Scared Of Surgery

Athena ScalziI’m having surgery for the first time in my life tomorrow and let me just say, I am hella nervous. I’m honestly really scared, mostly because I’ve never been put under with anesthesia before.

Also I’m getting my tonsils burned out of my throat so, that’s scary to think about, too.

I remember as a kid all my friends getting their tonsils out, and they got to eat nothing but buttered noodles and ice cream. It didn’t sound so bad, but I was glad nonetheless that my tonsils were a-okay and I didn’t need them out. In fact, once I turned into an adult, I remember mentioning to a friend that I was glad I made it through my entire childhood without needing them (or my wisdom teeth) out. Who knew you could need them out as an adult?

Well, I guess it was nice while it lasted. I can’t say I’ll miss them, and I’m probably better off without them, but OH MY GOD SURGERY I’M SO SCARED. If I think about it for long enough, I start to cry.

If any one of y’all has gotten your tonsils out, or has dealt with a kid that got theirs out, please give me advice! I want to hear all about your remedies and helpful tips! I could really use some advice. I think the more prepared I make myself, the less scared I’ll be, so please tell me all your post-tonsil-surgery secrets.

Well, I’m off. The next time you see me I will be tonsil-free! And probably whining about how much pain I’m in. So be prepared for me to be a huge crybaby.

Have you had any surgeries before? What’s it feel like to anesthetized? Do you still have your tonsils as an adult? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!


148 Comments on “Scared Of Surgery”

  1. I haven’t had my tonsils out (kind of amazing to me), but I’ve had a LOT of surgeries, both inpatient and outpatient. It is kind of scary, but I developed a mantra of sorts to help me relax (good for me, good for me, this is helping me, it will be good for me). I think going into it trying to be relaxed is my best suggestion for you. The hospital staff will take excellent care of you! Think positive thoughts! <3

  2. What it’s like: you wake up from the surgery asking when they’re going to start, and it’s already done.

    Then, as an adult, you still get your ice cream and noodles.

    It will be great, in other words, and it will probably also be great to get your tonsils out!

  3. The only thing you need to know is that for you, you’ll only be out in surgery for ONE SECOND. Truth! You’ll blink a couple of times and then between one blink and the next, you’ll be in recovery!

    I’ve had surgery twice, once to get a Cochlear ear implant and once to get a bunch of teeth pulled.

    You’ll be fine! Picked out your ice cream flavors yet?

  4. I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was in my 40s and let me tell you, when they knock you out they say, “Count down from 10.” You’re sitting there thinking, “No, no, I’m wide awake, 10 seconds isn’t going to be enough. Don’t start hurting me.” Then, BOOM, you can’t remember saying the #5 and you’re awake wondering why everyone is standing in a different place. Good luck! I’m sure your folks will take good care of your ice cream needs.

  5. Athena –

    Not sure what they’ve told you, and I could be wrong about this, but very likely they will not give you full knock-you-out anaesthesia for this procedure. More likely you’ll get a relaxant that will have you drowsy and floaty feeling, and prevent your gag reflex from functioning during the procedure.

    Then they will apply a strong topical anaesthetic to the tonsils area, and the actual procedure will take very little time at all.

    But your throat WILL be very sore when you wake up!

    Have all your favorite flavors of ice cream and yogurt on hand. You will likely feel very logy and a little achey (generally) as you recover from the surgery. Not a lot of appetite.

    Hydrate well ahead of time – you will NOT feel like drinking much afterwards but you’ll need to sip room-temperature water as soon as you can. Hard candies you can suck on to keep your throat moist might help, also.

    Your best preparation is to get yourself as relaxed and confident about this as possible, so whatever you do for that- anti-stress breathing, yoga, meditation, etc.- start doing it!

  6. I can’t comment on tonsils as I still have mine apparently at the age of 67. What I can say is that about 7 years ago I needed serious surgery, in my head, near my (almost unused) brain. I was so scared – first time for any hospital stuff for me. The head nurse came by and said “you’ll be fine” but that didn’t help much.
    The anaesthetic was applied, I fell asleep, I woke up (seemingly) a second later with a headache but wanting my tablet & smartphone. I guess what I’m saying is the anticipation is far worse than the actual event. If it helps I will chant your name 7 times at sunrise on the day – I am pretty sure that works ;-)

  7. I’ve been under anesthesia a few times, for endoscopies and for an appendectomy. Basically, you won’t remember a thing. Even if your family members talk to you as you wake up you may remember snippets at best. You may experience some residual mild dizziness or nausea after you are conscious again (that happened to me only once), but it won’t last long.

    TL;DR: don’t worry about the anesthesia.

    Post-surgery: do exactly what the doctors tell you. I’ve had friends who, after various kinds of surgery, haven’t followed the instructions, and consequently have had problems. If you do what they say and keep them informed about how you’re doing, you should be fine.

    I still have my tonsils and wisdom teeth at the age of 48, so I guess I’m probably stuck with them.

  8. I’ve never had surgery, per se, but I had a procedure that required anesthetic. I can completely sympathize with the anxiety. I hate being out of control, which is why I hate being drunk more than I enjoy the slight buzz associated.

    I can also echo the other comments here. You’re literally lying there awake, they give you the plunger, and in the span of 5 seconds, you’re fighting sleep, and realize you’re awake, but in another room. It’s slightly off-putting, but in retrospect, utterly delightful.

    Don’t fret it, it’ll be over before you know it.

  9. I had to have open heart bypass surgery back in 2017. I was utterly convinced that I was going to die on the table (I did not) and that when I woke up still intubated that I would completely freak out (I did not). Anesthesia was via an injectable, and the sum total of the experience was my Anesthesiologist telling me he was giving me a good margarita, I asked for extra lime and then it was 12 hours later. I suspect and hope that your experience will less traumatic than mine. I also still have my tonsils and wisdom teeth.

    Good luck and enjoy the ice cream!

  10. Been through a couple. Each time, the waiting is the worst. Feels super vulnerable to be in that cold pre-op room wearing a crappy patient gown. Would have paid dearly to get out if it. The whole prospect feels wrong somehow.

    But when it’s over it’s over. No trauma, never dwell on it. Over and done.

    In your case it’ll probably be even easier given the less-invasive nature of the procedure.

  11. This first time I had oral surgery, I was in the third grade (lots of teeth, not enough space). I can still recall being nervous, but that all changed when they started to anesthetize me. Before I went under, I was convinced that the nurse/hygienist was made of cardboard. I closed my eyes and next thing I knew, I had a mouth full of cotton.

    Copious amounts of mac-n-cheese and ice cream followed.

    J.M has it right. You lay there wondering if you are going to notice when you go under. You close your eyes, and you are suddenly in recovery.

    I suggest asking your doctor if they can offer you something before your surgery to help with any nervousness you might have.

    Happy recovery! You will be just fine.

  12. I had my first major surgery with general anaesthesia last summer and I, too, was pretty scared and nervous. But it was totally okay. The process of being put under involves a strong sedative that will really calm you down fast. I went from being super anxious to completely okay with everything in about 30 seconds. It was, honestly, pretty great to have my anxiety eliminated so effectively.
    Being out isn’t like being asleep – you will wake up with little to no sensation of time passing. I wasn’t disoriented at all when I woke up. They’ll probably administer painkillers and anti-emetics through the IV, so you won’t be in pain or nauseous when you wake up, either.
    It was scary and no fun, but overall not nearly as horrific as I’d feared. You’ll be okay.

  13. I didn’t have my first surgery until I had a c-section at age 40, and to date, it’s the only actual surgery (requiring anesthesia) that I’ve had. (I’ve also had two Mohs procedures to remove skin cancers from my face and a cardiac catheterization.)

    For me, I have learned that all narcotics make me horribly nauseated, and I hope that isn’t the case for you as well. I can’t imagine that it would fun to vomit after having one’s tonsils removed.

    I am now 50 years old and still have my tonsils!

    Good luck!

  14. OK, you probably DON’T want to hear my horror story. The good thing is, my surgery (at 21) happened back in the mid-70’s, so hopefully things have improved since then! My tonsils were really bad; in fact they were embedded in my throat. I was on the highest dose of penicillin you can take after the surgery. Thought I’d gotten hit by a truck. Took me 2 weeks to recover. BUT after that I didn’t have sore throats all the time, so, yay?

    I’m sure your surgery will go MUCH better. Fingers crossed!!

  15. What’s all the fuss with tonsils? Nobody ever gets their tonsils out anymore (in Canada). It’s considered as useful as bloodletting nowadays.
    Why do you need them out anyway? I feel it’s a pretext to extort money from insurance companies.

    On another subject, dentists never anesthetize anyone (in Québec). I got all my wisdom teeths out fully aware (got local anesthetic at least). The only unnerving thing is the grating and feeling the teeth being broken apart and pulled out of the bone. There’s just no pain. It’s an interesting experience.

    I got a foot surgery, and they injected me with a mild tranquilizer. I was pretty tired so I went to sleep and snored during the procedure. Doctors and nurses found it very funny, I learned afterwards. Also almost no pain.

  16. I’ve never had my tonsils removed but I have had minor surgeries/procedures. The hardest part is the anticipation. Once you get to the facility there’s a flurry of activity just before you’re given the anesthesia, you get the anesthesia, you start counting to 10, you get to 3 and then you wake up in recovery. You don’t feel pain for a while after that, but pain management is something that will be addressed by the staff before you leave for home. Best wishes!

  17. Dear Athena, I had my tonsils out in 1956 or thereabouts when they were still using ether, so you don’t want to hear about that. And I had complications, so I couldn’t have the promised ice cream, which I still resent.
    I had some kind of psychedelic anesthetic to have at least one wisdom tooth out, around 1970, and was fascinated to see geometric patterns spiraling, though I was convinced they’d taken my arm off by mistake–oh, well! I was not caring much, and it turned out it was the tooth they got, as planned.
    However, anesthesia has come a long way. My recent cataract surgeries were much like what is described above, very gentle, little to no awareness.
    If you tell them that you’re nervous they can take that into account. My surgeon brother-in-law says he really responds to patients who make a personal connection with him, so he tries harder. So, be honest, be charming, and I think it will go great.

