Monday, April 22, 2013

Sinus Surgery - The Scoop

Five days out from my recent sinus surgery...or officially, "functional endoscopic sinus surgery with navigation."

(Don't I sound all "Grey's Anatomy"??!!)

Why keep blogging about it, you may ask? Because - I know that pre-surgery - I myself was scouring the internet and blogs, hoping to get as much information as I could...on what to expect pre, post, and during surgery. I found some good information out there, and thought that I would share my own experiences - up until this point - in order to help or assist someone who may be considering this surgery for themselves or for a family member.

First, a quick background: I broke my nose when I was twelve, and consequently, have had chronic sinus problems my entire life. Every year I would suffer through a sinus infection - or two - and I would go through the motions of antibiotics, rinses, sprays, etc. However, the last few years, the infections seem to get more and more frequent - and didn't seem to respond to the medications. The last two years or so, it had gotten to the point where they were affecting my lifestyle, as I can't tell you how many trips I've had to cancel because my ears weren't able to withstand the cabin pressure on airplanes.

This year, I reached the breaking point, and when an ENT here in Fort Myers said that my sinuses were pretty much permanently blocked, and surgery was needed, I didn't hesitate.

"Let's do it," I said, emphatically...

Medically, not much was done pre-surgery. I had to go in for a CAT scan, but other than was normal.

The morning of, I arrived at the surgicenter with Hubby in tow, and after my vitals were all checked, the IV was hooked up, etc, I was wheeled into the OR for the 90-minute procedure.

I do NOT wake up well after general anesthetic. My first recollection is hearing an annoying voice (the nurse?) calling my name, demanding that I open my eyes...and I was NOT happy about this. Waking up meant dealing with the pain - of which there was a LOT - most noticeably in my throat. Indeed, my throat felt as if I'd been swallowing pieces of broken glass for the past 90 minutes - a consequence of the tracheal tube during the surgery. This sore throat would last for the better of 48 hours, with not much relief.

Thrashing about on the bed, moaning, "NOOOOOO!!! Throat!!!! Throat!!! HURT!!! HURT!!!" - I'm sure I was a nurse's delight in the recovery room. Not. She hustled on one side to get me dressed, while Hubby hustled on the other, and WHOOSH - they had me out that surgicenter door and into our car in no time. Not empty-handed, I have THREE prescriptions to get me by: Cefadroxil (an antiobiotic), Vicodin (for pain and wild dreams), and Prednisone (for who knows what??)

My first afternoon, I pretty much laid on the sofa - head elevated - and stared up at the ceiling. Hubby was an excellent nursemaid, forcing down the pills when it was time (as the Prednisone tastes AWFUL!!!), and insuring that I was as comfortable as one can be after just having surgery. I had the television on for background noise, and as this was the week of the terrible Boston Marathon bombings, I was getting inundated with horrible images and news reports to the point that, eventually, I flipped it over to a re-run of "Happy Days." Thank God for TVLand - because although the show was cheesy, it was nice to have something mindless. Yesterday, I managed to watch the classic 'candy' episode of "I Love Lucy" - which had me laughing out loud. Amazing what forced recovery from a surgery will do to your television viewing habits.

I didn't have packing up my nose - thank goodness - although I did come home with a little bandaid/cotton gauze for my nose to catch drainage...of which I've had none. Zero. Zilch. This has made it much more comfortable to sleep at night, as well as to breathe. Actually, other than the first night, I've slept pretty good...still keeping my head somewhat elevated, and making sure I take a Tylenol right before I head to bed. Waking up has been rough - as I wake up about six hours later, and my pain is back with a vengeance.

Really, I've had just a few side effects, some of which are more scary than others:

1. Pain
Duh. I just had surgery. I should have expected the pain, but I didn't expect it to still be around four days later. My face feels like I've ran 90 mph into a brick wall....I quit taking the Vicodin Friday night, as I HATED the way it made me feel, and I've been living on one Tylenol capsule every 3 hours. I could try to take Ibuprofen, but my stomach has been a bit queasy as it is, and I don't want to make it worse. The pain radiates from my ears to my nose to my forehead to my cheeks...pretty much my entire facial area...and it SUCKS. It's like the worst sinus infection - EVER.

