April 14, 2016

8 ways to survive a Tonsillectomy

Yes I know this is a jewelry blog, why would I talk about a tonsillectomy? Well, because I love sharing my experiences with the intention that it might help others, so here we go. After scheduling my tonsillectomy, I took the initiative to plan a little ahead of time to make my recovery as easy as possible for myself and my family. Here's how I survived my tonsillectomy.

Pre-surgery strategy:

1. Buy groceries / supplies ahead of time. My list included:

  • Muscle milk: Chocolate and vanilla  (lactose free but with the fat - you'll need it!)
  • Campbell's chicken noodle soup
  • Single serve instant mashed potatoes
  • 3 boxes of a variety of all natural, organic fruit juice popsicles high in Vitamin C (naturally helps with inflammation and healing). Nothing with dairy.
  • Eggs
  • Ensure drinks
  • Apple sauce
  • Baby toothbrush (smallest you can find, I'll explain in #6.)
  • White board and dry erase marker - you may not be able to talk, this board will come in handy.
  • Little bell - to ring to get your caregiver's attention.

2. Schedule your bills through your bank a head of time. I am in charge of the finances in our household and I didn't want my husband to have to worry about taking care of that, so I scheduled as many bills and I could pay ahead of time. Might not seem like a big deal, but I didn't want to risk something accidentally being late while I was recovering. I figured it was something that my "future self" would thank me for.

3. Rally your support system. People can't help if they don't know and I knew we would need some recruits on stand by. My immediate family was already on the books to help out to support my husband and our two boys with our after school routine and scheduled activities. I contacted my children's close friend's parents so that they knew our house would be closed for 2 weeks while I recovered. Our neighborhood families were so understanding and offered to have our children over to their homes for play dates, which was much needed so I could rest.

Tonsil removeal4. Let it go and don't make assumptions. As Elsa would say, "Let it go!" and so I did. Take all your "hats" off and put them on the rack. I am a mom, a wife and a business owner just to name a few of my roles. It was hard for me to let that all go (even temporarily) but my surgery needed to be done and I had to commit. Believe your doctor when he/ she says it takes two weeks to recover. Do whatever you have to do to get right with it and surrender. I was nervous about a lot of things; negative reactions to anesthesia, controlling pain levels, eating, my family... the list was vast, but I had to let it go. I had to come to terms with the fact that I had no control over a lot of those things and there was no sense in worrying about it and making false assumptions. What will be will be and I had to just stay present and take it one day at a time and tackle what was in front of me.

5. Make your bed: Day of (or night before) make your bed up. Where ever you decide you are going to be camping out, get it all set up. For me, we decided that it was best that I sleep in our family room since it was on the lower level, close to the kitchen and bathroom, close to my husband during that day so he could keep a better eye on me since I couldn't talk. The night before, we got all the blankets, pillows, tissues, water bottle and night stand ready. You'll also probably will want to invest in a good reading pillow (you can find them anywhere, even amazon). Why you ask? Well there's a good chance your uvula will swell and it's kind of uncomfortable to lay flat. Reading pillows are great for keeping upright when trying to rest and gives you support for your sides. I used mine for 7 days, it was wonderful. Trust me, when you come home from your surgery you'll be glad that your landing pad is ready to catch you.

Post Surgery:

6. Don't forget your hygiene. Day 1-3 were kind of a fog, but I knew one thing for sure, I was totally over being uncomfortable. I knew I still had a long road of recovery ahead of me, so to pass the time and clear my head I took showers, sometimes 2 a day. It's easy to forget this simple daily task, but once my husband reminded me to get in the tub, it became a true sanctuary. Showers rejuvenated me and eased my pain even for a little while. Also don't forget to brush your teeth, again, easy to forget, but thrush can happen so make sure you are brushing those pearly whites a few times a day. Tip: Invest in a baby toothbrush. They are softer and smaller and easier to get in your mouth. Your jaw will be sore and tight and may be difficult to open, even a little bit for the first 5-6 days. The baby tooth brush (smallest and softest you can find) was perfect.

7. BINGE watch. Now's the time to watch those shows that you have wanted to catch up. Thank you Netflix! The first few days I just slept and was not in the mood to do much of anything. However, by day 5, I was ready to entertain my brain a little bit and start watching some shows. It was a much needed distraction and something I could do with my family.

8. CELEBRATE! Day 13 post op and I was almost able to eat solid foods and put make up on for the first time. I wanted to celebrate. I was off my pain medicine, the worst was behind me, and I was finally on the other side of this experience. It was time for the family to celebrate. We all needed it. We put our shoes on and I ate fettuccine Alfredo from Olive Garden and it was the best!

So that's how I did it. Wherever you are on your tonsillectomy journey, I wish you the best!