  18. Minor surgery a few times, mostly teeth (small mouth = not enough room for 32), and each time it was basically like Hillary said. In fact, one time it played out literally that way – as a teen, when I had a couple of lower teeth pulled, I came to, asked my dad (awkwardly, for good reason as it would turn out) when they would begin, and he laughed and said it was already over and we could go.

    It’ll be OK! Maybe even better than getting wisdom teeth pulled. The two things that I remember about that – it was decades ago – are drinking milkshakes, and one time taking pain meds and having it be a struggle because it was right after surgery and I couldn’t feel my lips well so it was really hard to figure out if the pill was in my mouth or not, lol. Plus back in those days there was no internet where I could log on and ask people if it was going to be ok!

  19. I had my tonsils out over 40 years ago whilst in kindergarten, and in Australia rather than the US.

    I don’t recall things being recovery especially painful, (nor the tonsillitis for that matter), but I do remember the anaesthetic taking ages to put me down. I metabolise a lot of painkillers and anaesthetic much faster than most, and frequently need higher doses.

    From what I’ve been told, this is not uncommon for redheads.

    I also quite clearly remember my sense of outrage at waking up the next morning, incensed at what was offered for breakfast: Dry black/burnt toast.

    I’ve had a general anaesthetic both prior and since my tonsillectomy, and all intravenous types have the same trouble. The one time I was given gas though, I saw the mask coming towards me, and then woke up in recovery approximately 45 minutes later.

    You’ll be fine, just like millions of other folks having surgery every day.

    Which I am aware is unlikely to entirely assuage you anxiety.

  20. Okay, so I had my tonsils out in the fall of 2019 with the master plan that it would prevent me from getting strep throat eighteen million times in the spring when my kids brought it home from school in spring 2020.

    The good news is that I didn’t get strep throat in 2020 at least?

    Anyway. The doc told me recovery is much easier for people younger than 25ish or older than 60ish. I was 37 and I won’t lie, it was rough. The surgery part wasn’t so bad– I had only been under full anesthesia twice before and I was freaked out too. It’s a weird concept! Anyway, I promise the anticipation is way worse than the actual surgery– it’ll be over before you can finish answering whatever distracting question the anesthesiologist asks you (“what’s your favorite place in the world?” “the north end of Kaanapali bea–“). Don’t beat yourself up for being scared if you can manage it!

    Afterward, the key things are humidifier, painkiller schedule, and cycling ice packs. Everyone and their siblings will tell you to drink all the water, and you should, but you probably won’t want to, so do what you can. But make sure the air you’re breathing is nice and moist, that you are 100% on top of painkillers (set a timer if you have to– I was counting down the minutes and couldn’t sleep anyway but you really don’t want to delay a dose if you can help it), and that there’s always a nice cold ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) waiting for you in the freezer when your current one warms up.

    Pain-wise, my experience was that it got worse for several days before falling off, and the major pain was actually in my jaw. Of course pain is different for everyone but it doesn’t sound like my pain trajectory was much different from the norm. If you can distract yourself it’s easier– I got an iOS game called Reign (Game of Thrones themed), in which the only mechanic is swiping left or right. Something like that, nothing too thinky, nothing timed that’ll make you tense up. Fanfic is also a great distraction– pick your comfort character(s) and see what AO3 has for you!

    I’d say get a face mask because your breath will be awful for a week or so but I guess that’s a bit redundant at this point.

    You might start thinking about savory/salty soft foods as well– I was enjoying my popsicles and pudding but by day 7 I just wanted some mashed potatoes, you know? The day I woke up and demanded greasy mediocre takeout roast chicken was the day I knew things were going to be okay. That chicken was incredible.

    Oh, and because you’ve mentioned stuff like this before, I would advise you not to step on a scale for a while. You will almost certainly lose weight while recovering– and then gain it back once you rediscover eating– and if that’s going to mess with your head, do what you can to take care of yourself. (Also don’t buy a renn faire bodice during the recovery process, it will not fit your regular body properly later. You know, hypothetically.)

    It’s gonna be fine. It’ll suck for a week or two (or three if you’re me) and then it’ll be over. And you won’t get strep throat! And you might even sleep better!

    This was long and I’m a super-rare commenter, but I hope something in here helps. If nothing else keep the sentiment that lots of people are thinking of you and wishing you an easy surgery and recovery!

  21. As one commenter already noted you probably won’t be under general anesthesia, but probably something like propofol (aka Milk of Amnesia). This lets you sleep, but you wake up quickly without the unpleasant aftereffects of general anesthesia. I’ve had two hip surgeries, the most recent of which was on March 1. Even for that it’s sedation and propofol, not general. As others have also noted it will be like no time has passed at all. You’ll be fine. Enjoy the ice cream.

  22. I had my tonsils out when I was 19. It hurt for two solid weeks to the point that I had nothing but milkshakes for that long. Which oddly enough, I actually lost weight on three full-fat milkshakes per day lol. Take whatever pain meds they give you, and don’t be shy about asking for more if you run out and are still in pain. Also find out if you can take ibuprofen or Tylenol in addition to what they give you.

    Anesthesia is weird, but not scary. I’m always a little disoriented when I come out of it, but nothing too bad. Wishing you an easy surgery – I know it’s scary, I get major anxiety before surgery every time (I’ve had six over my lifetime).

  23. Athena – best wishes and we’ll be thinking about you. Like some of the other posters, I’ve under before (3 separate times). I didn’t remember much of anything about going under and nothing about being under, but each time I woke up needing a drink of water, badly – and the water tasted heavenly. ;-)
    Keep us posted.

  24. Sorry to hear about your operation! Best of luck, although I doubt you’ll need it. Which doesn’t mean any operation, particularly your first, isn’t incredibly scary. I’ve been put under half a dozen times in my life and it’s always stressful.

    I’d be interested to hear about your experience coming out of anesthesia. It always feels to me like the world coming back into focus. Interestingly, for me it happens in two stages: I — or rather something — comes back to awareness before >>I<< (meaning my awareness of self) does.

    In many ways it reminds me of your dad's speculations in the Old Man's War universe about consciousness. In some way I can't explain (maybe he can :)) coming out of anesthesia seems to support the idea that "consciousness" and "self" aren't the same thing. Which is not something I ever experience in normal life.

    Again, I'm confident all will go/has gone well. My one piece of recovery advice is "take it slow". You will get back to normal, but you'll get back to normal faster if you let your body set its own recovery pace rather than attempting to force it.

  25. My first, most recent, and last known Major Oral Surgery was with all four wisdom teeth. All at one go. I wanted video footage, but never got it. I had about a week of soup and ice cream afterwards.

    expletive deleted re: the video I wanted and never got

  26. Sorry you are apprehensive about your surgery. I was in my 60s the first time I had major surgery, total shoulder replacement, then the other one about 6 months later.

    Well, I did have a colonoscopy, was pretty out of it for that, thankfully. Woke up in the hall tying my shoes, chatting with the doctor and Wife.

    I don’t remember any counting down, just bam I was out. Had knee work done out patient, used crutches for a couple of weeks. Seriously, don’t fret too much, the staff have been there and done this so many times, they’re totally experienced.

    And keep us posted~!!~

  27. I still have my tonsils but I’ve had surgery that required anesthesia twice. It went fine both times. I mean, it’s not fun or comfortable, but not bad and the problem was fixed.
    One thing no one tells you is that anesthesia tends to cause constipation. It’s a small thing but you’ll already be a bit out of sorts. So if you’re allowed to eat tonight, maybe something with some fiber or do whatever else you do to deal with that if it’s ever a problem.

  28. Yup yup yup to what everyone else above has said. I still have my tonsils, but last year I had to have surgery for a bone graft for a tooth implant (and to remove the dead tooth root).

    I made it to 53 w/out ever breaking a bone, needing surgery, or even getting stitches, so I was pretty terrified.

    I literally don’t remember anything from the few moments after the IV was inserted into my hand until I woke up feeling thirsty and a little groggy. They gave me medication for pain and I got home, fell into bed, and slept for 12 hours.

    I’m not saying I want to do it again, but if I had to, I’d be much less scared now that I know what to expect.

    I’m sure you’ll do fine and then you’ll get to enjoy ice cream and pudding for a few days. <3

  29. So I had my tonsils out so long ago I can barely remember it, but last June I had surgery on a broken wrist, full under anesthesia and everything. What I remember is being in the prep room, getting an IV in, which was shortly followed by the surgeon and various assistants coming in and getting things set up.

    The last thing I remember from that point was getting wheeled out into the hall to head to the OR. I think I vaguely remember starting to feel kind of light-headed / muzzy-headed, but maybe I’m just filling in the blanks.

    The actual surgery? I don’t recall anything at all from that time.

    The next thing I remember was starting to come to in the recovery ward, a nurse in a comfy chair at the foot of the bed, and REALLY needing to relieve myself (keep in mind, I had nothing to eat for something like 24hrs before the surgery, just water.)

    Would I do it again? OH HECK NO! If nothing else, I’ve only got one other wrist I could break to do it again.
    Was I nervous going in? Oh yeah.
    Would I be worried if I went for another operation? Not as much, but yes, it’s normal.

    So, breathe a bit easier, you’re still going to be nervous, you’ll probably be sore when it’s over, but you’ll be fine.

  30. I had mine out when I was about 7, & it really wasn’t a big deal, although I didn’t get nearly as much ice cream & jelly as I was promised. I did get some though. :)
    OTOH, when my little sister started having tonsil trouble at the same age, it was no longer the fashionable thing to have your kid’s tonsils out the second they started having tonsillitis, so she just had to put up with it every year, which was a royal PITA for her until she grew out of it.
    Ironically enough though, mine eventually grew back – apparently a common theme in my family, because so did the tonsils of my grandpa & my uncles – so I eventually got to ‘enjoy’ tonsillitis again in my mid-twenties, so go figure. I dealt with it then with salt-water gargles, which worked fine, so I’m honestly not convinced that surgery is actually needed for it.

