Monday, August 01, 2016

My Lovely Sinus Surgery

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my lovely sinus infection.  I've decided to write about this much the same way I wrote about my heart attack and surgery 11 years ago - in stages.  For me it helps to deal with things in stages rather than all at once.  And since this blog is my catharsis, here we go:

The short update on the infection was that 60 days after initially contracting it, I still had it, along with the residual effects of having a stubborn infection that took MANY drugs to get rid of. Since we'd returned to Chicago on Monday, May 30th, I'd been on a Zpak, two rounds of methylprednisolone, two rounds of Prednisone, three 14-day rounds of Clindamycin, and Tramadol for the heachaches.  Most likely, the initial infection is long gone.  But the horrible smell I wrote about was STILL present.  I guess that all this time I hadn't been smelling the infection so much as just the blockage or backup of mucus that was being housed in my sinuses.  Which makes sense now because it smelled so putrid.

At the urgence of my Primary Care Physician, I had a CT scan which led him to send me to an Otolaryngolist.  I probably should have seen someone in this specialty years ago, but it was somehow comforting to know that there was now a specialist at the helm on this ride.  My initial appointment with him yielded some old and surprisingly new information.

For example, I knew I was clogged, but I didn't know to what extent.  After the specialist talked me through the results of the CT scan, I learned that the major sinus cavities on my left side (the Frontal, the Ethmoid, and the Maxillary) were 100% full and clogged with mucus, pus and - wiat for it - mold!  In short, endoscopic surgery would be my only relief.  I also learned that I have a deviated septum.  This was both surprising yet not surprising at the same time.  I figured I had one due to the fact that I snore - or am told I snore - so I figured I had some sort of nasal abnormality.  And while about 80% of people have this affliction, you're either born with it or develop it from trauma or blunt force to the face.  Since I don't recall ever being hit directly in the face with an object, I must have always had this.

I posted on Facebook that I was going to have sinus surgery, and those friends who had already been through it reached out to offer condolences and support.  I heard what each of them had been through and none of it sounded too scary.  After all, I'd been through a quadruple bypass and a 16-hour tattoo application.  I can take pain.

So I scheduled the appointment.  Stupid Alert:  I scheduled it for the day after Kevin left for ComiCon in San Diego, which had been planned for months.  But from what I had been told, the surgery sounded simple enough.  I was told it would start at 9:45 AM and I would be out by 1:00 PM. I was also told by the doctor that I would instantly feel better following surgery and that I just needed to take it easy for a few days.  I certainly didn't want Kevin to stay home and I also selfishly didn't want to postpone the surgery any longer.  So we decided to go ahead with it, with dear friend, Jessica, stepping in as surrogate and Kevin checking in on me now and then.  I'd more than likely just be sleeping most of the time anyway.

I arrived when I was supposed to and by my estimate was put under pretty close to 9:45 AM.  The last thing I remember was the lovely gas mask coming over my face.  Eventually I woke up sitting in an examining chair in an outpatient room.  How they manage to move you from one place to another when you can't remember a thing always astounds me.  But what really surprised me was when I looked at the clock on the wall.  It said 3:30 PM.  It took me a second, but I eventually thought, "hey, I was supposed to be out of here 2.5 hours ago.  What actually happened?"

The trouble with learning about what actually happened and even, for that matter, what my post-op care should be, is that the news was delivered while I was still by-and-large still under anesthesia. It's puzzling that they won't let you leave the hospital on your own accord, but they are trusting you to remember what happened while you were knocked out, and how to take care of yourself when the only thing you can think about is how red that nurses's blouse is.  Man, is that red!  I wonder what shade of red that is.  It's just so vibrant.  There are lots of shades of red.  I think Wolf Blitzer must be the dullest man on television.

So while wearing what can only be referred to as a "blood reservoir hammock" under my nose, I was able to walk out of the medical center into the loving, waiting arms of Jessica.  She drove me home, expressing the same concern I had about why I was in surgery 2 hours longer than what I had been told.  She dropped me off at home, went to fill my prescriptions and get supplies.  She wanted to stay with me, but I really just wanted to sleep and talk to Kevin.  Except for a dripping bloody nose, I felt just fine.

So I settled in for the recovery.  OH. MY. GOD - the recovery...