For the past 3 or 4 years, my nose has been bothering me. In a nutshell: my nostrils take turns being completely congested. It’s usually worse at night. I’ve tried a corticosteroid nasal spray, and it didn’t seem to work. Breathe Right strips work great, but I’m too stubborn to be dependent on an expensive adhesive for the rest of my life.
My nose has it in for me. It wants to ruin me. It is the host and I am the parasite.
I finally went to an ENT a few months ago. He recommended that I have a nasal septal reconstruction (to straighten my deviated septum), and a turbinate reduction procedure. I said I’d think about it. I thought about it for a couple of weeks, and then one night as I was getting into bed with the same stuffy, whistly nose, I decided to do it. Here’s my story, including potentially gross details. For those of you who don’t know me and found this blog entry with search terms related to my surgery (I did the same thing and found good information, so hopefully my experiences are helpful to any degree): I am a 28-year old male living in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
I schedule my procedure for Friday June 12th. I don’t know what to expect. I have a pre-op appointment on the afternoon of the 11th. The doctor looks at my nose again and says he’ll be able to straighten out my septum and get me breathing better.
I have to get to the hospital at 9:30am on the 12th. Rebecca and I get there right on time.
By the way, when they say that you’ll need someone to take care of you for at least the first 24 hours, they mean it. Rebecca is fantastic.
They take my vitals and then show us back to a small waiting room and have me change into a hospital gown. Then we wait for about an hour. Then I go and lay (lie?) down on a hospital gurney. They wheel me to the small hallway outside the operating room. A nurse verifies my information and covers me with warm blankets. It gets really cold in the operating room. You’re gonna want those blankets.
My ENT doctor comes and speaks with me for a moment and checks my chart. The anesthesiologist comes and does the same thing. Then they wheel me into the operating room and have me scoot over onto the operating table. The anesthesiologist hooks me up to the IV. The last thing I remember is one of the nurses holding an oxygen mask to my face as the anesthesia takes over.
The first thing I remember about waking up is saying “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” I don’t know if I just think this to myself or actually say it out loud.
I look at the clock. 12:30. This means I’ve been out for about an hour and a half. Out of nowhere a nurse spoons some crushed ice into my mouth. It’s delicious. “Oh, crushed ice, great!” I say.
I’m surprised that I can get air through my nose. I had read a lot of stuff online about how this surgery often involves the nose getting packed with splints and gauze or something, making it impossible to breathe. I couldn’t breathe through my nose, and still can’t, but I can get some air through it.
So I’m laying (lying?) there in the gurney, and the only pain I feel is soreness like a scraped knee inside my nose, and a sore throat. The sore throat is from the tube they put down my throat during the surgery. Both of these pains are bearable and not a big deal, probably thanks to whatever the pain medicine they have dripping into my left arm.
I have a bundle of gauze under my nostrils to catch the blood. It’s taped to my face.
The nurse asks me questions to see if I’m fully awake yet. She asks me my birthdate and some other question, and I tell her the correct answers. Sensing that this is a great opportunity to whip out the comedy gold, I then say, “also, my name is Rick Moranis.” Hilarious! “And I’ve starred in such films as . . .” Dangit, my mind’s blank. I really need to think of these things ahead of time in order to get the timing right . . . “Honey I Shrunk The Kids.” No response. Tough crowd. “No, just kidding, I’m not Rick Moranis.” Another spoonful of ice goes into my mouth.
The doctor pokes his head in and gives me a wave. He says it went well.
They give me a lortab.
Still on a gurney, they wheel me into a recovery room. Rebecca walks in at the same time. “Hey, I know her,” I say.
I take a second lortab, and they advise me to try to sleep. I’m convinced that I’m not going to be able to sleep because I’m uncomfortable on the gurney. I’m also convinced that I’ve only been in this room for half an hour when they finally come to put me in a wheelchair and escort me out to the parking lot. I get in the car and see that it’s 2:45pm. Wow, two hours. So it turns out that I probably got some sleep after all.
Rebecca drives us to Wal-Mart. I wait in the car while she picks up my lortab, antibiotics, and a Caribbean Passion from Jamba Juice.
We get home. Rebecca has to help me walk to the front door. I’m still wearing my funny-looking gauze mustache. I’ll wear one for the next 20 hours.
I drink a little water and take a nap. I wake up about an hour later, exit the bedroom, and announce that I feel great. I drink water, drink my Jamba Juice, play on the computer, and watch a little TV. Then I throw up three times in the bathroom. So much for ‘feeling great.’ According to the surgery infosheet they gave me, this is typical. Stomachs do not agree with old blood. I am a believer.
I feel much better after the vomiting. I take a series of naps the rest of the afternoon. I’m not in much pain. The worst pain is probably in my throat. As long as I don’t touch my nose or move it funny, I’m fine.
I get up around six or eight in the PM and eat some crackers, finish my Jamba Juice, and spray saline into my nostrils–every hour. I’m still sporting the mustache gauze, changing it as needed. Rebecca continues to take really great care of me for the rest of the day. She’s terrific, isn’t she folks?
To be honest, besides the clotted blood, I don’t know what exactly is up my nose right now. I think there are splints and some packing. I don’t know much about what splints and packing are/are made of/look like. All I know is that whatever’s going on up there is uncomfortable. I have my post-op appointment this Thursday. I think that’s when the doctor is going to take out whatever is up there. It’s probably a bunch of colorful handkerchiefs all tied together. “Oooh, Look what we have here!” he’ll say.
I’ll cover my sleeping and second-day experiences in my next post.