  31. I had my tonsils removed 2 weeks before my 25th birthday, and I still remember the amazed expression on the face of my nurse as I was being wheeled to the recovery room when I croaked out “Water!” She told me most people can’t speak right after a tonsillectomy. Pros – ice cream and jello, cons – no alcohol. Hang in there and let the ‘rents baby you, it will most likely be the last time you can milk this. :)

  32. Athena, now that I’ve read all the other comments, they make it sound super-scary, but modern anaesthesia really isn’t, so please don’t stress out too much. Last time I had full knocked-out surgery, it was in maybe 2010 for microsurgery on one of my fingers that I’d injured at work. It was the classic “count backwards from 10 to 1” thing, where I passed out at about 3 & woke up later in a recovery room bed with a clear head & my friend ready to help me into a cab to get home.
    I am 100% sure that you’ll have zero trouble with any of this, & you’ll end up with maybe a sore throat & a few days of being pampered with easy to eat treats by mum & dad. :)

  33. I had my tonsils out about ten years ago (I am 45) and I was just as scared then as you are now. The nurses were a little concerned about how high my heart rate and blood pressure were (because I was terrified) and my partner told them, “he’s just scared, there’s nothing wrong with him.” And then they put me under, and I woke up, and everything was fine. I fell asleep, and when I woke up my tonsils and adenoids were gone. I was scared that I might be too scared for the anesthesia to work… but I can now say from experience: they can knock you out even if you’re really scared, and when you wake up, you won’t be scared, just sleepy.

    It’ll be okay. My heart goes out to you for being scared, of course. I know how you’re feeling, and it’ll be okay.

  34. It is going to be fine. You will get treated really well by total professionals. I have never minded anesthesia. You drift off to a 10 count and come out a bit groggy and then you get to NAP ALL DAY. Pro tip: look away when they put in an IV. Other pro tip: NAP ALL DAY. And ice cream!

  35. @J. M.
    I live in the city (Melbourne, Australia) where the Cochlear Implant was developed, & I’ve always been curious as to the medical procedure involved. If it’s not a sensitive topic for you, I’d love to hear about what it was like for you, & how you found the adaptation process of learning to use it went for you?

  36. Breathe.
    It is really just like that: You sleep in and if you wake up again you feel shitty ^^

    One golden rule: You don’t have to feel pain. If you have pain, ask for pain relief.

  37. PS: Athena: BRING A FULLY CHARGED KINDLE! You’ll most likely be spending a LOT of time waiting for stuff to happen.
    (This is advice that I wish someone had given me prior to my last surgery.)

  38. Yes, I’ve had mine out (age ~5) and the postsurg sore throat was no fun. Nor was ether for anaesthesia — WEIRD dreams! Both are pretty much history; current postsurgical anaesthesia is vastly better, speaking as someone who has had:
    * Reconstructive hand surgery
    * At least five different skin tumors removed [1]
    * Appendectomy
    * Varicose veins stripped
    * Surgical repair of broken tibia (titanium rod)
    * Surgical repair of ruptured Achilles tendon
    * Knee replacement (more titanium)
    * Two bone marrow biopsies so far

    After the appendectomy, where I had to be careful not to strain the sutures, the rest were just “keep the dressings clean and dry and don’t bang the wound.” Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.

    Of course, YMMV. However, I guarantee you that anxiety multiplies pain so … if you’re afraid/anxious, square with the doc. They’re used to using anxiolytics/sedatives and would rather not have you stressed. If nothing else it makes their job harder.

    [1] Sunscreen, young lady!

  39. I’m in the bracket who had their tonsils out long enough ago that the experience isn’t actually relevant, because they’re probably using different techniques nowadays. (Mostly, the result was – surprise – a lifelong love of orange sherbet.) There was also a period when I was having annual eye operations for about three years running (late in my grade school years), so I was used to the idea of anesthesia early on.

    Much more recently, I had an inpatient procedure done to remove a bump on one knee (“bursa” was the medical term), for which they put me under with no drama and no aftereffects whatsoever. So I am anasthesia-tolerant over the long term, and not worried overmuch about getting it should the need arise.

    The eye surgery, btw. did just what it needed to. I was a preemie, and came out with my eyes way out of alignment – there’s a baby pic somewhere where I am wearing Coke-bottle glasses at age six months or so, held on with a plastic rubber band, and there’s obviously a point several feet in front of my head where the sight lines from each eye meet.

    The surgical correction didn’t completely fix things – my depth perception is still just a bit wonky, I don’t see most 3D movies or View-Master images quite right, and I still wear glasses for astigmatism – but it did an admirable job of mostly fixing them. My specific issues are evidently just interesting enough to not be easily lasered into submission, but I don’t mind, having literally grown up with glasses.

  40. I send you best wishes for successful surgery. I take every surgery, no matter how minor, seriously. Not necessarily about the surgery but there anaesthesia. Mossy of the time it is easy and you wake up with a sore throat and disoriented. My last surgery I woke up and said in a very angry tone “Where is my husband?” I always, ALWAYS drink ginger ale when coming out of anaesthesia. It helps with dizziness and nausea.

    My 88 year old mother has had 3 surgeries since the pandemic started and still is alive and being a feisty damé.

  41. I know it’s scary to think about, but you will be fine (other than a sore throat for a while).

    I don’t remember much about getting my adenoids/tonsils out (can’t ever remember which ones I still have) except the over night in the hospital (early 80s), with lots of frozen yogurt and pudding, and the soft clown doll my folks bought me in the gift shop.

    I had my wisdom teeth out in my 30s. I think I made it to 7 on the count down, then a nurse was waking me up and I couldn’t figure out how I’d gotten from the surgery chair to the recovery recliner.

  42. I’m 63, and I still have my tonsils. Still, I had my wisdom teeth out and back in the day that was just as scary. Also had knee surgery while in high school. Anasthesia is just like going to sleep. It’s the waking up again that can be painful. Good luck and enjoy all the ice cream!

  43. I’ve had sinus surgery (polypectomies) three times. Nothing to it. The anesthesia is like flipping a light switch. You go out, and the next thing you know, you’re on a bed in the recovery room. You should think of it as a new and exciting experience where you get to see a lot of interesting stuff that you’ve never gotten to see before.

  44. Best of luck with the surgery. For me, it was like going to sleep (very quickly), and when I woke up, it was all done.

  45. Dear Athena:

    I’ll just repeat what others have said, it’ll literally be over before you know it and do exactly what your post care documents say and you’ll be fine. I also always ask, “How do I know I’m getting better, and by what time can I expect to feel better and when will I be fully recovered?” (That lets me know when and why to call if something isn’t going right.)

    I’ve been under general anesthetic once for a full on surgery and what they call “twilight sedation” twice, once for a colonoscopy and once (at 54) for Wisdom Tooth removal (sorry guy who thinks you’re safe in your mide forties). Every single time, it was over before I knew it. The difference between general and twilight sedation was after the surgery. Twilight, i just woke up a little groggy and moved on, although I am told I woudl wake up, comment on my blood pressure (I was monitored), fall back asleep, only to repeat the exercise 5 minutes later, again and again. With general I remember waking up looking at a clock and not knowing what I was looking at for a bit while I, and I know no better way to describe this, slowly reassembled my ID and memory from what felt like scratch over about a half an hour.

    As for “Do exactly as you’re told” for aftercare, I got all four of my Wisdom teeth out at once (one HAD to go, and if one was going, they ALL were), and I was absolutely bat shit paranoid about getting a “dry socket”. I followed the post-op instructions to the letter, and despite every single co-worker telling me they had had issues, I had none. I consumed a LOT of soup, but I did NOT have any painful post op complications, unlike my more willful associates.

    So don’t stress, say “yes” to Versed if they offer it for anxiety, you’ll be fine if groggy afterwards (and your dad and mom may get amusing stories about you as you wake up), do what your aftercare sheet says, and make sure you ask your doc “What things should I look out for, so I know when I’m getting better or worse?”

    I hope that helps!

  46. Best wishes! I had mine out in 8th grade. (Back in the olden days-I stayed in the hospital overnight and slept through most of that day/night). It turns out the tonsils were infected from behind and would have just kept causing problems. So, better out than in!
    Tips: Ask the nurse for warm blankets so you are comfy. They help!
    Food tip: think about non-sweet things you like and have those on hand. I honestly got tired of ice cream pretty quickly. Mashed potatoes and Spinach soufflé were my friends.
    The thing I wanted most all week was pizza. I was so happy to get the okay to have that!
    We’re thinking of you. All complaints welcome.

  47. TBH, I find anesthesia to be kind of fun (not that I would seek it out, mind you). You chat with all the docs and nurses that come to do things and then go. Then the aesthetician comes and tells you to count back from 100. You will yourself to get all the way down, but really, you get to 97 if your lucky. The next thing you know the surgery is over and you feel loopy. Enjoy the moment and joke with whoever’s there. You get to act like Dave After the Dentist and everyone thinks it’s adorable.

    Anyhow, I wish you the best of luck with the surgery and hope the fear isn’t too bad.

  48. Oh, Athena.

    First, huge, sympathetic hugs to you.

    I am an eight time operating room vet and know exactly what you’re feeling.

    I have a bone-disorder that had me in surgery from the time I was nine to about 14.

    I’ve had two unrelated surgeries in addition to that.

    Quite obviously, I lived to tell this tale, but I won’t tell you that it gets any less frightening the second, third or even fifth time, even when you know the routine and what to expect from the moment you check in to the moment you wake in the recovery room.

    My experiences with anesthesia have been different because of the different types I’ve had.

    When I was a kid having leg surgeries , I got the gas mask placed over my face .

    The very first time I went under, I got the rubbing alcohol/rubber cement/latex smelling kind that grownups get, but the rest of the time I got the bubblegum gas, which was worse; I can’t eat bubblegum to this day.

    The gas made me sick every time, and everything I drank tasted like it for a few days after the surgery.

    Another type I’ve received went in through an IV I’d had when I went in for the procedure; I’d been in the hospital for a few days then and hadn’t had to get one the day of the procedure.

    That one burned like acid until I passed out, but that was 22 years ago, so there may have been advancements.

    The most recent time, they gave me a shot of lidocaine because, unlike the last time, I had to get the IV for the anesthesia the morning of.

    I am a big, big, big baby, so the lidocaine was for the IV.

    That day, I got two different types; the first sent me to loopy land and the second knocked me out. There was no pain; there was just that moment and the wake-up in the recovery room.

    When you wake (and it will feel like almost no time has passed) you’ll be out of it from the anessthetic and in some pain.

    The nurses will be giving you painkillers through your IV, so it should be minimal.

