On Februrary 27 I finally had both my tonsils removed. I’ve needed to have this procedure done for at least 20 years but lack of medical insurance and/or money always stood in my way. For as long as I can remember my right tonsil has been an unusal size. It had always been 2 to 3 times the size of my left tonsil and my private joke was that the right was eating the left. I had my first tonsil stone in middle school. I was a foul tasting, foul smelling yellow-wihte lump that popped out one day while I was playing the clarinet. I had no idea what the hell it was. I swallowed it in surprise. More and more tonsil stones would follow over the years.
My right tonsil became full of holes, cryptic in medical jargon. These holes would fill with dead bacteria that became calcified and so a tonsil stone was born. Often I would taste them before I could see them. When swallowing water there would be the taste of rot. Over the course of usually a week the stone would move through the crypts in my tonsil, growing until it erupted onto the surface. It was a yellow-white speck on my tonsil. Tonsil stones have much in common with zits in that way. Unlike zits, they sit aroud in your tonsil as long as they like, effecting the taste of everytthing and causing bad breath. I didn’t now this until one of my brothers remarked “Your breath smells like shit.”
These days you can find tonsil stone removal videos all over youtube and tonsil stone extracting tools are sold on Amazon. When I was a teen neither of those websites existed. So I learned to DIY it. In the beginning runnnig the bristles of my toothbrush over the surface of my tonsil would dislodge the stone. But the crypts in my tonsil grew larger and deeper and I had to improvise even more. Eventually bob pins and q-tips were my go to tools. As I grew old my right tonsil only grew larger. Crypts would open spontaeously and fill with stones. I could feel them rubbing against the very back of my tongue. I stopped growing but my right tonsil didn’t. Eventually it grew so large that it would interfer with my breathing. The crypts were so long and deep that I couldn’t get all the stones out and I was constantly worried that my breath smelled of ass. On eventful day in college, I bought a water pik. I inserted it into the largest hole in my tonsil and turned it on.
I really should have turned the pressure down but what came spewing from my mouth was a mixture of water, tonsil stone pieces, and blood. My tonsil ached and bleed for a week. Worried that a repeat treatment would tear pieces of my actual tonsil lose I never used the water pik on it again. But that one treatment left me tonsil stone free for nearly three months. I suffer chronic bouts of tonsilitis, sore throats, sinus infections, and bronchitis over the years. When sick my tonsil would swell so much I could feel it touching the other side of my throat. I struggled to breath around it.
In September of last year I came down with bronchitis, tonsilitis, and laringitis. This progressed to include a sinus infection. In October, still fighting the bronchitis, I had my first ever ear infection. A double ear infect, both ears. That was a pain I was not ready to deal with. The ear infections healed up but I developed a cold on top of the reoccuring bronchitis. The local walk in clinic kept me going and healthy enough until I could finally see my doctor in Janurary. By then everything but the tonsilitis had resolved. My wonderful GP took one look down my throat and started filling out a referal to an ENT.