felt the need to share my adult tonsillectomy journey. I’ve been on this tonsil-related health journey for over a year now. No joke–I’ve woken up with a sore throat for over 365 DAYS! On top of a sore throat, I’ve dealt with these nasty, embarrassing tonsil stones for that same amount of time. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, consider yourself lucky. They’re nasty.)

Anyways, in early October I finally got the nerve to consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Not to my amazement, he recommended I get a tonsillectomy. After hearing so many horror stories from other adult tonsillectomies, I wanted to avoid this procedure at all costs. However, I found myself desperate for relief, and really hope all the pain will be worth it post-recovery.

So, here I am–the night before surgery. I am very, very nervous, but plan on documenting my entire journey from start to finish. I hope it might help one of you who are in my shoes and planning to get an adult tonsillectomy. It truly is a scary thing, but I hope my journey might reassure you, help you, or simply inform you of all the aspects of an adult tonsillectomy.

Pre-Op Jitters

It’s the night before surgery, and boy am I nervous! I am drinking a ton of water (as I hear this is one of the MOST important aspects of a tonsillectomy) and am planning on eating a pretty large meal for dinner–Applebee’s Car Side to Go for the win! After dinner, I’m going to shower, drink more water, and try to get some rest. Surgery is at 6:45 AM…

Day One

Surgery went so well! I’m not sure if I should be impressed or weary of the days to come, but I’m definitely feeling better than anticipated. I made sure to have the anesthesiologist give me nausea meds before and after surgery (as well as a prescription for home) as I’m very prone to nausea. It’s helped tremendously, and would definitely recommend this if you’ve ever had nausea issues with being put under or pain meds! Surgery was at 7:45 and we got home by 11 AM.

Feeling sore after eating dinner (more swallowing = more soreness). Just took more pain medicine and going to drink another glass of water before bed.

I set two alarms throughout the night to take my pain medicine. I also ate jello before I took my meds & drank a few sips of water each time I woke up. Had a somewhat restless night, but glad I could catch a few hours of sleep.

Diet: I ate a cup of jello right after surgery, and lots of liquids since. They also gave me nearly 2 bags of liquids throughout the morning through my IV which felt so awesome! I had some cooled, watered down chicken noodle soup for lunch which was yummy (I’ve been pretty hungry). After lunch, I attempted a purple popsicle and Gatorade, but both burned my throat quite a bit. My mom made homemade chicken & noddles for dinner with mashed potatoes–at an entire bowl after it cooled! Also drank half a Boost protein smoothie to get some more nutrients.

Pain: 3

Day Two

I woke is this morning pretty sore & not feeling too well. After eating some breakfast, I felt much better. Pain is at a level 2, but when I swallow it bumps up to a level 5. Running a low grade fever so trying to take it easy. 

Day two was by far the worst afternoon/night yet. Nausea hit me very hard this afternoon. Laid on the couch with a cool rag on my neck and head for what felt like a lifetime. Just tried to close my eyes and breathe through it. Tried anti-nausea meds twice, and ended up vomiting on the second try. Honestly, I was so scared to vomit (after hearing horror stories of bleeding) but once I did, I felt so much better! Incredibly week and sore, and feeling overall messed up because of anesthesia and pain meds. 

Diet: Cooled scrambled eggs and half of a vanilla Boost protein smoothing for breakfast. My mom made some homemade chicken and noodle soup for lunch, which I ate throughout the day.

Pain: 3

Day Three

I woke up feeling a little better, was able to eat some jello to get something in my stomach. Absolutely hating the nausea I’ve been feeling–I’d much rather be in pain! I’ve been running a low grade fever since surgery, and haven’t ate much the past 24 hours.

This afternoon we called my nurse and she recommended no more pain medicine–she thinks it is making me sick. Switching to Tylenol for pain medicine every 4 hours. My mom also brought over a huge humidifier that we set up in our bedroom to help keep my throat hydrated throughout the night–absolute lifesaver!

Diet: I was able to eat a bit of chicken noodle soup for lunch, and had a few other things throughout the day, but my appetite is very low. Main goal is staying hydrated!

Pain: 3

Day Four

Woke up still very nauseas today, but was finally able to eat some applesauce and take some Tylenol. Today, I really started to notice the horrid taste/smell from my throat… it’s awful! Food just doesn’t taste right, which makes it even harder to maintain a healthy appetite. 