    If they’ve had to give you a breathing tube during surgery, you’ll have a strong sensation of needing to clear your throat.

    You may taste the rubber cement/alcohol/latex of the anesthetic for awhile when you breathe, burp, or swallow.

    Everything after that will just be a matter of resting, taking pain-killers as needed andnavigating your body’s recovery from surgery.

    Just know that these are medical professionals who probably perform your kind of procedure on a regular basis.

    The nurses and other staff know what they are doing and will do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible before and after the procedure.

    It always helped me to think about what would happen if I didn’t get anything done.

    This became an especially useful coping strategy when I needed surgery as an adult and had a choice.

    I need oral surgery now and have put it off because I don’t want my jaws broken.

    Still, the alternative is something that doesn’t bear thinking about, so eventually, I’ll need to have something done about the problem

    Again, I’m sending huge hugs to you and will be thinking of you.

    Please let us know how you’re doing.

    And for Goodness’s sake, Do Not Look Up Your Procedure On the Internet.

    You Don’t Want to Know!

  49. I’ve still got my tonsils, but I’ve had other bits removed. General anesthesia? Hafta say: total fan:

    “Okay, count backwards from one hundred.”

    “99, 98, say! I like the curtains in this recovery room!”

    One of the wildest, most vivid dreams I’ve ever had was during a colonoscopy. Just wish I could remember it. (The dream, not the colonoscopy.)

  50. Because you need one more, I’m sure. ;-) I haven’t had my tonsils out, but:

    My first time under general anesthesia was for oral surgery or something (wisdom teeth? I forget). The person asked me a couple of distracting questions and I answered, then things suddenly seemed “off” and I was like, “Uh, I feel a little weird” . . . and RIGHT THEN, I swear, I woke up in recovery. ;-) I guess maybe a second later. I think time travel was involved or something, ‘cuz my friend was there to take me home (after I got myself oriented), IIRC.

    I hope your experience is that easy (whether you’re given general anesthesia or not)!

  51. I’ve had seven surgeries as an adult (a foot operation, four knee operations, the left elbow for a staph infection and the left shoulder blade) and I can tell you that I don’t remember being anesthetized for any of them.

  52. I had my tonsils out very young, but I had my wisdom teeth (all four impacted) out as an adult. My surgery was the day before New Years Eve, and I was determined to go out that night. Somebody else was headed to the operating room for the same thing right before me. I managed to come out from under in recovery before she did. I was home for New Years, but I didn’t go out, and had to settle for an egg nog with my parents.

  53. No need to worry about anesthesia, you fall asleep instantly and the next thing you know it’s over. The only bummer is many people throw up when the sit upright for the first time afterwards.
    Stock up on your Chocolate milk substitute!

  54. First, your fear is entirely understandable. Surgery as practiced in modern medicine is evolutionarily novel, so you should expect your brain to react in unhelpful ways to the stress.

    I’m sure you’ve heard that what you’re getting is a fairly minor surgery, and modern anesthetics are remarkably safe, particularly for such a short procedure.

    I had my tonsils out as a kid. I disliked jello, and like ice cream. Just sucking on ice was enough to kill the sore throat. Within a week I was back to a normal life, though I was hoarse for a little longer.

    I have an irrational fear of anesthesia. I had a minor issue with my last surgery when the anesthetic was introduced, and have been unable to even consider being even sedated since. I did my colonoscopy at 50 without sedation. If you have trouble, I encourage you to have several sessions with a cognitive behavioral therapist. I did, and it didn’t “fix” me, but it did help me function.

    I hope your procedure goes smoothly, and you’re back with another Japanese box soon!

  55. While I haven’t had my tonsils out, I’ve had several surgeries including some where I was awake for it. Just be honest with what you’re experiencing with the nurses and doctors. If you feel weird say so. There are risks with almost anything you do, but know the nurses and doctors around you have dealt with lots of it. It can be scary if you’re not used to medical things. Your anesthesia team will monitor you the whole time you’re under. The medical team will look out for you. If it’s a well run place, anyone on the medical team can say, “wait, something is going on here,” to make sure you are taken care of well. If you’re nervous, you can tell the doctors and nurses. If they’re good they will answer any question they can for you to make you more comfortable. If you’re cold, they’ll get you blankets or the special covering where the blow hot air on you. Be honest about pain (don’t minimize or dismiss it). And my last tip, if they nurses offer you one more dose of morphine before you go home or they take you out of recovery, as long as you can tolerate morphine and it works for you (it doesn’t for everybody), the answer is always “yes, please.” Good luck. We’ll see you on the other side.

  56. Every time I’ve had to have surgery, they’ve used Propofol (aka “Milk of Amnesia”). When they put you fully under, it’s like a hard-splice in your memory tape. I think you’ll find it an interesting experience.

    Post-op pain management these days is very good, likely you’ll get a Rx for Percocet or something similar. Go easy on those, obviously; what I do is take half a pill, and the other half only if it’s needed to be comfortable. You’ll probably find that regular Tylenol or Advil is enough after the first day.

    For post-surgery snacks, Lindy’s Italian Ices always hit the spot.

  57. Athena,

    How do you feel about receiving help? Especially physical help? I have had a lot of anesthesia in my time, most recently for a gall bladder removal. For me, the main issue has been that I am uncomfortable being out of control, notionally and physically, but also that, dammit, receiving (and trusting) help is challenging for me. But I have learned to trust the staff, and put myself in the “they really have done this a million times” mindset. In some ways now it’s like getting on a boring ride at a very safe park— you get in line, do what they say, and off you go.

    For me, anesthesia has a bit of a swoopy feeling that was a surprise the first time; now I just expect it and know that it’s the quick signal to give over, relax, and then before I know it I am off the ride, waking up with helpful nurses who again have done this a million times before.

    I wish you a safe, easy, boring ride!

  58. “Also I’m getting my tonsils burned out of my throat so, that’s scary to think about, too.”

    Nice turn of phrase there. 👍👍👍
    Good luck! Take notes!

  59. I’ve had 3 surgeries in the last 10 years, 2 of them taking twice as long as scheduled (I’m complicated); at worst it was all uncomfortable and inconvenient (it was my right wrist, and my left side is partially paralyzed so basic stuff like brushing my teeth got really challenging). But now I have 2 titanium hips and a reconstructed wrist, so it’s all good! Still have my tonsils, though, and they still occasionally get infected.

    You’ll be fine. The worst part is the anticipation; you’re having that now. It’s all uphill from here.

  60. Athena-
    Had my tonsils out when I was a kid. I really don’t remember much about it other than trying to punch the anesthesiologist in the face when being put under. Oh… and I got a “Barrell of Monkeys” game from my parents after waking up!
    Being nervous is part of the game and wish you a speedy recovery. (ICE CREAM!!!!)
    Good luck.

  61. I had back surgery as a young teen, and was terrified going in. The nurse said “Okay, the anesthesia’s starting now…”, I took a deep breath in order to start crying…

    –and woke up, dazed and sore. Sucked on a lot of ice chips, and spent a while (since my brain was still getting itself back together) trying to pinpoint the exact moment where before-surgery ended and after-surgery began.

    Demand ice cream or Rita’s Italian Ices over ice chips, and we’ll see you sans tonsils soon. Jedi hug

  62. Athena,
    AuntieSocial up above has excellent advice, you would do well to follow it.

    I had my tonsils out when I was 27 because I had intractable tonsiloliths. I’ve had more surgeries and accidents than I care to count, but I can tell you that in my case the surgery was fine. I had an unusual side effect and so my recovery was a long process, but that’s not something you should worry about.

    What I have learned over the years is that communicating with your care team before you go under is essential. If you’re scared, tell them. If you’ve never had surgery before, tell them. If you want an explanation, ask. The more you communicate the better it is for everyone.

    Also, if you have any questions about my experience please feel free to email me. I’m happy to share. It really is true though, you’ll count back from 10, maybe get to 7, and then you’ll be in recovery.

    All the best,

  63. Ok, I haven’t gone through all the comments, so this may be addressed already, but: the only time I was ever fully anaesthetized I also got a catheter. You might not – you’re getting a much less invasive procedure that will probably be much faster! I didn’t feel it inserted or removes and only knew about it at all because I felt an urgent need to urinate as they were rolling me down the hallway to recovery. It was … awkward. I was…not my beat self. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Point is, if if of thought to ask beforehand, they would have been able to explain to me that an urgent need to urinate can be a side effect of removing a catheter, apparently. No need for a gurney fistfight.

  64. Honestly, the part you remember will likely be 1) taking off your street clothes and putting on the hospital gown; 2) getting the IV line established (usually in your hand); 3) getting your chair or gurney pushed to the OR (actually fun!); 4) being introduced to the anesthesiology staff, whose names you will never remember; 5) waking up in recovery; 6) being told to get dressed now; 6) trying to remember what pants and socks are actually for (wear the very simplest clothes you own without difficult fastenings). When you get home, keep your phone with you so you can text your parents when you need things. All the best!

  65. I was out while my wisdom teeth were pulled, and it was like nodding out and waking a moment later with a weird feeling in my mouth and a vague disbelief that hours had passed. It seemed like only a moment.

    Good luck, but I’m sure you won’t need it.

  66. Hi Athena:

    Just adding a voice of support to all the rest. Anesthesia is a snap these days. It’ll be over before you know it. Worrying is normal, but stay positive. Docs have done gazillions of these procedures, and know what they are doing. Nurses are usually sweethearts. Enjoy the post surgery treats, and be patient with your recovery.

    Sending good, soothing, peaceful vibes your way! You’ll be fine.

  67. I had my tonsils out when I was in my mid20s. I was living by myself in an apartment in the suburbs. The surgery itself is fine. Recovery was boring and painful at times. I recommend fruit popsicles. I ate a ton.

    For what it’s worth it cured my snoring (mostly)

  68. Good luck. They always warn you of all possible side effects from anesthesia but with modern anesthesia those side effects are extremely rare. I have sleep apnea which rules out some of the alternatives like the twilight sedation some have mentioned, but anesthesia’s never been a problem for me or anyone else in my family.

    I had my tonsils out when I was 3-4 because my younger brother had a horrible time with his tonsils constantly getting infected. Back in the 60s, they had an attitude that if they were doing one child, they might as well knock them both out. Yes. Really.

