The tonsil was taken out as a day surgery, which actually meant afternoon surgery and an overnight stay at hospital. I was fairly apprehensive, not least because of the logistical stuff around my MS and lack of mobility. But it all went quite smoothly.
I came round from the general anaesthetic to find myself covered by a heated blanket because my temperature had taken a rapid fall. I was far too groggy to know what was going on and by the time I was starting to come round properly I was on a ward being asked what I wanted to eat. I was really hungry as no eating had been allowed before the surgery.
I ate the surprisingly marvellous hospital food (a rather nice if a bit studenty tuna bake) with no problem from throat pain, though quite obviously that was being obscured by opiates.
Mr A came to see me and said things had gone well. The tonsil had been taken out with no problems. He’d see me in clinic in a week or so.
Meanwhile I had to get through a night on the ward. Though I was still feeling drowsy from the anaesthetic I only slept fitfully.The place was light and noisy, the bed not the most comfortable. But there was no pain- I was given a cocktail of ibuprofen, paracetamol and codeine and between them they seemed to do the trick.
In the morning I was given toast for breakfast.This is apparently a well known post-tonsilectomy test. They don’t let you leave before you get through your two slices. Well I can’t say I liked the white bread or the margarine, but test passed.
And I left a couple of hours later holding a paper bag full of painkillers as well as a supply of steroids and antibiotics, though following my previous rash experience, not the now untouchable penicillin.
Ten days followed spent recovering, taking the medication, rinsing my mouth with salt water every few hours, trying to sleep. The steroids had the familiar side-effect of making me feel a bit like a cartoon super-hero. I wanted to do everything at once. But I couldn’t sleep more than three or four hours a night at the most. They also seemed to create an enormous build-up of fluid. I couldn’t stop peeing, and I had ankles so swollen it was getting hard to put shoes on. Plus the combination of the antibiotics cleansing me of my intestinal flora and the codeine’s power to constipate meant my stomach really didn’t know whether it was coming or going.
But the medications (apart from the painkillers) only lasted a week. And then it was back to the clinic.
Mr A gave me the bad news first. He said the tonsil had been cancerous. And the cancer had spread to a lymph gland in my neck.
Then he gave me the good news. The cancer was curable.