Why I Have Much Sympathy for Blink-182’s Travis Barker Today

Blink-182’s concert schedule is in chaos after drummer Travis Barker had to undergo an emergency tonsillectomy.

“Wait,” I can hear you say, “Tonsillectomy? I had my tonsils out when I was a kid and all I remember is getting all the ice cream I wanted!”

True.  But that was when you were a kid.  Getting a tonsillectomy as an adult is much, much different and much more painful.  I have first-hand experience of this.

I suffered through mainy painful throat infections as a kid, a teenager and as an adult.  I wanted the damn things out but the prevailing wisdom of the era was to treat the condition–everything from routine infections all the way up to strep–with antibiotics.  

And that worked.  For a while.

By the time I turned 30, I was getting a throat infection every six weeks.  My doctor finally said “You want those things out?”  I said, “Hell, yeah!” 

Getting your tonsils out as an adult is reasonably big deal.  You don’t heal as quickly or with as little pain as a kid does.  In fact, it can get downright dangerous.

I should have guessed that it was going to be a bit of an ordeal when they doped me on morphine and Demoral for two days after the surgery.  Then I was sent home with some regular Tylenol.  It didn’t work.

As my throat struggled to heal after the surgery, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t talk.  The pain was excruciating. Even a simple swallow felt like the cuts of a thousand razor blades.

Then after two weeks of doing exactly what I was supposed to, one of the tonsil beds ruptured.  In the dark of night as I was sleeping, I began to hemmorhage blood down my throat.  It’s a good think I woke up.

I drove myself to the emergency ward at 4:30am with my head out the window of the car so the blood would drain out instead of into my stomach.  My the time the surgeon appeared to cauterize the wound–and you don’t want to know how he did that–I had lost a litre of blood.  

It took another month before I was even close to full strength.  And given that I make my living by talking, it got pretty damn scary some days.

So Travis, my man, take all the time you need.  Baby your throat.  Don’t let anyone rush your recovery. An emergency tonsillectomy is nothing to take lightly.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Why I Have Much Sympathy for Blink-182’s Travis Barker Today

  • May 11, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I don't really care about this guy. I have seen an episode of a reality show he was on, and he is just a skid. So, oh well…you aren't so cool buddy. Suck on a bunch of dick-like popsicles…hahha!!
    Yours Truly,
    Billy T
    Rock and Roll prevails!

  • May 11, 2012 at 1:59 am

    I am a massive fan of his. In fact he inspired me to be a drummer,hopefully he recovers fully. thanks for the news A.C.

  • May 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Billy sounds intelligent. May I ask what thesis he's working on?

  • May 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Sorry, maybe it's rude to bum out people who are fans of his by being so negative, but for some reason I thought I would share my thoughts. I never met him, or really studied the guy's music but as a music fan, and from what I have seen and heard casually I am not a fan. I am sure he will recover and continue his reign as the 20th Century version of Tommy Lee.


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