My septoplasty experience – Part 2

Part 1 is here. Some of this may get a little TMI because I wanna share it all, especially for anyone googling about it as I was before.

My doctor explained that my nose had been swollen probably for all of my adult life. That in straightening my septum, it would probably look different, so I took this picture just in case.

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So, the night before my surgery, I did a face mask, removed my nail polish and freaked out. I couldn’t really sleep, I was anxious, worried. I don’t even remember what I tried to do or how I spent my night, but I fell asleep at about 4 am and woke up 2 hours later. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 on Friday and I had to show up at the hospital at 6:30.

I went into the hospital, my mom and my sister came with me. I signed all my admission paperwork, I paid a deposit and then went in for a pre-op medical check. I had already done my blood work and CT 2 days before. They took my blood pressure, my height and weight and I answered some questions. For some reason, once this was over, I felt better. I wasn’t really scared or nervous anymore. She also explained some of the post-op care: I was going to breathe through my nose for a few days so I was to drink plenty of water, moisturize my lips a lot and I shouldn’t bend down or pick up anything heavy. She also explained that I had to sleep at an angle, which my doctor had talked to me about: the nose heals with gravity, the swelling doesn’t go down if you don’t have your head up higher.

Then they escorted us all to the outpatient wing. My sister went in with me so she could pick up my things. There was a changing room where I was given all the OR gear, I put my clothes on a locker and my sister took the key. They walked me to my bed and I waited in the cold. A lovely, kind nurse put in my line and gave me fluids. Shortly after, the anaesthesiologist came over and asked me about my previous surgical experiences (not that I had many lol). He asked me if I wanted something to be relaxed before going to the OR, and I thought if he had asked 2 hours before I would’ve begged for it, but I felt better then.

After that, my surgeon came over and he greeted me. He said everything was all set and I’d feel great soon.

So they wheeled me into the OR and I moved into the operating table. Anyone that’s ever been on an OR knows they are absolutely freezing, but they put a blanket with an electric vent on it and I felt super cozy. The anaesthesiologist asked me if I wanted some music but I liked what they had on… Now I don’t even remember what it was lol but then he said he had put something in my line already and I’d feel as if I’d had some drinks.

“As if I had a shot of tequila?” I asked.

“A few shots of tequila,” he said with a laugh.

And I did feel like that almost immediately. I laughed a little and I said “wow that acts fast!” and he just laughed at me.

 

And that’s the last thing I remember.

Now for the record: My doctor intended from the first appointment to do a Septoplasty and a turbinate reduction. Later on, my CT showed I also had nasal polyps (also called cysts) next to my nose that were causing some swelling and pressure on my eye (these had developed as a consequence of the septum issues). So ultimately he did all 3. He corrected the septum, reduced my turbinates and removed the cysts. The entire procedure is done endoscopically through the nasal passage, no external cuts. It doesn’t take longer than 90 minutes.

When I woke up, I was on the recovery room. I woke up and fell asleep again a few times, from where I was, I could see the monitor with my heartbeat and my blood pressure, I’d read the numbers and then I’d fall asleep again.  At some point, I was really awake. The nurse came over and talked to me, I asked her to raise my head because I was feeling a painful amount of pressure on my nose. Once she did, I felt a lot better. She said I had cotton on my nose and that she was going to remove it.

The cotton was like a long, skinny tampon. I had one on each nostril. When she pulled it, that was the most painful part. She said,  “when I say now, take a deep breath.” I had never, ever in my life felt that much air on my nose!  People had told me this would happen but I was not ready! I almost cried, I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. It was amazing. And anyway, this really was the most painful part, but it immediately released all the pressure I had on my nose. I stopped feeling any pain and I just wanted to go home.

I noticed my blood pressure on the monitor read pretty normal levels and the nurse started to remove all the equipment. She turned off the monitor, removed the blood pressure sleeve and my IV line. She put gauze under my nose and she brought over a wheelchair and helped me move on to it and then she wheeled me out into the changing area. My mom and my sister were there and my mom helped me change.

The nurse brought over apple juice and some crackers. She said I had to eat and drink some while she went to get my medication. They do this part to make sure you aren’t having an adverse reaction to the anaesthesia. I wasn’t hungry at all and I was a little dizzy but I tried. I sipped on the juice and ate a cracker and a half. I remember asking my sister to eat one so they’d think I did lol

The nurse came back with my medication and talked to us about it. I wasn’t really paying attention because I just wanted to go home but she told me I had pain medication and antibiotics that I had to take with food. An assistant took me upstairs so I could pay and then my aunt picked us all up. I was leaving the hospital before noon. All in all, everything was done pretty quickly.

