My tonsillectomy adventure

Ah! Tonsils. They can be quite annoying, wouldn’t you say?

For me once the annoyance outgrew the usefulness I’ve decided to take them out. Recurring tonsillitis, difficulty breathing, congested throat, any small effort triggering it all. I had enough with them!

It actually took me quite a bit of time until I finally did it. At first I tried to get it done for free through the NHS, but I got annoyed when it took over 4 months just to see an ENT specialist, so I found the option of having it done with laser in Romania – price advertised looked really appealing too! So I got back to Romania in the winter of 2014 decided to have them taken out, but the doctor I saw sweet talked me into thinking it through, see if it can be done only partially, gave me some more antibiotics and told me to wait. When the time came for me to come back to get the procedure, nobody ever replied back to me from that hospital! (Clinica Academica) And my tonsils were still annoying me.

What did I do? Well I went to another hospital of course. I found this other hospital called Medlife, also in Romania, and I called in for an appointment with an ENT doctor to ask him to get it done whenever. The day of the appointment comes and I walk in quite excited. My first words “Hi, I want to get a tonsillectomy done, but I can’t get it done now because I have to return to UK in 2 days, but I’ll come back in 2 months”. The doctor looks at me quite amused and surprised “Then why did you come now?”. As you might imagine I made this choice as the other clinic never got back to me when I was ready for it, so I wanted to make sure this time everything is in order for when I get back.

Getting past it, he asks me, “So why do you want it done?” to which I reply my entire history of breathing issues and recurring tonsillitis then decided on the surgery for 17th of December 2015. It would cost me 3000 RON and my face kind of dropped when I heard it “Well how much did you think it would be?”; didn’t expect it to cost so much in Romania, was expecting 1500 at most! And it wasn’t a laser surgery as I wanted,  as according to the doctor “it’s just a trend, old way still better”. He didn’t give me any more pills, just a list of blood tests I should get done before the surgery. I scheduled an appointment with the anaesthesiologist as well, and I got proper excited knowing I’ll finally do it!

Time passed, I got back to Romania on the 14th for the surgery, and this one hospital called me as soon as I arrived in the country! I never expect any phone calls, needless to say, never expected any phone calls from a hospital. I had completely forgotten they had my phone number. They wanted me to confirm the scheduled surgery.

Remember those blood tests I was supposed to get done? Well I had lost the list, and I was also having a bit of a cold going quite bad on my throat so I went to see the doctor again. He seemed more welcoming this time around, and again quite amused “So you’ve lost the blood test list eh?”, “Well I put it in a safe place so I don’t lose it and I forgot what the place was”. To which the doctor looked at me, gave me another list and told me “That’s how it happens isn’t it?”. He also gave me some antibiotics (3 days worth), bunch of lozenges, painkillers, biotics (protection from antibiotics) and throat spray just to make sure I would be fine for the surgery. I was getting quite feverish at that point, all because of my tonsils.

From the doctor’s office I went straight for the blood test clinic, which is conveniently in the same building. I’ve only had one blood test done in the UK and it took over 20 minutes to get it done as the nurses kept calling each other as they didn’t know what to do to take my blood (you can’t really see my veins from the usual spot). Here, I was already getting ready to tell the whole story “Hey, so you can’t really see my veins, they break really easily and I get dizzy when blood’s coming out no matter how little it is”. The nurse was kind of ignoring me at first, felt as if she was being quite rude, but she got me sitting on a bed, so at least that. Then I tried to repeat it, but the needle was already in my vein. I looked away for like 10 more seconds and then I hear her voice “All done!”. That’s when I get really excited “Really? This fast? Wow and you took so much blood too! It must’ve been less than 2 minutes in total!”. I get a big smile on my face, get out my candy bar I was saving so I don’t get dizzy, and walk out skipping almost. THIS MUST’VE BEEN THE EASIEST BLOOD TEST I’VE EVER DONE. This must be how normal people feel!

