Tonsils can best be described as those weird bags of tissue at the back of your throat to the sides of the uvula. They don’t do much; their main function is with the body’s immune system, however, they also enjoy making people sick by overreacting and causing pain for illnesses like strep throat and tonsillitis. Sometimes they can even make stones; the human body can be a disgusting mystery.
After a pretty bad sophomore year that brought on too many cases of tonsillitis and constant throat pain (along with stones), I finally met an ENT back home and got approved for a tonsillectomy. Most people get the surgery done as a child. It’s a quick recovery, and it seemed as if a large portion of my elementary school classmates got it done. Being older, my surgery was considered an adult tonsillectomy and came with more risks, more pain, and a longer healing process. But for a lifetime of health and comfort? It was worth it.
My surgery date was set for the middle of summer, and I had to take two weeks off of work. After multiple phone calls with the hospital to confirm and reconfirm my identity and surgery, I had to be in at 5am to be prepped for my surgery at 7:30. Right away I left my friend and mother in the waiting room and followed two nurses to my closed room where I would change into the fashion forward johnny, and the worst part of my morning would happen: getting an IV. My nurses were funny and light hearted during the ordeal. The rest of my team was just as lovable, and I met my doctor right before he was going to remove a part of my body. He was nice and professional.
I had done a lot of research prior to the surgery of what the healing process would be like and the internet did not disappoint with horror stories and long recoveries. My doctor told me to drink lots of water, get sleep, do not gargle anything, and take my meds on time. That was the only thing I did for at least a week. I was told to expect to lose at least seven pounds in my first week, and that was not an exaggeration. For seven straight days, the only thing my body consumed was water, popsicles, and two small jars of baby food: a spoonful taken every twelve hours to help get my medicine down.
Imagine having an extremely sore throat that doesn’t want to heal. That is the experience of recovery from a tonsillectomy. I refused to look at the back of my throat, even though that was the marker for healing as the skin changed color. I couldn’t cough, couldn’t sneeze, and couldn’t talk. It took about three days to completely come down from the anesthesia that they gave me at the hospital. I was prescribed intense pain killers that later my doctor would be shocked to find out I only used a total of three times. It also isn’t unusual during healing to experience ear pain or headaches, as I found out when my right ear began to act up. The worst side effect of them all was having a numb tongue. It doesn’t go away after the first week, or the second. I could finally taste again almost a month after my surgery.
It took two weeks to get the okay to head back to work under the condition that I couldn’t work in the heat, over exert myself, or do any heavy lifting. Unfortunately for me, I worked on a farm. That’s all I was paid to do. Another two weeks after starting back at the farm, I went for a check-up and my doctor was amazed at how well I had done. My throat was almost completely healed. They were shocked that I hadn’t consumed as much water as they suggested and didn’t need the pain meds.
I got back up to speed quickly, but the two weeks I was down still took a toll. Now that everything is back to normal, I like to joke about the, “two big holes in the back of my throat. What do I do with that? Hide stuff? Shove acorns in them? Kick everyone’s butt at chubby bunny?” Maybe one day I’ll give it a go.