READER REPORT:

A bloody bad tonsil removal

ABBIE INWOOD
Last updated 11:29 15/07/2014
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SURGICAL SURPRISE: Abbie was told post-operative bleeds happen in about 1% of all tonsillectomies.

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Have you had a near-death experience? Soaking, scared and waiting to die I survived four brushes with death

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Miraculous moments, the day I survived

Flying solo at 700ft when the engine cut out Indebted to flatmate who saved my life Headlights, pure terror, then oblivion Kayaker caught on deadly conveyor belt My heartbeat's flatlining but I'm still alive Wallabies made life flash before my eyes A bloody bad tonsil removal I survived four brushes with death Soaking, scared and waiting to die Accepting my own death

Almost a year ago I had a septoplasty, tubinoplasty and my tonsils out.

When I knew I was going to have the operation I did what any internet geek would do and googled the procedure and recovery. I had heard that having your tonsils out when you're an adult is horrific, and the blogs did not disappoint.

One female blogger said "I've had three children and each one of those births hurt less than after I had my tonsils removed." Way to sell it.

The operation went well, and a week into recovery my partner was going away on a planned boys' weekend. Since I was going to be off work anyway, he and his friend suggested I went as well, so I wouldn't be at home on my own. And what would be better for healing from surgery than the crisp air of Ohakune?

A doctor's visit the day we were leaving gave me the all clear to travel with a warning to be careful, and that I was in the danger zone for a bleed if I was going to have one, but as they occur in about 1% of all tonsillectomies I should be fine.

Day one, I was feeling great. I stayed at the rental accommodation while my partner and his friend snow boarded during the day, and took it easy as per doctors orders.

Day two, I was feeling even better and thinking the horror stories I'd read on the blogs were ridiculous.

Then, just as the guys came home, I was asking them how their day had gone when I felt my mouth fill up with something. Instinctively I swallowed it, while in the back of my mind a thought flashed that it had tasted like blood. Immediately my mouth filled up again. I went to the bathroom to spit out whatever it was and see if everything was ok.

Positioned over the sink I kept spitting out mouthful after mouthful of blood, while calling out to my partner to call Healthline. He freaked out completely when he saw the blood dripping from my mouth and while hopping from one foot to the other asked what the number was.

"Google it, I'm a bit busy right now," I managed to get out. All through this I kept thinking back to what the nurses said after the operation about swallowing too much blood, and the ridiculous blogs which now made me think this was normal, with what was going on around me.

After about 15 minutes of my mouth filling and me spitting, I started to feel faint and called out that I thought I needed an ambulance. My partner had already been told this by Healthline and was on the phone to St Johns, who arrived about ten minutes later. The blood had clotted by then, and a look at the back of my throat showed that I had burst the artery near one of my tonsils.

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My partner still likes to tell everyone that I was so excited to see him, my blood pressure rose when he got home and that's what caused it.

The nearest hospital to Ohakune is Wanganui, so a long ride in the ambulance later I was admitted. Because when they asked how much blood I had lost all I could say was 'I don't know', they took some more to find out. It turns out a Class 3 hemorrhage after a tonsillectomy is not normal, but I was thankful for the misinformation I had at the time as I believe that's what kept me calm. That and my partner of course.

After a brief stay in hospital and no more bleeding I was allowed to go home, but subsequently, I don't think I'm going to get invited on any more boys' weekends!


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