Saturday, August 08, 2009

Tonsillectomy Journal ...

Dude. I'm so bored!

I've been off work for the last two weeks. Why? Because I finally, finalllllly got my tonsils out.

So, (because I'm sooooo bored) here's my Tonsillectomy Journey! I got the idea from My Big Fat Tonsillectomy.

Wednesday 15th July: I'm up at 5 a.m. to eat a "light breakfast". Unfortunately, I didn't sleep well the night before, so I'm not feeling like food. I do make the most of being up early though, having lots of water to drink. I don't bother going back to bed, instead I pack my bag, and get myself organised.
My hospital paperwork told me to be at Hotel de Bendigo Hospital at 11 a.m. So, on time I report to Surgical Admissions, which just happens to be right next to the cafeteria. Do you have any idea how freaking hard it is to watch people constantly streaming past eating when you're hungry? It was not easy. At 12:30 my name was called, and I got up and signed two pieces of paper. I was then told to sit back down and wait. At 2 p.m. my name was called again, and I had a quick pre-op check up. Then I sat down to wait (and watch people walk past EATING and DRINKING) ... again. At 3:30, I was finally called back to the surgical pre-op waiting room, where, yep, you guessed it ... I waited. At 5:30, when I was the last person left in the waiting room, and I was starting to get really pissed off, a nurse wandered in and asked if anyone wanted to head into surgery? They found me a lovely bed, and a nice white blanket. Unfortunately, since I hadn't had anything to drink for almost 12 hours I was a bit dehydrated, which made getting a IV cannula in nearly impossible. The end result? Me bawling my eyes out as they finally got it in, FIFTH time lucky!
To be honest, I don't remember much after that. Vague memories of someone putting a mask on my face, and people talking and then ... The next thing I knew, I'm waking up in recovery, feeling like someone has ripped out half my throat. My nurse, a lovely man by the name of Dale, was very generous with the pethadine, and after 15 minutes in recovery, I was awake enough to head back to a normal ward.
The most pleasing thing for me, after such a long, exhausting day? That I'd made it back to my bed, and my tv, in time for STATE OF ORIGIN! I was a bit out of it for the first half, and I don't remember much of it (except the nurse coming to check on me every 15 minutes, interrupting my State of Origin time!). The pethidine (and the anesthetic) wore off about half an hour after the end of the game, when I totally crashed for an hour.
I woke up to the elderly Italian lady in the bed diagonally across to me (I was in a 4-bed room) yelling at the nurses. Most of it was in Italian, but she kept saying "Money! Money! Blah-blah Son! Money! Son!" They tried for quite some time to get her into bed and settled (since it was after midnight at this point), instead they had to settle for sitting in her a chair next to her bed while they did their obs rounds.

Thursday 16th July: To start Thursday, for the first four hours of the day, I listened to my ipod and crunched on ice, watching the Italian lady as she became increasingly dramatic and loud. I felt sorry for her and the nurses. She was obviously frustrated and confused, and the nurses were frustrated because they had no idea how to help her.
At 6 a.m., Italian lady began packing her bags. She was ready to go home! I too was fed up with the whole hospital thing, but I wasn't quite so eager. At 7 a.m., she moved herself and her bags into the hallway, and stood guard, ready to be released, I guess. The nurses then had to try to get her back into bed, or in the room, to eat some breakfast since discharges don't usually happen until 9 - 10 a.m.
At 9:30, after getting some good shit for my pain, along with my discharge instructions, I finally got sprung from Hotel de Bendigo Hospital. When I left, Italian lady was still standing guard in the hallway, with her bags lined up next to her.
After leaving the hospital, I went home to my mum and dads, which is an hour and a half from Bendigo. I was exhausted, having only managed an hours sleep during my stay at Hotel de Bendigo Hospital. As soon as we got home, I went to bed and slept for a few hours, waking to pain that was so bad I started crying, and I didn't stop crying until the pain meds that I rushed to take, finally kicked in. Then I went back to bed.

Friday 17th July - Friday 24th July:
After another crappy nights sleep, and waking in considerable pain, I took my pain meds and went back to bed. This became the routine for the next several days. The pain, which hadn't been too bad, got progressively worse over the next week. Monday I came home to Bendigo. On Tuesday, I ended up going back to the doctor to get stronger pain relief. The painkillers would work for two - three hours, then I would (I can't believe I'm going to admit this ...) literally just cry to myself until I could take my next dose. Sleeping was limited to a couple of hours at a time, and most nights I only slept for two hours total. Eating also became progressively harder to do, even though I had no trouble for the first couple of days. Swallowing water was even hard and painful, and I ended up trying to dissolve most of the tablets I was taking, because swallowing whole tablets was damn near impossible. I have maybe two good hours a day, usually at night after I've taken my painkillers. In those two hours I try to eat, and maybe sit on the couch and watch some tv for a while. Then, the pain comes back and we start all over again ...

Saturday 25th July - Wednesday 29th July: Mostly, I'm still not eating much or sleeping much, but slowly the pain starts to improve. I'm still eating only baby food and drinking only a little water each day, but I can see slight improvment in my pain levels. On Wednesday, I see the doctor again, and get a medical certificate for another week off work.

Thursday 30th July - Sunday 2nd August
: I switch painkillers, from Endone (Oxycodone? or something - good shit though!) and Panadiene Forte and Voltarin to just Panadiene Forte and Voltarin. On Saturday, I have my first "real" meal in two weeks - spaghetti on nice, soft toast. I have my first coke in a couple of weeks as well (taken in very small, very slow sips). I can finally see that things are improving.

Monday 3rd August - Wednesday 5th: Before the surgery, my doctor told me "Once you start to see an improvement, you'll come along in leaps and bounds". And this turns out to be true. I get a good 5 hours sleep each night, and I'm finally eating normal meals again. I'm still not eating a lot, and the pain continues at night, but overall the improvement is huge. I can't believe how good I feel!

Thursday 6th August:
Three weeks and one day after the operation, I go back to work. Everyone welcomes me back, and I have a great day. I get home exhausted though, but glad that things are normal again :-)

Edit: And now, here we are. Three weeks and ... four (?) days out from the surgery. I've only just finished this journal, even though I started it over a week ago. I'm still having pain at night, especially ear pain, but generally I'm doing ok. I have a check up with my ENT doctor next week, which will be good. I wouldn't recommend an adult tonsillectomy though, unless you really need it done. The pain was something that I'd never like to experience again, and to be honest, most of the first two weeks I don't remember a lot of because I was in so much pain. I don't think there's any way to prepare for that level of hurt. Overall though, now that I'm finally starting to feel better, I think that it was worth it. Easy to say after it's all over, I guess :-)

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