Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tonsillectomy II: The Recovering

During my surgery, not only did I have a tonsillectomy, but I also had my sinuses cleaned, since they had spent a year being frequently infected. I was hoping that I would recover from the procedures in a few days, so I could get back to Work on Monday. That wasn't going to happen.

Day 1 (Friday):
This morning I feel horrible. All of the pain medication has worn off, and the surgery hits me full force. Everything above the neck hurts, and I cannot swallow at all. I immediately develop a fast friendship with my spit bucket. It's an old Sunshine Corn muffin batter container that we converted into a mop bucket. I use it to spit out all of the mucus and saliva that my healing mouth creates, but can't swallow. Plus, the occasional hocked up blood clot. Those are pretty.

I have an appointment to see the doctor in the morning, and Mike takes me (thanks, Mike). He pulls out these giant plugs of gauze from my sinuses, which is both relieving and painful. He then takes a quick look at my mouth to make sure nothing horrendous has happened (it's fine), and sends me on my way. Unfortunately, he doesn't catch the rising fever.

Later that night, Christina swings by, and she immediately notices that I have developed a fever. I was told to expect a slight fever, and that as long as it is below 101F, I'm probably fine. It is below 101F, barely, so I say I'm fine. Over the course of the next few hours, though, it gets worse. Finally, it's 1am, and my fever is at 102.5F. Christina convinces me that I need to go to the emergency room.

So we do.

We get there, fill in all of the paperwork, and start the waiting. As I wait, I start shivering uncontrollably. I'm sure it looks pretty bad. I'm sitting in a chair, hunched over trying to hug myself, with blood caked around my nose (cool side effect of the surgery). I'm either overdosing or suffering withdrawals. Christina takes my temperature, and it's up to 103F.

I finally get admitted, and they work me up. I spend about two hours there getting tested. I've got an infection. So, they stick an IV in me (one shot only), and push me full of penicillin for about forty minutes. Then they send me home with a new antibiotics prescription.

Day 2 (Saturday):
I didn't sleep much last night, since I was in the emergency room. Christina stays with me the whole day, while I add dying fever to my list of damn this sucks. The combination of pain, nasty sweat, and intermittent chills is a thing of beauty, not to be missed by any true fan of suffering. But, by the end of the day, the fever is gone, and the mini-crisis is averted. On to the next...

Day 3 - Day 4 (Sunday-Monday):
Both of the days are similar. I wake up in the morning, having only managed a few scattered hours of restless sleep, and I feel like shit. I drag my self through the day in a haze only available to those who have spent the last 4 days on a steady diet of pain, opiates, and insomnia. I try to watch some DVDs, surf the internet, listen to music... anything to get my mind off of the extreme pain, hunger and discomfort of the experience. These two days kind of blend together, so it's hard to distinguish them. At some point in here, Christina decides that I'm being an unappreciative asshole, and runs off, assuring me that she's not mad. I won't see her again for another three days.

Day 5 (Tuesday):
I wake up feeling like crap... again. But, it's a good day, because I get to have these uncomfortable plastic splints removed from the inside of my nose. Apparently, while the good doctor was fiddling around in there, he noticed that my septum was badly deviated, so he had to do some minor bone/cartilage surgery, which required aforementioned splints. Anyway, I go to the Doctor's office, and get them removed, which is a huge relief. I can actually breath through my nose. Easily. Even more easily than before the surgery. The sinus clearing and septum surgery has obviously made a huge difference.

Then, a miracle happens. As I'm walking away from the office towards my truck, strolling through the warmly cool pasadena morning, I actually start to feel good. I can breath, the Vicodin is starting to kick in, and I feel good. It doesn't last long, though. Just long enough for me to drive down to the local strip mall to find that old italian restaurant that I haven't been to in forever (it's closed), and to stop by Tower to buy some new CDs. All of that activity really takes it out of me, and a few hours later, I'm back at home, feeling like shit again.

