It’s somewhat tiresome that I’ve had enough surgeries in my life now that I can go “oh goody I get to have another surgery!”
But yeah. I do. Joy! At least this time, though, it’s not cancer. It’s a deviated septum.
What brought all this on is that for some years now, I’ve had chronic congestion issues, sinus infections, post-nasal drip, and etc., all of which I’d thought for ages were just due to allergies. But last year I was tested for allergies, and came up negative on all the things on the standard battery of allergy tests. The doctor at the time put me on Montelukast, a.k.a. Singulair, which did help my symptoms some but didn’t get rid of them. I’ve also had this ongoing annoying issue with what seems to be pulsatile tinnitus in my right ear, which appears to be aggravated when my congestion problems are pronounced.
And I’ve had general issues just breathing through my nose. I have been paying attention this year, and have observed that I have to consciously think to breathe through my nose at any given time, particularly if I’m out on my daily commute. Even walking along level ground like the stretch of Elliott that takes me to Big Fish. But it’s more pronounced if I’m going up an incline, like the hill to our house.
I noticed this as well when I was at the dentist the other day having crown work. In my experience they generally tell you to breathe through your nose while they’re working on your mouth–only in my case, I actively have problems doing that. And I have noticed breathing issues when trying to play my flutes and whistles, which is particularly annoying and I have wondered if this has been contributing to my general inability to get through “Morrison’s Jig” without having to breathe in weird places. (And “Morrison’s” is NOT a tune you want to fuck up the flow for, that’s for sure.)
With all this going on, my primary care doc has had me on a nasal spray (Azelastin, a.k.a. Astelin). I’ve been doing a lot of saline rinses as well. And I’m on a stupid number of antihistamines, usually taking both Allegra and loratadine in the morning, and Benadryl at night. I’ve had to use Breathe Right strips to try to keep my nasal passages open well enough that I can actually sleep, and minimize the amount of snoring that’s been bothering Dara.
So a few weeks ago I had another incident of what seemed like a sinus infection. But when I went in to have that looked at, the doctor told me he didn’t see any signs of infection, though he did see inflammation in my nose and ear. Between that and also noting one of my favorite authors earlier this summer posting about having nasal surgery, I told the doctor who saw me that I had been thinking of having a conversation with my primary care physician about moving forward with longer-term solutions. That doctor went ahead and scheduled me for a scan of my sinuses.
I went in for that, and the results came back “deviated septum”.
Today, I went and saw the specialist, who showed me the actual pics from the scan. The good news is, the sinuses looked normal, with no signs of infection. The not so good news is that boy howdy is my septum crooked. 50 percent deviation, the specialist told me. And, looking at the scans, I could really tell how the left passage was significantly collapsed.
We talked about my turbinates as well, and discussed that those are the bits of my nose that are pulled wider apart when I’m using the Breathe Right strips. Her recommendation was that we take a millimeter or so off of both of those. But that gets more into exterior-type work, vs. fixing the septum. She specializes more in septum/interior work, so she’s sending me over to talk to a second surgeon who would be the guy who does the turbinates and making sure the nose is okay externally as well. Once I have that consultation, then we’ll nail down when the actual procedure happens.
Meanwhile I’m also going to have an MRI to see what’s going on with my ear, since the specialist said that in her estimation that’s probably a different issue, maybe a blood vessel that’s pressed up against my eardrum or something of that nature. A scan will get us more data to work with.
So all this is fun in that “oh goody more surgery YAY?” kind of way, but at least on the scale of Reasons I Have Had to Have Surgery in my life, this isn’t nearly as annoying as stage 0 cancer. Even if I am a little paranoid about my history of having portions of my anatomy scanned only to have it lead to “OH HEY LOOK WE FOUND A THING THIS NEEDS TO COME OUT NOW”.
Dara, naturally, had to start quoting “Sad Muppet” at me (“VOLDEMORT! HAS NO NOSE!”). And I’ve got Rimmer from Red Dwarf in the back of my head going “Of course, she had an artificial nose. Tastefully done. Quality metal. No rivets!” (The season closer of Series 2 of Red Dwarf, “Parallel Universe”, if you’re trying to remember the episode!)
‘Cause joy oh glee, I get to have a nose job. I’m pretty sure there won’t be any rivets involved.
More details as I have ’em!