I was told by my doctor about 4 years ago that I had a severe deviated septum that was interfering with my breathing. It got worse over the years to the point that I could only breathe through one nostril and it was affecting my sleep; even my insurance company was ready to pay for the sinuplasty. I've never had surgery before and was terrified of the idea, but after reading the reviews of the procedure on this website I finally got the guts to do it. I was limited to the doctors on my insurance plan but lucked into one that is one of the best rhinoplasty surgeons in the U.S. My main concern was that I was only allowed 5 days off from work and that I was new to the area so I didn't have any family or friends close by to take care of me. My doctor was a little concerned that I couldn’t get a least a week off from work, but decided with the proper precautions I'd be okay to go back after only 5 days.
I've never had any problems with the appearance of my nose but as my doctor put it, "as long as we have the hood of the car open we may as well tune it up!" Since I had to go through the procedure and recovery for a sinuplasty anyway we decided I may as well pay an extra $700 out of pocket for a rhinoplasty. He was going to shave the hump off my dorsal bone and make my nose symmetrical again (it was off-center due to the deviated septum). He showed me a computer model of the before and after which was helpful, but I let him know the sinuplasty was my main concern. Everything else was just a bonus for me:)
PRE-OP SHOPPING LIST
- If you are going to do this without help, proper planning is key to your survival. Here are the items I bought and how I set up my house for success:
- Q-tips (You need these to clean your nose and apply ointment. Put about 50 by your couch and the rest in your bathroom)
- Hydrogen peroxide x 2 (This will dissolve the dried blood. Put one by your couch and one in your bathroom)
- Polysporin x 2 (My doc says to use polysporin as opposed to neosporin because less people have a reaction to it over time. Put one by your couch and one in your bathroom)
- Saline spray x 2 (Keep your nostrils moistened and clean. Put one by your couch and one in your bathroom)
- Tissue box x 3 (Couch, bathroom, bedroom)
- Hand-held mirror (So you can clean your nose from your couch)
- U-shaped pillow
- 6 pillows (3 for your bed and 3 for your couch)
- Sippy cup with a straw
- Extra straws
- Pill box (You'll have lots of pills to take at random times through-out the day. It's hard to remember when you're on drugs so organize them before your surgery).
- Frozen peas x 5 (You'll divide these into your zip-lock bags for ice packs. They mold to your face better than real ice packs)
- Snack size zip-lock bags
- Small cooler (Keep this within arm’s reach of your couch. Fill with half of your ice-packs and a bag of ice to keep cold. Keep the rest of the ice-packs in the freezer.)
- 2-3 bags of ice (to re-stock your cooler through-out the days)
- Facial cleanser wipes
- Child size toothbrush (you won't want to open your mouth any bigger than you have to the first couple days)
- Button-up or zip-up night gown (Victoria's Secret has some cute ones!)
- No-slip socks/slippers
- Extra Strength Tylenol
- Vitamins (Make sure they are approved by your doctor. I used Arnica Montana 30X, Bromine, Probiotics, and Vitamin C)
- Soft foods (Naked smoothies, Ensure, pudding, apple sauce, Jell-O, orange juice, coconut juice, pineapple frozen fruit bars)
- Pre-made home-cooked meals (You want foods high in fiber and rich in nutrients. I froze individual portions of spinach lasagna, vegetarian chili, vegetable soup, and spinach tortellini)
DAY OF THE SURGERY
I had to undergo general anesthesia for the procedure so I was required to have someone drop me off and pick me up. Luckily there were a couple wonderful people from work that offered to do the job. If you are a female I suggest you have another female pick you up since they will have to help you get dressed after the procedure:) Also, whoever picks you up will have to record all the doctor's instructions down for you because you will be so doped up you'll never remember them yourself. The surgery center was not affiliated with my doctor's clinic. That being said, the best way for me to describe it was a Quickie-Mart for surgery. After I checked in I was taken back into the pre-op hall-way where there were bed sheets separating me from 4 other recliners with other patients awaiting surgery. I was asked personal questions about my 72 hour history and got to listen to the responses of my now 3 closest friends to the same personal questions. I was then instructed to strip down and put on my hospital gown in the middle of this hallway, albeit with the privacy of the brown and yellow bed-sheet separating me from everyone else. The nurse then put in the IV and I waited. After about 30 minutes of debating whether or not I should count my losses and run, the nurse walked me back to the operating room where I got to hop onto the surgery table and get man-handled while they strapped electrodes to my body... all while listening to the local rock station on the boom box in the surgery room. I started shaking so bad from being cold and nervous that they finally decided to sedate me. Thank you Lord. The next thing I remember was waking up and my surgeon telling me that I did really well. He said the surgery took longer than he anticipated because he grafted me some internal breath-right strips to make sure I would get the best results for my breathing problems. My friend then helped me get dressed and they wheeled me out to her car in a wheel-chair and I was done! Oh and thank goodness for my friend who had the great idea to snag a pink vomit tray and an absorbent pad from the hospital - they were instrumental in cleaning out my nose from the couch later on.
