Day two, I was eating pork chops. Sure, I was still falling asleep in the middle of conversations with my mom, dad, sister, Cayden, and whoever else tried to strike up a chat with me, but I stayed awake long enough for food. I was addicted to banana popsicles. I woke up every three hours for two vicodin and two banana popsicles. I was in some pain, but nothing compared to the pain I was in that last day in Rome.
This isn't so bad, I thought.
Before my surgery, I did a Twitter search to see if anyone else was talking about getting a tonsillectomy. Call me weird, but misery loves company, so I figured it would be nice to tweet with someone who felt my pain. A random guy in Ridge. NY, was tweeting about his tonsillectomy that was scheduled for the day before mine. @jsempsey became my new best friend. We tweeted every day to check in on each other and offer tips.
Dad made corn cereal. Only now am I realizing that I don't exactly know what corn cereal is, that's just what we've called it since we were kids. It's like Cream of Wheat, but yellow and full of sugar with cinnamon sprinkled on top. I'm guessing each bowl is 400 calories and 900 grams of sugar, but I didn't care. I craved it. I also craved peanut butter milkshakes and Ben and Jerry's Clusterfudge ice cream. Most people lose weight after a tonsillectomy. I assumed I wasn't "most people."
Day three, Colbie stopped by for a visit. I hadn't seen her since her wedding. She looked beautiful and happy and glowing and so in love. I did everything I could to keep my eyes open, but eventually my mom had to take over my part of the conversation. I don't remember her leaving.
The tip of my tongue had no feeling. The back of my throat felt like slime. I tied to swallow the slime, but it wouldn't go away. I didn't even want to know what my breath smelled like. I was glad Cayden wasn't there.
I had to sleep on my back, propped up with a stack of pillows. I had to do the same thing after my sinus surgery, but failed miserably. It was nearly impossible for me to sleep on my back. So I camped out on the recliner in the living room. I don't know if it was the recliner or the vicodin, but I slept hard every time my eyes shut. I tried to blog but the letters on my screen kept blurring together until they looked like a jumbled, unfocused eye exam chart, complete with the big E.
Day four. I hated banana popsicles. I loved raspberry sherbet. I hated applesauce. I loved fruit medley baby food. Yes, the kind in a jar. I ranked my pain level at a steady 4 when my vicodin was active, and a manageable 8 when it wore off. I was so used to sore throats from my numerous bouts of strep and tonsillitis, I'd learned how to deal with it. I imagined that someone who hadn't experienced some of the severe sore throats I'd had would have ranked these medicated and non-medicated pains a 9 and 14.
@jsempsey warned me that day five was rough. The pain had spread to his ears. I dreaded waking up from my many naps between days four and five. I wasn't ready for ear pain. Surprisingly, I didn't need to be. My ears felt relatively normal, although my tongue was still numb. The slime in my throat had thickened and I felt like I was choking on it. Nothing a little raspberry sherbet couldn't fix, at least that's what I told myself to justify bowl three of the morning.
Cayden entertained me on the webcam everyday. He told me I looked beautiful, which I knew was a lie because my hair was flattened on one side and I had sleep lines in my face from my bouts of unconsciousness. I was grateful to be off work so Cayden and I could talk all day every day. And by "talk" I mean he talked and I moaned and whimpered and passed out and snored and woke up again. But I was happy.
Day six was Tuesday, Sept. 5. The day I said I'd work from home, which was surprisingly tricky considering I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to login to my work email. But somehow I managed to crank out a blog post for the company blog and write a week's worth of Facebook content for one of our clients between naps. I'd planned on going back to work the next day, and started to wonder if I'd get in trouble for sleeping under my desk.
That night, I peeled myself off my trusty recliner, said goodbye to corn cereal and constant TLC, packed a cooler full of ice packs, popsicles and raspberry sherbet, and let my mom drive me back to my house in Addison.
"There's no way you're going to make it to work tomorrow," she said when she dropped me off. "Don't force it. Call me if you need anything."
She wasn't kidding. I didn't even kinda make it to work the next morning. I woke up with a pain level of 14. My ears throbbed. My throat burned. My neck felt like I'd been in a severe car accident. I cried, but crying hurt worse. The pain only lessened to a 12 when the vicodin kicked in. An unmanageable 12.
Oh, so this is what they meant by 'excruciating recovery,' I thought to myself.
@jsempsey told me to hang in there.
I attempted to work from home but spent most of the afternoon on the webcam with Cayden.
"I wish there was something I could do," he said. "I hate to see you like this."
I wiped my tears and tried to stop crying because it only created more throat slime. I was miserable. So miserable, I forced myself to drive to Sonic for a grape slushie. Yes, I'm aware that no one should ever drive that medicated. My bad.
"I'll be there in three weeks," Cayden said the next day on the webcam. The thought of it put a smile on my miserable face. It was day eight, and yet again, I didn't even kind of make it to work. But I did make it back to Sonic. It seemed the grape slushie was the only thing that could soothe my throat, if only for a few minutes. My tongue was still numb. My throat was still disgusting. I was out of raspberry sherbet.
"I can't wait to feel 100 percent again," I whined to Cayden. "Hell, I'd even go for 50 percent right about now."
"Well, you'll be back to 100 percent by the time I get there," he said. "And it will all be worth it."
He was right.