Darlene Foster's Blog

Tonsil-less at Twelve

Posted on: August 16, 2015



My children and grandchildren still have them; but there are not many my age that are still in possession of their tonsils. For some reason, they were removed when we were children. I was about twelve years old when my younger brother had to have his tonsils surgically removed, so the doctor suggested we all have it done. Did we get a family discount?

I remembered overhearing a story about a child who bled to death during his tonsillectomy. So when it was my turn, I was convinced I would have the same sad fate and was very frightened. Coming out of the anaesthetic, I saw a blurry image of my mother bending over me touching my wrist. I guess she had the same concern.

Having survived the operation, I did what any aspiring writer would do; wrote a letter to my aunt who was my age, and my best friend. She had undergone the same operation a few months earlier. She has, amazingly, found the letter I had written to her. (I love that our family saves things like this.)


I no longer have readable penmanship. However, I still have terrible spelling and use the word lucky a lot.

Do you still have your tonsils? Do you remember having them removed?

Tonsiles, Darlene


34 Responses to "Tonsil-less at Twelve"

My tonsils are still intact! I love your sweet letter. How special that you still have it Darlene.

Pleased you still have your tonsils! I love the fact that my aunt, who lives in Arizona, still had that letter after all these years.

Lost mine as a Child due to severe tonsillitis. One of my daughters, the oldest Andrea had to have her Adnoids out at age 5 and her tonsils later on due to ear nose and throat issues. I remember the Dr telling us they no longer took tonsils out routinely.

I think removing them when there is a problem is OK as was the case of my younger brother. It was just that mine and my other brother´s were perfectly fine at the time. Great to hear from you!

I still have mine! Tonsils, that is. And illegible handwriting! How sweet she kept your letter all these years. My best friend had to have her tonsils removed; I remember visiting her at her grandmother’s house where she recuperated.

Glad to hear you were able to keep your tonsils. Not sure why they took out perfectly healthy tonsils in those days. (maybe it was a prairie thing.)

It did seem a popular thing to do at that time.


Tonsils and adenoids act as a defense against infections that invade the body through the nose and mouth. They are part of the lymphatic system of the body, a protective system who’s cells attach and literally devour bacteria.

Thanks for the great information. I got a lot of colds as an adult and perhaps it is because I didn´t have my tonsils to devour the bacteria.

Haha, such a cute letter. I still have my tonsils. I’m afraid the doctor would have to put on his running shoes if he ever wanted to take mine out. 🙂

It is cute isn´t it. Sure took me back. Good for you for protecting your tonsils!

Yes, my tonsils were removed too, but I have different memories: The nun at St. Joseph’s Hospital who gave me a milkshake. I remember that the cool liquid both hurt and soothed going down my throat, raw from the assault.

Wonderful that you have this letter and can trace your writing so far back. you have beautiful cursive for a 12-year-old. I believe I was 7 and in 2nd grade. Such surgeries, now thought barbaric, were in vogue back then.

I do remember that I was allowed to eat Jello and ice cream, which was a nice treat after my ordeal. I did have nice hand writing back and won prizes for my penmanship back then. By high school it began to get messy and is unreadable now. When I got my first computer and started to type my monthly letters to my mother-in-law in England, she said, “Now I can actually read your letters.” Ouch!

It’s wonderful that your aunt kept that letter. Do you remember writing it? It must have been terrifying getting your tonsils out after the scare stories you’d heard. I still have mine but I’ve sometimes wondered if I ought to have had them out because I quite often get a sore throat, and have occasionally had tonsillitis. A friend of mine had them out when we were at school and I remember her telling me that she was made to eat dry cornflakes afterwards, which really hurt.

Dry cornflakes! Oh my. We were given ice cream and Jello which was the only good thing about the ordeal. I still think it is better to keep your tonsils unless they are really bad. I still get sore throats and colds, in fact I think I get them more often because I don´t have my tonsils to fight off the bacteria. Who knows!

Ice cream and jello sounds much more suitable. I think the dry cornflakes were supposed to toughen her up quickly but it sounds awful. That’s a good point about the tonsils, perhaps it is worth hanging onto them.

Hello Darlene, I do still have my tonsils, although sometimes wish I didn’t. I’ve suffered recurring bouts of tonsillitis for the past 60+ years. My father didn’t believe in “newfangled medicine” and refused me the operation. I thought he was a hero at the time, not so sure now though.

You must have been thrilled to see your letter again. I can’t spell either and often wish computers were invented when I was at school. I’m sure I would have done so much better if only I had a spell checker back then!

I still think your father was a hero, sticking to his guns. Removing perfectly good parts of your immune system was ridiculous. I was thrilled to see this letter. Spell check has been my saviour and has helped me to spell better. (The more often a word comes up with a red line under it, I remember to spell it correctly, eventually)

I am fortunate to still have my tonsils Darlene . The only item I have had removed was my son and he’s just gone 24 .
I think it’s amazing that your aunt kept that letter when it could have so easily have been thrown away…good on her.
I am the most diabolical speller . I honestly don’t know what I did before spellcheck . I think my dictionary was my constant companion . Why is it we see words a billon times and can not remember how to spell them . I suppose English is a difficult language to conquer because our words are often spelt differently to the way we pronounce them .
As I have mentioned, on many occasions do tell me to shut up, I have moved to Wales in the last year and I am told that ,with the Welsh language , words are spelt as they are pronounced …so for a autumn / winter challenge I will,get myself booked up for a course tee hee. .

Good luck with your Welsh language course. It should be fun. Glad to hear you still have your tonsils. They stopped taking them out at random and only when necessary which is good. Yes, thank heaven for spell check. I could not have written 4 books without it!

I still have mine, but I remember feeling jealous of my older siblings when they had theirs removed because they were given lots of ice-cream to help with the healing and the pain. Were you given ice-cream too?

Oh yes, I was given lots of ice cream which did make the ordeal a bit better. I´m glad you still have your tonsils. To this day I have a real fear of hospitals and operations.

Oh, it’s so much easier to have them out when you are young. i was 3-4 yrs old. Love you 12-year-old letter.

I´m sure it is easier when you are little. You probably don´t even remember it. It is a funny little letter, isn´t it.

Your letter is wonderful Darlene! I remember lots of kids getting their tonsils out – they all got to eat lots of ice cream… 🙂

That was the only good part!

I still have mine. So far… 😉

That´s great. Try to hang on to them. Have you had any operations?

I still have my tonsils Darlene. So whatever they’re supposed to be doing, they’re dangling right there doing it after all these years. The letter is very cute, and your penmanship is commendable. My penmanship was never very good, and since I started using a computer keyboard it’s only gotten worse and worse. Even I can’t read it sometimes. Thank goodness for email and text messages. ~James

Good for you that they weren´t taken from you without your permission. The computer has saved me as my writing is totally unreadable now. Not sure what happened.

Terri has a funny tonsil story Darlene. When it came time to have them removed T’s parents promised that “you can eat all the ice cream you want and have 7-Up.” What they didn’t tell her was that her throat would be so sore that she couldn’t swallow. She remembers this as just one of the parental scams she fell for in her young years. ~James

That is funny! It goes along with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. (although I still believe they exist!!)

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