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My Tonsillectomy, Eight Years Later August 24, 2011

Posted by samwyse in Autobiographical.
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I guess I’m a little late with this update. 🙂 I referred someone on G+ to my original page, but reading it I realized that it’s more than a bit out of date. Let’s start by looking at what I said to my acquaintance.

Here’s an explanation of the procedure, and a physician finder. Eight years ago it only turned up one name in St Louis (Alan Wild), now it finds several.

And here’s way more than you probably want to know about me. I guess I need to post an update because things mostly turned out OK. On the one hand, I healed very fast with no complications. Every adult I knew who had a similar procedure (a small group, to be sure) was very jealous. On the other, I was one of those (45% if I recall correctly) for whom it made no difference in the long term. Short term, though, it worked wonders.

With that out of the way, let’s get into what’s happened since then. Within a week of that posting, I felt great! My second trip to Russia was a success. No CPAP, no problems sleeping on the plane or in hotel rooms. OTOH, after a year or two, I started snoring again and eventually had to go back to my CPAP. Now my CPAP is getting old (and noisy!) and the insurance company wants another sleep evaluation before they replace it, so maybe something will turn up.

The tonsillectomy means that sore throats are almost never a problem any more.

The UPPP means that “stuff” will occasionally go up into my nose or down my windpipe. This only happens once a week or so, so it’s not major annoyance, but when it does happen I wind up wanting to cough for a minute or so. Carbonated drinks are by far the worst offender, so I’ve largely switched to iced tea with meals but still drink canned diet sodas from time to time. Talking when my mouth is full (yes, I know I shouldn’t!) will rarely (every two or three months?) cause a tiny bit of solid food to go the wrong way. This leads to major coughing fits as my body tries to expel the irritant for several minutes after it’s actually gone.

The last issue is that the turbinectomy means that when I get a runny nose, all the little nooks and crannies that used to accumulate snot are gone This means that I have to blow my nose a lot more frequently, almost continuously. On the other hand, a head cold doesn’t result in nasal congestion, because there’s no tissue to get swollen. Over all, things are, well, different; not really better or worse, just different.

That last sentence pretty much sums up the entire experience. The positives and the negatives seem to balance out. Since I eventually wound up exactly where I began, I’m not sure the procedures were worthwhile. On the other hand, I don’t regret them. Should you get it done? That’s up to you, but I’d say go for it. You’ll be incredibly miserable for a short while, but then life will be great for a much longer while, even if not permanently.

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