Friday, September 16, 2011

My Sinus Endoscopic Surgery Experience and post-op

On Tuesday 9/6 I went in for sinus endoscopic surgery.

In July I got a really bad cold that never cleared up. I finally went to the ENT a month after I caught this bad cold and he put me on a second round of antibiotics. He told me the first set that a doctor prescribed wasn't good at helping this type of cold. The antibiotics really didn't help with my congestion and he ordered a ct scan.

The CT scan showed that 5 of my 6 sinuses were inflamed or swollen. He told me since I've been on medication to clear it up and it didn't touch it, that I should have the sinus endoscopic surgery. He said that the surgery was a routine surgery and not a big deal.

I went to the hospital and they hooked up an IV and gave me some versed. That drug is great. It makes you forget time. I remember walking down the hall and getting into the surgery room and that is the last thing I remember.

I woke up and I had this is what they put under your nose. Pretty much your nose drains blood and you are supposed to let it drain. You can NOT blow your nose.

Let me just say that, obviously that is not ME, and I didn't have the thing on my head - but I did have that exact same thing on my nose to catch the blood.

I remember having a hard time waking up from anesthesia. I finally was able to sit up and finally felt a lot better. I got my discharge papers and I was getting in my car and going home.

I went home and tried to rest. I maybe took an hour nap. When I woke up I was to take a pain med and changed the gauze under my nose. I got hydrocodone and I found out later it made me hyper and I would not take a nap the entire rest of the day and it kept me up all night long.

I called the doctor about 3pm because I wanted to know how the surgery went. He called me back about 5pm and told me the surgery went well and he talked to me post-op but figured I may not remember because of the versed still in my system. I asked him a bunch of questions. I said when can I do a nasal rinse - the papers showed 12 hours after. He said that now was fine (it was 10 hours). I asked so I should only do it in the morning and evening, like the paper said?

He told me to rinse as much as I wanted. He said you could not over rinse your nose.

So that night I rinsed, and rinse. He was right - the blood clots that come out of your nose is impressive. That type of stuff doesn't bother me. I was intrigued by it actually. At one point a 3 inch blood clot came out. Unbelievable. It's normal. As long as your nose isn't bleeding buckets, it's fine. It is supposed to bleed.

That night I woke a few times to rinse my nose and I couldn't sleep from the pain meds keeping me awake. I had to change the gauze under my nose a few times.

The next day my nose didn't drain much. I remember having a hard time sleeping and finally googled afrin and sinus surgery. I guess patients are advised to take afrin to control excessive bleeding. Heck, I just wanted to take it to clear me up. I was congested just enough I couldn't get sleep. I decided to do one spray in each nostril and boy did that ever help. I finally was able to get to sleep.

I still woke a few times a night to do a nasal rinse.

The remainder of the week my nose bled less and less but I kept up with the nasal rinses to keep my nose clean and clear of congestion.

Friday I had a LOT of pressure in my forehead. The nurse at the office said I could take tylenol now (since it was far enough after the surgery I didn't need to worry about bleeding) and a sudafed.

By Saturday I was still sleeping sitting up. I couldn't sleep sitting down. The blood and congestion got really bad. Saturday I was also running a low grade fever (100.7) and I was on antibiotic.

Sunday was the FIRST day I felt better. I had energy and didn't feel run down and congested. It was probably about the first day I started to get my smell back.

By the time a week had elapsed I had literally gone through 150 packets of nasal rinse (I used Neilmed's nasal rinse bottle). Yes - 150 packets. I did it so often I had fluid back up behind my ear drum. He said I couldn't over rinse -so I rinsed. When I would do a nasal rinse, I would rinse 5-10 times in a row until blood stopped coming out.

I was in for a surprise when I came into the office. They told me they were going to suction out my nose. I laughed when he told me and told him no wonder they don't tell you that when you make your post op appointment!

He took this long skinny metal object and stuck it in my nose. That was his camera. The other was the suction and he literally sucked all the blood clots and congestion off all my sinuses. I will tell you this, I felt a million times better after he cleaned me out. He did shoot some afrin/lidocane combination up my nose afterwards and my nose burned for a few hours after.

He told me that I did an excellent job with the nasal rinses. If you don't do nasal rinses and the stuff in your nose gets hard, he literally has to YANK it out. He said it is NOT pleasant and happens often. He said he has to do this because otherwise it hardens and scars and then it is like you never had surgery.