Diet: Applesauce for breakfast. More chicken noodle soup for lunch and random food throughout the day. We cooked some pasta for dinner, and I was able to have a bit of that.

Pain: 3

Day Five

Woke up feeling decent, no more nausea and overall feeling clearer and more alert. I’m so glad I stopped my pain meds! Today felt like a turning point in my recovery as far as reduced nausea and pain. 

However, I’m starving today… I think the past few days are catching up to me. I’m starting to feel really frustrated by not being able to eat what I want! My stomach wants a hamburger, but all I can eat is soup or jello (barely).

Diet: I attempted eating pancakes for breakfast, and ended up having applesauce again. Sean went and got me a smoothie for lunch, which was absolutely life changing! He added protein to it, which helped with the hunger. We cooked chili for dinner, and I was able to eat a bowl with crackers soaked in it–it felt so good to have some real carbs!

Pain: 2

Day Six

Last night was a pretty restless night again, I started having moderate ear pain, which I hate. I’m making sure to stay up on the Tylenol and almost always have an ice pack on my throat. My bad breath is pretty terrible, and embarrassing. I know it’s a sign of healing, but it is so horrible! I started gargling with salt water to help the smell and keep any food/bacteria clear from my healing throat. 

Overall, today was my best day so far! It was nice to get out of the house and eat some real food.

Diet: Applesauce and a fruit smoothie with protein for breakfast. My mom took me to Olive Garden for lunch (I needed to get out of the house) and I was able to eat a little bit of salad–bad idea–and pasta. For dinner, I had more leftover pasta and a popsicle slushy!

Pain: 2

Day Seven

Another restless night last night. My throat pain and ear pain has definitely gotten worse–I’d rate it at a level 6 throughout the night. I found myself counting down the minutes until I could take more Tylenol, and kept an ice pack on my throat the entire night. 

I woke up with a lot of throat and ear pain, which is somewhat discouraging. I felt like I was on the mend, but the pain is definitely getting worse–I’m assuming because my scabs are starting to come off and the new skin is exposed. However, the after I take Tylenol the pain does ease some. Other then the pain, I feel decent. I’m just getting so tired of not being able to eat, it’s definitely wearing on me!

Diet: Applesauce and a fruit, protein smoothie for breakfast. For lunch I tried a jelly sandwich and it was AWFUL! It tasted so bad… I settled for cottage cheese instead. Then, I attempted breaded chicken breast and mashed potatoes for dinner, but only got a few bites in before the pain became unbearable. I also had a chocolate shake after dinner which tasted pretty good. 

Pain: 4-5

Overall, I feel like my adult tonsillectomy recovery is going well, and I truly think all the pain and suffering will be worth it once I’m all healed. Leave a comment or shoot me a message if you have any helpful tips or to share your own experience!

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  1. I wish my recovery had gone so smoothly! I ended up having to go to the ER twice for post-op bleeding because I would violently cough everytime I lay flat. Let me just tell you now, spitting out mouthfuls of blood for 30-45 minutes is TRAUMATISING. So not fun. The doctor eventually prescribed a cough suppressant, which worked, thank God. I’m on day 9 now, and thankfully everything has calmed down. Lots of popsicles helped!

    1. Oh my goodness, that is horrible!! Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I know that many people can relate to your complications and frustration! I really hope you continue to get better form here and your recovery goes smoother. Iā€™m now 4 weeks out and still not 100%, but definitely feeling better than day 9! Good luck!

  2. I am currently on day 5 post-op and feel your pain that you’ve been through. Did you do anything in addition to your blog to help ease the pain you developed in your ears? I am finding it near intolerable on top of already having a sore throat. TIA and hoping you’re feeling much better and happy with your decision to have your tonsils removed šŸ™‚

    1. Oh my goodness Megan I feel your pain! It’s a brutal recovery process, that’s for sure! Other than ice packs and staying up on my meds, I tried a heating pad (after reading a few other blog posts), but it didn’t seem to help me much. I preferred a cold ice pack over the hot heating pad, but give it a try! Throughout the night, I kept my head propped up on a couple pillows, which took some of the pressure off my throat and ears, but the night time was still the most uncomfortable for me. I hope you start feeling better soon, come back and give me an update if you’d like! šŸ™‚