Surgery for chronic sinus infection was rough, but successful

I said I’d report back – my apologies if it’s a bit more “raw” than my usual posts. Sinus surgery isn’t the prettiest experience out there. 

“Water, water…”  I woke up from the general anesthesia croaking those words and coughing.

The nurse appeared bedside with a cup of crushed ice. I mumbled “water” at least a couple more times. My throat was on fire and felt torn up. Little did I know that was nothing compared to what would ensue over the next two weeks.

In the recovery room, the doctor said everything went “great,” so that was very reassuring. I’d know more the next day when I visited him in office for removal of packing material that were placed in my sinuses.  And if you’ve been there and done that you know that’s a slightly dreadful thought.

I had the typical post-sinus surgery nose strap across my face and I was drowsy and feeling pain. I got wheeled out to the car and went home to embark on the journey of recovery. I must have woken up 11 times that night. I felt so congested and was having trouble swallowing. At 3 a.m. I thought I should just throw in the towel and get up. I was counting down until I got to see the doctor. 

Years ago, when I had my first sinus surgery the major takeaway was how painful it was to remove the packing. This time was better. I was more prepared – mentally. I listened to the doctor’s instructions – eyes open and continue breathing through your mouth. I will admit, time stands still when that office procedure is underway. 

The recovery was slow. I felt the worst on surgery day and day 2. Days 3 through 6 were about the same. I rested, I did the bare minimum, and I tried to eat, but it was quite limited.

The facial pain made it a bit tough, coupled with my throat which was severely bruised from intubation (insertion of a breathing tube while under general anesthesia). I had a pretty severe fear of getting in a car accident on the way to doctor appointments. The thought of a jolt to the face was nightmare-like.

After the packing was removed and close to 48 hours into the recovery period, I felt instant relief (from a sinus infection/breathing perspective – not pain, just to clarify). Surely don’t want you to mix those two up!

While breathing through my nostrils was a fragile activity and I was still focusing on breathing through my mouth, I could tell my ability to breathe was better than it had been in months; maybe a year. It’s a bit hazy looking back.

My throat took about two solid weeks to heal. I was thankful for the first day I was able to swallow without considerable pain. 

So, as final wrap up, I was happy I pursued a specialist after living with chronic sinus infection and failed treatment attempts from my primary care doctor. I’m happy I chose to have surgery and to have it behind me now. Bring on the holidays!

I took care of my body and it doesn’t end here. It’s a fresh slate. My body continues to teach me lessons and I continue to apply those lessons to my life. I continue to absorb what I learn from doctors, my symptoms and my body’s response during each stage of illness. It makes me stronger.  It provides me with the tools that are needed for today, 2 years from now, and what a loved one may go through at any given time.  So in those ways I’m filled with gratitude.

I’m taking in a big breath right now, pain free, as I wrap this post up.  Oh to be able to breathe again. The human body is amazing. 

Technology is our friend in this capacity.

Here’s to literally being able to once again “smell the roses.”

Coming next: The mask we wear shields our fear