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!


Anonymous said...

You remind me of how I used to feel. I had my FESS and I didn't feel any pain. The discomfort is overwhelming. I am not allowed to breathe with my nose so i have to use my mouth for a week.

Like you, I am advised to use nasal irrigator; mine is Sanvic.

You are brave. I stayed in the hospital for a week and in hell house for a month.

You make the operation sound so easy.


Briana said...

Wow Joe,
That is an expensive irrigator. My ENT didn't tell me I couldn't breathe out of my nose. In fact, he told me I COULD breathe out of it. I go for my follow up today. I'll post an update later.

I can't believe you stayed in the hospital a week. I was in for a few hours tops - maybe 3 total? What a difference in the same procedure!