Tonsils ~ Be Gone You Pests! oh and Adenoids- You too!

*Heads up #1: I’m currently taking quite a bit of painkillers so if something sounds a bit weird- you’ll know why… 😀

*Heads up #2: I’ve tried to keep anything gruesome out of this! So don’t worry! There’s just one paragraph but a warning before it!

*I’ll try to update this as my recovery goes on!

I’m on day three of my tonsil and adenoid removal! The later I didn’t realize were coming out until I was having a pre-surgery chat with one of the nurses the day before. oh of all the surprises.. I knew I had to have my tonsils out though so after meeting with the doctor to confirm, I decided to have them out just one week later. Why hold it off? I’d really just rather get it over with. And, there wasn’t ever going to be a good time. And if I’d scheduled it a month from now there would be all that build up to surgery.

A week build up was enough too. Just researching what foods to eat and I was reading horror stories about how awful the two week recovery was. agh no thank yoU! I’d also seen my little sister have her’s taken out about a year ago. So after reading all those articles (or really just two before getting grossed out) I thought I’d put something up on my blog- nothing gross with straight forward tips for anyone else that might have to have theirs out pretty soon!

How did I know I had to get my tonsils out? After a super super bad case of tonsillitis about this time last year and one very fun visit to the doctor in Paris with Jenni. Well, after that my tonsils never quite went back to normal and I kept getting sick every 1-2 months with something throat related. I think I went back to the doctor two more times and then always had throat losages on me. I had trouble running, sometimes breathing, just really not that fun. So I kind of had resigned myself to getting them removed once I was back in the states. A quick 15 minute visit to a nose and throat specialist here in the states, and yup it was confirmed.

What to do before getting your tonsils out?

  • Get lots of rest, eat lots and lots of food (bulk up like you’re a bear going into hibernation).
  • Ask people for advice, but let them know that you’ll be comparing war stories afterwards.
  • Have a couple pairs of comfy clothes ready to go! Clean sheets and a clean room (trust me, you’re not going to want to look at it for two weeks).
  • Figure out what you think you’ll want to eat.
  • Ask friends for movies/tv series to borrow and grab some books!

What should I eat? I put this question on facebook and got some pretty great responses (thanks friends!). So you’re throat is going to hurt (I’m comparing it to being super similar to my first case of tonsillitis, that’s how bad that case was..). You could also compare it to a very bad sore throat. With pain killers, it’s manageable though. The first day you’re going to be starving! (see above tip about eating as much as possible before the surgery). You want to eat things that are smooth and easy to swallow. What me and my parents decided to do was a trial- so not buy too many of one thing until I figured out what worked.  Obviously it’s going to depend on the person too.

Here’s what I’ve been eating and drinking- the milder the better! Either room temp or icy cold:

  • Lots and Lots of ice water- it helps with swelling and feels good! You want to keep your throat as (well there isn’t really a great word for this so why not throw them all out there..) wet/moist/lubricated as possible. We stuck a big jug of water in the fridge. Also, one of the biggest problems with the surgery is dehydration because people don’t want to swallow.
  • Pudding- It has the perfect texture but is a bit too rich/sweet for me. So I’ve just been eating a little bit of it.
  • Applesauce- the smoothest kind you can get.
  • Scrambled eggs- on day two I really wanted some protein to hopefully help with the recovery. Cut into small small pieces and it’s ok! Just drink lots of water with it too.
  • Mashed Potatoes- super similar to pudding for me. Awesome texture, but a bit too rich!
  • Chicken broth and rice- this was a suggestion from a friend. Delicious! Especially when your mom makes homemade chicken broth! You don’t want it very hot though. Room temp!
  • Pureed potato soup
  • The usual: Popsicles, Jello
  • Warm green tea with honey (we’re going to try adding ginger as well) and Chamomile tea
  • Ice Cream/Sherbet
  • Milkshakes

Random Tips:

  • Do exactly as the doctor says. ok sounds silly but really!
  • Avoid citrus.
  • Swallow a lot- this is what my doctor said to do to get well ASAP. Keeping those muscles working is a really good idea.
  • Keep track of your pain medicine. another duh tip! but might as well include it!
  • Saline nose spray- really great! Helps with just about everything.
  • Plastic cups- you’re going to be a bit weak so anything that makes it easier is a plus!
  • Sleeping- propped up, as much as possible, and a humidifier helps! Also, sleep as much as possible. At night, it was hard for me to get in more than 3 hours in a row.
  • Before surgery, ask for extra pain killer- my mom said this helped me get through the first day.
  • Straws- eh, not a fan.
  • It’s going to be hard to chew.
  • Brush your teeth! You just feel better. Be careful though.
  • Try not to talk too much!
  • Socks and different blankets are good. You’re probably going to be a little chilly.

