Peritonsillar Abscess, Better Known as Sore Throat from Hell

This was posted as a reply on Facebook. But some people commented that they don’t do Facebook, and I have to agree with them on that. So I’m re-posting here on my blog. Aren’t you lucky. ;)

I had a mild sore throat for about 5 days and didn’t think much about it. Things really started to get bad on Tuesday and I left work early to visit the Doctor. The Doctor took a mouth swab to send off and see if it was Strep, but I wouldn’t get the results until Friday. So she gave my a simple antibiotic and some stuff to gargle with. After doing that for 2 days, my sore throat wasn’t getting any better. The medicine the Doctor gave me wasn’t helping. It got to the point where I couldn’t even swallow a mouth full of water because it just hurt too much. Since it was getting to hard to swallow, I was consuming less food, and more importantly water. (I had been drinking soup since Tuesday at lunch, but less and less each day). I just couldn’t take the pain any more.

So the other morning at 2am, I decided that I wasn’t going to wait for the results from my doctors throat swab and I went to the hospital emergency room.  They loaded me up on quality pain killers – Tylenol and Motrin had zero effect on me and hooked up the fluids to fight off dehydration.

In the end, it was the right call because that throat swab my doctor did never would have shown that I had a Peritonsillar abscess (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsillar_abscess ), although the specialist didn’t seem to like the calling it an abscess.

She made a couple small incisions at the back of my mouth between my tonsils and the left side (where the pain was) and while that hurt like you would not believe, it relieved the pain. Now, just 12 hours after getting home from the hospital, I am having no problems drinking whatever I want and could easily eat real food again – although I’m taking it slowly.

The downside is that I’m hooked up to a couple IV’s for just under a week as they pump me full of antibiotics. And I have follow up appointments like you wouldn’t believe. But it’s a small price to pay to be able to eat again! Heck, I’m just glad this didn’t happen before the long weekend – to miss all that food from the wedding and then 2 thanksgiving dinners would have sucked.

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11 Comments on "Peritonsillar Abscess, Better Known as Sore Throat from Hell"

  1. Remo Knops
    15/10/2010 at 8:53 am Permalink

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for sharing your story, since I was a little shocked by your rush to the hospital. I’m glad to hear that you can feel progress, and I’m confident that you will recover soon.

    A pink Otterbox and a super skinny Mike don’t fit well together ! Get well soon and take care.

    // Remo Knops

  2. Mike Temporale
    15/10/2010 at 9:09 am Permalink

    LOL – I got a long way to go before I reach super skinny!! ;-)

  3. marlof
    15/10/2010 at 9:32 am Permalink

    I got a sore throat reading this. I hope that’s just my lively imagination. Wish you a speedy recovery!

  4. Christine Kasprzak
    19/10/2010 at 1:19 am Permalink

    Hi, I’ve been having trouble swallowing solid foods since June! I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve been to countless doctor’s and all it seems they do is “practice medicine” without finding the cause or doing tests to see what is wrong with me… It’s so frustrating. Well, I did see an ear, nose, throat specialist and he said that I had holes in my tonsils which could me causing the feeling that everything I try to eat is getting stuck … So he said water pik, gargle, yadda yadda, … Did that. But I don’t have that white stuff that you can see on the front. I did find some tonsil stones on my left tonsil, wayyyyy in the back so I cannot get them all out … anyways its my right tonsil that is bothering me really bad, causing ear pain and what not. By reading your symptoms, it seems exactly like what I’m going through. I’ve been living off of tomato soup, ensure, and mashed potatoes! For four months! I went to the doctor for a follow up today and he agreed that it looked like my tonsils were infected, so what did he do, perscribe me more antibiotics! I can’t swallow solids … what don’t these people understand … I think I may have to go back to the ER and ask for a penicillin shot or something. This is really frustrating and if this is what is wrong with me I will be upset with my doctors because, I have always since I was little had strep throat twice a year like clockwork. Then when I turned 15 got Mono. Always always have had problems with my tonsils … I don’t want to get them removed but if that is what’s necesarry than I guess … but I think I will see about this first … any ideas?

  5. Mike Temporale
    24/10/2010 at 8:39 pm Permalink

    Hi Christine – I don’t really know what to tell you. I can say, that what you have sounds different than me. I couldn’t sallow anything – not even water. While I hate to say it, at least you can still swallow liquids.

    If you don’t think you’re getting the right answer, I would go see a different doctor and make sure that they agree with what you’ve already been told.

    Hope things get better for you soon.

  6. ken from nj
    26/02/2011 at 11:55 pm Permalink

    Mike, I JUST got back from the hospital ER, with the same prognosis. I thought for sure it was strep. But when the test can back negatitive, I was even more scared. OMG throat cancer??!!!
    They took a CT scan (I couldn’t open my mouth more than an inch) which revealed an abscess on my left tonsil like yourself. They called in a E. N. and T. doctor to inject a HUGE syringe with a vacuum attached to it, to suck the puss out. (While the ER doctor held my jaws a part and suppressing my tongue down)…YEOUCH!!
    But man what a relief!! I’m preparing my first meal in 3 days as I speak.
    Any idea how this infection happens? The Docs couldn’t tell me.

  7. Devon Kaahanui
    28/05/2013 at 10:04 pm Permalink

    Just got my abscess drained today! I feel your pain lol. I was curious as to when i should start drinking water again, and your post says 12 hours. Super stoked to be able to drink again tomorrow!

  8. sabrina
    17/09/2013 at 3:22 pm Permalink

    i just had that happen to me recently, i went to the er on the 15th because my throat was so bad i couldnt swallow anything,couldnt eat for a week staright,couldnt sleep and etc…when i went in they tested me for strep and mono it was negative so they hooked me up on an iv with lots of antibiotics,then they dr told me that my throat was really swollen and they needed to do a catscan,well when the results came back he said that i had no choice but to do a tonsil abscess if i wanted to get better,i was so freaking scared…it hurt a little bit towards the end of the procedure..it was quick though…i am slowly starting to eat again but dont get why when i drink water it comes out my nose

  9. David Christopher
    15/03/2014 at 12:18 pm Permalink

    After reading this post I went to the urgent care and the nurse seemed to think that because my throat swelling was worse on one side it might be a peritosillar abscess. She depressed my tongue and shone a light down my throat (I could only open my mouth about an inch) and she saw the abscess.

    Now three days ago my Dr. Diagnosed this as strep, even when the test came back negative (apparently it’s quite common they do). He gave me a z-pack of antibiotics, and my sore throat has just gotten worse since even though I’ve been taking it. Last night I had a fever of 99.5 and could barely talk or swallow.

    The nurse said that since there was no puss to drain in my abscess yet she was just going to go ahead and give me a powerful antibiotic injection in my bottom, another injection of steroids for the swelling and prescribe a liquid antibiotic to be taken as well. She said that should knock it out in two days tops. But if I wasn’t 20 percent better by tomorrow I should go in to ENT surgery. So here’s hoping!

    My advice – go to the dr sooner than later, before that abscess fills with puss and you have to have it drained in surgery. And if your antibiotics aren’t making your strep go away after 3 days, go back to the dr.

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