Friday, December 3, 2010

deviant, part II

If you think this story is unfolding at a glacial pace, I cannot tell you how long it is taking to write it. (The first part is here.) Without further ado:

The spring following my discovery that there could possibly be nose-breathing in my future, when Isla was barely six weeks old, I went to the ENT doc that my friend recommended. She peered up my nose with a little light and what looked like a tiny speculum, and, easy as you please, proclaimed that I had a deviated septum and overgrown turbinates. Would I like to schedule a septoplasty and turbinate reduction for next week?

Before I could even consider that I had something called turbinates inside my nose (I mean, my nose is big, but surely not big enough to support something that sounds like it could generate electrical power), I was in the scheduler's office going over the details of what to do before and after surgery, ie, don't eat, eat, don't blow, blow.

It was such a fast consultation and, well, such a whimsical decision to be operated upon, that I retained absolutely none of the finer points. They'll straighten the septum and then, um, something about turbines? And then I'll take some ibuprofen?

So of course I googled it when I got home, and foolishly followed a link to a youtube video of a similar surgery. It involved a hammer.

(Also, do not expect the internet to take you through recovery gently, either.)

I got nervous the night before surgery, and prayed that the doctor (and her hammer) would be deft and delicate and done quickly. And then, to be honest, I was actually kind of looking forward to being away from the children for a few hours.

The next morning, besides feeling completely out of place at the hospital -- look, these awful blue polyester slip-proof socks, on MY feet! -- and besides much checking of nurses to make sure I was the right patient getting the right surgery, and some bizarrely personal banter from the anesthesiologist, everything was unremarkable and then it was over. I awoke in a thick fog, feeling nauseous, trying to process the doctor's summary: surgery went fine, after-care instructions are mhrruupphh hlllggnnn urrrnngghhh. Blurrhghhhpphh. Mmmkay?

Then my gracious friend Anne brought me a smoothie and took me home.

Then there was THE PAIN.

Oh ho ho, the pain. And puking. And Jason calling the clinic at 9pm because should my wife be this sick? Still? And then Zofran to go with my Percocet. And frozen peas on my face. And changing of gauze masks, and trying not to sneeze, and breastfeeding a newborn while seriously compromised. For days. Until I figured out it was the Percocet making me so sick, and finally I could get by just on Tylenol. But I think the doctor seriously underestimated how much IT WOULD HURT.

I had to remove the packing myself, the day after the surgery, a event that made me feel like a grotesque clown, pulling out the handkerchiefs, you know? Because wow, that was a LOT of cotton up there.

After a week or so, I went back to the doctor for a follow-up visit. She used a little suction hose to remove the stalactites that had formed, and then deemed me fit and cured. By that time I had caught a whiff or two through my left nostril, but nothing through the right. She told me it was still healing, but it looked fine and should probably clear up.

It did not clear up.


One more installment, here.


Emily of Deutschland said...


I don't know WHY (I mean, I've known you for a long time, and I never once noticed ANYTHING about your nose), but for some reason, this story has me on the edge of my seat. Is that very weird, or very, VERY weird? I'd never thought about it, but now the idea of not being able to breathe through my nose makes me feel sympatheically claustrophobic. I must know if miss righty nostril made it, or if they have filled it in with cement now in an attempt to do a cover-up job.

No. It's clear. I'm very, VERY weird.

Oh well!

Robin Danely said...

I'd like to think that says something about my compelling writing style.

No, you're just very weird. ;)