What to expect:

First Day (maybe skip this paragraph if you tend to not do well with surgery/needles/etc): I tend to freak out a massive amount before getting any sort of IV. Like really freak out. It’s probably not normal but ooooo well. Just imagine a scary movie with a crazy lady looking around with wide eyes at multiple nurses, and the doctor calling out for the anesthetist to come quickly with a cocktail (probably the only occasion where that particular word sends chills down my spine).  Then multiple syringes later (why do they do it where you can see it?!) and me refusing as much as possible to go under while being told to take deep breaths. Pretty? no but ya.. then I got my tonsils out. *sheepish smile*

After surgery, in an attempt to be the best patient ever – I drank lots of cold water and ate a popsicle. good idea! and then we got home and I just kinda lounged for a bit, drank more water and was surprised that it didn’t hurt too too much (it was definitely because of the extra pain meds the doctor gave me). In and out of super sleepiness but not really sleeping because I never really been able to go to sleep very easily. Anesthesia though just always makes you feel a bit bad though so I did throw up once. But that’s it. phew. I felt surprisingly ok though just really weak from the stress of it all. It was really hard to sleep that night though because I would wake up every couple of hours.

peanut visitor

Second Day: Exhausted!! Because I didn’t get enough sleep and probably overdid it chatting with friends the day before. And then there was the steroids. I hate taking steroids and antibiotics. The pain though, was still tolerable. Lots of naps to get through a queasy stomach after each of the six steroids, and I was ok. Again, super similar to the tonsillitis I had (which will tell you how bad of a case that had been…).

Third Day: I got lots of sleep last night. phew! Helped a lot! But my throat just hurts… 🙁 Looking forward to when I can have my next pain medicine! 😀 30 more minutes!

So moral of the story- it’s not as bad as you make it out to be in your mind or those awful stories you hear (or *maybe I’m just not to the worst part yet!). But keep looking forward to the point a couple weeks from now where you’ll be better!

I foresee lots of boring days in the next week and a half so feel free to leave TV, movie, or book recommendations! Or any other tips for surviving a tonsillectomy without dying in bed. haha 🙂 Laters!

*Updates! Yup- I was pretty right. The worse was yet to come. The first three days were a piece of cake compared to days 4-8.

Fourth Day: I was feeling ok and had committed to making an elaborate chocolate dessert for a group. I’d purposely made them before I’d had the surgery so I wouldn’t have to work on them while I was recovering but I just wasn’t pleased with them. I ended up piping little dots of chocolate chantilly on 20 individual chocolate cheesecakes then made three lemon tarts and then later that evening decorated them with whipped cream. To say the least, I absolutely overextended myself. I was exhausted! and hurting! I was also stressed from a project I’d decided to keep working on while I was recovering.

Something I didn’t mention above is that it’s hard to sleep. I’ve been waking up every 2, 3, or 4 hours if I’m lucky. So a tip is to sleep often, and as much as possible!

Fifth – Seventh Day: Feeling pretty crummy. Day’s 4-7 are what they say are the worst days because the healing process starts. Why is it painful when you’re healing? Well.. it’s your throat and there’s scabs. It’s just not too much fun. I actually felt like I was super sick these days. A lot of the problem too is the extra pain medicine they have given you during the surgery has worn off at this point and the energy stores you had from the days leading up to the surgery are gone. So you’re tired and hungry most of the time. On Day 7, I was super nauseous because of the pain medicine. The nausea medicine helped but boy did it make it difficult to eat. So throw in a movie. Drink lots and lots of water. Don’t eat anything that isn’t smooth or you’ll get what happened on Day 8..

Eighth Day: All seemed to be going well until I started coughing. Possibly because I ate some refried beans that my parents had brought back from lunch or maybe because of the scabs not sure. But my throat was scratchy, and irritated. And oh ya, pretty painful! We had also decided to change my medicine from the hydrocodone to extra strength Tylenol because of the horrible nausea I was having and how upset my stomach was. I reached a point though in the afternoon where the Tylenol was not working at all and because of the dosage, I couldn’t start up the hydrocodone again until 11pm (almost 4 hours from then). What helped? Two milkshakes and throat losages. The hydrocodone at 11 was a lifesaver! I was even able to sleep more than 4hours.

