I had big tonsils. Big old tonsils. Big as grapefruits, big as pumpkins, yes sir. I went to the doctor and he said, “you have big tonsils,” and said I should have them taken out.
I was bored and figured I could do with an adventure so I decided to get my tonsils taken out.
I did some research, which consisted of listening to “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” by the best rock band in the entire universe, The Replacements.
Open wide, the doctor’s here
Everything is fine, got nothing to fear
Strap ’em down, we’re outta gas
Stop your bawling, you little brat
I was ready.
I showed up at the hospital and changed into a lovely paisley print gown. I hung out in my room for a few hours and was introduced to a variety of doctors and nurses who all had something to do with me. I waited some more and watched the Donny and Marie Osmond talk show with special guest Richard Simmonds. I was partying like it was 1979.
Finally a nurse came in and gave me some pills, supposedly to relax me, but I felt fine. A bit later another nurse wheeled me in the bed to the operating room. Up on the bed, a few 3M Red Dots on my chest, a needle in the back of my hand, a large amount of time I can’t account for, then I was waking up in the recovery room.
For the first time in my life I lapsed in and out of consciousness. It was cool. I was aware of my throat feeling sore, from which I deduced that indeed my tonsils had been removed. A nurse put a needle of something in my thigh. (I thought I had imagined it, until I saw the needle mark and a small bruise a few days later).
Then I somehow got back into my room. I remember waking up and the doctor being there and telling me that my tonsils were “horrible”. Cool.
I feel asleep, but kept being woken by various nurses checking on my throughout the night. Like Florence Nightingales they went from room to room with a torch. They’d ask me how I was, and I’d hoarsely whisper “sore.”
Twice I was fortunate enough to get some Panadol suppositories up my bum (“Wiggle your toes, it makes it easier to get them in.”) and I also got some Pethadene injected into my buttocks.
I woke up feeling crappy and vomited blood. My tonsils were bleeding from the operation and the blood was running straight down my throat. Some anti-nausea medicine was inserted into the needle in my hand and I was given some ice to suck on, but doing that hurt too much.
The next morning there was no jelly and ice cream. Instead I had toast and porridge. The porridge was too painful to eat, but, surprisingly enough, the toast was easier to eat. They wanted me to eat the toast because it apparently helped get rid of any blood clots and bits that might be sticking to the wall of my throat.
Looking at the inside of my mouth in the mirror was strange. There hung my uvula all on its own. Where in the past my uvula had been like a tall and slender princess (albeit pink and dangly) being escorted to the ball on the arm of two large gentlemen, she was how on her own, with nothing at her sides.
I had a shower, then went home. The next few days followed a pattern like this. I’d wake up, with a really sore throat, take some Panadeine, go back to sleep. Wake up a bit later take some more Panadeine, an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic, then take a shower. I’d had to wait until the painkillers kicked in before I could eat.
Eating was hard. I tried having some ice cream, but the cold made it too painful for me to swallow. A few hours later I vomited it up. Instead, warm mashed potato was my friend. Mixed with a little sour cream, some parmesan cheese and bacon bits, it was pretty good. I’d spend most of the day on the couch watching infomercials.
By the end of the day, I’d be tired and my throat would hurt. The tiredness was due in part to the reduced amount of energy I was giving my body, due to not being able to eat a lot. I had a number of theories for the tonsils hurting, but in the end I discovered it was salty food that was irritating them.
As I felt better I made a few journeys out of the house and saw a couple of films. I drank a lot of water. Tap water was unbearable, so I drank lots of bottled water.
Then after a week or so I was able to get through a whole day without experiencing too much pain. My voice sounded different, and I was still quite tired.
I started chewing gum a lot because it produces saliva which helps the tonsils heal. Thanks, Wrigleys.
Then finally I was able to make it though a day without taking any painkillers. I was feeling a lot more energetic. Oh happy day!
So if anyone offers you the opportunity to have your tonsils taken out, take it. It’s great.