Today is a week and 3 days. I feel a lot better today. My nasal rinses are producing very few blood clots (but still some small ones). I can blow my nose gently (he said I could about 4 days after). I don't have pressure and feel great. I do still have throat congestion (I always have). I started sleeping in my bed about 2 days ago. So it took me about a full week to finally feel good enough to sleep laying down.

I just wanted to give you an idea of what to expect if you have this surgery. I didn't have any pain. If I worked I would probably have taken off at least two days. I would say there is no way you could go back the day after - your nose is still draining. The third day, possibly. DO nasal rinses - LOTS OF THEM. It helps a TON.

The trick to the nasal rinse is to keep your mouth open when you do them. It says this on the box as well. Since the beginning of the surgery I've now gone through about 250 nasal rinses! I am not doing as many now as I don't need to.

The post-op sheet also states no strenuous exercise for two weeks.

So far, 10 days after, I've finally feeling good and not completely congested in my face. I can't wait to see how I feel a month after. I'm glad I had the surgery just to get relief from being congested! I'm not yet smelling as well as I used to smell (I used to have a super nose that could smell anything). I hope that continues to get better!

Update 10/7/11:
I am smelling just as well as I used to. I had a follow up appointment at 2 weeks but mostly because I had ear surgery and he wanted to take care of that. He said my nose looked great and to keep up the rinses - he'd see me back in a week.

At 3 weeks post op he told me he has never seen anyone look so great after surgery this far out. He said there was hardly ANYTHING to suck out of my sinuses. I guess doing all those sinus rinses paid off. I think I did about 400 at the end of 3 weeks. I would keep rinsing until water ran clear and that helped.

I still has post-nasal drip - I assume from allergies. This is something I've always had but my nose is super clear and it doesn't feel like my head is clogged up. The surgery was totally worth it to me!

A day I don't ever want to repeat....

It has really been about half a year since I've actually just sat and typed my thoughts down on here. My perfectionist side tells me that I must have photos for everything and I must be caught up.

I have to just get over the damn perfectionist part of me. I have to realize I'll never be caught up on the photo part of  my blog and to just blog when I get the photos ready and when I have the time.

Let's start with Tuesday.

Tuesday was a day that changed my life.

Tuesday I brought both boys home from school. Joey asked me to help him with a dvd he was having issues with. Come to find out he was trying to use the music cd part of the dvd package. I asked where Justin was. He wasn't sure. It's not unlike Justin to go up and quietly play in his room, or go outside and play in the sandbox or in the front yard. He also told me he was tired on the ride home.

I called his name. No response.

I called again. Nothing.

I walked around upstairs and yelled down to Joey to check outside. After searching the house fairly well I then went outside to help Joey search the yard.

At this point I just looked up and down the street and decided to go walk down to Kim's house since our boys play together on occasion. She answered the door. I said, "Kim, I can't find Justin. Have you seen him?" Her eyes got really big and she answered she had not but to check at Trisha's.

So I walked down the street back towards my house with Joey in tow, and saw Abby in her yard. She tried to make small talk and I cut to the chase and told her I didn't know where Justin was and did she see him. She immediately looked concerned and said she hadn't seen him and asked if I needed help. I told her not yet. I was going to check at Trisha's house and I wasn't panicked yet.

I pass my house and walk down to Trisha's. I knock on the door and wait patiently...or not so patiently. Her son answers and then I ask if his mom is home. Trisha answers the door and I ask her if she has seen Justin. She shakes her head no, and my eyes start to tear and I tell her I can't find him. She sees me falling apart and asks Joey if he wants to come in and play awhile. She assures me this has happened to her and they called 911 to find out the child fell asleep under a table. She says to let her go back and help search the house.

I'm feeling pretty confident I searched the house fairly well, but it is always good to have a second set of eyes so she comes back to my house and we search again. We search closets, under beds, and everywhere we could think. Justin is NOT in the house.

She asks if I have tried Desiree. We go over her house often so it is possible he went there. I called her and no answer. I told Trisha I'm going to walk down there. Desiree is about 8 houses down so I walk down there. By now there are a few people hanging out outside my house. Abby and her kids start to knock on the doors in the cul-de-sac across the street asking if people have seen Justin.

