Happy Marathon Monday! I had originally hoped to be back at work today, but now realize how unrealistic that was. The pain was at its worst so far last night, and I am very grateful for a decent night of sleep. I woke up nauseated again, but forced myself to get up, do my sinus rinse, and turn on the TV to watch all the start line coverage of the marathon. I took my meds, sucked on a gingermint, actually removed the SeaBands (fell asleep in them last night, oops), and finally was able to eat two protein muffins. As soon as my surgeon’s office opened at 8am, I left a message with the nurse asking if I could pleasepleaseplease get the packing removed today. She called back about 45 minutes with the best news ever – surgeon says he can remove the packing, 3 days early! Hallelujah! Now I just need to make it till my 1:15pm appointment. I took a Percocet and was planning to just take two extra strength Tylenol before the appointment – I hear the packing removal can be VERY painful and people pass out – but the nausea has been at bay since I ate, so I’m thinking it may be better to take a Percocet before the appointment instead. I know it’s going to hurt, but I’m trying to focus on the end result of being able to breathe, being able to do full sinus rinses, being so much less miserable!
I’ve been laying in bed all morning watching the Marathon on TV and getting caught up on all these surgery posts. I had wanted to watch the elite runners go by, but that’s going to be soon, and I still need to take a shower and eat some lunch before we leave in about 2 hours, so I’ll probably save my watch plans until later when my friends are running by. Plans for working this week are still up in the air but I hope to ween off the Percocet in the next 24 hours, so maybe I’ll be able to work from home tomorrow and get back to the office by the end of the week.
My dad took me to the surgeon’s office yesterday for my 1:15pm appointment. On the way, I decided to pop a Percocet in advance of what was going to be a painful experience. The surgeon came in right away, and said there never was any packing, except what they added in the ER. I told him what his nurse said, and he explained that they often say there’s packing even when it’s only splints. Super confusing but I definitely felt like there was packing, so I thought maybe he was wrong. He started coming at me with scissors and I was like, “Whoa! Aren’t you going to numb me?!” He said you can’t really numb for splints removal as it’s very fast. First he removed the stitches, then pulled out the splints. It felt weird but not painful at all. I immediately felt different in a good way – I could sort of breathe through my nose but was still convinced there was packing up there.
He looked with the scope and said they had really packed me good in the ER, and what I was feeling was actually clotted blood, not packing (that had dissolved). He used suction to get a lot of it out. That didn’t hurt, but felt weird and there was a lot of pressure. He said there were still some pretty big clots that weren’t budging, and due to my excessive bleeding, he wanted to leave them alone. I must’ve looked disappointed, because he said, “Or I can try.” I worried about that being painful or possibly even so bloody I would need some sort of additional packing, which I didn’t want, so I asked him if there was a happy medium. He said absolutely – I would start doing the full sinus rinses twice a day, and that would loosen up the clots. I took a few deep breaths through my nose and he could hear the clots blocking up there, so he said, “Let’s just get them out.” This part was a little painful but only lasted a few seconds at a time. It took him a while to get out all the clots, and the suction kept stopping because the line was clogged (with clots, gross), but eventually he got them all out. And there wasn’t even that much blood.
He sprayed a numbing decongestant which instantly numbed everything, including the back of my throat, so I felt like I was going to choke any time I swallowed. But I finally felt human. I could take actual breaths through my nose with my mouth closed, and not feel like I was suffocating (I hadn’t even been able to properly take my temperature all week because I couldn’t hold my breath long enough to get an accurate reading). The Percocet had also kicked in by then so I was feeling a little woozy, but already more cheerful and alive.
Due to the excessive bleeding, he said he wanted me to stay at home the rest of the week, and to do very little moving around. He said I could take Rags for short, infrequent walks and work from home, but no exercising for one week, and even then, to ease back into it. He doesn’t need to see me back for a month, unless I have any problems between now and then. He also told me not to get punched in the nose. That sounds funny and easy to accomplish, but it also makes me glad I’m switching to parking at work as of May 1, instead of taking the T. When it is crowded and you are 5-feet-nothing, getting punched in the face by an elbow or a backpack is actually a fairly common occurrence. Now I just need to buy a car so that I have something to park in my new parking spot…
Dad’s duties were done at this point, so he loaded up the dogs and his things into the truck, and headed home. He was parked a few blocks away, so I actually walked with him and watched my former co-workers Casey and Laura as they ran by in the Boston Marathon. I somehow got a spot right up along the barricade, but every time people would cheer as their friends ran by, I backed up a little and put my hands near my face in case I needed to protect myself. When Casey and Laura ran by, I wanted to cheer and wave but I still have a hard time speaking, so yelling is 100% out of the question. I sent them silent, positive vibes instead.
It was really windy (but an insanely gorgeous day, otherwise) by then, and the wind felt like ammonia inside my nose. It was stinging. I guess because all that tissue is new and raw and healing. I ended up walking home with a tissue held up to my nose to block the wind, and when I got home, I re-applied my gauze mustache. It’s become like a safety blanket for me now – there’s still a constant but very light flow of blood, but also it kind of filters out the air so I can breathe fully through my nose, but without the stinging sensation. I ended up leaving that on until the next morning, with the exception of two full sinus rinses that cleared a disturbing amount of gunk and clots.
I texted my manager to let her know the plan was to work from home the rest of the week and she said that was of course fine, and if I needed more time to let her know. I’m not sure if I’ll manage a full 8 hours my first day “back” but at least my bed and the couch are a mere 10 feet away if I need a break.
I have read that this surgery can cause temporary or permanent loss of smell or taste. While the roof of my mouth still feels burnt, my sense of smell actually seems stronger. Every time I walk into my kitchen, I smell gas, even though it’s not lit. I asked my dad, and he doesn’t smell anything, so I think I’m just smelling the pilot light. I could also smell my hair, my Pedialyte, and hand soap I was using, but at about 10x the normal strength. I’m not sure if it’s a temporarily enhancement or if I just wasn’t smelling at 100% before, but I’m just glad it’s not the other way around! I do think my toothpaste tastes different as did the yogurt I had, but everything else seems to taste normal and as it should.