    My wife had her tonsils out as an adult and remembers recovery being painful. My eldest daughter also did. My younger son had his out most recently in 2017. He was 25 at the time. He stayed with us through his recovery. He was in a lot of pain so I made sure we did what the doctor said and made sure he took his pain medicine on schedule so the pain wouldn’t get ahead of the medicine. (I set an alarm to wake me for the middle of the night dose.) Beyond that, lots of soft soothing stuff to eat/drink. After a few days, he was fine.

    Good luck!

  69. Hi Athena!

    If I had to sum everything up, it would be “It will be fine, Senorita!”, which is a variation on something my Dad used to say (which he had picked up from one of his post-docs who was perhaps a little more relaxed about crises than he ought to have been).

    Really, try not to worry.

    Anesthetics are way cooler now than when I got my tonsils out as a mere boy (and I’ll spare you the story, since the only common theme it’s likely to have with yours is ice cream. Which I couldn’t eat. And still feel bitter about almost 60 years later.)

    What you might notice is that you can’t remember some stuff, going back to part of the time you were presumably awake and chatting with the nice nurses. At least, that’s been my experience with this sort of thing; I can remember going in, sitting on the table talking as they’re preparing to start me out, but then I’m pulling myself together in recovery, and the nurses are laughing about the crazy stuff I was telling them (which I don’t remember at all).

    Too bad they don’t sell you recordings of your procedure, although from talking with some of my surgical friends, that might be a bit unsettling to listen to. Possibly give you a very different view of surgeons, though.

    It might hurt bit afterwards, but the really nice thing about pain is that although we remember that it hurt, we really can’t remember exactly how it hurt. Saves us a lot of anguish when the pain passes, as it usually does pretty quickly. And then you get to go through life completely tonsil-free! It’s incredibly liberating. I guess. I have no idea what it’s like living with tonsils, to be honest. Ask them if they’ll let you embed your tonsils in lucite to keep as a family heirloom. It’s worth a try. Just imagine them on the mantelpiece as a conversation starter.

    Anyway, most things we deal with in life are manageable – the worry about them ahead of time is usually worse. See if you can work out some kind of strategy to either derail or sidetrack the worry somehow; it will be incredibly useful to you as a technique!

  70. I have not had my tonsils out but I have had an impacted Wisdom tooth and two different surgeries and a colonoscopy all of which used anesthesia

    If you fully put you out, it will be like several have mentioned above, one second your counting back and then blink it is over

    have soft food, favorite ice creams and liquids you can take for afterwards

  71. Had a few operations before, basically anaesthetic turns you off like a light bulb. You may feel a slight tingling in your face before you go under. Then you wake up with strange feeling of no time passing at all. Not sure how they do pain relief for tonsils so just answer all the questions honestly and if your offered pain relief but ok just ask them if it’s ok to have it anyway in case the pain kicks in later.

  72. Surgery is so easy these days. Got my tonsils out 50 years ago and had awful ether as my anasthesia. I can still smell it.

    Today they start a drop and you go out like a light. After some indeterminate time passes during which you are completely unaware, they stop the drop and you are suddenly conscious. It literally is like a switch was turned on and off. You have no concept of any time having passed.

    One kind of fun thing is after they turn the drip off before your lights come back on they might ask you questions like how you feel. You are able to answer but you will have NO memory of that conversation having taken place.

    So, this will be incredibly easy and you will never fear surgery itself again. And you get to make your mom load up on your favorite ice creams! Ask lots of questions. I am fascinated by the entire process.

  73. I had my tonsils out a very, very long time ago, and it was fine even back then. I was under anesthesia two weeks ago, and an IV sedative is amazingly fast acting. As so many people have said, I was positioned for the procedure, told I was about to get the sedative, and the next I knew I was in recovery.

    You’re going to be just fine. Best wishes!

  74. I had mine out at 34. Pain not bad, but tongue didn’t work right for a while. I did have lots of Nausea & threw up every time my father came in the room. Because of the tongue it was easier to swallow French fries than ice cream, yogurt or
    Jello. Anesthesia for me is there-not there & not there-there. Kind of like a pull chain light.. Hope this group go well.

  75. I’ve had 2 mastectomies and an endometrial ablation. Surgery ain’t fun – that’s a given, but you will get through this.
    If you get motion sickness at all, make sure the anesthesiologist knows. Some people don’t respond well to general anesthesia and they tend to puke after surgery. I fall in that category. By my 2nd mastectomy I knew to let the anesthesiologist know and I had all the preventative measures before surgery even started.
    Let your medical staff know your your fears. They’ll do best they can to help you, but they have to know in order to help.
    It’s OK to be afraid. Surgery is a weird experience. But you will get through this!

  76. Being scared is OK. I’ve been through heart surgery twice (once at 45 and once at 53) and was very scared both times.
    A couple pieces of advice: let them know you’re scared and ask for some anti-anxiety meds. I need them every time I’m in the hospital.
    Keep on top of your pain meds. Don’t try to tough it out, they give them to you to keep you comfortable and that helps you heal. Make absolutely sure you take them before you go to sleep, you really need good sleep to heal properly.
    Lastly, remember YOU are in charge of your medical procedures. If you get a nurse who makes you uncomfortable, ask the doctor to replace them. I had one of these and regret not asking. Listen to your doctors, they’re the experts after all, but remember you know yourself best.
    All the best to you and heal quickly. In six months you’ll have some great tales to tell.

  77. I too still have my tonsils and my wisdom teeth – and I’m over 50 – so I have no advice regarding that particular surgery.

    However, I’ve been knocked out three times – once for cancer surgery [breast lumpectomy and removal of some lymph nodes], once for an ablation procedure, and once for a full hysterectomy.

    I’ve been fortunate in that my encounters with anesthesia have been uneventful – I’ve never had any nausea or ill effects.

    Whatever they gave me each time was da bomb, I must say. One minute, I’d be looking up at the ceiling of the operating room and the next….well, I was just gone.

    It’s completely understandable that you’re apprehensive about the procedure, Athena. I don’t think there’s anything “minor” about ANY kind of surgery.

    But all will be well. Let your medical professionals know that you’re anxious. Many times, they can give you something that will relax you before you actually get put completely under.

    Good luck!

  78. Hi Athena, I’ve had a bunch of surgeries and the anasthesia is something I genuinely look forward to. It’s so instant and so easy! As someone who sometimes lies awake worrying about life (or whatever), knowing that sleep can just HAPPEN about ten seconds after they put a mask on me is an absolute thrill. (I am, of course, old and dull. Shut up.)

    And don’t worry about the ‘burning’ aspect. It’s the simplest and most effective method of removal, that’s all. I had ‘uterine ablation’ a year or two ago, which means they burnt the entire lining of my uterus. But a surgical burn is nothing like a regular burn. No blistering, no lingering pain, nothing. It’s cleaner and less painful than chopping (otherwise they’d slice your tonsils off with a scalpel). I think I’ve had two lots of ablations (aka burning) and I literally woke up saying, “Are you sure I actually had surgery? Because it feels like I just had a nap.”

    And if you are in pain, they will give you medicine for that. And of course ice cream.

    Plus, it’s a fascinating writing experience.

    Oh actually I forgot one thing. Apparently at one point I was “extremely friendly, but not creepy at all” towards the nurses. I don’t remember that AT ALL. I’m not sure that’s reassuring, but it sure made me laugh.

  79. I’ve had much worse than my tonsils out–emergncy appendectomy, a knee partially rebuilt, and six weeks ago some emergency surgery for an internal bleed that saved my life.

    You’ve got nothing to worry about. Easy for me to say, hard for you to internalize and believe, but true. Out quickly, awake a half hour later with nothing more than the grogginess you might experience if waking up hard, and then you get to enjoy buttered noodles (or ramen, I suppose; I’d choose ramen) and ice cream.

    I’d liken it to my first couple of parachute jumps; the anticipation greatly exceeded the actual event (not that you ever get too casual about jumping out of an aircraft)..

  80. I’ve never had my tonsils out, but anesthesia is a snap. You literally go to sleep and then you wake up wondering when they’re going to start the procedure. I was worried about nausea because I heard that could be a thing, so I asked them if there was anything they could do about that (I’m a bigtime emetophobe) and they put something in the concoction I got through the IV. Didn’t have a bit of nausea!

    You’ll be fine. Medical science is amazing these days.

  81. Ice cream, popsicles, juice, water.
    A good supply of watchable media.
    A better supply of readable media.

    You’ll be fine in a couple of days :)

  82. I had actual surgery once! It was outpatient, so just a doctor’s office, not hospital.

    I sat down, in a comfy seat. Then they gave me a small shot, which was a quick sting not an OUCH. Then the anesthesiologist asked me to count backwards from ten and I started and then I woke up, a while later, and it was over.

    I had cotton in my mouth – literally, because I had four wisdom teeth out. I was disoriented for a minute. How’d I get into this dark room, when does the surgery start? The painkiller worked, until it wore off, and then I was cranky. But I got better. And I did have soup, later.

  83. Good luck with your surgery.

    I had two wisdom teeth out, then two weeks later two more wisdom teeth out, and two weeks after that I had my tonsils out. All this happened when I was 20. The wisdom teeth weren’t too bad, since they weren’t impacted. I just didn’t have enough room on my jaws for them. The tonsils weren’t bad, either, except for after.

    Yes, you will have a sore throat. Eat “gentle” foods that aren’t spicy, or too much of a rough texture.

    The only bad thing about my experience is they told me to take Tylenol Elixir, which way back in the olden days contained alcohol. I took it once, and yowie, that alcohol sure did a number on the raw throat! I decided after that the pain from the surgery wasn’t bad enough to take any more of that alcohol-laced Tylenol.

    So if they give you liquid pain meds, be sure to check the label for alcohol! NOT FUN.

  84. I was pretty scared the first time I got surgery too (gall bladder for me). I remember them wheeling me in and panicking that I’d somehow be awake the entire time like in a horror movie. Then the next then I new I was waking up after. I don’t remember anything at all.

  85. I think the best advice I can give from seeing my wife get her tonsils out as an adult is to ask for liquid pain medication. Ibuprofen works really well, but she couldn’t swallow pills for the first few days.