2. Dizziness
I thought this would subside after laying off the Vicodin...and it did, a bit. However, when I stand up, the room spins and I have to be careful to not hit the deck. Especially because I have hard tiled floors here in Florida, and that would be a very hard landing. Ouch.

3. No sense of smell or taste
Okay...this is where I am FREAKING out. I've read this should be temporary - and I pray to God it is.... My eyesight is poor; my hearing is average; but my sense of smell? Has always been AWESOME. Seriously - I could smell things the average person couldn't smell, and I've loved, loved, LOVED delighting in aromatics over the years. Perfume is an addiction of mine, as well as burning scented candles in my home - and I CAN'T SMELL THEM. Nada. Nothing. I applied perfume on Saturday and I couldn't tell you what I'd just sprayed. Husband cooks dinner and I can't tell what he's cooked until I look at it. GAH.

As far as taste? Nothing. Nada. Everything is mush in my mouth. Hubby bought some chocolate candy the day after surgery, hoping to eliminate the bad taste of the Prednisone (which, is weird....WHY, oh WHY, can I taste THAT???!!), but I can't taste the chocolate. At all. Friday night, Hubby made a blue-cheese hamburger, thinking the pungent blue cheese would break through the barriers of "nothingness" that I'm experiencing - and it didn't. Couldn't taste it - or smell it - even while waving it literally right under my nose.

For a foodie, this is the worst form of torture right now.

This is playing mind games with me like you wouldn't believe...even more than the mind games that Vicodin can bring on. I am praying, praying and praying this is just temporary - as I desperately put a spice up against my nose, trying to get just a whiff of SOMETHING - ANYTHING - so that my sense of normalcy is back.

I had read of this side effect, but didn't take it serious...or at least, didn't think of how it would affect me, and that's my mistake.

Before the surgery, the nurse had told Hubby that he'd be my slave for the first 24 hours after surgery...and thinking that I would bounce back quickly, he was a wonderful nurse, but then flew back to Kansas City Saturday, leaving me here in Florida...alone. Yikes. Alone.


Now, I've REALLY got to pull it together. I'm writing down my medicines when I take them, so I don't forget and accidentally overdose or underdose. I'm forcing myself to cook food - and eat it - even though my appetite is kaput. I'm making myself rest and sleep when I need to, and I'm not worrying about dishes or laundry that is in sad need of care.

I have some allergy testing scheduled for tomorrow, which will hopefully figure out what precipitates a sinus infection to begin with...and my post-surgery doctor visit is Thursday. I'm hoping and praying that I get the green light to fly back to Kansas City by Saturday of next week, to rejoin my family and friends....

...and just maybe, delight in some good old Kansas City barbecue. And I'll be able to TASTE it by then.




MariK said...

I came back to this blogspot now, in Sepember as my daughter (16) just went through same FESS surgery as you did. So thanks for posting your experience, I can now confirm her that life does go on, but it will take abt 4 long weeks.

Aeon Gupta said...

Wonderful information you shared. Thanks for sharing this. sinus surgery in lucknow

Aaron Carter said...

This sounds awful. I am sorry. I have to get some sinus surgery so I have been looking up some stories on it. I hope it's not too bad. I would hate to be out of work for too long.

Aaron Carter |

Robin said...

I too have lost all sense of smell and taste. Have you ever get it back?

Sherri O said...

Robin…a year after surgery, it has somewhat come back - but not 100%. I didn't even realize it hadn't come back until last January, when someone made homemade cinnamon rolls, and I couldn't smell them - at all. I can smell about 20%, I think…if that makes sense. My taste has dimmed, as well.

It's kind of a bummer, but I'm doing so well with flying, and fewer sinus infections, that I guess I'll take the "bad" with the good. :)

Dolores Brown said...

That's so thoughtful of you. If I had just had surgery I would use the excuse and just sit on the couch all day long. It's good to see what the surgery was like, because honestly it's nice to hear that other people have had it go well before I have to get it done.