Nose 2, was it worth it?

In today’s Genforward free online genealogy blog I will be picking up where I left off on the saga of the new nose!

 

Ok, when I last left you it was the day before I was due to go back to have the stitches and splints removed from my rebuilt nasal appendage. This was actually supposed to be a bit of a non event. All very simple and straightforward. Of course, it wasn’t……..

The whole operation side of things had been fairly straightforward. I was wheeled in, put on the rear opening dignity stripper gown, and then hooked up to some electronics and a drip. Given how much of a mess my nose was before we started, there was a possibility the surgeon would need some extra cartilage to rebuild things so I had to nominate an ear for him to steal the cartilage from.

Given that I had grown used to sleeping on my left, I nominated my right ear to go under the knife and that was that. I made the anesthetist promise to make sure I was seriously out cold (I had visions of waking up mid op with my face peeled off and wanted to make sure). Next think I was really aware of I was coming round.

My ear was all in one piece and my nose felt totally bunged up, but that was a normal feeling anyway so really it was only the stuff plastered all over my nose that let me know we were done. I was given a couple of industrial strength pain killers to keep me going, and a prescription for some more to use as needed to keep the pain under control.

I was then given a sheet of instructions as to how to behave during the rehab period the next week until I went back to see the surgeon again. It’s here where I think the issue really lay. I have to take part of the blame myself (mainly my bull headedness that I’m indestructible) for the less than perfect rehab, but some of it was down to bad instructions on the sheet.
First off I was supposed to basically stay immobile. Doing absolutely nothing. This is not my natural state.  The instructions also told me that I had to do nothing that would get my heart rate or blood pressure raised. Clearly the author of this set of instructions had never lived with my family.

Then there was the actual “after care” part of the instructions. It was all very contradictory. It said that I had splints on the inside and outside of my nose and that I had to keep these dry. It then also said that I should spray my nose every couple of hours with saline to keep things moist, and gently clean out with a cotton bud.

How I was supposed to spray up my nose without getting the splint wet it didn’t say so I kind of tried to just squirt the bottom opening. Then as I was fishing about trying to clean things I was running into all sorts of lumps and bumps and blockages. I couldn’t tell what were stitches, what were splints and what was just blood and gunk. In the interests of safety I just gave it all a light rub and moved on. Then I put some petroleum jelly on the two stitches I could actually see on the outside of my nose as per instruction. Job done, or so I thought.

I didn’t really have much pain. It’s was more just discomfort and the nose being blocked up solid that was the issue. Some of the bits inside were really becoming a bit tender to the touch and I did get a bit worried if maybe I had a bit of an infection, but as I was going back to the surgeon in a few days I left it be.

After a bit of a weird experience on the way back from the hospital akin to a total “trip out”, I had decided that the pain killers I had been issued were fairly heavy duty. I checked out the details online and the list of bad stuff and potential side effects ranging from server addiction up to and including death made me a little wary of taking them. Plus the pain was no problem so I didn’t feel the need.

All in all I felt a bit beaten up, my legs weren’t really 100% under me, but that was about it. The rest of the deal was pretty much nothing as far as I was concerned.

I drove myself back to the hospital for my appointment then spent 20 minutes raising my heart rate and blood pressure driving round in circles looking for a parking space. Eventually I found one about half a mile from the hospital so off I went across the car parks trying not to raise my heartbeat and more.

Once I got into the office I was met by the nurse who then proceeded to pour some brown glue removal liquid onto my nose cast and into my eyes. She then apparently remembered that you weren’t supposed to put it in people’s eyes so went to work poking about in my eyeballs with a cloth.

Assuring her that the searing pain in my eyes really wasn’t a problem, the nurse left and I awaited the arrival of the doctor.

I think I have mentally tried to block out most of the rest of the visit. It transpired that due to me not really knowing what bits to wet and what to put petroleum jelly on and what to clean off and what to leave, I had done everything wrong possible as far as aftercare goes.

The sensitive spots I was feeling was because all sorts of gunge and blood had hardened into the stitches. The splints were caked to parts of my nose. The whole thing was a mess. Net result, the removal the stitches took half my new nose with it and resulted in me needing to be peeled off the office ceiling. And that was just the first one.

The doc then helped by me reacting to the sever pain that was occurring in any way other than by remaining perfectly still was a bad idea considering he had a scalpel and a pair of scissors things jammed up my nostril. Much as I could understand his point I was having a little difficulty in the self control department. When one is jabbed in the face with a burning knitting needle, one tends to jump a bit and perhaps let out a small yelp of surprise if one has been told that this will be painless.

This seemed to go on forever and was, to say the least somewhat unpleasant. Then we moved onto the splints up my nose. I was informed that the way he did it was to clip them in half and then take them out in 2 pieces. Why, I’m really not sure. To be fair I was too busy seeing stars and being in shock from the painless stich removal. Regardless I laid back and braced myself.

This bit was painful as well, but not quite as blindingly painful as the stitches. It was more the weirdness of the feeling. I suddenly felt great empathy to the Egyptian kings of old who had also been subjected to having their brains removed through their noses. The main difference was that they were dead at the time. It’s not something a living person should have to take away as a memory.

Then it was over. I was running hot and cold flushes. Sweat was pouring off me. My right eye appeared to be crying all on its own. I felt shocked, battered and strangely violated. The doctor left the room. I think I was supposed to follow but at this point I was still seeing stars and the room was still swaying. I really didn’t rust myself to stand up.

At this point the receptionist started to conduct a conversation from afar through the open door in an attempt to beckon me out of my hidey hole.  She asked how it was and I was faced with the fact that I simply had to inform her that I had acted like a “massive sodding fairy”. I genuinely like to think of myself as a fairly sturdy individual, and I certainly wouldn’t say I have any issues with a low pain threshold, but this whole experience had just left me feeling like a gibbering wreck. I felt totally vulnerable and small.

After signing out I slowly walked out of the building and across the car part, blotting away stray blood from my nose as it saw fit to drip. My head was still spinning and I really didn’t feel right at all. I sat in my car for a minute with the AC on trying to decide if I should attempt to drive or if it would be a better move to throw up first.

Eventually I pulled myself together a bit and drove a few hundred yards down the road to a gas station where I could get myself a cold drink. After that I felt a chunk better, certainly ok to take a steady drive back home.

The next day, everything was as sore as hell. Sore enough in fact for me to start on the hospital pain killers I had not felt the need to use before. As a result I basically spent the rest of the week stoned off my head, but not in pain. Over the weekend I weened myself off them and now we’re back to normal.

The nose is not 100% straight. Apparently this was never likely to happen, which having seen the x-rays before, I totally understand. When it’s recently de junked it’s really clear and I can breathe properly for the first time in 30 years. It is however still a little swollen inside so the airway is not as clear as it will be as time goes by and I heal more.

The whole end of it feels totally numb. I also seem to need to have a bit of a re-adjust as far as the fact my nose now sticks out into places that it never did before. I seem to keep bashing myself a lot with my hands as I move them round my face. I’m sure that will all settle itself out in time though.

So, the 64,000 dollar question, was it worth it?

The answer is that I think it probably will be once it’s all settled. As I say it’s still a bit swollen so breathing can still be a bit congested. It’s also not totally straight. Earlier on I was thinking that I could always go back for another try once things had settled, but after the stich removal debacle there’s just no way on earth I’d do it again just for cosmetic reasons, especially when that wasn’t the real motivator in the first place. Even though I’m sure I would now do 100% better aftercare and the whole second phase would be a walk in the park, I’m just too wary of it now.

Oh well, never mind, nose 2 will have to do!

Tom@genforward.org

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