THE FIRST NIGHT
You really should not do the first night by yourself. My doctor was so adamant about this that he convinced my co-worker at the hospital to stay with me. I am so thankful she did. All I wanted to do when I got home was crawl into bed and go to sleep. A lot of that probably had to do with me working a 12 hour night shift prior to my surgery that morning, but reading other people's reviews it sounds like general anesthesia can really wreak some havoc on a person's body. My co-worker made sure I took my pills on time, cleaned my nose for me the first 2 times (I know - what an angel), filled my Sippy cup with water, got me to eat, walked me to the bathroom, and responded to all the texts and phone-calls I received that night. She also made sure to write down the exact times I took my pain meds, inflammation meds, and antibiotics since they all had to be taken on different schedules. The pain was honestly minimal. I knew it was best to "stay on top of the pain" because if you wait until it starts to hurt you may have to take double the meds to get it to stop, so I took one Hydrocodone when I got home and continued with just 1 every 4 hours. I never felt any real pain. Just discomfort from the internal splints.
Pre-staging the house the way I did made surviving the next 4 days rather easy. I spent the first day entirely on the couch and only had to move to go to the bathroom, fridge, or change DVD's. My back started getting sore after that so I switched to the bed on night 3. I was able to switch to just Tylenol for the pain on day 2 which was good because I had to drive to the beauty salon to get my hair washed. It's nearly impossible to wash your own hair and not get your bandages wet, and the iodine from the surgery made it a real mess. Day 4 I got my internal splints out which made me feel like a million bucks - I have never been able to breath so well in my life! It wasn't really painful but it was sure uncomfortable. I can't believe I had those enormous things stuffed up my nostrils. Yuck! The doctor also took a couple stiches out that were holding the internal splints in place. I've never had stiches before so I was nervous about it but again it wasn't painful - just uncomfortable. FYI - I have a VERY low threshold for pain (or so I've been told:))
DAYS 6-7 (BACK TO WORK)
I agree with my doctor. 5 days isn't enough. I work a 12 hour night shift and even working a desk job is still tough on a rhinoplasty. You spend the majority of your time hunched over a desk as opposed to leaning back like you should. Your body also wants to sleep since you are still recovering from the trauma. BUT, you gotta do what you gotta do so I made it work. The incision line on my columella is a little inflamed and not healing very well and I'm afraid it's from me blotting my nose with Kleenex all the time. It's not bleeding, but I get drainage while I'm typing at the keyboard at work.
So that's where I am right now. I'll keep you posted on my progress from here on out. I should get my bandages off in 4 days - yippee!! I posted a few pictures so you can see my progress. The first one is of me on night 2 with the iodine still in my hair. The next one is of me today (day 7) just before I went Christmas shopping then into work. The last one is of my stiches in my collumela that I'm afraid aren't healing very well. Gross, I know, but I figured some of you might want to see what an open procedure can look like.