A little backstory…
I’ve suffered from terrible allergies my entire life…seriously, as long as I can remember, I’ve always had trouble. I’ve been put through allergy tests multiple times, allergy shots, tons of different prescription nasal sprays, pills, breathing treatments, YOU NAME IT. I
I had just gotten so used to constantly being asked if I had a cold or needed a cough drop because I tolerated it for so many years. Honestly, there was rarely a day in my life that I COULD breathe normally. I don’t think I know what that even feels like!
So at the age of 27, my allergist said to me that there was nothing else he could do for me; I needed to see a ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist. I made an appointment and went, leaving with 9 prescriptions and very frustrated. I was told to try those medications, all of which I’d tried before, and report back in a month. Also, in one month I would have a CT scan of my sinuses.
Surely enough, the medicines Did not work, and the CT scan showed that I had a severely deviated septum and that my nasal passages were extremely small. IMAGINE THAT! I’d been telling the doctors all along that I couldn’t ever breathe because I felt that my nasal passages were so small that I couldn’t get any air. That same day we scheduled my surgery. I was nervous but so grateful to finally have a diagnosis that made sense, with a scheduled procedure to fix it. May 1st was the surgery date. I was going to have a Septoplasty and turbinate reduction. According to WebMD, Septoplasty is a corrective surgical procedure done to straighten the nasal septum, the partition between the two nasal cavities. Ideally, the septum should run down the center of the nose. When it deviates into one of the cavities, it narrows that cavity and impedes airflow. Mine was severely deviated to the right. The inside walls of the nose have 3 pairs of long thin bones covered with thin tissue. These bones are called nasal turbinates.
Allergies or other nasal problems can cause the turbinates to swell and block airflow. The turbinate reduction part of the surgery was done to fix my blocked airways and improve my breathing.
The day of surgery I had to report in at 10am. Having fasted all night I was ready to get done so I could eat! Well, at 1230pm I was still waiting. Finally the nurse gave me some Vicodin in my IV to help me.relax. I obviously wasn’t very relaxed knowing my nose was about to get brutalized. My doctor, who also did the surgery, came in and prayed over me, which I thought was very cool.
I Was rolled into the operating room and the nurse and anesthesiologist tried to make small talk with me about movies. I was not really in a chatty mood, LOL. I tried to fight the anesthesia for some reason, I guess I was just afraid…but I didn’t win that fight!
I was later told that it was about a one hour surgery, and that it took me a long time to wake up. I woke up in a lot of pain; my top teeth felt like I had just gotten braces again. If you’ve ever had braces, you know exactly the horrible ache I’m talking about. I didn’t expect my mouth to hurt but apparently that’s pretty normal. I also felt like I had a horrible sinus headache- you know, the kind you get behind your eyes that make your eyes ache. I found out that the modern way surgery is done now does not require packing in the nose; instead, I have two plastic splints shoved up my nostrils. I can see them if I look- they look like hard plastic straws and they are very uncomfortable . The doctor said I did very well and would feel better when I took my pain medication.
The rest of the day and all of the next were kind of a blur. I slept on and off all day and night because that was the only way to escape the pain. I was having some slight bleeding from my nostrils but was equipped with gauze pads taped under my nose to catch it. I as instructed to use saline rinse several times a day as well as a nasal decongestant spray. The nostrils must be kept moist and clean to prevent infection or crusting (yuck- and painful!). I followed all of the instructions given to me.
Today is day 3 and I still am taking my pain medicines because my head still has a lot of pain and pressure. I am happy that I get my splints taken out on Monday (day 5!) but really hoping it won’t hurt. I am being very diligent with my saline rinses in hopes that it makes the splint removal as painless as possible. I can breathe a little bit already, even with the splints. 🙂 I cannot sneeze or blow my nose for two weeks though, which is very weird for me since I’ve been an allergy sufferer for my entire life! So far so good though!
I will post another update on Monday to let you know how the splint removal goes… eek!