Some people say that birthing babies is a beautiful experience to observe. Strangely, no one says that about removing nose packing.
Today was nose cast and packing removal day. I was nervous and a little bit excited. Me being me, I researched as much as I could to find out about the process in advance. I found a terrific blog by someone who had a similar procedure to mine called humpbegone.blogspot.com (great title!). The woman from the blog looked terrific in all her post op photos, even though she was more banged up than me after her cast was removed. The scariest thing was that she suffered an injury to her new nose (eek!) about a month post op when her toddler accidentally head butted her in the nose. A tiny piece of cartilage was dislodged and added a very slight bump to her nose. She hasn’t updated the site in several years, so no word if she ever had the “revision” surgery. That story was almost enough to scare me into moving in with my mom for a month!
I asked Patrick to drive me to my appointment, not only so I could load up on painkillers in advance, but also because I was scared and wanted someone to hold my hand during the process. I was sadly disappointed when they called my name in the waiting room and he said, “noooooo way, I’m staying in here.” (I had assumed he was working in the waiting room, but more on this later).
The room was freezing and after taking my vitals, the nurse/assistant offered me water. I hadn’t showered in six days and while I had “sponge bathed,” was terrified that I smelled bad and no one would tell me. I wondered if that’s why Patrick didn’t want to come in. No one was recoiling in horror over my smell, so I assumed I was acceptable.
The adorable doctor came in (she’s seriously adorable, can we be friends?) and started by pouring a liquid over my nose cast to dissolve the adhesive. Then she said it was time to remove the tiny stitches under my nose, and that it might sting a little. The first two snips were not bad but the next few felt like pulling nose hairs out with a tweezer in a very sore nose. Or getting stung by a bee under your nose. #Yeowch I had to take a break midway through to catch my breath. Yeah, I started crying, which not only was stupid but made my stitched McRib ache. It turns out I was supposed to be applying Aquaphor on my stitches every day, which would have helped them dissolve. #Oops
Then Dr. Adorbs swabbed out some “space gunk” from my nostrils, which really, really hurt. More tears and achy rib. I should have taken another break then, but she quickly swooped in for the packing. She did the left side first and said, “you’re going to feel a bit of pressure.” Side note: any time a medical professional tells you you’re going to feel some pressure, it’s code for: yeowch. I don’t know the particulars and by golly I did not look at what came out of my nose, but it felt as though I passed a semi inflated balloon through my nostril. It was not pleasant. That poor nurse/assistant let me claw up her arm throughout the ordeal (that’s what a husband’s arm is supposed to be for!).
Then Dr. Adorbs says, “it’s kind of like having a baby!” (Ugh, NEVER say that to me!) as she moved to the other side. But yes, it IS kind of like having a baby. The right side hurt a lot more than the left (whatever creature was lurking up there somehow felt bigger), and it felt like my nostril was ripped open. I assume it hurt more because that was the direction my septum was deviated towards and therefore was being pulled in the other direction. There was a little squirty water gun and vacuum cleaner that she used afterwards but my nose was just so sensitive I want to scream, get the hell out of my nose!!! The doctor and nurse were cheering afterwards and kept asking me, “can you breathe, can you breathe?” I was afraid to breathe. There was all this – stuff – in my nose but I couldn’t deal with the nose Stanley Steamer anymore. And I could sort of breathe from my left nostril, which was a new and weird experience. While I was still very congested, I could feel a tiny pinhole of air at the top of my nostril. Is that what the rest of you feel, everyday?
The cast coming off was the least painful of the entire ordeal. It really was like a very sticky bandaid, definitely sore in spots, like on the bridge of my nose. When they took off the cast, the doctor and nurse oooohed and ahhed over my nose. “It’s so pretty!” “It’s so perfectly straight!” They exclaimed. I was very suspicious about all these rave reviews. How could my nose possibly look good, I wondered. Then they handed me a mirror, and I was really disappointed (and may have cried a bit more).
The bridge of my nose looked like it tripled in width, the end of my nose was roughly the size of a golf ball. Not at all what I was expecting. The bump on my nose was gone, though, and I did like how straight it looked from the side. I felt like Flynn Rider in Tangled when they just couldn’t get his nose right on the Wanted poster – a parody cartoon of myself.
With tears still staining my face, I went to collect Patrick in the waiting room. I rushed out so quickly, that he didn’t even get a chance to look at my new nose. On the car ride home, I told him how disappointed I was that it was so swollen and big but was happy that it was straight and without a bump, to which he replied that in nearly 12 years of being married, he never noticed that my nose was crooked or even had a bump.
When I told him how sad I was that he wasn’t in there with me, holding my hand (considering he was front row for the birth of three babies and not grossed out at all), he said there was no way in hell he was going to see them pull stuff out of my nose. Fair enough. He did buy me coffee every day, after all, and let me sleep.
So now I just wait and continue to improve. Hoping that I look and feel better soon because it’s time to get back on with my life. Seeing people this weekend, heading on a vacation in just three weeks, business travel in May and June. Most importantly, I want to feel like I made a good decision in doing this, and that it was worth the time, expense and pain. Right now I feel like R2 sitting on Dagobah clearing swamp mud out of my nose. I took a 30 minute shower today and it was heavenly (shhhh! Don’t tell Dr. Adorbs that I let it get it *really* steamy in there — I needed it!). I even had a very faint taste of my coffee today. And a jelly bean. It was fleeting and felt like I had to travel through hyperspace in order to get there, but I could taste it. That, and the bright sunshine today, gave me a little hope. Now, off to do my nose therapy!