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Archive for February, 2014

So I wanted to blog about my surgery that I recently had.  Due to chronic infection and excessive tonsil stones they removed my tonsils (Tonsillectomy) and at the same time, removed two bone spurs in my sinuses that were pressing against a bundle of nerves and causing headaches/migraines, then they fixed my deviated septum (Septoplasty).  My surgery was January 30th at the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion and wow is that place nice!  The people were so friendly and understanding.

After checking in they called my name and J and I walk back to my relaxing waiting room.  They give me the typical gown, shower cap, sock booties, and a bag to put all my personal affects in.  Then they hooked up me to an IV and wow I don’t remember IV’s aching so badly.  It’s funny at the Sharp Outpatient Pavilion, you’re given a bar code with a number and whomever is here with you waiting in the main waiting room can enter that number into a kiosk to see where you are in the surgery process.  So my mom who was waiting for me, could enter my bar code number and see that I was still in my personal waiting room.  That’s pretty cool.

About an hour later the doctor comes in and says we’re ready.  I’m extremely nervous and questioning whether I made a good decision to have the surgery or not.  Sensing my anxiousness the nurse wraps me up in a nice warm blanket and we walk to the surgery theater.  I get up on the nice warm table and place my arms in the restraint straps and I hear them say, “Here we go, have a nice dream.” Instantly I was out.

The next thing I know is I hear people laughing in the recovery room.  The recovery nurse sees that my eyes are just starting to open and comes over to me.  In my anesthesia state I tell her that I’m an Astronaut and that my teeth are floating away. The nurse just smiles and says “I bet you are and nope your teeth are still there”.  At this point there’s no pain in my throat at all – I’m thinking to myself, wow this isn’t so bad after all!  I have a small gauze pad under my nose to catch any draining blood from my sinus surgery.   Sure enough I sit up a little and the blood bypasses the gauze and trickles down to my chin.  The doctor came in and told me how the surgery went, saying that the tonsils were bad and it’s a good thing we removed them.  He also said that the sinus surgery was more complicated that he had envisioned but all went well.  So after about 40 minutes in recovery, the nurses give me some pain meds, some applesauce and an anti-nausea med and my mom and I head home.

As soon as I get in the car I look in the mirror at the back of my throat.  It’s totally disgusting.  It looks burnt, there are black and white “scabs” covering where my tonsils were and up and around the roof of my mouth.  So gross!  So we get home and I’ve already set up the couch so I can watch TV.  I’m still not in too much pain, just very groggy and a little wobbly.  One of the weird side effects of anesthesia is bathroom ventures.  I had to pee so badly, but for the life of me I somehow forgot how to pee.  It took all my effort and focus just to “open the flood gates”.   Four hours later I’m starting to feel the pain, it’s really not that bad but everyone is saying to stay on track and take another Percocet.  Unfortunately narcotics and I don’t get along so well, and about an hour later I threw-up.

Pain Level: EH what pain? I’m still rolling in my anesthesia stupor!

Mood: Groggy but good

Day 2:

I have to sleep on the couch because I just can’t get comfortable in bed.  I have to sleep propped up on two to three pillows and that alone makes for an uncomfortable night.   My nose gauze is soaked with blood and plasma and because I can’t breathe through my nose and have to breathe through my mouth my throat gets dry and that exacerbates the pain I’m feeling.  I set my alarm to wake me up every four hours to take my pain meds which really isn’t necessary since I’m barely sleeping at all.  At this point the pain is excruciating.  Every time I swallow it feels like I’m swallowing broken glass.  After gingerly eating some baby food and applesauce I take another Percocet.  And again, I throw everything up.  So we call the doctor and they say stop taking the Percocet and instead just switch off between Motrin and Tylenol every four hours.

Pain Level: Bathing in the flames of a thousand hells would be less painful than this.

Mood: Please just kill me now!

Day 3-4

Swallowing is pure agony.  It’s worse in the mornings.  I’m so sick of eating applesauce and baby food.  Everything hurts.  I have the chills and body aches today.  Even my hair hurts.  I can’t get enough pain meds.  Thankfully the antibiotic meds for my throat are in liquid form.  Unfortunately the antibiotic for my nose is in pill form.  Every time I have to take the pill is like trying to swallow a lemon whole.  Half the time the pill gets stuck and leaves this horribly bitter taste in my mouth.   I tried cutting the pill in half, which made it a bit easier but leaves sharp edges on the pill which scrape at my throat on the way down.  The nausea is gone now thankfully.  The black burnt areas of my throat have turned to sickly white scabs. The pain in my throat is bypassing any pain I might be feeling in my nose.  There are two splints in my nose and all I really feel is an uncomfortable pressure in my sinuses.

Pain Level: Why yes! I would like another cup of razor blades to swallow!

Mood:  I Hate Everyone! Here, take one of the razor blades you’re feeding me and slice vertically.