Ninth Day: I’m feeling better! My throat kept drying out while I was sleeping, but it actually allowed me to sleep more than normal. The humidifier is super helpful for this as well. My dad woke me up at 5 for another bout of medicine then it was back to sleep till 11. The huge thing today: I no longer feel like I’m sick which makes the pain in my throat manageable. I’m just weak and still a little tired. So catching up on Game of Thrones (yippee!!) and eating popsicles and drinking lots of water.

*Update: It took me about 2-2.5 weeks to feel better. I heal really slowly though! After that it was just taking it easy with the food I ate and letting my body do it’s thing and repair itself.


I hope this is helpful to everyone that reads it and if you’ve just had the surgery, that you feel better soon!


23 thoughts on “Tonsils ~ Be Gone You Pests! oh and Adenoids- You too!”

  • Thanks for sharing this! My son is going to be getting his tonsils out, and I want to make sure he recovers as quickly as possible. It’s good to know that after around nine days you were feeling a lot better. I’ll definitely get a variety of smooth and soft foods so we can find what works for him, and I’ll encourage him to drink a lot of cold water.

  • Hi Lillian! I’m so glad this was helpful! It was a tough road to recovery and I know that I was extremely nervous about what would help after the operation. I hope all goes well! Make sure he eats a lot leading up to the surgery so he has a little bit to fall back on when he doesn’t feel like eating. The water was extremely helpful because you are working those muscles and you don’t want your throat to dry out. Best of luck!

  • So I got my tonsils out a few days ago and something that y’all should worry about is your throats bleeding don’t be scared I just means a scab broke of so don’t panic and get someone to drive you to the emergency room you’ll be fine

  • Thankyou dear, for taking the time to document your journey. My 15 y old son is actually really excited to have his Tonsils, Adenoids & some nose thing out. He had no idea about the importance of the “Bulk Up” before or the “Rest Up” after. Your article was well written from a youthful perspective. Cheers bud.

  • My pleasure! Gosh that’s great that he’s excited about it! I was dreading it for months! The “bulking up” should really help. It’s also difficult to know what food will taste good when you’re on the couch recovering so it’s good to have a selection of a few things to try and then go from there. Hope everything goes well!

  • I had my tonsils out a 6 days ago, and the struggle is real. These 6 days I ate nothing but jello and water. I’m constantly really hungry but just lying in bed and ignore the rumbling of my stomach, the most pain is definitely brought to my ear, yet the medicine disgusts me or makes me cough (it’s a very goopy sweet kind). Any advice? The best day I had was when I ate 2 cups of jello. Still healing but it’s very painful for my ear and stomach

  • Oh Liana! I’m sorry! Just know that you’re going to get through this. It just takes time to heal. Drink lots of water- that helps keep the throat clean/clear and working so it heals. Maybe try a protein shake? I would let your doctor know that your ear hurts- maybe they can give you something to help with it. Stick in there! Feel better soon!

  • This post helped me I am currently up at 1:30 am and have surgery at 6 thanks a lot wish me luck

  • I’m so glad! Wishing you a super speedy recovery!! You’ll get through it just fine and be eating again in no time.

  • I’m having my tonsils out tommorow… Thanks for the ideas. Really helpful….. I’m more nervous about the actual operation than recovery as I know I can relax when I get home. I’m really nervous though…..

  • Good luck!! Don’t worry about the operation. The scariest part was when they put me under. When you wake up, you’re so zonked on pain meds you’re fine 🙂 Hope the recovery is swift and that everything goes well.

  • Thanks for this I had my tonsils out earlier today. So your tips are very helpful especially the sleep part.:)

  • My daughter had her tonsils and adenoids out 6 days ago. But today she has been complaining of burning in the back of her throat. Did you experience this? She had been drinking ice cold water since she has been home from surgery, but all day today she said it felt like knives in her throat anytime she drank anything…

