I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my first 9 days of my recovery from my adult tonsillectomy & adenoidectomy. You can find that link here.
Here is an update since then since so much has changed.
9 day post-op – Another bad day (what else is new??). Days 8 & 9 were the worst days of the adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy recovery. Far worse than days 1 & 2. The first 2 days were uncomfortable, whereas the days 8 & 9 are practically unbearable. You cannot talk because it is soooo sore. Swallowing hurts…even if it’s just saliva. It’s probably the worst case of strep throat you can get. That’s the feeling. This is definitely the worst of the whole entire surgery. The main food group of today was ice cream. Anyone would love to have ice cream as a main food group, but after the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery and recovery, I just wanted real food.
I’ll tell you one thing I learned though! Soft pancakes = heaven after your tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery. It easily slides down and is so soft. I wish I had done this earlier. I didn’t realize how congested my ears felt. Once I ate the pancake everything just felt perfect. The pancake managed to knock off a bunch of the scabs after 3 bites. I felt SO much better. My ears cleared. My throat wasn’t sore anymore and it just felt so much better. I can’t even explain.
It was a damn miracle! Seriously, adult or children after a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery, eat a over-buttered soft pancake.
10 day post-op – My throat felt much better compared to the last few days after the adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. I could finally swallow normally. My throat did feel a little sore but not as bad as it had been. Things must be turning up for me! Unfortunately cabin fever has set in and while I have been relatively positive throughout the recovery process…today is not that day. Today I have been upset and crying at things that normally wouldn’t make me upset. Apparently that is the side effect of the pain killers? Depression? And also the side effect of not being able to do things you normally could in fear of bleeding, getting sick, the list goes on and on….
Let the hemorrhaging begin…
11 day post-op – This is how my day began. I’m sick of vicodin, percocet, etc. I just want to be normal again. I want to be and feel less dependent on pain meds and function normally. Maybe I didn’t need them after all, but only used them because I was scared of the pain if I didn’t. I want to recover from this tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy once and for all. I mean kids recover within a week, why can’t adults? Technicalities.
So, I called the on call doctor (did not realize that I had my actual ENT doctor’s number until later on). I was told by him doctor that I can have ibuprofen since I am 11 days post op. The risk of bleeding is rare. He has done research and lets his adult and child patients use ibuprofen from day one because the risk of bleeding is so rare. At day 11 I should be out of the risk for bleeding following a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery.
I took 2 pills in the morning and then 6 hours later I took 2 vicodins. Six hours later or so I took another 2 ibuprofen. Suddenly out of nowhere I just felt warm liquid just rushing down my throat. It tasted like iron. This cannot be happening! I run to grab a tissue to check my saliva. Blood and lots of it. Nonstop streaming down my throat. First thing we do is hop in the car and head to the local ER. This ER was a different facility than the one I originally got my adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. It had managed to slow down by the time I got there and was nonexistent. Once we got ahold of my ENT he said he would be coming in ASAP to check it out. Suddenly, while on the phone with him the blood started pouring down again. I’m constantly spitting out blood into a spit bucket.
My ENT had the P.A. at the ER spray my nose a few times with Afrin. Soon after he came to the hospital. He squirted some more Afrin in my nose. It is said that Afrin is helpful after an adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery hemorrhage to clot the blood and stop the bleeding. And it actually did. They declared it a right side hemorrhage. I stayed there for an extra 2 hours to see if the bleeding would continue. I was able to go home because they felt I was in the clear.
12 day post-op – Currently everything is sore from bleeding yesterday. It’s sensitive and it burns whenever I swallow. I’m finally getting some slight ear pain. Not terrible like others have gotten, but uncomfortable. This ear pain was something new for me after the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery. I am back on vicodin for a little while longer to subside the ear pain.
The fact that my ears are now started to have issues 12 days out is “concerning” to my ENT. Tomorrow I’ll have to go in and see him since he does not think that it is normal this far out of surgery.
13 day post-op – I went to the ENT today and my ears look fine, according to him. There is no infection going on, so they are not causing the ear pain. My throat also looks fine. According to him my tonsils are healing well after my adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery post-op bleeding. He’s hoping that by Wednesday I will be feeling wonderful, if not then, he will have to give me antibiotics to help kick the ear pain. Luckily, vicodin helps to subside the pain to where I cannot feel it.
14 day post-op – Once again there is some remaining ear pressure. Took vicodin to take off the edge. We did turn off the humidifier because we didn’t feel like I needed it anymore since I was 2 weeks into recovery.
