Among the other popular topics in my last near1000 posts are my tonsils. But it's been nearly two years since they were last under discussion (and my Google hits show that lack), so I suppose it's time for me to revisit the topic---especially since I only just finally learned the technical term for what ails me. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)
In Whited Sepulchers, I referred to stuff "Completely digested and completely disgusting" caught in the back of my throat.
And in Enema in my mouth, I looked forward to "A lifetime of happiness free of feces-smelling cheese-curd-looking food particles"---
Then in Porous tonsils, hooray! I cursed my "Freaking mortal tabernacle" because the enema-in-my-mouth solution proved imperfect.
Early last summer when we went on water rationing, I decided the water lost while warming up water for my throat could be cut, so I stopped the nightly washes.
Then last week I changed my mind. I realized I could save the warming-up water for the toilet and thus tonsilrinse guiltfree.
A few things got me thinking about doing this:
1. Lady Steed said my breath stunk, and she said it pretty much all the time.
2. I read the above linked-to Wikipedia article.
3. In scraping my tonsils clean with the buttend of my toothbrush I discovered a secret compartment full of crap.
I'm not kidding. With a stripped Q-tip I pushed my left tonsil towards the center of my throat and I discovered a cave as big again as my tonsil and filled with small yellow curds.
It was a horrifying discovery.
And so I'm back on the oral enema regimen. Whee.
So. Tonsilloliths. Apparently--and this doesn't surprise me--they are not merely food but also dead bacteria and white blood cells. I've suspected for a while that they were being generated within my body rather than arriving from without only to undergo a metamorphosis. And that raises the question: what good rinsing?
Link-following on Wikipedia led me to Tonsillectomy. Now, I've been opposed to a tonsillectomy on the grounds that they take famously long for adults to recover from. Besides, tonsils serve important immune purposes and, allegedly, tonsilloliths can still be formed in the tonsilless soul.
But then I was Wikipedia and I began to realize that there are many, many surgical options when it comes to tonsil removal. Here are a few of the most appealing:
Radiofrequency ablation: Monopolar radiofrequency thermal ablation transfers radiofrequency energy to the tonsil tissue through probes inserted in the tonsil. The procedure can be performed in an office (outpatient) setting under light sedation or local anesthesia. After the treatment is performed, scarring occurs within the tonsil causing it to decrease in size over a period of several weeks. The treatment can be performed several times. The advantages of this technique are minimal discomfort, ease of operations, and immediate return to work or school. Tonsillar tissue remains after the procedure but is less prominent. This procedure is recommended for treating enlarged tonsils and not chronic or recurrent tonsillitis.
Thermal Welding: A new technology which uses pure thermal energy to seal and divide the tissue. The absence of thermal spread means that the temperature of surrounding tissue is only 2-3 °C higher than normal body temperature. Clinical papers show patients with minimal post-operative pain (no requirement for narcotic pain-killers), zero edema (swelling) plus almost no incidence of bleeding. Hospitals in the US are advertising this procedure as "Painless Tonsillectomy". Also known as Tissue Welding.
Carbon dioxide laser: Laser tonsil ablation (LTA) finds the otolaryngologist employing a hand-held CO2 or KTP laser to vaporize and remove tonsil tissue. This technique reduces tonsil volume and eliminates recesses in the tonsils that collect chronic and recurrent infections. This procedure is recommended for chronic recurrent tonsillitis, chronic sore throats, severe halitosis, or airway obstruction caused by enlarged tonsils. The LTA is performed in 15 to 20 minutes in an office setting under local anesthesia. The patient leaves the office with minimal discomfort and returns to school or work the next day. Post-tonsillectomy bleeding may occur in 2-5% of patients. Previous research studies state that laser technology provides significantly less pain during the post-operative recovery of children, resulting in less sleep disturbance, decreased morbidity, and less need for medications. On the other hand, some believe that children are adverse to outpatient procedures without sedation.
Anyway, my point is that I think one of these types of surgery might be the way to go. I'm sick sick sick of dealing with this and if modern medicine can give me a more permanent solution with a minimum of pain or danger, then why not? Now I just need to get Kaiser on board and we'll be good to go.
The problem will be getting me to a doctor. I'm terrible about getting to doctors. But the longterm benefits of this seem worth it.
I just hope I get a doctor who doesn't mind printouts from Wikipedia.....