@Rufus - Welcome to our AWESOME forum!
The first week post op is generally pretty uncomfy because you’ve just had major surgery in your neck. Sore throat, neck swelling, difficulty eating, swallowing, talking, etc. are all very common. It’s critical that you keep your head elevated at all times even when sleeping (30º or more is optimal for several weeks - a couple of months post op). My surgeon told me that days 3-5 post op are when the swelling is greatest, & the post op pain medication regimen should be strictly adhered to. If you’re taking opioid meds you should also be taking a laxative & stool softener as these meds are notorious for causing constipation - not something you need when you’re already miserable.
I’m going to guess that your surgeon (I can guess based on your hint who it is), didn’t Rx prednisone post op. Many surgeons don’t. Mine did, & it really helped keep that horrible swollen throat problem at bay, & I believe kept me from being more uncomfortable than I was. If you continue to feel so swollen & can tolerate steroids, I’d call & ask for prednisone Rx.
Even though you may not feel any obvious help from ice, I think you should continue to use it as it’s a natural anti-inflammatory - 15 min. on & at least 45 min. off 3-5x/day. Heat is not a great idea right now because although it might feel good, it stimulates your circulation & will increase inflammation.
As I said, the first week after surgery is the worst. The second week begins to see some improvement and each subsequent week should find you feeling a bit better. Let your family, friends, or whoever is there to help, take care of you. Your job is to lay low & let your body heal. Listening to your body over the next several months & resting when you’re tired & not overdoing when you feel good will go far in helping you heal.
I had my surgeries when I was 58. It took me about 2 months after each one before I felt like myself again. I had some nerve damage to my tongue which took closer to a year to resolve after surgery #1. I’m 4+ years out from surgery now & have NO regrets. In spite of your current situation, you will be thankful for having ES surgery.
If you have bilateral ES, please be aware that your remaining styloid or calcified stylohyoid ligament will likely continue to be symptomatic & may increase in symptoms once you’ve healed from the first surgery. We don’t know why symptoms from the remaining side often get worse after surgery #1, but we’ve seen a trend in that direction on this forum. Often the second surgery is less difficult than the first which is the good news.
Remember that pain & swelling are your body’s way of protecting what’s just been “injured” by surgery & also of making you lay low for a bit so your body can put it’s energy into healing. Rest as much as you can. Drinking cold protein smoothies, shakes, juice, eating fruit popsicles, etc., will keep calories in you & help decrease swelling. You’ll be able to begin eating more normally before too long.
Praying for you to feel well soon!