  86. I got my tonsils out when I was 14 or so. Biggest piece of advice: you’ll likely be given some pretty hardcore pain relievers (probably liquid, you don’t want to swallow pills). Don’t be like me and stop taking it really early. I thought it’d be fine, but I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was being stabbed in the throat and went right back on the codeine.

    Otherwise, just listen to your doc about post-surgery behavior and sleep a lot.

  87. Oh, my poor dear! So sorry you’re dreading the morrow, and I hope that all goes smoothly for you. Recovery sucks regardless of the type of surgery, but the worst is usually over quickly, so please try to tamp down that hyperactive worry muscle.

    So, general anesthesia. First of all, hydrate the hell out of yourself beforehand. The hospital will tell you how long you are allowed to ingest clear liquids; if they are good at what they do, they’ll let you drink water up until four to six hours before surgery (no food for twelve hours before, though). If they’re behind the times, they may tell you to stop drinking water eight to twelve hours pre-surgery, though I hope for your sake that is not the case. Either way, though, you want to get as much fluid into your system as you possibly can, right up until the moment when you have to stop ingesting anything. Slam a final 16-ounce glass of water at the one-minute-before-stopping point, regardless of whether that’s midnight tonight or 4:00 a.m. tomorrow.

    Why, you ask? Excellent question! Read on.

    The first thing they have to do to administer general anesthesia is to start an IV line. And if you are in any way dehydrated when they attempt to do that, you will rapidly start to feel like a pincushion. The better hydrated you are, the easier a time they’ll have getting a vein to cooperate, and the fewer times they’ll need to poke you.

    I know this because in 1996, I was ordered to stop ingesting anything at all sixteen hours pre-op for my first hip replacement. It took three nurses plus the anesthesiologist to get an IV started, and they tried in so many spots I literally lost count of how many times they poked me. And because they administer blood thinners after hip replacement surgery, every single place where they poked me blew up into a massive, colorful bruise – I looked like I had gone several rounds with a battering ram.

    Aside from that, if you have ever experienced any nausea or queasiness after taking prescription pain relievers, do be sure to tell your anesthetist. Some folks really have problems with nausea and vomiting as they emerge from anesthesia, and you wouldn’t want to do that after a tonsillectomy. There are meds they can give you with the anesthetic to reduce nausea, and just because of the type of surgery you’re having, I’d suggest discussing those with your anesthetist beforehand.

    I won’t bore you with any other surgery stories, since I know you’re already more stressed than is healthy, I’ll just wish you a surgeon with steady hands and a very smooth, fast and easy recovery – sending hugs and hope, my two favorite four-letter words!

  88. I had my tonsils out when I was 18! It wasn’t bad, but would have been better if I had been informed of some things. Like you might puke when you come out of the anaesthesia. (I did.) And you’ll feel pretty weird, and that can be scary. I was shivering when I woke up, and it scared me a lot. Talk to your nurses about anything that is worrying you, that’s what they are there for and they’re usually pretty good about either reassuring you or getting you what you need to feel better. Surgery is scary, but the medical professionals are just that — professionals. They’ll get you through it!

  89. I just had sinus surgery last month.(April 1st and the Dr. was joking with the nursing staff that he was just let go.) Anesthesia is like fade to black for the commercial, and someone else skips things ahead to continue the show. It really is the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to time travel. Follow the post-op instructions.

  90. I had my tonsils out when I was about four, and the very worst thing about it, which I remember to this day over half a century later, was my mother arriving with ice cream as they were taking me into surgery. And of course I couldn’t have it, so I remember crying all the way to the theatre.
    It’s one of those moments I still see clearly.

  91. I had my tonsils out when I was in college in the 1960s – about your age. In a hospital in a retirement community because it was more convenient for the surgeon and my parents.

    Anesthesia and surgery have progressed.

    Expect to be groggy for a few hours with the mother of all sore throats lasting for a week or so. MILK IT! You deserve to be catered to, pampered and get your whims obeyed!

  92. I had my tonsils out when I was five. Before that I suffered from chronic bronchitis after that never again, so certainly for me removing them was a good thing!

    Things I remember way back then was counting down from 100 I think I got to 97, when I woke up I couldn’t speak and that I didn’t particularly feel like ice-cream for the next few days :-)

  93. I still have my tonsils, but have had surgery requiring anesthesia, both local and general.
    For me, general anesthesia has been easy. Go to sleep, wake up. No disorientation.
    Pain management is trickier. And I am a card-carrying member of the quick to whimper society. My tip: don’t fight it or deny it, and don’t be scared to say it hurts.
    Enjoy the ice cream!

  94. I was born with a cleft lip and palate so I’ve has surgery since the day I was born! Maybe about 25 times in all. Anesthesia is next to nothing! You will get a shot before hand and in the O.R.* probably either gas or a nice little intravenous shot. Don’t worry, they will take good care of you! I had the oddest sensation that the gas tasted purple! All this surgery and I can’t spell “surgery” to save my butt! Take care and enjoy the ice cream!
    *FOOTNOTE: Thanks to tv I don’t have to define that!

  95. Athena, it is wonderful to have so many people sending encouraging words! You are going to come through this just fine. I was a little chilly before and after, so don’t be shy on asking for extra blankets. I also was partial to popsicles.

    Let us know how you are doing, when you can.

    Meanwhile, lots of positive thoughts are coming your way!

  96. Don’t let them put the IV port in your hand or bend of the elbow. They can put it in on your inner forearm. This way, the needle doesn’t move and potentially rub against a nerve every time you move your hand or arm. I’ve never had an IV that didn’t hurt but it hurts a lot less positioned that way. Tip I got from a nurse who was also an EMT when I had to go to the emergency room.

  97. Oddly enough, a lot of the people saying “I still have my tonsils” might not have them at all! In adults who don’t have tonsil problems, they often shrink down to nothing. Mine aren’t apparent any longer, and I have never had a tonsillectomy.

    I have had general anesthesia twice, and for me there was a slight panicky feeling the first time I had the mask over my face. I asked if they could hold it slightly away (I don’t suppose that’s a great idea, since it’s not good for the gas to be leaking out where other people breathe it, but it’s all I could think of), and they did for a moment, but I was out so fast that it likely wasn’t long. The next time I had it I wasn’t especially bothered. I think both times they gave me Valium first, though I couldn’t tell the difference (other than that one panicky moment, I wasn’t all that nervous anyway).

    I have unusually good recovery after anesthesia, it seems. I even remember what the surgeon said to me afterward (they don’t expect you to remember, but they come and tell you it’s all over, everything went great, because it does make people feel better at the time).

  98. I had my tonsils out when I was in my 30s. I was sore for a bit while recovering, but it beat having the continuous excruciating sore throats and infections which had plagued me all of my life. I still get them occasionally, but the tonsils removal has helped a lot.

    I’ve had surgery several times, and as others have said, you’ll probably not get past the countdown to 5. I like going under because it feels like you’re on a rollercoaster for just a moment before you’re out. Wheeee! I would choose a general over a local for anything major. Since this is your first time, they’ll be making especially sure that everything goes fine.

    As Jayne says, if you tend to get cold, ask for extra blankets. And as others have said, be sure to follow their instructions and take good care of yourself afterwards.

    I’ll be sending good healing vibes your way. <3

  99. I’ve had surgery multiple times, most recently for fixing some problems with my shoulder after falling while on crutches. Because they were working on bone, it was the deepest I had ever been under.

    To quote the anesthetist who put me under: I will be with you breath to breath, heartbeat to heartbeat, every moment, and I will keep you safe. They mean that. I got an injection of fentanyl in my IV before they took me into the OR, and that felt like fire in my bloodstream for a few moments. A few seconds later, I started to feel nothing. About 5 minutes later, they wheeled me into the OR and I saw the surgeon. Next thing I knew, I was in recovery.*

    The very first time I had surgery, I had a panic attack and started shaking. They put a little valium into the IV and I was able to answer questions. Be willing to volunteer that you are scared, because everyone there wants to take care of you and make you comfortable.

    Something you might not think about but sugary cold food is hard on a stomach coming back from anesthesia. Ice cream sounds great, but it will be extremely painful if you have to vomit it back up. They may want you to start with cold broth or something similar to start.

    *I worked in the hospital where I had surgery, and I awoke to the nurses discussing a computer problem. I spoke up to tell them who to call to fix it, before they realized that I was waking up. I said normally it would be me, but I didn’t think my hands would work!

  100. I never had my tonsils removed (when I was a kid, the fad was to leave them in place no matter what), but I had twilight sleep for wisdom teeth extraction and full anesthesia plus a nerve block when I broke my arm at the shoulder joint and needed it put back together.

    Most of the points I might have brought up have already been covered. The only thing I’d add is to have light and small meals for the first day or so after you get home. My shoulder reassembly was in the afternoon, which meant I’d missed both breakfast and lunch, and I was really hungry by dinnertime. Slamming down two big bowls of homemade chili was Not A Good Idea. I would have been much better off with two or three snacks spread out over the late afternoon and evening.

  101. I also had a surgery as an adult, so I’m going to offer this bit of advice: Let your mom (and your dad) pamper you while you recover.

    When I went home after my surgery, my instinct was to be “grown-up”, i.e. self-sufficient, doing things for myself, etc. When I admitted that I needed the help, and wanted to be pampered just a bit, it made things so much easier.

    No matter how old you get, there’s magic in letting your momma take care of you.


    I’ve had full anesthesia four times:

    Had my first surgery age 12. Took longer than they expected for me to go under. Woke up in the recovery room like a normal waking up. Youth is an advantage.
    Surgery #2 in my 30s? Around age 30? Anyhow, anesthesia went fine, but then waking up in the recovery room was SO LONG. I could hear everything around me, but couldn’t move or speak. (This is why I can’t read Lock In.) But I kept faith I would come out of it, and in about half an hour I was fine.
    Surgery #3: TONSILECTOMY! At age 42! Felt it when the anesthesia hit. I even said, “Oh, here it comes, bye bye!” to the doctors. Waking up…Well, I’ll be honest with you, it sucked. I woke up fast enough, but OH CRAP IT HURT. Then they tranked me up with something narcotic and I was giddy. It was great!

    Doc said it would be 10-15 days of recovery and she was absolutely right. For such a simple surgery, it packs a wallop. Protip: It’s easier to hold pain down than to get it to go back down, so take your damn painkillers. In the second week I was able to reduce the painkillers, but I didn’t have the stamina to do a full day of work until the 3rd week, right when the doc said I would.

