Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cut Me Once Again

Now you know why sinus infections are a bitch.

"Gloom, despair, and agony on me Deep, dark depression, excessive misery If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all Gloom, despair, and agony on me"

Well, kids, it seems the medical community has found a new plaything: me.

I had escaped any surgery my whole life save for some impacted wisdom teeth that were removed in high school. But evidently when I hit my fifties, it was time to play catch-up. Catching up in a big way. Two heart caths, an appendectomy and an open heart surgery later, time for the nose to be invaded via sinus surgery. Yay!

The Mayo Clinic radiologist had reviewed my CAT-PET scan and said there was evidence of a polyp in my left sinus. It was time to visit one of my favorites physicians, Dr. Goins. Dr. Goins is one of the friendliest, most down-to-earth doctors I've had the pleasure to know. I love his enthusiasm. He speaks plainly without condescension nor brusqueness.

After a quick X-ray, he came in with the pictures and told me not only did I have a mass or polyp in my left sinus, but it was huge. He couldn't understand why I complained about the right side being stuffed up all the time. He asked about headaches and I replied no. I'm a curious patient. I have things wrong with me, but I am asymptomatic.

You'd figure I'd be used to this view by now.
Fast forward to yesterday at the One Day Surgery Center where this dude was in gown waiting for the show to begin. Or rather, when the happy, calming meds were going to be administered. Ah, Versed, how I grown to know you.

I was jittery, so I tried for some TV coma on the form of the In Session channel, formerly Court TV. It was tedious and slow enough to take some of the edge off, but inevitably nothing really calms you down.

Dr. Goins popped in to tell me that "We are going to do a lot of work on you today." He was his usual cheerful self when I asked about the pain afterward. He just told me that most patients experienced a "burning sensation" and to later expect some congestion. Ok and off he went.

The anesthesiologist was fairly business-like tossing off words of comfort: "Since you've had heart surgery combined with your age, you are considered high risk for anesthesia." Gee, and I thought things were going to be a breeze. Thanks for that. I feel confident now.

Happy meds were delivered and I felt that special dizzy rush and then the mild mellowness kick in. You know it's time to go when happy meds are delivered.

Off to Never-Never Land

A cheerful woman has put the proverbial anesthesia mask on me. "This is just oxygen, honey."
"OK" comes my muffled reply. Then the oxygen begins to have a funny taste and smell to it. You know that the lights are going out soon.
 "Think of somewhere that you like going. Where do you like to go for vacation?"
 "The Outer Banks, North Carolina."
"Oh yes, that's beautiful."
I watch as the white ceiling tiles do a slightly wavy dance and then I'm out.

When I wake up after surgery, I know where I am, what has happened and I'm glad as hell that the whole damn thing is over. Two rather chatty nurses seem happy to see me (or perhaps they are happy that another patient is out of the woods?) and the two of them begin to sing the praises of my hair. Huh?
"Oh yes, you have beautiful hair. It's so thick. And there's no gray in it!" While a discussion of my hair wouldn't normally make me uncomfortable, I am wondering the big question: when can I leave?

The Hard Part Comes Next

You know how you bump your knee and you don't really fell the full impact until later? That's surgery in a nutshell: the worst comes after. Goins operated on my nose for 1.5 hours. He opened both and removed this and that. It was a mess. You know there's going to be hell to pay.

The usual discharge papers dance and endless instructions from the nurse, blah, blah, blah and soon we are free.

I'm hungry as hell and we decide to dine in Sahara. The food is heavenly, but there's that pesky blood streaming from my nose that makes me a less than ideal dining partner. I looked like a freak with a huge piece of gauze beneath my nose. In fact, I must leave and go out to the car to get another gauze.

"You look like Adolph Hitler." I had shaped the gauze into a square and taped it directly below my nose. Attractive, yes?

The Afterglow

In short, misery.

I have felt like a metal band is around my head, squeezing ever tighter. The pain behind my eyeballs is the worst and that's where I reach for the pain meds. That's why he wrote the script, after all. My nose has been impossibly blocked. Lately, this has opened up, but I still sound like I am recovering from a cold. Food tastes really off, except for sweets and even those taste cheap to me.

I'm sure that after all is said and done that this will greatly improve my breathing. I just assumed that everyone used a Neti pot daily, used nasal sprays when desperate or just accepted the fact that one nostril is constantly obstructed. It's amazing what we will accept.

Above all, I'm sick of all this surgery. I was gaining momentum from my graduation from Cardiac Rehab and had just gotten into the groove at Heart Fit. Now, I have to regain lost ground.

Oh well. I'll do what I always do: dig my heels in, whine like a baby all the while, and be solidly stubborn in my refusals to give up as ever. That's me. Part winner, part whiner and mostly, just happy not to be on a goddam surgeon's table.

No comments: