Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tonsillectomy Recovery: Day 1

Let's see if I can stay conscious enough to complete an update...

Pre-surgery weight: 225 lbs. That, my friends, is evidence of my commitment to eating as many leftover Christmas cookies as possible before I had to stop. I really packed on the pounds the past couple of weeks, and every bite was delicious. I will cling to those lovely memories when I eat Jello #395 and popsicle #8293. :)

Getting prepped for a tonsillectomy is much quicker and easier than for a c-section. What a wildly different surgical experience! I was pretty nervous going in, but once we got into the OR, everything happened so fast that I didn't really have time to panic or change my mind. Before I knew it, I was out -- and then waking up again in recovery. I guess the procedure went well; I mean, I vaguely remember being told that it did, but I was pretty spaced out and my memories are all a blur.

I do remember feeling pain, not just in my throat but also in my jaw and ears a bit (preview of coming attractions?) and in the sides of my tongue, oddly enough. None of the pain was too intense though. I munched some ice chips and attempted a popsicle when I was ready, and before long I felt strong enough to get dressed and head home.

Some quick shout outs:
The SurgCenter of Silver Spring is a really nice facility and the nurses were fabulous. I felt really well taken care of there.
My ENT doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Brian Driscoll, is awesome. He's very laid-back and confident, which makes me feel confident in him too. After 20+ years of avoiding this surgery, it definitely took a doctor I felt really comfortable with to help me take the plunge.
And last but definitely not least, my friend Gretchen devoted her whole morning to getting me to the SurgCenter on time, waiting for me, being there when I woke up, and getting me home safely. On such a stressful day, I appreciated her company more than she will ever know. Good friends are priceless gifts from God!

The rest of my day, once home, has been long. The pain has been manageable -- most things I've read describe Day 1 and maybe Day 2 as a "honeymoon phase" before the real pain sets in. I'm glad I knew to expect this, or else I might be getting overconfident right now that this recovery is going to be a piece of cake! Instead I know to enjoy this while it lasts but be prepared for it to end at any time. I've stayed on top of my pain meds (swallowing pills feels very strange but I've managed to get them down so far) and tried to eat what I could: jello, a popsicle, and a bowl of applesauce. I'm also hydrating constantly and trying to sleep when I can.

Yeah, about for that has been the biggest challenge. Every time I fall asleep, I end up breathing through my mouth, but that is difficult to do right now because the airway is somewhat blocked. Breathing through my nose works perfectly well, but I can't seem to maintain it while I sleep. Thus, my sleep is coming in little spurts, which over time is not going to feel very restful. I'm not sure how to resolve this...maybe the airway will become less blocked as the swelling in my throat goes down? Meanwhile I will just keep trying to train myself to breathe through my nose at all times!

Interesting note about my meds: one is actually an ulcer drug, called Carafate. I googled it because I was familiar with the drug and confused about why it had been prescribed to me now, and was surprised to learn that studies have shown that it helps reduce post-tonsillectomy pain! Apparently it coats the tonsil beds in much the same way that it coats ulcers, thus helping them heal and cutting down on the pain. I had't seen any references to it on the recovery websites I've been reading, so I'm curious and excited to see how well it works for me!

Other things I'm doing to aid in my recovery: I have a humidifier running constantly next to my bed, and I'm using ice packs on my neck. Oh, and I have a terrific nurse (my loving husband) keeping me fed and hydrated and medicated, and I had 5 of the sweetest visitors periodically checking on me throughout the day. The kiddos are pretty concerned about me, and I don't think they really grasp just now long it's going to take me to heal -- my 2 year old was confused that each dose of medicine didn't instantly make me feel better! LOL

In a nutshell, my recovery is off to a good start, but I still have a long road ahead of me. I will continue to update daily if possible, but I expect that most posts will be considerably shorter than this. I appreciate everyone's prayers and good thoughts -- please keep them coming!

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