    Take photographs of your throat. I still have mine. It’s gross and hilarious, but it was good to see the progress as it healed.

    #4: age 48, had to lose part of my colon. The anesthesia hit when I wasn’t paying attention, and next thing I know I was waking up. Sluggy waking up, but not exceptional.

    I note all of these surgeries to point out that even in the same person, anesthesia can be very different from event to event. But overall it wasn’t bad, and now they’re just funny stories.

    Best of luck with the tonsilectomy, and recover well!

  103. I’ve been under general anesthesia four times. In order: wisdom tooth extraction, hysterectomy, tonsillectomy, and tooth extraction. As soon as my fractured knee heals, I’ll be going under for a lithotripsy – 10 mm kidney stone can’t pass on its own. Each time, the anesthetist told me to count back, I made it to two numbers before I was out cold. It’s like snipping a film. You’re out, and then you’re back.

    I was 26 when I had my tonsils out after they joined the Bacteria of the Month club. The fourth bout of tonsillitis didn’t respond to antibiotics, so my tonsils had to go. My ENT warned me I’d be miserable for two weeks. He was right. I did vomit up the ginger ale I had in recovery, but that was it for the upset stomach. Don’t tough it out, just get it up, then you’ll feel much better. My liquid antibiotic tasted terrible, and the liquid hydrocodone tasted nothing like fruit or punch despite what the package insert said. It was also neon green.

    On day seven postop, I had a much worse throat pain and was bringing up shreds of yellow tissue. That was the equivalent of a scab on the mucous membranes and shedding that exposed new nerve endings, so more pain med was needed after slowly decreasing the dose before that. That is perfectly normal and on schedule, so don’t worry if it happens to you. Nothing tougher than mashed potatoes for two weeks, at least that was what I was told. You’ll want plenty of savory food, just like the others said, as too much sweet stuff gets old. Dairy products do not cause increased mucus, it’s just that they are thicker than a lot of liquids and solids.

    You will get through this easier than you think. Trust the nurse.

  104. Hey Athena – all the positive vibes possible to help you go through this!

    One advice for post surgery: helichrysum italicum essential oil.

    Discovered it myself for a surgery where they broke/repaired both jaws. It did wonder for the pain and the swelling.

    Ever since it has been a permanent fix in the house to help with any « trauma ».

    You can find online recipes to mix it with veg oils like hazelnut. Personally for a surgery I would use 1-2 drop pure, very softly massage on the throat (yes that is how I did for that jaws episode, no sweat). Repeat every few hours as needed.

    Helichrysum italicum has a very distinctive odor, one that soothes me as I now associate it with recovery :-)


  105. Possible double post – as the first one is still not up. 2 reasons to risk the double posting:

    Make sure you receive all the good vibes possible
    Best post-surgery advice I ever got: use helichrysum italicum essential oil.

    It does wonders for the pain and the swelling.

    1-2 drops in light massage on the skin close to the pain is how I used it after 2 jaws surgeries. You can find recipes to mix it with veg oil like hazelnut if pure is too caustic for your skin.

    We now use it at home for any trauma. It has a distinctive odor that I now associate with recovery :-)

    All the best!

  106. DO NOT google anything related to the procedure or anesthesia. Stay away from social media as well. Medical advice on the internet is a mass of crap, bad advice, and outright lies. It makes it nearly impossible to get an accurate assessment.

    Talk with you doctor and your parents about any questions. Your Dad recently disclosed his age, so he has almost certainly had a recent & joyful experience with anesthesia. Ask him about it. (and shame on him if he has neglected to get his “so now that you are over 50 its time for your colon cancer exam”.)

  107. “DO NOT google anything related to the procedure or anesthesia.”

    Can’t agree with this enough.

    All it will do is creep you out unnecessarily and unhelpfully.

  108. Sorry you are (understandably) feeling anxious but it looks like folks have a lot of good advice for you. I hope everything goes smoothly and that your recovery goes well.

    Also, I love buttered noodles (even better: browned butter on noodles, preferably with mizithra cheese, OSF style). :D

  109. I still have my tonsils, but I’ve had a couple of oral surgeries. Frankly, I’d have much preferred to have been put under. :(

    I had the same dentist/oral surgeon both times, and he’s really good, but I get incredibly stressed by dental work anyway, and this is dental work to like the forty-sixth power. I had only local anesthetic, so I was still awake the whole time, and although it didn’t actually hurt, I could still feel things I’d rather not have felt. So enjoy sleeping through it, and stock up on popsicles and ice cream for after.

    Best of luck! {{}}

  110. I had my tonsils out when I was 3 or 4. I obviously don’t remember much, but I do remember the ice cream! I also remember being out of action for days recovering from the surgery. Don’t remember much pain.

    I went under for surgery for a second time (Collarbone needed unfucking after I did bad things to it falling off a bicycle on a frozen patch.) when I was about your age. When they gave me the meds to knock me out, they asked me to count to three. This was a lie! I barely made it to one, then woke up in the recovery ward.

    I’m pretty sure they would’ve been worried if I’d made it to even two. But I didn’t, noone does.

    See ya in a couple of days, when you WILL be complaining about the pain, and WILL be talking about ice cream! (Or, well, typing! Talking might still hurt…)

    The surgery you’re about to go into is roughly the most routine surgery on planet earth. It’s so routine your surgeon sees all rare complications once a year, and knows exactly how deal with them. This is slightly less dangerous than taking a COVID test.

    You’ll be fine. Confined to the couch, reduced to eating ice cream for days, and in some pain. But perfectly fine!

  111. Nervous is normal. Just remember that you’ll be in the care of professionals who have devoted a great deal of time and effort learning to help the rest of us.

  112. Best of luck. I’ve been under quite a few times, including one by choice for a procedure (bone marrow donation) that could have been done under local. Never an issue.

    I am a bit concerned about the cat; he’s in for work today and will be anesthetised, which is a small risk for a cat pushing fifteen. Hopefully he’ll be back tonight stoned, ravenous and with his “poor, put-upon feline” act in full swing.

    Certainly he didn’t handle the fasting well.

  113. I had my tonsils out when I was about six, as far as I can remember, it was ice cream, sympathetic words, and a nurse on the children’s ward getting fired because she left the ward’s television on a tv station showing “Jaws” all evening. I credit getting my tonsils out with igniting my love for butterscotch ice cream and marine biology.

    I know it is easier to say than do, but do try not to worry too hard. This is a pretty simple operation and pretty routine too. I echo advice that you ask if you can have a sit down with the anaesthesiologist and get them to just walk you through what happens and say you’re scared. Fear of surgery is pretty common, and most anaesthesiologists know how to reassure patients.

  114. Athena, don’t know if you will read down this far, but if you do, believe me, you are so better off with the anesthesia. Here is my sad tale:

    My brother had his tonsils out when we were kids (ice cream is all I remember), but I didn’t have to…until suddenly at age 17, My stupid parents took me to this sadistic Nazi doctor (I know that sounds harsh, but wait) who insisted I was “too old” to get knocked out with anesthesia. No, a local anesthetic was good enough! No matter what I said, he (and my stupid parents listened) insisted. So I went in and was strapped down in a chair like in the dentist’s office. He pulled out this HUGE needle which was approximately TEN INCHES LONG and made me open wide so he could jab it in my throat!! Twice. Then I had to sit there (my eyes were closed, I assure you) while he cut out the tonsils. The only words of encouragement (sic) I got from him (and this is verbatim): “Don’t move or you’ll bleed to death!”

    I had nightmares about this SOB for years. May he rot in Hell.

    Good luck.

  115. My wife had her tonsils out at age 30 just a few years ago. One thing the doctor told her is to not eat too much ice cream. Really avoid dairy in general after having your tonsils out because it makes you produce phlegm which will then make you cough. Not ideal. Instead, stick with fruit juice popsicles. We got 8 boxes (that we’re still going through). And make sure you eat and keep things down. My wife wound up having to go back because of dehydration due to nausea. Good luck!

  116. It will be fine. Go into it with the best attitude you can, and follow the post-op instructions and you’ll be up and bouncing quickly.

    But make sure you are waited on hand and foot and given ALL the soft, friendly food. When I had my tonsils out at 5, my mother consistently gave me piping hot soft food–the soft was good, but the piping-hot part meant that I was convinced she was trying to kill me. Ow.

  117. I have had two surgeries, one for my hysterectomy, and the other for a burst appendix. I have no memory of anesthesia, of going under, for either one of those. One moment I was awake, and talking to the doctors around me, and the next, I woke up in the recovery room.

    I did have to talk my mom through her first surgery a couple of years ago when she had her gallbladder removed. She was very nervous about the anesthesia too, and I’ve always wondered why people are nervous about it.

    My biggest instructions for my mom, and my one friend was post-op, please listen to what your body tells you to do, and then do exactly what your body wants. Are you hungry? Eat something. Are you tired? Rest. Feel like walking? Do it. Your body is healing, and will be telling you what it needs.

    Trust me, you really won’t remember any of it, at least that’s how it worked for me.

  118. I’ve had sixteen operations, so I’m definitely an old hand at it. Heck, I had six by the third grade! I was an old hand in primary school!

    I had my tonsils out when I was about 40, and it was kinda rough. It’s worse as you’re older, but you’re still young, so hopefully it won’t be bad. Mine were quite extreme, and I lived for two weeks on applesauce (Mott’s, IIRC) and Fudgeicles. Lost about 10 lbs or more, I recall. I couldn’t swallow anything, including pain pills, had to have liquid hydrocodone.

    But again, mine was an extreme case: after two weeks of antibiotics and a run of steroids, they were still inflamed and still touching. It was pretty bad. Had we known, it was the first signs that my immune system was collapsing, we wouldn’t have definite proof for another decade when it fully went away.

    Now that I think about it, that was operation #7.

    You’ll be fine. Lay around the house, sleep as much as possible, whine and make your parents fawn upon you. :-)

  119. PS: anesthetic. Crazy stuff. When I had my tonsils out, I remember being wheeled into the prep room, and that was it. Whatever they gave me wiped my short-term memory, I don’t remember getting an IV! Blink, out. All of my other operations as an adult, I have clear memories of my prep and being taken under.

