Tonsillectomy: The Procedure.

When I first posted about my upcoming tonsillectomy, I was shocked at how many of you also had experienced this lovely procedure as adults. My second shock was how many thought it was the worst thing that ever happened to them.

This was not exactly, shall we say, encouraging. But I appreciated the heads up nonetheless – I often prefer to plan for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if I never make it there.

(And for the record you all also said that it was totally worth it and you never get sick anymore, too, so you weren’t complete Debbie Downers. Thanks for that.)

I was going to share about my surgery and the recovery all in one post, but a) it got too long, and b) the recovery still lingers on like the unwelcome odor after changing a poopy diaper. So first, the procedure.

May 21.

Chris woke me up at a ridiculous hour that should not exist, as we had to be at the hospital at 5:45. I played loud music all the way there, feeling unusually pumped for being awake before sunrise and imminently close to what all promised to be two weeks of mouth hell.

We arrived and I watched the sunrise through the dirty hospital waiting room glass.

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The receptionist rudely interrupted my photo op to give me my paperwork and ask for my insurance card and driver’s license.

“Oh crap! I didn’t bring ANYTHING with me…<insert panic>…OH wait – my husband handled all that.”

Seriously. Marry a man who plans ahead on your behalf. It is SUCH a good choice.

Chris dug my wallet out of his backpack and handed it to me silently.

The receptionist asked why I was having a tonsillectomy.

I explained.

I filled out all of the paperwork, which asked me why I was having a tonsillectomy.

I wrote my explanation.

A nurse came and retrieved me to hook me into a super fancy hospital gown that has a backwards vacuum attached to it to fill me with warm, tingly air (I guess they got tired of keeping all of those hot blankets around in recovery. What HAS happened to southern hospitality?) While attaching my blowers, she asked why I was having a tonsillectomy.

I explained.

She then asked me to take a pregnancy test, to which Chris said, “If it makes a difference, I’ve had a vasectomy.”

She looked at us both in the eyes, then said “No, it doesn’t make a difference.”

I appreciated her vote of confidence in me.

The anesthesiologist came in to talk about all of my knock-out needs and asked why I was having a tonsillectomy.

I explained.

Another nurse came in to hook me up with the drugs that my anesthesiologist wanted me to have pre-anesthesia, and asked why I was having a tonsillectomy.

I explained.

The surgeon came in – the one who told me I must have a tonsillectomy one month prior, and asked why I was having a tonsillectomy.

I began doubting my presence in the hospital at that moment and wondering if I could unhook my own dress from the vacuum and if I did, what exactly would be visible through that large circular hole.

Instead, I explained.

Finally, just when I thought the explaining would never end, they took me back to the OR and knocked me out. At least when I woke up I wouldn’t be able to talk to the recovery nurses who would, I was positive, want to know why I chose to have a tonsillectomy.

(Because I am certain that my graceful Uvula will look better without my ugly bulbous tonsils crowding her out. There. I explained.)

I woke up to offers of popsicles and ice chips, but seeing as how I couldn’t hold my eyes open, thought all of these options were severely premature.

I worked on my eyeballs while listening to the conversations in the curtained-off recovery areas around me, trying to remember them all because they were SO bloggable.

(I remembered none.)

Finally, they brought Chris in to sit with me. After a minute, he informed me that I was way too lucid to record me coming out of anesthesia.

He sounded slightly disappointed.

He also told me that my voice hadn’t changed.

He sounded slightly relieved.

Then he told me about his conversation with my surgeon – that he told Chris my tonsils were “full of stones and seeds of infection” and that they would have kept getting me sick if we hadn’t gotten them removed.

I mused out loud that Tonsils are just like Jedi. They protect you and keep you from getting sick…unless they go to the dark side. Then they make you sick and you find out that they are your Daddy.

The only thing that really hurt were my calves. I asked the nurse if the knife slipped and WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH MY CALVES, and she said something vague about the effects of anesthesia. I was pretty sure they’d been doing some sort of experimentation on me and I wasn’t happy. I’ve done a lot of running work on those calves in the past year for them to get messed up during a MOUTH surgery.

(A couple weeks into recovery they started hurting again and I was certain I would die from blood clots due to anesthesia. I did not.)

She wheeled me to the car, and Chris took me home. I was surprised at how well I could talk and how not horrific my throat felt. We took a nap together that afternoon, me propped up in a sitting position and snoring like a bullfrog in heat, him laying next to me and pretending not to hear.

That afternoon, we talked about how not-so-bad I felt, yet how foreboding the whole thing was. Everyone had said that a different day that was the worst for them – Day 3, Day 5, Day 8….I felt as if I’d been pushed off a cliff and I was currently enjoying the ride down, but there was no way to stop the imminent fall. Or like I’d just stepped foot in a haunted house, and I would never know whether the next scary thing was the worst or if the worst was yet to come.

Foreboding. It’s my least favorite movie quality.

(Right after train wreck.)

Good thing I didn’t know that I would experience a buttload of both in the next month.

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Comments

  1. Lindsay D. says:

    I’m glad that’s behind you. That pregnancy test/vasectomy comment had me cracking up.

  2. Tammy K. says:

    Speaking as a nurse (since I am one) the calf pain most likely came from where you were strapped to the operating room table. The OR has a tendency to rachet you down to prevent any sort of movement from occurring during the operation.
    The reason they kept asking what you were having done and why was because it’s a requirement that all members of the team ensure they know that YOU know what you’re having done. (Informed consent and all that stuff.)
    Hope that helps!

    • Yes, this is why they asked me in the OR, after I was already strapped down and numb, if I wanted/ consented to having a cesarean. I thought it was a funny time to be asking.

  3. Lindsey says:

    What my responses to the “why” questions would have been.

    1. They make my throat look fat.
    2. The Kardashians did it.
    3. I heard it’s the best weight loss plan out there.
    4. I read in an internet comment that it will reduce my risk of ebola.
    5. My husband prefers tonsil-free women.
    6. I had a dream that aliens only abduct people who still have their tonsils, so I’m covering my bases just in case.
    6.

  4. I wonder why they all kept asking you why you were having it done?? So weird. Ugh this whole thing makes me shudder. I have never had to have any type of surgery other than the C-section and that was enough for me!

  5. What a cliffhanger! Can’t wait for the recovery part of the story!

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