So Far, So Good

I still need to blow my nose, but only occasionally.  It’s weird because it feels like I’m slightly congested, but with no headache and no facial pressure and I’m pulling full breaths cleanly through my nostrils.  I’m assuming that once everything is completely healed I’ll no longer have even the slightly congested feeling.  I’ve decided to try a couple of little test.  First I had sweets with my morning coffee.  Normally, manufactured sweets are a sinus inflammation trigger for me.  No problems whatsoever.  Next I worked out!  I wanted to see if my breathing was affected positively.  I didn’t run out of breath even though I know I’ve still got mucous still blow out.  Now it’s just a matter of noting when I no longer see any trace of blood, when I can stop blowing my nose and if I experience any sinus pressure or pain in the coming weeks.  Please feel free to email me with any questions you have!

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More Mucous!!!

So it’s the next morning and I’m still constantly blowing my nose.  The mucous is now just pink with specks of dried brown blood.  No bright spots of blood, but the insides of my nostrils are crusted over with dried blood.  Even though I’m a little apprehensive about touching the inside of my nostrils, I cleaned up the parts clearly visible.  I’ll be out in public and people look at you funny when you’ve got a bloody nose and you’re not doing anything about it.

All last night it seemed my mucous membranes were sensitive to temperature.  We had to keep the temperature in the room up, or I would have to wipe my nose every ten minutes.

I grossed DeMarcus out on the train.  I forgot the sound of rattling snot bothers him (heh heh heh).  I had a crestfallen moment when I felt the beginnings of a sinus headache, but I blew I nose and it went away.  No medication.  I think it’s because we were on the train and I couldn’t do my moisturizing spray rinse.

Mucous!!!

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I wasn’t in any pain, but I kept having to (gently) blow my nose.  I found out why I wasn’t bleeding very much.  The blood was all clumped together in chunks because of my earlier congestion.  I had to blow my nose every, freaking, ten minutes.  I guess with nothing to block it, the mucous just keeps coming!  Even after rinsing with the saline spray (a spectacularly gross display), I was a mucous fountain!  In a way that shows just how much I normally would have had sitting around my sinuses and causing me pain from the congestion.  Also, I could also still smell coblation wand gel burn odor.

My only real discomfort was the sides of my nose feeling raw from wiping it so much.  I didn’t pack any oil-type moisturizers, just lotion (which I knew would burn) and a cortisone cream for skin allergies.  I settled for the cortisone which helped a little bit.

And surprise!  DeMarcus (my husband) ordered a pizza from Giordano’s while he was out picking up my prescriptions.  It was totally delicious .

Aftercare

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The nurse advised me the key to a good recovery was keeping my nasal passages moist.  I had to take hot steamy showers twice a day for the next couple of days and use a saline spray (over-the-counter).  I got the following prescriptions:

  • Azithromycin 250 mg 6-pack (AKA Z Pack)-This is an antibiotic.  I had to take two tablets immediately and then 1 a day for the next four days.
  • Prednisone 20mg-This is an anti-inflammatory.  Two tablets a day for four days
  • Mupirocin 2% ointment-I think this is a topical antibiotic.  I need to apply it twice a day for ten days.  I didn’t have any q-tips so I had to twist a piece of tissue to use as an applicator.

The Procedure (For Real This Time)


So I arrive back at the doctor’s office and the first thing they do is take my blood pressure.  The nurse did it twice to make sure and I got the green light!  Yea!  I sat in a recliner and the nurse puts a bib similar to what dentists use on me.  She gave me two more ibuprofens to reduce inflammation and reviewed some aftercare instructions with me.

Next she sprayed my nasal passages with an anesthetic.  In my case it was lidocaine which makes your heart feel like it’s about to thump clean out of your chest.  If you’ve ever had a nasal numbing spray at an ENT’s office, it was about the same with a little more pressure.

The doctor came in and gave me a set of three (one in each nostril) local injections.  The first set was uncomfortable but not what I would call seriously painful.  There was no stabbing sensation, more of an intense burning.  The doctor waited a few moments and my left front tooth started to feel a little numb.  During the second set (where the video of me starts) I felt the burning sensation again but only slightly.  The fast heart beat from the lidocaine spray slowed down.  The doctor waited a few more moments and my right front tooth started to go numb.  The doc then administered the last set of local injections and I didn’t feel them at all.

