My experience: Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction
I want to start by thanking the bloggers who kept diaries of their surgeries and procedures so I could ask the right questions, figure out if my recovery was on pace, and to decide if my symptoms were normal. I thought I'd share my experience in case anyone is considering a septoplasty or turbinate reduction procedure.
My nose just plain ol' sucked. On my left side, I was breathing at 50% on a good day, and nothing on a bad day. The right side wasn't much better, and I walked around with perpetual congestion, drainage, and headcold-like symptoms. I mouth-breathed to the point where it affected my lips and gums, and my inability to sleep at night caused teeth grinding so intense that I actually pushed my teeth out of alignment, not to mention cracked them so significantly I wear a sexy mouthguard now. My only relief came on nights when my boyfriend would drive me around in his car, air conditioning on full-blast and I could get a moment's rest. Something had to change.
Thankfully I had a friend who was a former employee of a local ENT, and she recommended him with flying colors. I noticed he was featured in a magazine for his commitment to patient care, and not even knowing that I needed surgery, I paid him a visit to see what could be done. Before determining that a septoplasty was an appropriate route, we tried nasal sprays and allergy testing. Living in Texas, where allergies are notorious year-round, I opted to get the surgery in hopes of a permanent solution
I went to a local surgical center, Bailey Square, and the staff was incredible. I was absolutely blown away by my treatment. The nurses were sweet, professional, and miraculously made the pre-op painless and comfortable. My hospital gown was inflatable, and they pumped it full of warm air so I was never chilly like other stories I've heard, and even the doctors were friendly and dare I say funny. I did wait several hours before my procedure began, but the doctor had plenty of young children to tend to ahead of me, and given how scared they must be, I didn't mind the delay. My IV and anesthesia were painless and the last thing I remember was a nurse hooking my calves up to massaging machines (likely to prevent blood clots but it felt good nonetheless) and propping my feet up with a pillow.
Day of Procedure Recovery
Recovery was annoying but not painful. The beeping of the machines was incessantly loud and the once fun leg massaging devices felt like I was strapped to the bed. If my breathing dipped they would force me to cough or breathe harder and faster, both of which were things my throat couldn't stand because of the in-operation breathing tube. I came-to quickly and getting home wasn't an ordeal. I took a tylenol, and didn't opt for pain medicine. I talked on the phone and ate soup. It seemed like this was going to be smooth sailing...
Day 1 Post-op
My first night home was miserable, just inexplicably miserable. I couldn't sleep and I mostly wanted to hang myself. The congestion was so intense I wept. I tried resting in the bathtub, my once-heavenly tempur-pedic mattress, our chaise lounge, our couch, the floor, standing up, on my side, and every configuration I could think of. Nothing worked. That left for a rather sad morning. I crawled into bed, checked work emails, and did my best to ignore the congestion. The numbness in the roof of my mouth stood out more, as did general pain. I've learned today that if a post-op nose isn't moist it becomes a miserable cakey pain center so the saline mist became my new BFF. My nose was dribbling blood most of the day, so heads up if you're queasy.
Days 2-5 Post-Op
Lots of crying, congestion, and contemplation of self inflicted nose removal. I was ready to yank my splints out with tweezers. I was able to return to work, but I attribute that more to a flexible job than my health. Eventually I broke down and took some tylenol with codeine but the limited relief didn't live up to the hype. Sleeping was tricky business, if it happened at all. By day 5 I was ready to stick just about anything up my nose (tissues, tissues rolled into a point, Q-tips, my fingernails, I even stuck the iphone camera as close to my nostrils as I could to get a sneak peek as to what was making me miserable. All I established was that the splints are substantial. It was also strange to not have any sense of taste or smell. I overdosed on perfume my first day back in the office, and I drank kale-lemon smoothies since I couldn't taste them anyway. The taste of sweet foods came back first, starting with corn and pineapple and moving onward to oranges and chocolate. Even on day 5 my senses were limited. I also experienced dental pain, particularly my upper front teeth, which I wasn't expecting.
Day 6 Post-Op...The First Post-Op Appointment
MY SPLINTS ARE OUT THE DAY IS NEW. I have so much air coming in it is overwhelming and I'm a bit lightheaded. What a wonderful problem to have. Splint removal wasn't painful, so if you're watching youtube videos and are worried, don't be. The doctor used a numbing spray and it was quick and painless. I wouldn't use the word painful at all. It feels strange but having them out is damn near orgasmic.
Once those splints are out, it is tough to remember life before the surgery. I've slept like a rock, and it is so nice to just live life without tissues or nasal spray. If you do opt for the surgery, days 6-12 are where you'll blow your nose and objects the size of dinosaur eggs will come out; The sensation is strange, and I nearly thought I blew too hard and expelled something necessary. I still have stitches which I shouldn't play with as much as I do, but the ability to breathe is amazing. It was entirely worth a week of discomfort to have such an improvement in the quality of life. I recommend this surgery 100%. No second thoughts.