I get down to Desiree's and tell her I can't find Justin and ask her to check her backyard. She has a pool and I had visions of him face down floating. She runs to the back and I go around the side yard and she comes around and says he's not there. I told her I'm somewhat relieved. She walks back with me towards my house and an entire neighborhood full of neighbors searching for Justin.

At this time Tish is driving up and asked what he looked like. I gave her his description and she said she was going to drive around and look for him.

On the way back to my house we asked one more neighbor who hadn't seen him.

At this point I AM panicking.

I distinctly remember looking at Trisha and asking her if I should call 911. She gave me this great advice, 'Briana, you need to call. Not necessarily because your son is lost, but because he may be found.'

I get home and get my phone. I call 911. A few rings later and my palms somewhat sweaty the dispatcher answers. She requests my address and I tell her. She asked what the emergency is. I tell her that I can not find my 5 year old. She asks for a description and I tell her he is wearing a red shirt and red shorts with a blue stripe. She tells me to hold on. She comes back about 10 seconds later and tells me they found him.

At this point I start HYSTERICALLY crying. Trisha said up until then I was extremely calm. Once I knew he was ok I just started to SOB. I am not sure I have ever cried so hard in my life. The dispatcher asked me my name. I stopped, took a deep breath, and started crying uncontrollably. I remember thinking to myself that I was so upset I couldn't even say my NAME. I couldn't speak. I just handed the phone to Trisha who took down where Justin was and gave her the information.

I just put my head in my hands and leaned on my island in my kitchen and just sobbed. I remember Desiree putting her hand on my back and telling me, it was ok. They found Justin. He was safe. I cried for about a minute more and finally got it together...kinda.

Someone went outside and told everyone that they had found Justin. Tish told me she would drive me over to where he was and to get my purse.

She drove me there and there were three squad cars and a bunch of parents.

Evidently Justin thought it would be a great idea to leave the house, and walk - TEN BLOCKS AWAY - BAREFOOT. I clocked it the next day - he was found a full MILE away from our house running IN FRONT OF TRAFFIC on a BUSY STREET!!!

Three different mothers pulled over their vehicles and got him out of the road. I thank God for them every single day. I'm fortunate he didn't get hit by a car. I'm fortunate I'm not burying my child right now.

So I got a very stern talking to from the officer about him being unsupervised. She took my drivers license and told me the one officer would drive Justin and I back to our house - IN THE POLICE CAR.

Imagine how it looked when I drove up to my house, with the entire neighborhood in my driveway, in a police car. The officer came around and let me out, since they don't have handles in the police car. I can wipe that event off my life long bucket list. I've ridden in a police car at age 33. Justin at age 5 (gulp).

The female officer had to walk about 6 blocks back to her car.

What the story is - once the moms found Justin, they called 911. This resulted in three different squad cars responding to the situation.

Justin told everyone he just lived down the street. So the families, and the three squad cars and the police officers followed Justin down the street. The one officer told me it was like he had an entourage. And they walked, and walked. Finally they realized he really didn't live that close and he walked a LONG way.

So once the female officer finally got her car and drove to my house, she has to, by protocol, search my house.

At this point I was THANKFUL that I had picked it up and kept it picked up! She searched my house from bottom to top - even looked in my fridge, I assume to make sure I had food in it.

She told me after that there was nothing on me, nothing on our house and nothing on Justin (for events logged in her system). She told me I may want to invest in a door chime and left.

I remember sitting with Justin in a quiet room after everyone left and asking him why he did this.

Let me just say, before you think I'm a bad mother, that I have told both of my kids until I'm BLUE IN THE FACE - 1. Do NOT cross the street without me (Joey can now but Justin is not allowed too - he's too young). 2. Look both ways before crossing the street. 3. Always tell me where you are going 4. Justin is NOT allowed to leave our yard.

Up until now we've never had issues with any of these rules. Justin never leaves the yard. He always asks up to go places if he wants to. We always look both ways.

For some reason, it just didn't matter. He went off exploring on his own. The only explanation I got from him was he 'wanted exercise'. I think, also, that he wanted to go to his friend's house. The only issue with that was he didn't live the way Justin walked.

We've been extra careful with Justin now. I just can't trust him, which is sad. I almost feel like I've failed. Like I did something wrong to cause this. Perhaps he had the second child syndrome and is always getting overshadowed by his older brother. Maybe he is trying to prove he is a big boy. Maybe he just was bored. I'm not sure.