Day 6 (Wednesday):
I wake up feeling like poo-poo. Most of the morning, I feel the same. But, as the afternoon/evening rolls around, I start feeling much better. I get a little excited, and decide to try getting an actual meal. So, I drive down to the local Italian restaurant, Domenico's, and get ravioli with meat sauce.

When I get back home, before I get to try the food, Christina shows up. She has decided that I'm not an asshole, and is happily surprised that I'm eating real food. Well, trying to anyway. It turns out I can't actually eat it. I make it through about one ravioli before the pain convinces me to stop. It's kind of depressing to go from a real meal back to warm soup.

Day 7 (Thursday):
As usual, I don't feel so hot in the morning, but for the rest of the day, I feel OK. Christina joins me, and we lay out in the front lawn to get some warm SoCal sun. New music plays on my laptop, and we both enjoy the weather. For a few hours, I actually don't feel sick.

Tonight, I decide to sleep downstairs on the couch, so I can be sure to sleep sitting up. I want to see if sleeping in the right position will improve my mornings.

Day 8 (Friday):
I wake up today, and I don't feel that bad. My throat is a little dry and sore, but it's bearable. A few hours and a couple of Advils later, I feel good. I eat applesauce and pudding, and get some credit card business done. For lunch, I finish that Italian meal, then I head out of the house. I go back to the strip mall and get a very pleasant haircut from a cute Malaysian lady named Krisette.

In the afternoon, I even stop by work. It's a little weird after being gone for what seems like such a long time, but it's also nice to feel almost normal again. I check my emails and phone messages just to make sure that there aren't any emergencies, then I go back home.

For dinner, I join Ben, Mike, Lauren, and Amy at Margarita's for some Mexican food. I have my first real meal in over a week: a beef quesadilla. It's a little hard to chew and swallow, and I only get through half of it, but it feels so good to be able to go to a restaurant, eat a meal, and bullshit with friends like a normal person. I think that the sickness part is over, now. I'm still not going to 100% for another week or so, but I feel good. I got through it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the whole saving-your-mean-and-worthless-life thing and the staying-with-you-all-night-at-the-ER thing and the bringing-you-lots-of-different-foods thing and the taking-you-grocery-shopping-before-surgery thing and the many-trips-to-the-grocery-store-and-pharmacy thing and the staying-up-all-night-(yes, like the band)-and-nursing-you-back-to-health thing and the driving-across-town-because-you-feel-like-eating-scrambled-eggs-at-4am thing and the cooking-the-fucking-eggs thing and the force-feeding-you-so-you-wouldn't-die-of-starvation thing and the on-time-reminders-to-take-the-myriad-of-medicines thing and the listening-to-you-talk-about-the-various-things-oozing-out-of-all-your-orifices thing and the constant-pettings-so-you-feel-better thing--oh, and the putting-up-with-your-crap-assed-attitude-with-a-smile-because-you-were-dying thing.
You ARE an unappreciative asshole and I hate you--forever! Call me.

5/03/2005 8:45 AM gmt

Blogger jason said...

Jesus? Is that you?

5/03/2005 6:38 PM gmt

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Jason. This is Jesus, your Personal Lord and Saviour. I have come unto thee to spread the message of peace and remind you of 2 things: (1) I will never forsake you and (2) Roses really smell like poo-poo.

5/10/2005 4:39 AM gmt

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I know this blog is really old but I got my tonisls out about 6 days ago and am feeling like 'poopoo' myself. Your blog actually made me laugh (which HURT) but made me feel slightly better about my painful situation. Thank you for your experiance :)

4/29/2008 7:07 PM gmt

Blogger NewHavenPatriot said...

Hey, your blog made me chuckle too. I got my tonsils and adenoids out yesterday, and it really only hurts bad when my Tylenol with codeine wears off. I was lucky enough not to have gotten infected (yet... crossing my fingers on that...) and I feel pretty good. It hurts to talk like a sonofabitch though, and for some reason it's hard to type correctly.

