Making Tonsillectomy Recovery Bearable
No matter what anyone may tell you, tonsillectomy recovery is no fun. It may be easier for some than for others, and youngsters generally seem to have a faster and less painful recovery than adults, but the pain is there. The pain must not only be taken care of, but there are numerous things to cause it to return, sometimes with a vengeance, just when you though things were under control.
While most of what is presented here, works for both adults and children, the first tip is for adults only. No responsible hospital or clinic is going to let and adult drive himself or herself home following a tonsillectomy. Trying to circumvent that rule would not be a wise idea. Aside from the possibility of experiencing somewhat cloudy judgment due to the anesthetic, the chances of getting sick on the way home are between good and excellent, which puts the safety of the driver, and others on the road, at risk.
Pain Management Is Paramount - Once home however, the first task at hand in the tonsillectomy recovery process is going to be one of managing the pain. Pain medication will certainly help, but there are a number of other things to be done to keep the pain tolerable (often it barely will be), and to speed the recovery process. The first think is to drink plenty of fluids, cold fluids, nothing hot, and even something warm may not be all that pleasant the first day or two.
Cold, Water, And Cold Water - Cold water is as good as anything, though sports drinks and juices are good if for no other reason than drinking glass after glass of water can get tiring. Just avoid drinking anything that might be the least bit acidic, as that is guaranteed to irritate the throat greatly. Sucking on ice chips or a Popsicle is a good idea. Proper nutrition is not high on the list the first couple of days of tonsillectomy recovery. Soothing and healing are the top priorities, and anything cold is usually good. Applying cold packs or compresses to the throat area will help keep the pain down. If an ice pack isn't available, wrap a package of frozen corn or peas in a towel and use that. The corn or peas can be eaten later, but not until several days later.
Keep Calm and Quiet - For the first two or three days, and maybe even longer, it's best to avoid being too active, as sudden movement could precipitate bleeding, and any jarring of the throat could be extremely painful. Talking isn't much fun, and it's wise to avoid visitors, or kids, as much as possible for several days. The patient needs rest, not constant activity, especially since sleep may not come easily. Since it's best to be somewhat alone, have plenty of things on hand to keep occupied, be it books, movies, crossword puzzles, or for smaller children, something like Lego toys.
Eat Softly - The first foods need to be soft and need to be cool or cold. Broth is very good, though it should be served warm and not hot. The first day, even warm broth may cause pain, but by about the third day it will probably taste and feel just fine. Gelatin or gelatin desserts and puddings are an excellent choice. Any food that both tastes good, is somewhat cool, and soothes the throat going down is a good choice. A smoothie for example, makes a good tasting, nutritious, and soothing drink.
Foods, not eaten in years, may be just what the doctor ordered for the initial meals. Thinks like oatmeal, cream of wheat, and applesauce all go down well. Anything acidic or hot and spicy needs to be avoided. Macaroni and cheese makes a good dish, just keep it lukewarm at first. Cold macaroni often tastes good anyway. Creamed corn is another good food which can be eaten either cold or slightly warm, and don't forget baby food. Much of it is downright delicious. We'd eat more of it except in terms of volume, it would get pretty expensive.
Sleep Can Cause Pain - As far as sleeping is concerned, a problem often encountered is that if someone sleeps with an open mouth, the throat is going to get dry and that will lead to pain. That's one reason why it can be better to take plenty of catnaps rather than to sleep in long stretches. Having a humidifier in the room can be a help here.
Eventually, It Will Come To An End - Finally, after 4 or 5 days, maybe a bit longer for some, start with some light activity. Be careful not to overdue it so as not to end up back at day one should the wounds in the throat open up. Weather permitting, take a brief walk, or if staying indoors, do a little light housework. The objective here isn't to go into training. Becoming more active is as much mental as physical in terms of recovering. In a week's time, "normal" food may start to have some appeal again, although it may take some trial and error to determine what does goes down well and what does not, at least not yet. Though it may have seemed to take forever, the tonsillectomy recovery is getting easier and easier, day by day, and the tonsils won't be a bother anymore.