  • Hi Nicole, Ah yes… I did. This was actually because (sorry, this is gross) your throat is starting to heal, so the scabs start coming off and it can be pretty painful. She might actually cough up some of those scabs.. It’s really important to keep up with the pain medication. This was actually the harder part of the recovery for me, because the first couple of days it was just sitting on the coach, on relatively heavy painkillers. I still had a little bit of a reserve of fuel from eating solid foods before the surgery but at this point those reserves are running on empty, it’s hard to eat, you’re bored of watching tv for hours on end, you want to start getting up and doing things, you’re a bit stir-crazy, but then your throat is finally catching up and saying- ha! now I’m going to start really healing. And it hurts. Encourage her to keep swallowing- I remember my doctor saying that it’s good to keep those muscles working. Maybe try something to eat that is a bit smoother like pudding, jello, or applesauce. It can help coat the throat. No hard edges- I remember my mom making a rice and vegetable soup and it smelling so good and I was so hungry and excited to eat it. Then I went to take a bit and the COOKED carrots were just too much. Sounds crazy but the throat is really sensitive. I ended up getting teary because I couldn’t eat it- and we froze the soup. Most important is keeping up with the pain medicine – my dad kept a chart of what time I took medicine so we knew when the next dose was- because man modern medicine. Hope this helps and the recovery is quick. Of course if it’s really painful – never hurts to call the doctor.

  • Thank you for sharing you journey. I had my tonsils removed 7 days ago and before my sergury I was so scared because of all the comments I have seen online that I didn’t sleep for 2 days. Honestly it hasn’t been that bad. I was able to eat small portions of soft food like pasta since the third day and never had to take more than a strong paracetamol for my pain. It hasn’t been great but it hasn’t been as bad as everyone told me it would, I had really bad cases of tonsillitis and maybe that’s why this hasn’t been so har for me. I still have some pain but nothing that makes me stop my day, now I can feel some burning sensation because of the scrabs are starting to come off but i’m still ok. I guess I have been luckier than most people but we all feel pain differently. I had tons of water because my doctor said it would help me a lot, so I had around 1.5l a day, and tons and tons of ice lollies, around 4 a day. Eating will help you even if it hurts because it will make your body stronger so you should try do eat and drink good amounts so you don’t feel week. Praying it doesn’t get worst the next week but I think it will be ok. Hope you all have a fast recovery x

  • Hi I’ve just had my tonsils out in from Scotland but had been told to eat as normal as poss and especially solid foods to get rid of the top coating to let the area heal quicker Iv been eating as normal toast hard foods yes it’s sore but heals quicker plenty cold water and green tea with honey I’m day two into recovery and feeling ok let’s see how the rest of the week treats me good luck to everyone it really isn’t that bad Atal

  • Hi Claire! It’ll be ok! Remember this is a routine surgery. Rest up, eat as much as you can before the surgery, and pick out some movies and tv shows to catch up on. I hope everything goes well. Xx

  • Great post! I have extremem anxiety so your post sort of helped me calm down these nerves. I am on day 3. Yes it hurts, but I can tolerate this pain. The pain medicine they gave me made me so so sick. They told me to get Tylenol and Motrin and switch it out every time. The one thing I do at night is set my alarm every 2 hours. Seems crazy right? Well, the thing I have heard is to keep your throat wet and moist! Because if you don’t that is why people feel like they are swallowing needles in the morning. DRINK DRINK & DRINK! I’m just I will see my bad days soon, but i’m praying they aren’t too bad. It’s hard for me to eat as well because it feels like everything is getting stuck and it’s making me nauseous. My RN had her tonsils removed a few months back (she is in her 40’s i’m assuming) and she did NOT take one single pain medicine. She told me the water trick at night! She is a mom and her husband works out of town! She was a true champ. She said the people who have hard times are the ones who aren’t following their rules. But every one is different! Prayers for whoever is dealing with this painfulness, but just know a lot of people are in the same boat right now along with us! Just keep fighting!!!

  • Hi Cassidy! I hope you are doing well and feeling better! Yes, you are absolutely right. Keep drinking water. That really helps 🙂 I always ate something before I took my pain medicine- like yogurt or applesauce – and that helped with any upset stomach issues. All the best to you!

  • This post has really helped me I’m on day 8 and it’s just been utter pain. My scabs have all fallen off but I’ve also become a mouth sleeper on the nights I’m able to sleep song throat is sore and dry when I get which causes that horrid ear ache. Which my nurse can be worse then the sore throat. I’ve learned that keeping ice packs frozen helpn a lot and to switch between ice packs and heat. I have to go off the heavy duty pain meds because I had to work on day 7 and I work skilled nursing so I cried through the entire day but I have 2 days off and hopefully I start feeling a little bit better.

  • Hi Shayna! Oh I’m so glad it was helpful! Hope you have a good two days off and start feeling better!

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