So that appointment on Monday that I posted about did happen, and went well, and I am pleased to report that I’m closer to my normal functional self.
I still have traces of yellowed bruising under my eyes, but the swelling is almost gone. My nose took some contact dermatitis from having bandages on it for a week–this, I think, was the result of my established sensitivity to adhesives on bandages/bandaids, a thing that started up during my breast cancer saga. Put a bandage/bandaid on me and leave it there long enough, my skin will blister. This is what happened to my nose, and I’m sure it contributed to the DEAR GODS THE ITCHING CANNOT CLAW OFF OWN FACE mood I was in before Monday’s appointment.
At the appointment, the nurse who took out my splints was very no-nonsense and “let’s get this done”. She got in there and went YOINK for the first one, and only paused when I made distressed noises. Because yeah boy howdy that hurt. But she did give me a few minutes to get my equilibrium back before she yoinked out the other one, and I gotta admit, once they were gone, I felt eight million times better.
Dara made impressed noises about the size of the splints themselves once they were out, particularly when one fell down and bounced off me to the floor. I made a point of not looking. Normally for medical things I am of the camp of “give me all the data, I’ll feel a lot better about it all if I know everything there is to know”. In this case, though, scientific curiosity was overridden by “yeaaaaah I don’t think I need to know exactly how big those things stuffed up my nose were, kthx”.
Still, though, that totally made both Dara and me think of one of our favorite moments from Invader Zim:
Exactly What the Splints Felt Like
Part of getting those splints out involved cutting the sutures that had held them in, too. These were at the very base of my nose, and as I write this, there’s still a bit of a red line there were the sutures had been.
After the nurse did that she spent some time suctioning out my nose. And I do mean suctioning. I was still in “keep my eyes closed” mode so I didn’t see her bring in the machine she used for this, but I heard it whirring behind me. Once she started in on me with that thing, I told Dara she was going to shop-vac my nose.
The surgeon who worked on me came in next to check me out, and he also suctioned me, as well as trimming a bit of tissue in there on one of my turbinates that he felt needed trimming. He brought a resident doctor in with him as well, so Dara and I chatted with that guy a bit.
I made a point of asking for a second round of pain meds, as I’d used the last of the Percocet. And experience with my previous medical incidents has taught Dara and me both that I have a bad habit of sitting on pain until it gets too bad to deal with, at which point I promptly have a melt down. So I asked for a round of Vicodin, on the grounds that Percocet rather kicks my ass, and since the plan was for me to work from home for a week I needed to have my brain back. Vicodin does its job without making me loopy.
Dr. Bhrani discussed with me that it was going to take me some time to get used to regularly breathing through my nose, just because I haven’t done it properly for most of my life. I will have to train myself into it. This is apparently common for cases similar to mine.
Then the surgeon and the nurse both doublechecked that I already had a followup appointment scheduled with them in August, and finally declared me clear to go. On the way out I kept tearing up and noted ruefully to Dara that I felt like I was having a melt down, only this one was good, because it was just the sheer relief of having those splints and sutures out.
As the week’s progressed I’ve been able to return to normal sleeping arrangements, and have indeed been working from home. (Thankfully, it’s been a light work week as I’m coming in on the tail end of a sprint and haven’t really had any tasks assigned to me, so I’m finding work to do.) I still have a lot of maintenance I need to do for my nose, both inside and out. The saline rinses are continuing, to clean out the inside of it. And I’m putting Aquaphor and hydrocortisone on the outside, to ease the irritation of the skin.
I was expecting it to be distinctly strange, breathing properly through my nose. During the appointment I tried it a few times and made Dara laugh out loud with my expression–because I don’t often actually physically embody the O.O emoji! And on the way home from that appointment, I found it distinctly weird as well that I was able to feel how chilly the air was on the inside of my nose. “Am I SUPPOSED to be able to sense the temperature of the air with my nose?” I asked Dara. She assured me that yes, I was. I never knew.
Something else I didn’t entirely anticipate was that my sense of balance has periodically been wonky off and on this week, because my inner ear is apparently adjusting to the changes in my breathing patterns. I know what “unsteady because I’m tired” and “unsteady because I’m on painkillers” feel like. Or “unsteady because I got up too fast and my blood rushed to my head”. This has been different. This has been “unsteady for no immediately obvious reason”. It’s eased down as the week has proceeded, but it hasn’t entirely gone away. Dara thinks it’ll take me a few weeks to really properly adjust.
It is distinctly weird to gently wiggle the end of my nose and feel it not clicking under my fingertip. It’s a lot more stable now. And now that I know that my septum was apparently in three different pieces (yikes?), this makes rather more sense now.
So far I have not needed to use my previous levels of antihistamines, which I was hoping for. I have been taking Allegra this week, just to encourage the skin irritation to go away. But I haven’t had any Claritin at all, and only one night where I had any Benadryl. I have not tried the Azelastine spray again, partly because I’m almost out of it, and partly because of an ongoing suspicion I’ve had that that stuff may have been contributing to a worsening of my ability to focus on text on my phone or tablets. After being off that stuff for a week, cold turkey, my ability to visually focus on the devices has improved. So I’ll only be resuming that spray if absolutely necessary.
Other things I’ll be keeping an eye on as I finish recovering and resume normal levels of activity: how my sleeping levels change. Whether this recurrent pulsatile tinnitus in my right ear finally goes away, if I do enough saline rinses to really clear out my sinuses properly. Whether my metabolism alters in response to changes in my sleeping and breathing. How my senses of taste and smell will be impacted.
And, as I’ve written about before, how this will impact my breath control on my flutes and whistles! Dr. Bhrani told me at the appointment that I should stay off wind instruments for a few more weeks, so this means no taking the wind instruments to this month’s session. (Oh darn. I guess I’ll just have to show up with the fiddle instead. ;D )
The only down note so far has been that my snoring has not gone away–because it turns out I’m a mouth snorer, and I am not yet used enough to keeping my mouth closed at night when I sleep. So this’ll be something to work on. Housemate Paul, who has sleep apnea and therefore has some experience with this kind of thing, has recommended I try a chin strap. So I sent a note in to the nurse to ask her for her staff’s recommendation on what kind of chin strap to try.
Aside from the snoring thing, though, this experience has been largely very positive. I’m looking forward to seeing how my daily life continues to change as a result.