The doctor inserted the coblation wand after explaining that the gel he puts on the end smokes and gives off a burning smell, but it’s not my flesh that will be burning.  I didn’t feel a thing.  After he did my left nostril, I immediately felt the airway open up.  I didn’t even know there was any blood coming out of my nostrils until I reviewed the video.  I breathed through my mouth and as you can see from the video, my smart-mouthed husband and I were laughing through the whole thing.  It only took about six minutes total.  A special thank you goes out to Dr. Craig Schwimmer for letting us record him!

The nurse came in and noted that I wasn’t really bleeding at all.  There were just a couple of spots of blood on the tissue.  The headache I had earlier was completely gone.

Back At The Hotel

I was disappointed when I got back to the hotel room.  Having to stay in the hotel room meant no Garrett’s, no Giordano’s and no trip to the museum.  Still, I only had myself to blame.  I didn’t think missing one day was that big a deal.  I know I have high blood pressure, but the last time I was in a doctor’s office, I was in stage 1.  Apparently I have moved to stage 2.  I cannot miss my medication.  Ever.  Also I should look into having my current prescription adjusted.  I am on my way to strokeville.  Sigh…

Adolescent Patients

I asked the doc about adolescent patients.  He said the youngest he’d done at the Chicago office was 14, but children younger than that have to be done at their Texas facility.  Young children have to have general anesthesia because they can’t sit still enough for the procedure.

It seems their main location is Texas and they haven’t built the facilities to perform all procedures in all locations.  If you’re looking at some of the other procedure’s The Snore Center offers, you need to check to see which office you can have it done at.

The Procedure

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The morning of the procedure was a complete disaster.  I had a level seven sinus headache and I was petrified they wouldn’t be able to do it because of the inflammation.  The only thing that helped me through the pain was the possibility of not suffering like this again for another five years.  I felt my headache move from the level 7 to the 7.5 range.  I called the doctor’s office and got permission to take a Claritin (which only ever just dials the pain back a bit).  I got to the doctor’s office about an hour early.  I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to complete any additional paperwork because I was an out-of-town patient.

The nurse called me in and I let her know that I was having a sinus headache and she gave me an ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation.  She got my weight (ugh), asked me about drug allergies and got my blood pressure.  This is when the second calamity hit.  When I have a headache, I move my face as little as possible.  This means not taking pills.  I took the Claritin, but I didn’t take my high blood pressure pills.  You should have seen the look on the nurse’s face when she got a look at my blood pressure.  She talked to me about it for about five minutes.  Then the doctor came in and talked to me for about 15 minutes.  Because the medication I would be administered also increases blood pressure, he would not be able to perform the procedure.  He suggested that my headaches may be a product of my blood pressure.  I informed him that I’ve had sinus headaches long before my blood pressure was a problem.

He performed an exam of my nasal passages and said my turbinates were “huge and inflamed”, but that alone wouldn’t keep me from having the procedure.  He said for me to go back to the hotel, take my high blood pressure medication, relax and come back to the office at 4:00 p. m.  I was so relieved I was numb.  At this point, there was still a possibility I would have to reschedule for another day which would mean a mad scramble to extend my hotel stay and change the departure date on my train ticket.

My Fears

  • I have a sinus headache that day and my tissues are too inflamed to perform the procedure (this partially came true).
  • The procedure has no effect.
  • The cost of the procedure is $1500.00.  If you add up the cost of my prescription drugs and over-the-counter treatments over the course of five years, it adds up to about the same amount.  Still I’m afraid of some unexpected expense (aside from the hotel stay and train ticket).  I got surprised with another procedure a few years back and I’m still kind of bitter over it.
  • Some pre-existing condition keeps me from having the procedure done (this one came true).
  • I have some weird, rare complication and end up worse than I was before.
  • The doctor’s hand slips and he jabs me in the brain, lobotomizing me (I have a vivid imagination).

My Hopes

  • I’m hoping to be free of sinus pain for at least five years.  Turbinates grow back and I remember that the scraping the surgery was supposed to last that long.
  • This procedure is not officially covered by health insurance.  Their office admin said that they will file a claim for you and that sometimes the insurance company will pay a portion.  I’m hoping UHC will come through for me.
  • I hope that I will breathe better during the night, granting me a better night’s sleep and no epic cases of cotton mouth because I couldn’t breathe through my nose.
  • I hope better breathing will give me more energy so I can actually get up and workout.
  • When I do workout, I’m hoping to get more out of them because I can pull in more air.