    Really, there’s nothing to be scared of. It’s another experience, that’s all.

  120. Some people tell horror stories about anesthesia. I’ve been under a couple of dozen times and have NEVER had any sort of problem with it. You may be lucky, too.

    My wife has her tonsils still at 66, and they give her a rough time, but not doctor wants to remove them at her age. The younger the better, in general. I had mine out at 6, and my grandson had his out at 4. We both whined a bunch, but that’s us.

  121. I’ve had several procedures over the years. It started with wisdom tooth removal, then emergency appendectomy, then shoulder surgery , then colonoscopy, then elbow surgery, then a gastric bypass, then an emergency perforated ulcer repair, then an endoscopy, and finally a second colonoscopy.

    The anesthesia experience was similar but different each time. Usually I remember talking to the anesthesiologist and getting the shot and going out. Waking up a second later and going home.

    The gastric bypass was weird in that I basically lost a day. I remember leaving the waiting room and taking a left turn following a nurse and then I remember waking up in my hospital room 14 hours later. Surgery only lasted 3 hours, but I lost a lot more time than that.

    The appendectomy and ulcer repair I woke up in the recovery room. All the other surgeries were basically outpatient, so I was under but not a general anesthesia.

    I still have my tonsils so no help on the recovery for that.

    Pain management these days is quite different from even 5 years ago. They are really trying to avoid opioids if at all possible. I got 5 Tramadol pills when they sent me home after bypass surgery. I took 1 each night, for the first 2 nights to sleep, then none after that. Pain was managed with Tylenol mostly.

  122. My limited experience with anaesthesia is similar: out quickly and it’s like a slice of time has been taken away. I hope all goes well.

  123. I still have my tonsils (and my wisdom teeth, and my appendix). I’ve only had two surgeries that required full-on anesthesia- once when I was very young, to correct congenital abdominal hernias- I don’t remember much about that; once when I got a couple of teeth removed for orthodontic purposes (why I still have my wisdom teeth, I hazard- more room for them); they used sodium pentothal, and it was a gradual fade out and back in, followed by grogginess for several hours. I’ve had non-surgical full-on anesthesia twice, too, for the usual reason when you turn 50 or so ;-) and it was basically like a switch being turned off and back on again. Very binary, only a little disorientation after.

  124. You’re not the only one who’s terrified. I’ve never been under for anything either, and the thought of it freaks me out. I’ve had two kids, and a wisdom tooth removed, and I was awake for all of that (they weren’t all at the same time!). Still terrified. Still, I hear they have good drugs to manage the terror.

  125. Heya, missed this post when it went up, hope everything went well for you.

  126. Good luck!

    Also: When my therapist in graduate school asked me to think back of a time when I felt calm, the second before I blacked out in wisdom teeth surgery was it. The anesthesiologist had said, “And now you get a little treat” and I felt true peace. I hope you get a similar treat!

    If Valium were OTC I would never leave my bed.

  127. Hi, Athena. I’m so sorry! Surgery doesn’t need to be awful. A few possibilities (depending on the type of surgery): 1) talk with your doctor about the feasibility of taking a single valium pill before; 2) see if you can have a parent in with you, when you’re getting anesthesia and when you are in recovery. Support from loved ones, and using medication to manage anxiety, can go a long way – either separately or together!

  128. Um, John. Is she OK? I would have expected an update by now.

    My 2 horror stories.

    At 18 (1976) I joined a Union and got 100% dental. Dentist wanted to take out my wisdom teeth, even though I’d never even heard the term “Wisdom tooth” until then. It was 100% free, my parents were all for it, and I was too young and naive to search the internet for it.

    Yeah, it was a probably a scam. My teeth were fine, the dentist made a couple grand taking them out.

    But I digress.

    Horror story #1. Couple hours after surgery a chick I was trying to impress came by for some reason I don’t remember. She gave me weird looks, and my “yeah, she might” somehow went to “eww, go away”. Didn’t understand until I went inside and I was bleeding from the mouth. The Novacaine was still active, I couldn’t feel it, but I looked like a well fed vampire with blood drooling from both sides of my mouth.

    Horror story #2.
    Next night I went to a concert, nicely drugged up. I got hit in the cheek by a frisbee, which caused A) Much pain, which I could deal with; and B) Much bleeding, which was much more a problem. Seems suffering in silence is preferred over bleeding profusely to a bunch of drugged out 20 somethings at a concert.

    TLDR; I’m fine, the surgery was fine, I’m sure you’re fine.

  129. while my tonsils and I parted company looong ago, I had a bowel resection only about three years ago. I was wheeled in, a mask was changed I started counting back from 10. I got to eight, and then next number was the next morning.

    My only disappointment was that operating room looked more like a warehouse. Since it was laproscopic, the surgeon was in a booth above the platform I was on. I lost 13 inches of colon, and got a free apoendectomy thrown in.

    The nursing afterwards was very good, I had three ex-army nurses, who were great.

  130. Everyone above has shared better advice than I can give, but I wanted to pass along happy fuzzy thoughts from Dublin, Ohio.

  131. One last comment: if they tell you not to sit up too soon, just lay back and rest. You’ll feel better when you actually can safely get up than if you try to force it too early.

  132. Good luck! Wishing you a successful surgery, and a quick bounce back!

    Anesthesia is scary – the first time I had it tho, I avoided most of the worrying by being in so much pain I truly didn’t have the ability to spare to contemplate. Kidney stones! Makes everything else SIGNIFICANTLY less important!

    But that surgery went well, as did one I had a couple years ago to remove my gallbladder! They used the robots for the gallbladder and it was easy-peasy – they released me late that afternoon. My scars are tiny!

    I usually take a really solid 48 hrs to get the surgery anesthetic out of my system, so be kind to yourself, even if you think you “should” be feeling better faster. You can have symptoms like brain fog and nausea/vomiting for an amount of time afterward that seems surprising, but don’t worry, it does eventually pass.

    If they give you other pain meds, esp the heavy-duty ones, that will also affect how you feel, so again – just take it easy! Don’t push, just appreciate your body for the good job it’s doing healing and help it work with plenty of fluids and rest.

    Best of luck!

  133. I haven’t read all of the other comments… some of the ones I have read touched on it, but for me the absolute freakiest part was the total lack of the sense that time has passed.

    (In the unlikely event you are reading this before the experience, take it as reassurance when you think about it!)

    When you sleep (or at least when I do, but I’m not narcoleptic) weather you sleep soundly of poorly, on awakening there is a sense that some time has passed. Not so at all with anaesthesia. For your consciousness, one moment it’s before and the next moment it’s after, and it is only by logic that you figure out real time has passed.

    I’d love to read how you are able to put this experience into words with your writing skills!

  134. Hope everything goes great

    I am nervous just before surgery, but in one of the few cases of capitalism working, the person I trust most in the hospital is the anesthesiologulist

    The techniques, and technology, has really improved so much

    From my experiences with oral illness

    Milkshakes can be awesome

    Chilled Meal replacement shakes can help with nutrition

    non set jello can be fun. Not a clue how mom made it, but seemed to just serve it before it set.


  135. I had my tonsils out about nine years ago. The surgery was fine but the recovery was tough. The thing I wish I had done differently is protein smoothies instead of a lot of ice cream. And everyone who says to stay on top of your pain medication is right, set alarms.

  136. Hi, Athena,

    So you’re likely out of surgery by now, and I wanted to wish you a comfortable recovery.

    I hope everything went as smoothly as possible and that the staff was worm and professional.

    I’ll be thinking of you. Update us as soon as you’re up to it.

  137. That is “warm” and professional.

    There are some worms working in medicine, but I hope you didn’t encounter any.

  138. So…

    You’ll be / have been, depending on when you get around to seeing this, just fine. That notwithstanding, smoke is coming out of the bearings of my Buddhist prayer wheel on your behalf.

    I can echo many of the other comments, having had my own tonsils out back in the days of ether cone anesthesia. Not much fun, that…Cider House Rules notwithstanding. On the other hand, as a former Air Ambulance pilot, as well as having had various surgeries and procedures of my own, I can assure you that modern anesthesia is vastly better, has vastly fewer side effects, and is vastly more comfortable for the patient. For the caregivers, too–if we were flying an apprehensive patient (or one in pain), either I or the flight nurse would hold up two fingers in the “V sign,” indicating “give them some Versed (temazepam),” and they’d drift off with a smile on their face. Only very seldom did we need to use Propofol, also called either “Milk of Amnesia” or “Mikey likes it.”

    I can assure you that in this, as in so many other potentially difficult situations, the apprehension is far worse than the actuality. I suspect the only lasting negative effect of your tonsillectomy may be the all too common medical procedure called the “wallet scan” (or “monectomy”).

    You probably won’t have that much residual pain…but play the “I need more ice cream” card for all it’s worth!

  139. My tonsils came out in the late 1950s and it wasn’t bad at all, but a considerable amount of ice cream was required afterward. I think the technique, and also the ice cream, have improved since. In this context, I’d go with vanilla, personally, though it’s not my usual choice in general.

    Lounging about with cats is also recommended (mostly by cats).

  140. Four impacted wisdom teeth out when I was about 20. I had to spend the night in the hospital.

    The extraction went fine. Walking around with icebags on my face for several days afterward was not fine.

    When they ask you, when you wake up, where you are don’t say “is this heaven?” Trust me here.

  141. Athena, I’m a 44 year old who had my tonsils out in my mid 30’s. Regarding recovery from the surgery, I’d say that it was actually painful for a few days after (think a really rough sore throat), and mostly inconvenient after that until fully healed. I made friends with cold drinks and soft foods, lost a few pounds accidentally, and kept my vocalizations to a minimum. Having passed through successfully and not having to deal with the issues my tonsils were causing anymore, I can say without a doubt it was totally worth it. I wish you the best moving forward with your experience!

  142. I had abdominal surgery when I was 27. I remember getting halfway through my countdown, then realized that I was in the recovery room. I still have my tonsils, though, so I can’t speak to that specifically. I did enjoy a lot of ice cream after getting my wisdom teeth out, though!

    While being put under is always scary, the doctors and nurses are VERY well trained and know what to do IF something goes wrong. I’m sure you’ll be in great hands!

    Good luck and a speedy recovery!

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