Hi all. I had surgery 12 days ago, but in researching the possible recovery complications I found this site to be the best. I am based in the UK.
I just wanted to share my experience as a bit of a caution and warning. I had surgery on the 13th initially. My symptoms were immediately relieved by surgery and I felt great. I was discharged the next day. During the night that I was in hospital I had a "concertina" drain fitted just below the incision. The drain came out during the night and wasn't replaced. I was discharged the next day feeling kinda rough but generally ok.
The evening after discharge I felt horrendous; couldn't swallow at all and the pain when I tried to swallow was ridiculous. I figured this was pretty normal given everything I had read.
the following morning my throat had swollen to the point where my jaw line has disappeared. My partner rang the hospital and they asked whether the swelling was firm or soft. It was soft. My partner explained I could no longer swallow anything without choking. We were told it was perfectly normal to have swallowing difficulties and to see how it went over the next 48 hours.
I didn't sleep at all that night and by the early hours was feeling short of breath. We rang the hospital and were told to head to A&E. I had an immediate X-Ray that showed sound 150ml of fluid in my throat. I was straight off to surgery and felt immediately better once in recovery. The surgeon had removed a blood clot around 200ml as it turned out.
I still haven't got my voice back, but other than that I am absolutely fine.
So I guess my message is that even though its "normal" to have problems swallowing, it doesn't mean that you should assume there is nothing wrong. If you are at all concerned please go get it checked out as an emergency. If I had left it much longer its possible that I would have stopped being able to breath and there isn't a damned thing that could have been done about it in the pre-hospital setting. I'm an ex paramedic and I know that I wouldn't have been able to secure and maintain an airway that was closed off through internal bleeding.