I am a 55 yr old male that has experienced years of breathing through my nose difficulties as well as frequent sinus headaches. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea 4 years ago and have to sleep with breathe right strips and cpap machine to combat the apnea. The reason why I was tested for and later diagnosed as sleep apnea was due to excessive daytime sleepiness. Cpap did not help the day time sleepiness and I was prescribed Nuvigil.
Anyway, during my last annual physical, my PCP, Dr. Richard Peters suggested I go to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. He suggested I see Dr. David Barnes. Dr. Barnes confirmed I had a deviated septum, where my right side was almost totally blocked and the left side was only partially open.
I had surgery 5 days ago and I will try and describe each day.
Day of surgery: Arrived at hospital at 1200pm. Checked in and had my gown on around 100pm, saw Dr Barnes around 130 pm and was sent to lala land around 145pm. I guess surgery began shortly after. Surgery lasted about 1.5 hours. I think I awoke in recovery 400pm and vaguely remember talking to Dr. Barnes. He spoke with my wife and also gave her post op instructions. I felt more pressure than pain. The absolute worst feeling was how sore my throat was. Also had to wear a gauze moustache to catch dripping blood. Sipping on cold water helped a little. My wife dropped me home and went to get the pain medicine. I asked her to get benzocaine lozenges and throat spray also. Thank goodness: the throat lozenges, hydrocodone and frozen peas (used as ice pack) helped me survive the night and get some sleep. Also sipping ice cold water.
Day One: Still wearing gauze under my nose to catch bleeding and having to change gauze out every few hours. Taking pain medicine every 6 hours, using throat lozenges, frozen peas as ice pack. Ate some apple sauce (4 kiddie cups). Also drinking ice cold water. OK now comes the gross part...I had to remove the packing in my nose. The packing is connected to strings so basically you tug on the string until the packing is extruded. The process sounds more painful that it actually is. All I felt was pressure but once they were out I felt much better. I could start breathing a little through my nose! Still needed throat lozenges at night because most breathing was through my mouth.
Days 2 -5: Stopped taking hydrocodone day 2 and switched to tylenol extra when needed. Started eating regular. Flushing nose out with saline solution and using saline nose spray. Breathing through my nose is improving. Last night I had a mega-sinus headache that finally went away after the second hydrocodone.
I go to see Dr. Barnes on Monday to get the stents removed from my nose and will post a follow up. Below are my recommendations if you plan on having a septoplasty:
- Get benzocaine throat lozenges and / or spray. (Probably more important than pain medicine.)
- Use frozen peas as an ice pack when you get home from surgery and the day after.
- Stay ahead of the pain your first day and take pain medicine as directed.
- Have some apple sauce or soft foods available for your first day.
- You will need to allow a week to 10 days off to get your strength back
My hope is that this septoplasty makes the sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness go away and I will no longer have to take Nuvigil to function normally. I can already tell my breathing is a little better than it was.