We grounded him from all electronics for a week. We never yelled at him but we did talk to him about what happened. At one point I just held him and told him that if he got hit by one of those cars we would probably be burying him in the ground. We would never see him again, he'd never see us again and I just started sobbing uncontrollably with him sitting in my lap. I think he got how upset and scared I was.

That night and the next day we drove home how important it is to always tell us where you are going. I told him even Joey tells me where he is going. I told Justin that even when both of them are 15, they will tell me where they are going.

We've been spending a LOT of extra time with him. Making sure he gets exercise. He rides his bike, he has one on one time with dad playing, he gets outside with mom, and he gets extra hugs and kisses.

Even with all of this, Thursday evening we were taking a walk. Joey was riding his scooter up ahead of Justin and Justin was riding his four wheeler. Justin was driving by a curve in the sidewalk where a big van was parked along the curb in the street.

Before my eyes, Justin just turns the wheel of his 4-wheeler and goes straight into the middle of the street.

I am screaming at this point, GET OUT OF THE ROAD. GET OUT OF THE ROAD. I was so angry I could have spit fire. I told him to immediately get off his 4-wheeler and go home NOW.

I had Joey drive the 4-wheeler back home and Joe carried Joey's scooter.

Justin told me he couldn't see Joey, and he drove into the road so he could see him better.

I had to explain to Justin we NEVER GO IN THE ROAD. I had to give him real life examples. If there is a cat in the sidewalk, can you go in the road? If there is a branch in the sidewalk, can you go in the road? The answer is always NO.

Justin is very intelligent. He says this to me, 'Mom, what if there are sprinklers going and I am riding my 4-wheeler. It is electric and if I drive through it it will break my 4-wheeler!'

Can you believe as a 5 year old he actually thought about that? I told him that he would need to stop, wait for mom and dad to catch up to him and then we would make sure the street was clear so we could help him drive around the sidewalk.

So that is our latest with Mr. Justin.

The moral of the story is, don't get lax with watching your child and assuming he knows the rules and he won't break them. Justin knew the rules. I have been pounding them in his head for years now. That particular day it just didn't matter. It sure was an eye opener for me!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back home… 7/14

It was nice to be back home from Seattle but that means life goes back to ‘our normal’… appointments, work, practices, etc.

2011-07-14_11-13-23_48I had a dr. appt. I thought this was funny. Both boys were playing the ds and looked similar.

2011-07-14_18-40-27_443Joey tried out for this team. We were not asked back. I was told by the parents this was a teaching team and Joey would not be playing games so this team wouldn’t have been a good fit for him anyhow. This is tryouts for FC Dallas.

2011-07-14_18-56-24_328Joey is running here in orange.

2011-07-14_21-25-37_98Joey wanted a photo by his stuffed animals.

2011-07-14_21-25-49_754Diana (she cleans my house every other Thursday) always does a good job of making the kids beds and putting their stuffed animals on the bed in a really cute way.

IMG-20110714-WA0004Justin didn’t do so well without a nap.

Seattle Space Needle Adventure 7/10

I love how these photos turned out of Justin in a abstract art piece in front of the Seattle space needle.




IMG_6806I loved this unique take on the Seattle Space needle so much I entered it in our company calendar contest.


IMG_6828Joey by a collage on the wall inside the space needle.


IMG_6836After eating brunch at the space needle the last day in Seattle, we decided to get the kids the ice cream – which is brought on dry ice. They LOVED it!




IMG_6841Photos of the skyline of Seattle taken from the top of the space needle. I literally hung my camera over the side of the needle to take these.



IMG_6866Family photo!

2011-07-10_11-44-45_859Justin hanging out on the ball structure while we were waiting for our car.

2011-07-10_23-57-58_994After our long flight home, when we got all of our bags (finally), it took the shuttle over 45 minutes to come and get us to take us to our vehicle. It was ridiculous. We just wanted to go home. This is Justin waiting for the shuttle.

The Smith Family… 7/10

While we were in Seattle I offered to take a few photos of our friend’s Caroline and Jason and their kids. This is how they turned out.

This is Lucy….



IMG_6756Jason and Lucy

IMG_6761Caroline, Sabrina, Jason and Lucy

IMG_6774Cute Sabrina!

IMG_6777Lucy sharing her dolphin…

IMG_6786A random shot of Joe and Joey


IMG_6742Seriously, could Lucy be any cuter??