Then a day later I went to see the anaesthesiologist, at which point I was being pretty feverish. I knew she could stop the surgery if she wanted to. So she looked at me, noticed I was a bit sick, and told me, “Wouldn’t you rather have this surgery a week later once the cold passes?” to which I replied “no, no, I’m fine, I’m fine, doctor’s got me on antibiotics and he said I should be fine”. “What antibiotics? Do you know the name?”, “Nope, don’t even have them with me, only have to take one a day.” “Oh, one a day you say? Is it blahblahblah?” “No idea, probably” “Yeah, I’ll just write that down, that must be it.” She checked my breathing, looked a bit more at me and let me go. I was happy she didn’t notice I had a small fever to call it off.

DAY OF THE SURGERY!!!! General anaesthesia. Had to get to the hospital about 7 am. Surgery was scheduled for 8 am. I had obviously forgotten my blood tests home, like anything else important, but since I had them done there they could just pull them off the system (yay!). I got shown to my room, then waited for the doctor to call for me. I was in the same room as an older lady who had a foot surgery, still got no idea what it was about, something about being painful when stepping on it. A nurse took me to my doctor who just started writing a report about me and I kept asking him questions, so he had to stop me “Look, you can ask me all the questions you want after the surgery, but I have to finish this report now”. I’m like “Uhm, okay, I’ll just sit here quietly answering to his questions”. After about 10 minutes he was done, I got shown to my room once again, and a nurse came to collect some blood so I find out what my blood group is, since I had no idea what it was (I’m an universal donor, hooray, more chances to help others – 0 negative). Few minutes later another nurse came and took me to the operating theatre, where yet another nurse got me ready for the surgery by inserting a cannula. She got it wrong the first time, the needle was too big and my vein broke (it had to happen at some point). She told me I should’ve warned her my veins break easily – I was still excited about my blood test experience and forgot to mention it. She then informed me my cannula size was 20, as 18 is too big, in case I get a surgery again. I was shown to the operating table, sat on it, got strapped on, connected to monitors and given anaesthetic. I remember the doctor, them asking me some questions and me really trying to answer, becoming less and less coherent, which  was getting me really annoyed; me, not coherent?

I woke up in the recovery room, and I couldn’t really feel anything. It was feeling so normal I almost thought they had cancelled it. They let in my boyfriend to see me and I was still kind of high on the anaesthetic, didn’t really want to move, could barely talk. Then my doctor came, started looking around, and asked the nurses “Where is my pacient?” “Well can’t you see her? She’s the one with the pink hair!”. “Why is she still here? I went upstairs looking for her!” “We’ll take her upstairs in a bit!”. Then he comes to me “How are you feeling? Don’t swallow anything, spit it all! You need to drink water. Nurse, get me some water!”. He proceeds to pass me some water and tells me to drink. Oh dear Lord! That’s the moment I was convinced they definitely took them out. It felt like something was getting ripped off my throat! “I can’t, this is too painful!” “No, no, try! If you don’t drink enough water the scabs will be too thick and you might get a bleeding when they fall off. Also, can you spit for me? I need to check whether there’s any bleeding.” I force myself to drink some more water, extremely painful, and I spit something, looked like blood, so I showed him. “Oh, that’s fine, leftovers!” and then he left. A nurse asked me if I can walk, I told her definitely not, so she took me upstairs in a wheelchair. Always been curious how does it feel to get pushed in one. Not very comfortable.

They brought me water and some time later a bit of chicken soup. However, the soup was not filtered or anything, as I expected it to be, it had chicken bits in it and sliced vegetables. I mean that’s the kind of food they recommend after the surgery, right? filtered food or tea. So I looked at it, and it tasted really nice, but it was really painful to swallow it, not to mention I also had to chew it. Every time I was swallowing I was feeling like I might do something to make my throat bleed. I took me about 2 hours to eat about 200ml of soup. I kept wanting to sneeze, to cough, and at some point I even got hiccups, all really painful, and advised against as there’s that bleeding risk. Out of all the days, must I get hiccups on the day I got my tonsils out? Really?!

