17 February 2010

No More Tonsils!

Did you know the word for "tonsils" in German is the same word they use for "almonds"? (Mandeln.) Ha ha.

After my nose surgery last fall, I was freaked out about nausea after a tonsillectomy (yeah, just imagine the stinging), but this time I told every medical staff member in Borna I talked to that I'd had problems last time, and they promised I'd get something to prevent nausea.

So imagine, to my pleasant surprise, when I woke up and felt less pain than every single time I'd had infected tonsils. As I lay there, I pondered, because I couldn't remember the post-op. Had I asked the doctor if I could keep my tonsils? I had wanted to. I didn't remember. Should I ask now?

As I silently regarded the trees through my window, the doctor came in and said, "It would have been too gross, so I took a picture for you" and handed me this (warning, graphic):


I was sooooooo happy. I think they were ready to come out, don't you? Now I can always have my tonsils with me, in a way.

The first day, I read two books and ate a bowl of soup and watched Nineteen Eighty-Four. The second day, I ate toast with cheese and meat and made valentines and thought I was ready to go home where I could work in my own room (why oh why do I always end up with the people who incessantly watch TV?). The third, I read the Liahona and slept and ate chicken and rice and watched the old school version of The Count of Monte Cristo (which made me laugh because of its cheesy lines and choppy scene changes). The fourth, I was glad to get a new roommate who was only staying one night and who did not once turn on the television and who was quite friendly. I did who knows what (probably some journal-writing) but it involved completely normal food with milk soup or apple sauce on the side, just like the fifth day. Oh wait. And I read the other book I brought. And on the sixth day I got to go home.

I had lots of phone calls and visitors (all of whom got to see the picture).

Once a day, I got to pick up a piece of paper from the nurses and bring it to the cafeteria. There I would exchange it for a popsicle. Which was orange-flavored. Which seems dumb, considering I wasn't supposed to have anything citric. Whatever.

I also got to hold an ice pack against my neck 24/7. Great fun when it's -8 degrees outside. (Celsius.) That's when my scarf came in handy for securing the pack and protecting my hands against the cold. And I put my rice bag on the heater before going to bed. Mmm.

The second and fourth nights I asked for a sleeping pill, but when a nurse comes in four times during the night to give you a new ice pack (and you usually have to put it in the covering yourself), a sleeping pill isn't that helpful.

Eating was the only painful part of the day, and I still rated it at 4 on a 0-10 scale (the rest of the day was 0-2). Once again, I ate better and more than I ever eat at home.

The staff members were all super friendly (especially the nurse Markus gave a jelly-filled donut to), even the guy doing his civil service who was a bit bad mood-ed last time seemed to have cheered up in such a good atmosphere.

I would have loved to have internet, but at least it was nice being in a warm room and looking out at this:


And the doctor says I will be able to do that again in several weeks, when he does one last "simple" nose surgery . . .

The bad part of the whole ordeal came after I got home, when I developed a cold/sinus infection. Yeah, bad timing to have slime lining your throat and to have to breathe through your mouth. Really bad timing. Painfully bad timing. The first day, cough drops helped. The second day, only heavy doses of pain killers were helping for a couple of hours at a time. And now here I am on the third day of being home and I have now twice disregarded the doctor's suggestion yesterday that I not use Chloraseptic for a while longer because otherwise I never wanted to speak again. Oops. I also had to implement a layout of my pills so I remember what I've taken.

If it weren't for my cold, I would be completely fine now. I don't know why all the Americans I've talked to had such bad experiences (almost everyone said, "You will regret living the first three days"). Maybe because they cauterize the wounds here in Germany? Who knows? Another lady who had her tonsils out said she didn't even need the pain killers and did normal stuff all day, too.

Anyway, in short: the tonsillectomy was awesome (just don't get a cold afterwards like I did). Shoulda done it sooner.


  1. I'm so jealous! I've never wanted my tonsils and being sick right now just makes me resent them more. I've asked to get them removed and the doctors always say I need to keep them. Lame.

    I LOVE that picture of the view out your window. It is breath taking.

    I also love your tonsil picture. :) I would have asked for the same thing.

  2. Glad it went well and wasn't too painful!! I kept my wisdom teeth and gave them to my friend who is in dental school so she could practice drilling. But I guess you can't really do the same with tonsils.

    That's funny about the word for tonsil, is it because of the shape? The French word for lawyer and avocado is the same, lol.

  3. I'm so glad that you're doing well and that the surgery went well. How come you had to stay at the hospital so long? When I got mine out it was out patient. That's great that they took a picture for you. When I was waking up and doped up I asked if I could take them home to show my fiance. It's against the rules to take them home but they were sweet enough to let me take them home to show to Craig, he was pretty grossed out!

  4. Love having my tonsils be gone! I didn't get them out until I was 28 because I was scared of the pain factor and horror stories everyone kept telling me about, but it definitely wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Most docs cauterize them in the USA too. I wondered if it was because I was expecting the pain to be astronomical and it was less than I anticipated. Who knows?

  5. Hallo! Ich fand gerade Ihnen heute, und das erste was ich sah, waren die Mandeln! Gross! You are so funny! Ich bin so froh, dass ich festgestellt, dass Ihre Blog

    My blog is here: www.housewifeclass.blogspot.com

  6. Can't believe you got a prolonged stay in the hospital. In the US, you're out on the street as soon as you're out of the anesthesia.

    What's the reason we don't want to implement any of the European health care practices?

  7. Thanks everybody!

    Andromeda--that is so funny about lawyer and avocado. Ha ha.

    Course Correction--no kidding about the European health care practices. I was waited on for 6 days just to be sure the tonsils didn't bleed and I only had to pay 10 Euros per day (plus my normal monthly insurance fee).

  8. Glad it's over with. That picture is not my favorite, but I like the tonsils! Hah!