Here’s an honest diary which outlines what to expect after an adult tonsillectomy. This time last year I had to get my tonsils out as they were fairly battered. I read so many horror stories about the procedure online and I thought to myself, how bad can it be?

Sure, my doctor said that it would be quite unpleasant because of my age and mentioned a few things about what to expect after an adult tonsillectomy. But nothing could have prepared me… Think I might be being a tad dramatic? Go ahead and ask anyone who’s gotten it done.

The main thing that got me through was reading funny discussion forums, where people from twenty to sixty years old expressed their pain and exactly what to expect after an adult tonsillectomy, which is very different to getting them out as a child by the way. Thank you dear internet community, for letting me know that I wasn’t the only person crying my eyes out when even drinking water. This post is a bit random… but I have written it as  reading others’ experiences online honestly made the ordeal a little more bearable – so I hope this will do the same for someone!


My life from now on 🤒 #ice

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Here’s a day by day thought process of the surgery and the recovery stages, just in case you are wondering what to expect after an adult tonsillectomy.

The day of the surgery:

Swooning over the gorge doctor and laughing at myself in the ugly hospital robes with my mother, this isn’t so bad. Struggling to get all piercings out of body, did not realise this was a part of the process (heads up, do this before you get there!). Kind of scared but the staff in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin were very lovely ❤

Waking up from surgery:

I have absolutely no idea where I am, but the prettiest nurse is standing over me and I apparently thought she was an angel in heaven. Feeling no pain but extremely woozy, body keeps falling asleep but mind is wide awake – that will be the morphine. Encouraged to eat toast and other varied food items – this is great. Hurts a small bit, but nothing I can’t handle, this is easy.

First night in hospital:

The medication is starting to wear off and I am getting pretty uncomfortable. Nurse gives me a couple of Paracetamol… non-helpful. Sleep approximately 30-40 minutes at a time because throat feels like it’s closing up and is very painful.

Day 1 post surgery:

Able to eat eggs on toast, this is a great start. Get home and the pain is quite uncomfortable, but thankful for the painkillers (tip, start off on weaker painkillers, you’re gonna need the big boys a few days from now!). 

Day 2:

The night was a little bit tough but I’m in good spirits, able to eat and the day time is quite manageable.

Day 3:

Finally slept the night through after a glass of wine, feeling hopeful that it’s starting to get a bit better. Go in and out of being able to eat and nap, but overall it’s not too bad.

Day 4:

L-O-L to feeling hopeful. Did not sleep at all last night, was weeping for most of the morning. Getting harder to eat but tomorrow is supposed to be the last bad day so I can get through it.

Day 5:

Drinking water feels like swallowing blades, painkillers starting to have almost no effect and sleeping is very difficult. Can’t help but just cry through it, even though crying hurts.

Day 6:

Yesterday was not the last bad day. At all. Drinking, eating, breathing and speaking hurts. Extremely tired, cannot remember the last time I slept more than a few hours at a time. General misery.

Day 7:

Most definitely the worst day. Tried various things to get to sleep, humidifier, soothers, wet cloth over mouth – nothing works but continuous rotation of ice packs. Back to doctor for stronger pain killers, very unsure why the hospital didn’t give me enough to last me to the worst day of all? 

Day 8:

Worst night of my life last night. However, the pain is still just as bad, but starting to manage it a bit better by drinking water every 2-3 minutes and weirdly drinking hot drinks is the only acceptable thing to pass my throat right now.

Day 9:

The nights are still the worst, but during the day I am starting to feel like myself. Can’t believe I thought I’d be able to go to college or work at this stage, this pain has absolutely no place in a social situation.

Day 10:

Been sleeping with an ice pack on my neck and a bottle of water in my hand the past few nights, this works. Weaning myself off the painkillers, eating is easier.

Day 11:

Although the pain is still there and I have no energy to do anything, I slept for 9 hours last night and have never been more grateful for the the gift of sleeping the whole night through.

All the Days to Follow: 

Enjoy being horrified at the colour your throat turns while your body magically heals itself. The doctor certainly didn’t mention this step to me and I was in for a really nice discovery 🙂 

Moral of story: make your kids get their tonsils out when they are still too young to remember.

Word of advice: if you’re not going to the bathroom every 20-30 minutes you’re not drinking enough water. You genuinely need to be sipping a drink as often as is humanly possible… as in, I slept with a water bottle basically attached to my face.

One year on: I still remember the pain of those long nights but I have not been sick once since the day that they came out. So, YES, it was absolutely worth it! If you are suffering or preparing for this at the mo, and trying to find out what to expect after an adult tonsillectomy, please feel free to message me so we can rant together about how much the hospital does not prepare you 😒 Best of luck, it will be over soon! x