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There and Back Again: Surgery Recap

Post-OpMaybe Number Ten is a lucky number, at least regarding sinus surgeries. Here’s a recap of both my sinus history and this latest one.

I had two or three in Ohio by the time I was 16 and then the next 5 or 6 in Tampa with one ENT by the time we got married when I was 27 with Number 9 being with a new ENT after my long-time ENT retired. That was in October. Fast-forward 2 months and my headaches were nearly describable.

A new CT scan showed my sinusitis was worse than before my surgery, but this test result came after an overnight O2 test and a full sleep study that put me on an AutoPAP for nighttime desaturation, a common cause of late morning headaches. The CT scan led to a second opinion with a doctor who operates out of the same hospital as my CF center, and he suggested a cleaning under general anesthesia with some reconstructive work on my septum as a therapeutic option because he wasn’t able to physically access many of my issues in the office due to my anatomy as-is. Surgery was scheduled for January 6th.

My calendar tells me that today is the 8th now. Surgery feels like months ago already because this was (by far, without exception or exaggeration) the absolute best surgical experience I’ve ever had… with very few hiccups.

The biggest hiccup was that my surgery was pushed from 10am to 3:30pm, which did not make me a happy camper. There was quite a bit of anxiety that the entire operation would be scrubbed to another day with it being that late, but I went with it anyway since I had already waited over 3 weeks and was almost out of pain-killers. We arrived at registration and it was just a matter of 90 seconds to send me up to the OR floor. Slick!

Up in Pre-Op check-in, she asked if I was diabetic (“Hi, yourself.”) and said I could sit in the chairs behind us (or in the main crowded room with a lot of people who may be sick). This is where it gets to be a combination of silly/ridiculous/confusing, but not particularly annoying… far more confusing than anything. So far, I’ve ridden in a hospital shuttle to the main door, interacted with the VERY elderly registration guy, stood in a crammed elevator with people, walked down several halls, and sat in a waiting room with other people.

Next thing I know, I have the plague.

The next nurse who came to the desk asked if I’ve ever been in isolation. “In my life, yes. This millenium, no.” was pretty much my “hi, yourself” response to this nurse. Does anyone say “hi” around here before asking obscure medical condition questions first? “You’ve got MRSA, so you’re in isolation all the way.” They made Beautiful put on a gown in the room with me while we waited for the surgery nurse to come ask the barrage of Pre-Op questions I knew was coming. I touched her t-shirt that was hanging out of that silly gown that barely covered anything, especially weird since… uh… we live together, tough each other, and keep our clothes in the same closet.

The nurse came. Yada yada yada. We waited another 45 minutes or so until 3:10 and I heard some rustling outside my door. I Facebooked: “I hear activity outside my door” or something like that, just as the door opened and my first class ticket to the OR arrived. I got masked up and a gown draped over my blanket (LOL!!) and I was wheeled to the OR doors where we said our good-byes and I was in – at 3:12pm!

Without my glasses, “seeing things” is a relative term since I’m a -12.5 near-sighted dude whose nose gets in the way of reading without glasses, so my account of everything after is by color, motion, and hearing. I was wheeled into the largest OR I’ve ever been in. There must have been enough room for a dozen or more people to work on me. The doctor came in to sign the paperwork and answer my question if he was going to break my external nose or just align my inner septum (inner only) and then I was transferred over to the OR table with a pillow under my knees, egg crate under my heels, and a doughnut pillow under my head.

The nurse anesthetist had me sign consent to go nighty-night and one of the other anesthesia guys came over to my left and said he’d take great care of me. He asked what my lung function was and had me blow his hand up above me. My ability satisfied him and he repeated his promise. I said, “just make sure I wake up in two hours, but please not before.” The nurse above my head put a mask over my face and had me breathe in 5 times big and then normal. It had an interesting smell. Three more big breaths and then normal. Still not asleep. He nodded at the nurse on my right and she took my hand. I barely started to feel it and said, “good night” they said, “good night” in return, and that’s all she wrote.

Unlike my previous surgeries, nothing was the same from here on out except that I woke up and with pain. I was in a private room with a dedicated nurse named Julio. I barely had any pain, but it was there and strong enough for morphine, but instead of my normal request for 2mg that knocks me out for an hour, I asked for 0.5mg – and then another 0.5 pretty soon after. I wasn’t bleeding because I didn’t have any gauze under my nose. What the heck?! Did they operate? Before too long, they wheeled me out to the hallway and to the waiting room where Beautiful came out. I said, “Hey there,” as if I’d only been gone a few minutes and nothing had happened. She was totally taken aback. Why wasn’t I miserable with tears flowing down my cheeks and tons of gauze taped under my nose?

We got to one of the isolation rooms from Pre-Op and was ready to go home, or so I thought. We just sat there a while as I tried to drink and feel tip-top. My mouth felt like it was made out of cotton, but my cups were 99% ice, so I was only getting an ounce or two of Sierra Mist for every cup they brought. That was when they told me I had to pee in their container to go home. If I’d known that I wouldn’t have gone right before surgery because they weren’t giving me enough to drink. I’ve never squeezed so hard to give someone 100mL in my life, but I wanted out of there. My wheelchair escort arrived at 8pm (who took me all the way to our car in the garage!) and we were home and settled by 9pm.

I bled some overnight on my left side and a couple of more times before lunch when I’d bend over, but not since. I took a Vicodin when we got home for my head and then two yesterday for my back due to sleeping in the chair – and that’s it for pain.

I can’t wait for my follow-up appointment next week to find out how he did it without causing the amount of trauma I’ve grown used to for this procedure.


  1. Almost makes you wonder if it was a scam and the Dr. never did anything at all. 😉

  2. MiddleAgedLady says

    I’m so glad it wasn’t as traumatic as expected!! Here’s hoping this will last you for long, LONG time!

  3. We are praising God with you that everything went well. We firmly believe that our great God still hears and answers prayer!