I felt tired and I wanted to sleep, but I felt no pain at all. There was some soreness on my throat which I knew was from the breathing tube, and a lot of pressure on my nose. My face was numb from the mouth up until my eyes and I felt a little soreness on my teeth, but again, literally no pain.

So when we got home, I texted my friends who had been checking in on me, my mom fed me some fish and rice so I could take my medication and fall asleep.  I woke up about 3 hours later feeling a lot better. I walked around the house for a bit, my nieces came over to visit and see me and I talked to them, had some more juice and lied down again. My sister changed my gauze a few times since we got home because my nose was bleeding a little, it would get uncomfortable when it happened but it was nothing out of the ordinary.

I was totally awake by then, I had some jello my mom made and my sister helped do my sinus rinse. That first night, it was hella hard and there was a lot of blood, it made virtually no difference. I was on my phone for a bit and then I watched Hamilton’s America and went to sleep early.

The next 2 days I felt good but the pressure on my nose didn’t let up. But since I had no pain, I considered it a victory. My nose was very congested, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t experienced during a bad allergy day. It went on like this for a few days, here’s a pic I took the morning after surgery:

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Now, here’s a list of things I did that helped me, and that made these days easy.

  • I changed the gauze under my nose a lot. Most of the blood came out on the day of surgery, but after that I still had a lot of fluid coming out.
  • LOTS of water, all day, all the time.
  • I have a delicious organic lip balm, it went around my house with me. Lips do get super dry because of the mouth breathing.
  • I wore clothing with a wide collar that was easy to pass my head through, because I was really afraid to even touch my nose.
  • Bendy straws are a MIRACLE! My upper lip was so numb that drinking without a straw was near impossible, so bendy straws made literally all the difference, especially with all the water I had to drink.
  • To that same point, mashed potatoes, fish and chicken were my fav things to eat cause they were easy and didn’t require a lot of chewing. Eating is annoying the first few days because breathing through the mouth and eating at the same time doesn’t quite work out.
  • I slept with pillows on each side of me, I found that it helped to keep me from sliding down, which I was afraid to do and it made me feel anxious before sleep.
  • I brushed my teeth in the shower because I couldn’t lean down and my upper lip was numb and it was weird.
  • For these first few days, I didn’t do any skincare but I did do a face wash on the shower and a little moisturizer at night especially because the tape holding the gauze made my skin feel super gross.
  • The sinus rinse is hit or miss. Sometimes it’s super easy to do, other times it’s hard to pass the wash between my nostrils and it hurts and really disgusting, slimy and bloody stuff comes out of my nose. But it’s worth it and it is one of the most important things the nose needs to heal.
  • There is absolutely no nose blowing. That’s annoying and sometimes I have to catch myself because it’s almost an impulse.
  • I had no stitches, my nose was cauterized. So I can’t drink or eat anything too hot, it might cause the blood vessels to burst or something. This also means I can’t cook cause I can’t be in hot steam. My mom has been an angel in taking care of me and making me food. It’s been hard for me to be home and not go mad baking lol
  • My boss was awesome and let me work from home the week after my surgery. I’m incredibly grateful for that privilege because while I felt really good, I couldn’t go out and I would’ve been insanely bored if I had to take the week off.

On Tuesday, I took this other picture when I took a break from the gauze. My nose was super congested and the swelling had gone down on my nose but I felt the rest of my face a little swollen still.

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Wednesday was the ugly day.

I went in to see my doctor for him to clean my nose. And this hurt like a bitch. They put some kind of tweezers up my nose and they extracted some of the crust that had buildup on the cauterized wounds. Then they had some kind of vacuum and they put that into my nostrils. They did each of the procedures twice on each nostril and it really hurt but it was over fast. The doctor said the first time hurts the worst. I’m going back today for a second one but I feel good because the aftermath was AMAZIIIIIING!

I could breath SO much and so differently! I had never experienced this, when I took a deep breath, I could feel the air up on my nose, omg I could HEAR IT! Is this how people do this? It was amazing, I can’t even describe the enjoyment.

But it hurt lol

And after the cleaning I felt a lot of pressure, had some uncomfortable breathing and some numbness and swelling. It was worth it though.

Just from the past 10 days worth of recovery, I’m happy I did this. I know my quality of life will improve significantly, I already feel a lot more energy! I know some people had really hard, awful horror stories but mine was nothing but success. I feel amazing, I’ve been in zero pain, I’ve had a great time, I haven’t had any post anesthesia nightmares either lol

I’ll do a follow up post in a few weeks if anything different happens, but I’m full of positives, no regrets.

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