I also forced myself to drink the water – about 2 litres of liquids a day. How did it go? Well something like, “Okay, I’m taking a sip now. Okay, 10 more seconds and I’ll swallow that water, I need the courage for it”. But there’s a trick to it. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Chewing, drinking water, pretty much anything that makes those muscles work. Not overdo it, just do it more and more as far as you can endure. So the first day was kind of meh, for dinner I had some soup and fruits in syrup, but nothing sweet or anything, just boiled really. I had nurses on speed dial, I kept pressing the button so they come bring me more water and asking for painkillers to make swallowing easier. They gave me some, but after I was done eating so that didn’t really help much. They were coming to our room to give us our medications, mine consisted of a cocktail of medications on IV drip. It wasn’t too bad. The wake-up call was at 6 am when we were given more medications. Then at 8 am they served breakfast and they gave me an omelette, with ham and cheese. I was so hungry, and it looked so nice! I ate it all, the pain was there but definitely not as bad as the day before, maybe a 4-5/10. I got back to drinking more liquids.

About an hour later the doctor saw me and noticed the nurses didn’t give me any anti-inflammatory medication, since my uvula was really swollen, so he prescribed me some shots for it (didn’t like them, the serum hurt for like half an hour), plus some supplements to aid cicatrization and boost my immune system, and a gargle solution.  They gave me one before I left the hospital and I could almost immediately feel swallowing just got easier. I got discharged and went home. Lost my discharge note.

That night (2nd day after surgery) we ordered some food. Pizza for my boyfriend, and chicken in white sauce for me. The most annoying part with food must be the part where I had to wait for it to get to room temperature before eating it. God that’s annoying when you’re hungry. Anyway, so I ate my chicken but my boyfriend’s pizza looked so nice! I had to have some. So I did. It didn’t hurt, it just tasted nice.

The painkillers I had were for small to moderate pain, they helped. I had almost no pain for an entire day, it would come back a bit at night, but I’d be falling asleep shortly. I stopped taking them after 4th day, until 7th day when pain got back, felt more like a discomfort, maybe 3/10 sometimes 4-5.

I had no issues whatsoever eating or drinking from 3rd day, I didn’t need the encouragement time I was taking during the 1st day. I could feel some of the scabs fall off, about 7-8th day and I was checking on the progress. On 10th day most of my left side was cleared and looking almost normal, my uvula less swollen.

I had a doctor’s appointment on 12th day, he said it looks great, there are some scabs left to fall off, but should have no problems. I told him I still feel some of the same congested throat still but, as it was probably obvious, it’s better to just wait for the throat to be completely recovered before deciding whether there’s still something there. He told me to just keep safe from colds for about a month, no hot&frozen food, no smoking, not much alcohol, no hot showers. I felt quite awkward as my sister had bought me ice-cream, earlier, the same day, I lied about it, told him I had been a good girl! As I was travelling by plane he told me I should wear a hygienic mask on it as there’s a higher risk of getting an infection there. Then the nurse proceeded on gifting me 3 “Gift from Santa”. They were really nice to me and I was feeling more comfortable there the more I went to his office. I walked out, then I realised I forgot to ask for another copy of my discharge note. So I turned around and asked for it. She got one printed for me quickly and I was on my way. I suppose they had got used to me by now, of how forgetful I am.

(I forgot my phone at my brother’s house and my camera at my parents house)

Day 14 now, feeling fabulous!

Oh, I forgot to mention, honey is supposed to help with the recovery and the pain so I got me some honeycomb with honey and just chewed on it. It might be one of the reasons I got better so fast 🙂

TL;DR I said a lot of dumb stuff, forgot a lot of obvious things; got my tonsils out, it hurt like a b*tch for the first litre I had to drink, I could eat and drink almost normally from the 2nd day (no spicy, no extreme temperatures – food & showers). Medlife is awesome!

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Plane ride
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