Thanks for hanging in there, dear reader, while I posted ad nauseum about my progress. This will be my last post on the subject before we return to your regularly scheduled broken lady bits programming.
The DOs and DON’Ts of Recovering from an Adult* Tonsillectomy
Keep in mind this is just one woman’s experience. Your results may vary. Your doctor will provide you with information and tips for a comfortable recovery; this is sort of a supplement to that. This is not medical advice.
DO Plan to take plenty of time off work. For me, two weeks was just enough.
DON’T Push yourself to resume normal activities too soon. You may think it’s no big deal to stand at a sink for 10 minutes washing dishes, but your body needs all its strength to heal. You can’t waste it on household chores, no matter how easy they seem. I was lucky enough to have a husband who could pick up the slack. If you don’t have a partner or roommate to help you with those things, ask a family member or friend to come over a couple of times. (If you have children to care for, I’m sorry I don’t have much advice for you. If it were me, I would probably have my kids stay with grandparents or aunts and uncles as much as possible. I’m sure that’s easier said than done.)
DO Plan to keep busy during your recovery time. Make a list of all the movies you’ve wanted to see, but haven’t had the time, then fill up your Netflix queue. That stack of books gathering dust? Clean it and move it to your nightstand. Any project or hobby that doesn’t require a lot of energy or movement – anything you can fall asleep safely while doing – should be on this list.
DON’T Count on getting anything done. Yes, it’s important to have a list of things to keep you occupied, but don’t promise your boss you’ll finish that Ninja Report, or your best friend that you’ll read her novel. I had big plans to catch up on my blog reading, but every time I started, I didn’t make it far before starting to nod off. I couldn’t focus. I wouldn’t be able to do any real work.
DO Follow your doctor’s recommended pain management schedule. For me, it was a liquid painkiller every four hours. “Set an alarm,” my doctor suggested. I scoffed. SET AN ALARM, my friend. You will start hurting before the time is up; no sense in making it worse by waiting even longer. DO Keep a log of when you take your medications. It’s easy to lose track.
DON’T Take more medication than recommended. DON’T take it more often than recommended. This should be a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. You will be tempted. Just DON’T.
DO Eat often, even if you’re not hungry. Small portions, small bites, are best. I suggest waiting until your painkiller has kicked in (for me, that was 30 to 60 minutes after taking it) to make it easier and less painful. Your doctor should provide you with a list of soft foods, but this is what worked for me:
- Scrambled eggs (cook quickly, cool quickly)
- Ice cream (smooth, nothing with chunks)
- Mashed potatoes
DON’T Jump back into your normal diet and eating habits too soon, unless your normal diet is bland. After 2 weeks, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted, so I did. After all, I spent the last 2 weeks eating nothing but scrambled eggs and applesauce. Boy, was that a mistake! I won’t go into the gruesome details, but let’s just say I’m glad it happened when I was at home.
DO Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I lived on Powerade and Popsicles the first few days. As much as it hurts to swallow, take frequent sips of water throughout the day.
DO Sleep with a humidifier. A dry throat is a soar throat, and you won’t be hydrating much while sleeping.
DO Take a gummy multivitamin or drink Ensure. You will not get enough nutrition from food during your 1 to 2-week recovery, so it’s important to supplement. One with fiber is a good idea, as the combination of poor diet and pain medication will leave you constipated.
DO Shower every day. You’ll feel better. It’s energy wisely used.
DO Plan to sleep sitting up. If you have a recliner, great! If not, one of those pillows designed for reading in bed works well to help prop you up. You may not need this, but it’s best to plan for it. The reason? Your uvula will mostly likely swell to twice its normal size (or more), and stay that way for a long time. I couldn’t lie down normally without choking on my uvula. It took some getting used to, sleeping upright, but in the end, it worked the best.
DO Take advantage of your pharmacy’s delivery service, if available, for refills on pain medication. It’s one less thing for you and your caretaker to worry about.
DON’T Answer your phone, unless it’s your doctor. Tell friends and family to text or email you. Consider changing your voicemail message before surgery to remind callers that you can’t talk. You may feel good enough to talk, but it’s additional strain that your body just doesn’t need.
* Recovery for kids is a completely different story.