I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions (because why would you not strive to be better all the time? At least failing at it on a daily basis is less conspicuous than making a big New Years deal of it) and let’s be real no one cares about all the things I learned this year. So this is going to be a Public Service Announcement.
If you have any reason at all, get your tonsils out. It was the best decision I ever made, and it happened in 2011.
People are generally kind of shocked to hear that tonsillectomies still happen, and that they happen in adults. But I knew this because in college I had particularly germy friends. Both swore that getting their tonsils out was the most torturous but worthwhile procedure. After the fact, I concur.
I got fed up this past summer because I’d had a sore/infected throat for about three months straight. It seemed like more often than not over the past few years I’d had sore throats. Part of this problem was the fact that I’d had tonsil stones since I was a kid. Beware: googling tonsils stones is disgusting. Basically what they are is particles of food and bacteria that get stuck in pockets of your tonsils and build up over time until they are so big that they are incredibly painful and you somehow remove them. At times in my childhood I’d actually gone to the pediatrician to have them removed. This year I tried to do it myself during like an hour long adventure shoved up against my bathroom mirror in which I ended up stabbing myself in the tonsil and bleeding and having a minor freak out that I was going to bleed to death. Death by tonsil. So I found myself an ENT (also known as an otolaryngologist which is one of my favorite words) and pretty much went in and demanded he take them out. He was a little reluctant and warned me that it hurts a lot and the recovery period is two weeks and that I absolutely COULD NOT go to work for two weeks. I was like yeah yeah yeah, as someone who had had an eyebrow raising surgery on a Friday and went back to work on Monday but it turns out HE WAS TOTALLY RIGHT.
The great thing about getting your tonsils out is that you can get short term disability because if you go to work you are at risk of bleeding to death. The other great thing about this is that I absolutely hated my job at this point and two weeks of not having to go was amazing, even though I was in so much pain I kind of wanted to die. BUT I really don’t even remember the two weeks because I consumed an entire bottle of oxycotin during that period. Drawback: you get tolerant of oxycotin very quickly and therefore it becomes less effective in small doses and you run the risk of getting addicted. An oxycotin addiction during this period was very tempting. I don’t think oxycotin is the first drug of choice for this surgery but I am very intolerant of other painkillers and end up throwing them up. Throwing up after a tonsillectomy is NOT recommended.
Directly after the surgery I felt kind of fine. In fact I took only tylenol and went to Barnes and Nobles that night. After that point, I did not feel fine. Sleeping was so uncomfortable. You basically wake up thinking that you are choking because your tongue is so swollen that it kind of obstructs your airway. My tongue was also bleeding probably because of whatever they used to hold my face open during the surgery. My actual face was also pretty swollen. Note the following picture how my face is very swollen in addition to being very medicated directly after waking up from surgery. The photo at the beginning of this post was taken before surgery.
Things you think happen after tonsillectomies: You think you spend two weeks watching tv and doing crafts and eating ice cream. LIES. I had all these crafts planned out and I did nothing. I didn’t read because I was so stoned and I didn’t do any crafts for the same reason. I literally have no clue what I did for two weeks. You also don’t eat ice cream because it leaves a film in your mouth and requires extra swallowing- which is the ultimate last thing you feel like doing.
ANOTHER LIE: My doctor told me I was guaranteed to lose at least ten pounds- and this to me was amazing because I have packed on at least 20lbs since college. I lost zero pounds- probably because I was so much more hydrated than normal during this period. The more cold things you consume after a tonsillectomy the better. When your throat gets dry it is 20x more painful. Also, cold liquids help the swelling.
Exactly one week after the surgery my parents (yes I still live with my parents because I am so incredibly poor) left me to go to Atlantic City. This was also the day that my body decided to become intolerant to the oxycotin and I had to go cold turkey because I threw up. So after an entire day of agonizing pain by myself I decided that I wanted lo mein, and that it would definitely be soft enough to eat.
THE WORST PART of a tonsillectomy is the lack of appetizing food for two weeks. Three months later I still never want to see applesauce, pudding, jello, or ice cream ever again. All you want is flavor and texture. So I ordered my lo mein and went to pick it up, and then had to wait an extra half hour at the restaurant waiting for it. I brought it home and set myself up in front of the TV. I was so excited. I took my first forkful, and felt the worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life because it turns out that lo mein is actually VERY SPICY if your throat has just been mutilated by a surgeon. I still wince when I think about soy sauce. So I did emergency cooling of the throat and then had to look at the lo mein in the fridge for the next week knowing I couldn’t eat it. I didn’t eat real, real food for three weeks after my surgery. Even at work I had pudding and soup.
During my recovery period I warned my friend never to have it done, because she would probably kill herself as I am very, very tolerant of pain and she is not. This was the first time I had ever even taken painkillers more than once after a surgery, and I took a whole bottle so you know it was super unbearable. BUT now, I have no recollection of the pain and the best part is that every time I swallow I am still surprised that my throat doesn’t hurt. Also, because of my tonsils, I always had this constant pain/tickling in my right ear. That pain is now gone, and it still surprises me. AND I have not had a single fever since healing from the surgery when prior I’d have a random fever at least twice a week.
Verdict: Kiss those suckers goodbye.
However, I do not recommend getting them in a jar to-go or anything like my sister wanted me to do. That is just gross. I wonder if they’d actually do that for you. Sometimes I think about my tonsils now. Like I wonder what happened to them. Where did they end up? Did they end up in a biohazard landfill or are they floating in the ocean? Did a shark eat them? If so, that shark probably has a ton of throat problems now. Sorry, sharky.