When I was in my mid-20s, in the space between Lisey’s birth and Sonia’s birth, I had my tonsils out.
They’d been causing problems since my childhood, but much to my parents’ chagrin, I never qualified for the military’s health care system’s tonsil removal standards.
(Obviously, routine tonsil removal practice has its flaws. But I do think the doctors should have seen the obvious problems mine were causing. Such as: difficulty swallowing pills and food.)
Anyway, once I was an adult and was out of the military healthcare system, I was able to ask an ENT to remove my tonsils (which were not dissimilar to ping-pong balls in terms of size.)
I was pretty happy about this, and I remember going to the hospital the morning of my surgery in high spirits.
I had no idea what was coming.
I mean, I’m sure the ENT said something about “difficult recovery” during my consult appointment, but I must have really mentally glossed all that over.
I feel like “difficult recovery” doesn’t even really scratch the surface of what adult tonsil removal is like.
I threw up the next morning.
My throat hurt so badly, it was torture to take my pain meds.
I had awful referred pain in my ears for weeks.
Also, the cruel truth about tonsillectomy recovery is that your pain does not peak until about 5 days post-surgery.
So, first, you feel terrible, and then you feel even worse.
I could not eat properly for a month; the pain from swallowing was so bad, I often could only get a few bites down. I had gone into surgery at a pretty low weight from back-to-back pregnancies and nursing, so the weight loss after my tonsil removal was not at all welcome.
I am not a person who is particularly quick to wilt in the face of pain; I’m a pretty tough cookie, and I have delivered four babies without an epidural.
But I definitely look at adult tonsillectomy recovery as one of the worst things I’ve lived through in terms of physical pain, particularly because it went on for so long.
In a sense, I’m glad I didn’t see this coming. If I had known how hard it would be, I might have hesitated!
And in hindsight, despite the terrible recovery, I am super happy to have my throat clear of those enormous tonsils.
What’s something you didn’t see coming?
P.S. I hear that if you get your tonsils out before adolescence, the recovery is far easier.
P.P.S. Lisey got hers out when she was 15, and her experience was similarly terrible.
P.P.P.S. The good thing about having had tonsils out: things like wisdom teeth removal or nose surgery suddenly seem extremely manageable. It’s hard to scare Lisey and me now!