So, my experience went like this. I went to St. Raphael's hospital in New Haven, CT, yesterday, and I really wasn't all that nervous, up until the point when I got into the surgery room. My surgery was scheduled for 1 p.m., but I got to sit and watch crappy legal entertainment TV shows for an extra hour (probably to get my mind off the surgery and so I'd be half-asleep anyway).

So I'm in the room, they numb my arm so I won't feel the IV going in, which was cool, and they must have stabbed a few different times like yours, but I didn't really feel it that much. Then they said the drugs were in (painkillers) and they said they were gonna start the anesthesia.

The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room and the nurse was like "Hey, you did really well, good job. How do you feel?" and I surprisingly felt really good, considering they just cut things out of me. I felt a little tiny bit nauseous, but it wasn't that bad. So I just went back to sleep for a little while, and eventually my mom came over and talked to me, and we went back to my apartment.

Later on, my girlfriend got home from her sorority meeting, and my mom went back to her house, cause she had work the next day. Now, at this point, I know I can't eat a damn thing, but I am wicked hungry, so I eat some room-temperature mashed potatoes with garlic. And damn were they good. :-D

Anyway, so yeah, this is day one after the surgery, and I'm just feeling okay, I suppose. I woke up to some warm New Haven sunshine coming in through the window, and it's decently warm now, like 70 or 75, so that's nice. The back of my throat is the only thing that really hurts, and my uvula is swollen to all hell, which isn't so nice. I'm looking forward to eating some good stuff again -- really can't wait for some spaghetti or something. That would rock hard.

I have ten days to recover before I have to go back to work, so I'm sure I'll be fine in about a week or so. Hope you and everyone else enjoyed my commentary.

5/08/2008 1:27 PM gmt

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi im 14 and damn was that blog funny xD. I had my tonsils out yesterday and it hurt kinda bad even with the codiene so today i got some good old fashioned lortab elixir =D. and i still have the codiene so i think ill be feeling good for the rest of the week. And hey i might even get a refill =D. So yea i do kinda feel like shit but your blog made me Eh Oh El so thank you man =D.

6/05/2008 4:23 AM gmt

Blogger NewHavenPatriot said...

So yeah, it's now a month after my tonsillectomy. Basically, it sucked real bad between days 5-10. I went back to the hospital three times, including an overnight stay on the day the place where my left tonsil was bled really bad. A couple days before, the left one started bleeding, and I went into the ER to have it cauterized. They used some spray stuff, needles full of novocaine in my mouth (yay!!) and then this crazy electric shock/burning thing that sealed it shut. Well, that didn't last long, cause a couple days later I woke up and tasted blood in my mouth. Long story short, I called an ambulance and by the time they got to my apartment, I had bled enough to fill up almost a whole pint glass. I bled more until I got to the ER, and then I almost passed out from blood loss. This time, they cauterized it with silver nitrate instead of the burning thing, and that did the trick. Thank God it's all over and I'm healed. I can breathe a lot better now, and I can actually sleep a lot better too. Good luck, Caleb.

6/07/2008 12:42 AM gmt

Anonymous Nicole said...

I'm on day six of tonsillectomy/sinus cleaning/deviated septum straightened out like a normal human being.
The problem is, I can't take narcotics and my nose was bleeding nonstop the first 48 hours so motrin/advil was even out of the question. I didn't have to deal with packing, my surgeon doesen't believe in it (love you Dr. Scharf!). I just looked at the back of my throat for the first time and it was a horror show...ewwww
i cracked up when i read "...not to be missed by any true fan of suffering..."
I had no concept of what I was getting into, the mornings are the most evil except the first night when i couldn't inhale or swallow, I really felt like I was going to suffocate. It's been terrible, the only thing I have for pain is this numbing goo that tastes so hideous, I usually choose to suffer rather than drink it.

1/20/2010 7:40 PM gmt

Anonymous Eddie said...

These comments and stories made me laugh. It's interesting to see how everybody's body handles the surgery differently. I had mine out yesterday and ya it sucks but nothing horrible yet. From what it sounds like, days 5-10 are the most painful. We will have to see.

4/09/2015 10:44 AM gmt


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