Wednesday, December 8, 2010

deviant, part III

I promise, this is the last installment. The first two are here and here.

During the first couple of weeks after surgery, I carried handfuls of tissues with me everywhere, and held them constantly to my face, because my nose did not stop dripping. I taped them to my face at night so the snot wouldn't dry and form a crust on my upper lip. I'm not kidding.

I would blow and blow and blow and not reach the end of it. I could blow forcefully or softly, but it would just slowly drip drip drip.

Many weeks went by, many more neti pots of saline water were flushed through my noggin, many many impressive, formidable, enormous clot-like boogers were expelled, and still I could only breathe through the left nostril. It was kind of torturous, actually: to be so close to perfection, and yet so maddeningly short of the goal. It felt like when you suck on a mint, but forget to switch it to the other side of your mouth, so when you breathe in it's all cold on the one side and dark and loamy on the other. But, like, in your nose. Because, wow! Breathing through my nose! It was only 50%, but already I could tell I was going to like it. I just became a little neurotic in my fears that it was all I would get, and that the right nostril would be doomed to limp meekly forever behind it's more robust partner. Have I mentioned that I'm prone to exaggeration?

So, the other factor was that our fancy insurance, like Jason's position itself, had an expiration date. If I was going to do anything else, it had to be done quickly. This alone is what gave me the gumption to call the doctor back a second and third time and request more follow-ups. Because, you know, I'm a nice person and a nice patient and I don't want to be needy because that's not nice. (I guess I should have warned you that in addition to seeing inside my nose, you would also be seeing inside THE HEAD OF A CRAZY PERSON)

Back in I went, to say Great Job on Breaking My Nose! Can You Fix it Please? She offered to swab the inside of the right nostril with silver nitrate, essentially to burn back the tissue that was still blocking my airway. What do I know about silver nitrate? I just wanted to feel the cool breeze through that nostril, too. So I let her do it. She told me I may get a headache later, and that things would get worse before they got better. I should have known by this point how dramatically and diabolically this doctor underestimated the pain she causes.

Headache? It was like having a white-hot poker shoved into my face. For days. I didn't dare venture back into Percocet territory, so I game-faced it while seething and grimacing inside. It may have been worse than the first recovery. I don't know, it's too long ago at this point, and we forget pain so easily... but let me check: nope, not harder than birthing two babies. Okay, moving on.

On day four or five after the white-hot poker, I noticed a real humdinger of a scabrous booger way back in that right nostril. By this point, of course, I was no stranger to sticking petroleum-jelly covered q-tips halfway to my brain, so I went after it.

Friends, I wrenched that sucker clear, and angels shot out of my nose on cosmic mucous. The nostril was clear, and I could breathe.

A genuine and unedited grin of sheer foolish relief erupted on my face, and I'm just glad I was looking in the mirror at the time, because I SAW how ridiculously happy I was. I may have gone shouting through the house.

It took some more healing after that (and yet more amazing and substantial boogers), but I am now breathing through my nose like a normal person. Nevermind that I am also still swabbing that right nostril with a q-tip from time to time because no amount of blowing seems to get the junk past what I'm guessing is a little version of the Marianas Trench in there, carved out by silver nitrate. But hey! I am satisfied! I am now a nose breather! I'll take the quirks!

Now that you've been so patient and read all the blather, here are the photos.

Jason told me to spare you the graphic picture of my nose all packed and bloody and me looking like a ghost, so, you're welcome. Here are the before and after shots:

a side story: my pores! wow!

You can see it, right? How my nose points off to Lake Ontario in the first picture, and then more toward Superior in the second? Also notice how my right nostril (your left) is actually the bigger of the two. That rascal!


Emily of Deutschland said...


Now I feel better. Glad righty joined in on the breezy breathing.

Now I'll go back to my corner and be weird for my own amusement again.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that is over. For me and you. I squirmed in my seat towards the end. You could be indie Stephen King. Read his intro in "On Writing".

Mieke Stoub said...

i totally want to see the graphic nose shots.

Ms. C said...

You have mad me pee in my pants laughing and barf a little in my mouth simultaneously.
I'm glad the saga has come to an end. A nice breathable one.

Rachel P Roy said...

Once upon a time I had a job where I had to inventory the drugs in the hospital safe. There was always cocaine in there. They said it was for surgeries like yours. So tell me, did they give you any of THAT? Or did you have to tell them it actually hurt (not just Rambo it out)? You are my hero, dear. My boogie mining hero.

Robin Danely said...

Wouldn't it be funny if they prescribed me cocaine and the prescription said, "snort one to two lines a day." I'd be like IT HURTS TOO MUCH TO SNORT!