Procedure day: I wasn’t exactly "prepared' because the previous few months at work were crazy busy, but I did chat with the nurse a few weeks prior to get pre-op instructions (basically not to eat for 8+ hours before, not to take ibuprofen for 2 weeks before), and I picked up my prescriptions from the pharmacy (vicodin, zofran, ativan, antibiotic). I showed up to the facility with my dad. We were about one hour early, but they got things going anyway. I finished up my paperwork, gave a urine sample, got my IV started, etc. Then I waited around for a while again before talking to my anesthesiologist and surgeon (basically just saying hi) and getting on the operating table. After I got situated on the table I was out in seconds. My surgery lasted 2 hours, 45 minutes. A long time, my nose was apparently a fractured, broken mess on the inside, which my surgeon was definitely not expecting!
Post-op: I didn’t feel great when I woke up. My whole face hurt (obviously) and I was quite nauseous. I got a little extra IV zofran, which helped the nausea. I didn’t take any pain meds, not sure they would have helped (I’m sure I still had a good amount of fentanyl lingering from the procedure). After what seemed like a few minutes my dad came in and helped me to the car. It wasn’t the worse two hour car ride. I didn’t vomit, which was good. I tried to eat a little when I got home, but I wasn’t hungry. I think I put down a little macaroni and cheese so I could take my meds. I took note that at least I could taste a little and feel my mouth and lips (they say that sometimes people lose this for a few weeks!). Then I went into a fitful sleep (waking up about every hour, peeing every two).
POD #2-4: I didn’t have the easiest recovery. The first 72 hours were the worst. The bruising and swelling kept getting worse and worse. At one point my puffy eyes even obstructed my vision, mostly on the right. I was taking vicodin for pain, mostly my pounding headache pain. And every time I took the vicodin I’d sleep for 1-2 hours. I’d wake up and be ok for about an hour, and then I’d get a bad headache, take the vicodin and start the cycle over. It was rough. Icing didn’t help, just made me sweaty and wet when I woke up (and I couldn’t shower while the cast was on… gross). By day 3 I was allowed to take ibuprofen, and that helped break the cycle. Sleep got a little easier, but was still extremely difficult because I was 100% congested. I got a somewhat used to mouth breathing and waking up every hour or two to take a few sips of water, though. I was so “comfortable” on night 4 that I even punched myself in the face and made my nose bleed and swell back up.
POD #5: Cast removal day. I was a little nervous for obvious reasons. I got to my appointment about 30 minutes early and was taken back right away. The RN came in and asked me how I was doing. She tried to very gently take off my cast. But to be honest it hurt like hell. Lots of pressure-type pain. Pulling out the sutures didn’t really hurt too much, mostly because my nose was still pounding from the cast removal. She game me a mirror and some water and asked me what I though. I didn’t really look or reply, just tried to breath. She gave me some space (in the nicest way possible, she’s such a lovely person) and a few minutes later my surgeon comes in. He was sooooo excited to see my nose! He just loved how the bridge turned out (good to be proud of your work). He then proceeded to… this is gross… clear all of the gunk and whiteheads from my nose like a very vigorous extraction session in a facial. Oh my goodness the pressure. It was awful. But I’m sure it needed to be done. He put some tape on my nose and that was that. I’m taking the internal nasal splints out myself and can come back or send him pictures whenever I want.
So breathing got 100% better after the removal of the external cast, even though I still had the internal splints in place. My face was feeling so much better, despite still looking like a puffy panda bear. But then the stomach cramps hit. Bad ones. Thinking back, I hadn’t pooped since a day or two before my surgery (damn narcotics). So about a week. Yes, that was a problem. I won’t get into details, but it was an awful day of nausea, near vomiting and laxatives. It takes my guts about a week to recover from such an incident.
POD 6: Feeling so much better today. Actually looking at my nose and face and not feeling like I'm gonna die from belly pain (although thats not totally fixed yet). I love love love my nose from the sides! And the front is obviously extremely swollen (like 2mm of edema throughout), as are my cheeks, which still resemble a chipmunk. But I can tell the front is going to look great, too. My nostrils are uneven, more-so than pre-op, but I'm sure its just swelling as its already improving! I'd be happy with this as my final result, and I know I'm going to love how things turn out :)
Going back to work tomorrow with a swollen face and bruised eyes, though. Not gonna be pretty. I'll update as things settle down (and post much better pre vs post-op pics, but these give an idea), please ask any questions and refrain from any negativity if possible. Thank you!!!