15 day post-op – Today I had some ear pain again, but decided not to take any vicodin. I don’t want to keep having it called in. I’m in denial at the fact that over two weeks after my adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery that I still need pain meds. I am just sucking it up and taking acetaminophen if need be. Still slight sore throat, but nothing that I can’t handle without meds. Today was another emotional day for me. The whole recovery is taking a long time. I have read people who are recovered and feeling fine around day 10 or so, and here I am at day 15 still sore and set back by my bleeding. It is uncommon for most adults or children to have this long of a recovery and with these complications.
16 day post-op – So I didn’t sleep last night.at.all. Maybe it was a bad call to turn off the humidifier. My throat got so dry all night. Worse than the day of and the day after the surgery. I was just chugging water all night to keep my throat moist. By 7am I had enough. I want the humidifier on I needed to switch spots with my husband to be closer to it. In the middle of telling him this BOOM. Blood starts pouring down my throat. This was my second hemorrhaging since my adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery. Instead of swallowing it I decide to spit it. This way I won’t feel sick from the iron taste.
During my last bleeding session my ENT told me that I need to gargle ice water for 10 minutes to help stop the bleeding. Gargled water for 8 minutes and while I was gargling my husband called the ENT. He said to meet him at his office asap so he can help me. While walking to the car the bleeding stopped for a few minutes. Suddenly on the way there it started bleeding again.
I went in to the ENT and he removed the blood clot because it wasn’t supposed to be there. They were spraying Afrin up my nose (it worked last time) to stop the bleeding from my last post-op adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy hemorrhaging. They were sucking up the blood. Nothing they tried would stop the bleeding.. I was there from 7:30am-9:30am and the whole entire time the bleeding would not stop at all. They had my gargle water with numbing solution in it, so that I wouldn’t gag when they went back there to try to remove the blood clot. They were also trying to burn it shut. It was impossible to do while I was awake in the office. Nausea set in and I was constantly running to the bathroom to vomit.
*WARNING NOT FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT HANDLE BLOOD, DO NOT READ NEXT THREE PARAGRAPHS*
Nothing could stop the bleeding. My only other option was another surgery. Another surgery AFTER my adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery to stop the bleeding once and for all. My ENT set up an appointment at the hospital where I had my initial surgery. Now, let’s just say I am NOT a fan of this hospital. It was about 2 blocks from my house at the time, but they have such poor customer service. My doctor called ahead to let them know that I was on my way and to get my into a room ASAP.
I walk in the front door. I’m talking to the lady at the front desk. I’m sitting here spitting up blood into my spit bucket. My doctor called ahead. You would think that she would let me in ASAP. I had to wait at least 15 minutes. Someone who came in after me went in before me. I’m spitting up blood right in front of you. Isn’t that concerning? Isn’t that abnormal?
Nausea set in again. I ran to the bathroom. I had been trying to stop subside the nausea by thinking my way out of it. This time I just couldn’t. All of the blood loss and iron taste from the post-op adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy hemorrhaging caught up to me. I couldn’t handle the blood loss, the taste of the blood, etc. I just needed to get it out of me. I’m about to vomit and then suddenly as my jaw is going back I feel a huge tear. It felt like my mouth was just ripping open and flipped inside out. I think it was more of a scary experience then painful. I was worried that I had torn everything from the surgery and that everything was just ripped completely open. I look down and there was a huge blood clot. The size of a golf ball. This is not something that you expect from a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery experience typically.
I was terrified. Instead of staying still the first thing I did was run to the waiting room to tell my husband and then everything just started turning white. Everything was coming in and out of focus. I felt myself start to faint and I just ran back into the bathroom. I wanted to be near the toilet and close to the ground rather than hitting it. More blood was coming.
I was still not in an ER room, so seeing me fainting, my husband ran and yelled at the front desk to get out nurses. I’m on the floor hovering over the toilet. They come into the bathroom as I’m on the floor and…they just stand there staring at me. They didn’t offer to help. They didn’t ask me if I was okay. They were just staring at me. My husband explained to them that I had an adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy not even 3 weeks ago, hemorrhaged, had a lot of blood loss, and was fainting. They did not even budge to help me up, so my husband did.
They wanted me to walk to the room. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t keep balance. I was falling over. I told them over and over again that I could not walk, yet no one helped me walk. My husband put my arm over his shoulders and carried me into the room while the nurses watched.
Somehow I stopped bleeding. Completely. Nothing. No pink saliva. No iron taste. Nothing, but I was freezing. I lost so much blood that I was shaking the whole time. Nothing could warm me up. I had on 8 blankets, a hat, and two coats and I could not stop shaking.
All I wanted to do was sleep. I was so out of it.
