No More Tonsils, Way More Pain

10 Jun

Cap and Gown

So last Wednesday was the big day.

I dropped Bojangles off at the Trail.

And went into the surgery center, where they hooked me up and fiddled with me.  I remained remarkably calm for reasons unbeknownst.

Then they started to wheel me into the operating room, and my Dad began bawling.  Big, heaving tears.  “Dad,” I hollered back, “Get it together.  The only part of me you’re not going to see again is my tonsils.”  I caught my last glance of him as I was pushed through the double doors.  The nurses were patting him on the back.

The good news is that, according to Dr. ENT, my surgery went great.  He was beaming when he explained to my teary-eyed Dad that my extracted tonsils were cryptic like coral reefs – and filled with bacteria pus balls politely called “tonsil stones.”

If you count surgery day as Day 1, today is Day 6 of my recovery.  And there’s a reason I haven’t posted yet.  It’s because I haven’t wanted to be depressive.  You see – as I was warned – getting a tonsillectomy as an adult FREAKING BLOWS.  I’m not going to go into all the details, but even without any complications (which hopefully I will continue to avoid), it is miserable.

I live from Percocet to Percocet.  My throat is raw as a slab of beef.  Swallowing is like my worst Strep throat times ten.  My ears scream in pain.  Everything in my throat region is swollen, to include my uvula – that little pink thing that hangs between your tonsils – which now touches my tongue.  I can’t talk.  I eat only applesauce and watery mashed potatoes drowned in gravy.  My mouth is coated in white fur that tastes and feels nasty.  Coughing fits due to mucus drainage keep me awake at night and leave me sore.

I’m trying to drink lots, which is one of the few things that seems to help.  I’m sure I’m going to turn the corner on this thing soon – and, in the meantime – I’ve just got to fend off the urge to wallow in self-pity. (Watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians usually helps with that.)

Oh, also, I literally just texted Bojangles for an update.  “How are things going?”  His response:

“I have a sore throat.”

Yeah, I’m going to go crush up another Percocet now.

18 Responses to “No More Tonsils, Way More Pain”

  1. Peter V. Passalacqua June 10, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Lucie – hang in there. I am now 13 days post knee surgery and just finished a 2.8 mi level walk. I am recovering and so will you. Remember, you told me that you will be back out there. Patience while in pain is difficult. OK, it sucks! Heal up quick and get back to the trail. The AT is calling for you. Chenango

  2. Fenu June 10, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re still here. Does this mean that you have to get your excised tonsils cremated so that you can carry the ashes to Maine? I carried my Trail-extracted tooth to the summit of Mt. Katahdin, which wasn’t quite as weird as one of the guys who carried a Big bottle of champagne all the way from Monson…Best wishes for less pain.

  3. jack/snorz June 10, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Heres wishing you a speedy recovery! Have an ice cream on me!

  4. Kristin June 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    You got this girl!!! I know how you feel!!! Just keep taking what you need for painkillers and see if they can give you a liquid version when you need a ‘refill’ (that’s what I did, way better). Also, this might sound odd, but I’m a dork, so I took pictures of my throat every day as it was healing. The cool byproduct of this I wasn’t expecting, was it was a real moral boost. When I saw every few days, that despite the continuing never ending pain, my throat REALLy was getting better, it was awesome. I would look at old photos and see how different my throat was looking…..and then take more painkillers. 😛

    • Lucie June 11, 2013 at 11:09 am #


      Even though I don’t know you, you have been a major comfort to me over the 10 days. Seriously. Many times, I have been like, “well, if Kristin survived…” And my Dad just rolls his eyes and is like, “who the heck is Kristin?”

      I looked at my throat once a couple days ago, and it totally grossed me out. I was like, no f*cking wonder I can’t talk/swallow/be a normal person. But I think you’re right… I bet it would look way different now and make me feel better. I’m getting my flashlight after I finish writing this…

      In other developments…

      I *think* (don’t want to psyche myself out) that I’m starting to get my energy back and that the pain is starting to change its characterization a bit (less just everything-hurts-and-is-sore-all-the-time).

      Also, all the white fur on my tongue just randomly fell off yesterday in clumps, which was disconcerting at the time but now definitely makes me feel just a little less gross.

      Oooh yes, question. I’m nervous about the scabs starting to fall off. Is that painful? Can you feel them when you swallow?! I’m not go to bleed as long as I keep eating soft foods, right?

      Thank you!


  5. Dave Landreth June 11, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Wow! What a way to create a memorable trip!!! Lessee – there was a big guy with a big knife… oh yeah. And I had major surgery along the way.

    Seriously, I’m wishing you the best and still pulling for you to make that final climb to kiss the sign atop Katadhin.

    Oh, and as a Dad myself, that’s what we do when our little girls are hurting. We, and they, never outgrow it.

  6. Kelsie June 12, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    I just found your blog, look forward to following along as you continue your AT adventure. But, first: wishing you well – heal up and feel better soon!

    • Lucie June 13, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      Thanks so much, Kelsie! It’s nice to have you following, and I *think* I’m finally turning the corner on this thing 🙂 !!

  7. Fenugreek June 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Just a random happy thought to cheer you up: After you make it to Mt. Katahdin and resume your legal career, and should said career lead to a seat on SCOTUS, you will most probably be the first female Justice to also be an AT 2000-miler, and the second Justice overall to achieve both feats.

    • Lucie June 13, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      Who was the first?!!

      • Fenu June 13, 2013 at 8:36 am #

        Justice William O. Douglas, Class of ’58, aka “The Judge”

      • Lucie June 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

        So cool!

  8. Fenu June 15, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    What great blood pressure! You must be feeling a little bit better: that’s wonderful!
    Here’s another cheery link:

    • Lucie June 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      That’s nuts! Yeah, I’ll be sticking with my trail runners…

  9. ecyrbryce June 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Get well soon!

  10. Audi June 17, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I’ve had this done in my adult life as well. Your explanation is spot on. They gave me liquid pain killers and it burned like a mo fo going down but it was pure heaven once the excruciating pain subsided. I could spit out what I called “hamburger meat” for about 2 weeks. The healing process…the wet scabs come off and I had to hack them up. They tasted A W F U L. At 3 weeks I was a new person! Hang in there and enjoy the down time!! We miss you tons and that fact that your personality shines through your posts and out of my iPhone makes me super happy!

    • Lucie June 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

      I didn’t know that, Audi! I totally would have been texting you to commiserate. That first week was terrible. Seriously. If I remember correctly, the tears came on day 6. I *think* I’ve finally turned the corner but I’m still hacking up some scabs. I hate when they first come off and you take a sip of water and are like holy mother-f*ing-trucker.

      I’m so glad that 3 weeks = new person. Are you a lot healthier now (i.e., less sore throats, sickness, etc.)?!

      You brightened my day (of reality television and Ramen noodles). Can’t wait to come visit and say hey to the little guy.


  1. The Light at the End of the Tonsillectomy | Lucie on the Lam - June 18, 2013

    […] been two weeks since The Great Tonsillectomy of 2013, and things are finally looking up.  My throat still hurts, I’m still eating Ramen, and […]

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