Day 5

Really wondering when the pain in my throat will subside.  The pain is intense.  Mornings still are the worst.  I am craving sushi like mad.  Today I go back to the doctor to have the splints taken out.  Prior to the visit I watched the process on YouTube, and overall it didn’t look too bad.  All I envision is relief from the pressure.  So the doctor takes a look at my throat and says that it’s looking great.  Then he gets his tweezers and scissors and snips the stitches that are holding the splints in place. Then with one smooth quick motion he pulls out the first splint.  It feels odd when they come out, and I can’t really describe it other than it feels odd.  The splints are incredibly large, probably three inches long and an inch wide!  Then he removes the second splint.  I can breathe! After the doctor suctions out my sinuses he explains that the cultures came back from the tonsils and that it reports chronic infection and that I was growing a particularly nasty form of bacteria that wasn’t at all healthy.

Pain Level: I see you’ve added rusty nails to the cup full of razor blades!

Mood: Please put me in a drug induced coma until my throat is healed!

Day 6-7

Finally the pain in my throat went from a scale of 10 to 8!  I’ve even managed to eat steamed and pureed broccoli without tears welling up in my eyes.  I’m still taking my pain meds every four hours.  I was hoping by now I’d be able to taper down on the meds but I’m quickly reminded why I’m taking so much when the pain in my throat comes back with a vengeance.  My nose has started becoming more painful.  It’s so sore and swollen that I can’t even touch it.  Talking is very hard as any movement in my lip moves the skin in my nose which hurts.  My sinuses are blocked but I’m not allowed to blow my nose.  I can only sniff and spray a gentle saline solution.  Daytime television really does suck!  It’s a constant barrage of lawyer commercials for lawsuits on hip replacements and vaginal mesh recalls and the non-stop Coleman and ITT Technical institute commercials.  I’m so thankful I have internet TV.

Pain Level: I think I swallowed a rabid squirrel and the pressure in my nose is creating its own gravitational field

Mood: Ready for the healing to begin… Anytime now… Seriously? Is this ever going to heal?

Day 8-10

I see the first glimmer of healing!  Peeking out from behind one of my tonsil scabs is a small patch of fresh pink healthy skin!  YAY!  Pain is still an issue but on a scale of 1 to 10 it’s now a 7.  I can eat soggy Rice Chex cereal!  Granted I have to let the cereal stay in the coconut milk for 30 minutes prior to eating and then I have to eat one square at a time, but it’s a big improvement from applesauce and baby food!!  Nose pain is getting worse.  Inside skin is red and angry.  I’m putting ointment on it three times a day, hoping to avoid an infection.  Seems my body doesn’t like the dissolvable stitches.

Pain Level: Feels like swallowing angry blister beetles and that’s an improvement from broken glass, rusty nails and razor blades!

Mood: WooHoo, I see pink skin!

Day 11-15

I’m back at work now and because of my lack of nutrition and calorie intake I’m exhausted.  I’ve lost ten pounds which I couldn’t afford to lose and I simply can’t eat enough calories with the applesauce, baby food and soggy Rice Chex cereal to function normally.  I take several naps on my office floor throughout the day.  The pressure in my nose is severe and is throbbing something fierce.  I’ve decided at lunch to go and buy a Neti-pot.  At home I prep the distilled water and break out the neti-pot.  It’s incredible what comes out.  No wonder there was pressure!  Even J comments, “Holy Crap!”  After I finish both sides, the pressure in my sinuses returns to a normal “stuffy” level.  I can tell my sinuses are still swollen but after the Neti-pot life is much better!

Pain Level: Pain now feels like I have strep throat.  Never thought strep could feel so good!

Mood: Yay my food has texture!

Day 16-20

My throat is also doing a lot better.  I’ve ventured out and ate some Vietnamese Pho soup around day 16. It takes me forever eat because I have to take very small bites and chew everything until it’s a mash.  I feel like my energy is coming back now that I’m taking in more nutrients and calories.  On day 18 I actually ate real normal food!  A hotdog with chili and a hamburger!  My goal now is to gain back the ten pounds I lost during this ordeal.  My throat now feels like I have a minor sore throat from a cold.  However, my nose has gotten so much worse.  Went to Urgent care because the throbbing is so intense it keeps me up at night.  The skin in my nose is swollen and red.  They give me some antibiotic pills and an antibiotic ointment.  The ointment burns like lava.  Several days later the pain hasn’t subsided and I call the surgeon.  He prescribes a different antibiotic and a different antibiotic cream.  This cream doesn’t burn and after two applications I’m already doing better.  Throbbing has decreased and the skin doesn’t look quite so angry.

Pain Level – I think someone stuffed an angry badger up my nose.  It’s unhappy to say the least.

Mood: Finally get to eat that greasy hamburger! All in the name of gaining weight!

Its day 21 now, and I can eat normal food!  My throat still hurts a little but I have lots of fresh pink skin!   It’s been a couple of days on the new antibiotics and the throbbing has stopped.  I still can’t touch the tip of my nose without winching in pain, but overall it’s getting better!  I’m not fully recovered yet, but I can already tell that the surgery was successful.  I haven’t had a headache since the surgery!  Doctor says that it will take 6 months to one year for my sinuses to fully recover and for the swelling to abate completely.  I’ve had a couple of people tell me that they had their tonsils out as a child and that it wasn’t a big deal.  Well I can tell you as an adult this procedure is no piece of cake! Would I do this all over again?  I would say Yes.  It’s been a very painful ordeal for sure, but overall I think it will be worth it in the end.

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