I stayed in the room until 12:30pm and then it was time to go into the Operating Room for the second surgery of my adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery.
My husband was going to go leave to go back to work, so my mom stayed with me while the anesthesiologist came in to give me the drugs. The doctor was running late, so it was a waiting game (it’s not his normal surgery day and he had appointments). When he came they gave me the meds to relax you and then after that I remember nothing. I got woken up at around 2 or 3pm and I finally got into a post op room after my post-op tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery around 4pm. My ENT came in the room to check on me and tell me about the procedure. They packed, cultured, & stitched up the blood vessels to ensure there would be no more bleeding.
All in all I bled for about 3-4 hours straight. My vitals earlier in the day were very low. My heart-rate was 102. My blood pressure was 87/57. Both are very unusual for me. According to my blood test from all the blood lost, I became anemic. I was 10.5 according to the blood test. I was told by my doctor that if I did not get better by the next day I would have to get a blood transfusion for all of the blood I had lost from my post-op adult tonsillectomy hemorrhaging.
I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself. Who is this sick person? I was so pale. I could not even look in the mirror. While I urinated they had a bucket in there measuring how much fluids came out of me.
Another tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery meant ANOTHER set back and it also meant back to the sore throat and liquids only diet for the next few days. I ended up staying up all night because my throat was so sore. I was given an antibiotic 3x so that I would not have any swelling, vicodin for pain, and medication for the nausea I suffered from the amount of blood I swallowed.
17 day post-op – I left the hospital at 10am. I had a sore throat, but not NEARLY as bad as days 1 & 2 or 8 & 9. It felt like the feeling of day 3-7 for me. A little strep throat feeling, but not unbearable pain wise. I had to stick to liquids once again. Just because it was still sore to swallow everything.
I was at risk to get a blood transfusion. My blood loss dropped me down to 10.5 & before I left it was 10, but my doctor decided to let me go home without a blood transfusion. I went back to taking vicodin for the pain every 4 hours. I’m slowly getting my color back.
18 day post-op – STILL on the liquid diet with my sore throat & I’m still gaining some more color.
19-23 post-op – These days were about the same. I could eat some soft foods, but mainly stuck to my soup, mac & cheese, etc diet. I was able to eat a bagel if I toasted it and then if I also microwaved it afterwards to be softer for me to swallow. I went to my post-op adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery on day 23 and everything was healing well. There was no swelling. Still had the slight sore throat and uncomfortable rubbing.
Whenever I swallow food I would feel it rubbing against my right tonsil-free area. It was pretty uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Bananas always made it worse. The ENT said it was normal because it’s pretty “angry” after the second surgery because the post-op hemorrhaging adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery ended up bothering it again. This also ended up “setting the clock back” as far as recovery is concerned.
The slight ear pain came back whenever I swallowed which was also normal since it is reworking itself once again. While I did bleed, I still feel lucky that I never ever had that sharp shooting unbearable ear pain I have read in so many other blogs. This was on a Thursday, I was moving out on Saturday and he said that I cannot lift anything heavier than a roll of toilet paper or else I would bleed again. Also, by around day 29th I should be able to eat normally again, but until the pain goes away when I swallow to stick to soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing.
24 day post-op – I stopped taking vicodin. I was really tired of the feeling “high” and out of it when I took it. The constipation was also getting on my nerves. Instead, I started taking 2 acetaminophen whenever I had pain, which usually once or twice a day. I also started taking stool softeners, which I probably should have started taking that earlier in the recovery.
25-27 day post-op – The pain is gone. I can eat and drink whatever I want. I generally have to take 2 acetaminophen at night for the pain, but during the day I am fine. I had to move these day. We moved into an apartment, so I was unable to do ANYTHING besides unpack and even that was limited.
I have to go back to my ENT on April 4th for my 3 week post-op adult tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy surgery check up (was really 5 weeks since my initial operation, but since I had another surgery I have to get checked over again). I am also going to have to get a blood test done since I was anemic after the blood loss. They are hoping that my blood count has gone up in the 3 weeks following my surgery. So hopefully from now until then everything is good and I do not bleed again!
Update: I was officially cleared by my doctor. It is completely healed. No chance possible of any bleeding again. It looks “beautiful” and I can go back to my normal life. Normal life? What’s that? After nearly 2 months I was restricted from even going for a walk.
I can eat whatever and drink whatever. I don’t have to worry about my throat hurting all the time. It’s a little difficult for me to stop checking my saliva though. I’m still very nervous. I used to check 5x a day, but have gradually gone down to about 2x a day. I can’t believe it is finally over!