And now, the nose report

So yeah! Yesterday morning I went in for that septorhinoplasty I posted about. I’m now on Day 2 of Recovery Week, and so far, everything is going all right.

Yesterday is mostly truncated in my memory, as happens whenever you go in for a surgical procedure that involves general anesthesia. Dara and I did have to get up at 4am–a time of day no one, and I mean no one, should have to get up unless employment depends upon it, or perhaps your house is on fire. They wanted us to show up at Surgery Registration at 5:45am, and since I was also instructed to take a shower with special anti-bacterial soap, I had to be up in time to account for that, too.

We left the house around 5am, after Dara had some tea to try to make sure she’d be awake enough to drive. (I wasn’t allowed anything to eat or drink, except just enough water to take my morning meds.) And as it happened, we made excellent time down to the UW Medical Center. The streets, as is pretty standard in these parts, were not exactly deserted. There were other cars on the road, but they were few and far between. So we got to the Medical Center around 5:20am.

At which point we settled in to wait. And wait. Because it turned out that the reception desk was running behind. One of the two staffers on duty was having issues with her computer, and it took a while before a third staffer showed up. By the time they got around to processing all the 5:45 checkins, it was a quarter after six.

Then once I was finally properly checked in (and cue all the “how do you pronounce your name?” questions that Dara and I get, though to our surprise, the nurse that came out to get us actually got “Korra’ti” pretty well on her first try), and taken into a prep room, we waited some more. I had to strip down and put on the hospital gown as expected, and get settled on the gurney under a heated blanket. (Which, like the anti-bacterial shower goop, was apparently an anti-infection measure.)

We waited a while there. Dara amused herself looking at the monitor behind us, and realizing that it was in fact an ancient touchscreen. Me, I sat there on the gurney singing “BORED dee BORED dee BORED dee BORED” to the tune of “Road to Lisdoonvarna”. And “BORED dee dee BORED dee dee BORED” to “Blarney Pilgrim”.

Once staffers started showing up to do proper prep work, though, things got a little more interesting. By then, also by prior instruction, I had my contacts out. So I didn’t really get a good look at people’s faces. But the nurses and the anesthesiologists were all friendly and chipper, especially considering the early hour. One of the anesthesiologists in particular was amused by Dara’s story of slugging her dentist once when she’d been put under sedation without being warned first. I promised said anesthesiologist that I did not have a history of slugging my medical personnel; she encouraged me to punch her partner. Dara proposed he was a bigger target. ;D

They took all the usual vitals, and doublechecked that I was properly cognizant of the procedure I was about to undergo, and such. I remember meeting a couple of resident-level doctors who were going to assist Dr. Bhrani, and who were intrigued by my asking them “so I’m a musician, how long should I go before I try to play my flutes again after this?” They told me maybe four weeks. Later when Dr. Bhrani showed up to check in with me, I asked him the same thing, and he thought more like two.

I remember when they asked me what kind of procedure I’d be getting that I said “a septorhinoplasty! Very powerful word on the Scrabble board.” That got some giggles and also some discussion as to whether it would in fact be possible to play “septorhinoplasty” in Scrabble. Dara thinks no, because the board isn’t wide enough, but you could do “rhinoplasty” in two turns!

They’d told us as well that they would be getting me set up on the gurney and would then move me over to the main section of the hospital. I do not remember being moved–I do remember the anesthesiologist telling me she was going to give me something to relax me, and that’s about it. Given that I was operating on about four hours of sleep, once she knocked me out, she knocked me out good. I have no memory between being in the prep room and waking up later in the recovery room, which looked a lot like the prep room–so I was a trifle confused there by the apparent time jump!

It took me a while to get coherent enough to go home. Standing up was a little challenging and caused some nausea, so they gave me some anti-nausea meds that were immediately effective. (I’d warned them earlier that I had had a couple of prior incidents of nausea during procedures but that to the best of my knowledge, that hadn’t been directly related to general anesthesia.)

One of the post-op staff suggested I might want to leave my contacts out the rest of the day, but once I got home, I wanted them back in. My vision is bad enough that I knew that if I tried to go without any kind of correction all day, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Read, type, or whatever. And I’d be bored out of my skull very quickly. Fortunately my current contacts are very light disposables, so getting them in wasn’t difficult or painful.

I am on a fleet of painkillers. They’ve given me oxycodone as the primary, and I was instructed to have that stuff pretty much “whenever I am aware that I have a nose”. *snerk* I’m also alternating between ibuprofen and acetaminophen every three hours. So not really in any pain to speak of right now!

There are splints inside my nose, and a splint over the top of it as well. I am not to touch it if at all possible. What I am to do is give it saline rinses four times a day, and Dara’s helping me put cold compresses over my eyes multiple times a day as well, to help lessen bruising and swelling. Because yep, I’ve got bruising. My nose is kind of swollen and my nostrils are lopsided. There’s a line of purple under each of my eyes. Although really, I don’t look quite as alarming as I was anticipating! But Dr. Bhrani said the swelling would probably peak three days out from the procedure, so we’ll see what happens over the next couple of days.

Dr. Bhrani also told Dara that it turned out that my septum was in pieces. It apparently had three different breaks, to wit, yikes. They wound up having to do a rib cartilage graft in order to properly rebuild it–donor cartilage, not off of me.

(Best reaction I’ve gotten to this so far was from my and Dara’s friend Phil, on Facebook: “I hope they didn’t give you the rib cartilage from a murderer because then your nose is going to have an urge to kill and it’s going to have a real hard time with that. Because it’s a nose.” Yes. Quite. ;D )

I’m trying not to breathe through my nose, just because that’s still kind of hard with the splints in there and all. But when I’ve dozed off, I’ve felt myself actually breathing through the left–and it sounds like it ought to be snoring, but it kind of isn’t. It’s more a sound of “air going through a tube”, a different noise than I’m used to my nose making. Dara’s observed this too. I still can’t get much air doing that, though. So there’s still a lot of breathing through my mouth going on, which means I’m still getting very dehydrated very quickly. So I’m having to drink a lot of fluids.

(Which I have to do anyway because general anesthesia does a number on my digestive system, as I know from previous procedures!)

What else… last night I slept downstairs on the recliner, since they wanted me to sleep with my head elevated. And the recliner also is helpful in making sure I don’t try to roll over in my sleep. This worked more or less okay, though I wound up sleeping in pieces. Because of the whole breathing through my mouth thing, I kept waking up and needing water. And then kept waking up and needing to go to the bathroom.

Meanwhile, George was entirely on board with this plan of me sleeping downstairs, because that meant he got to lie in my lap. Dara documented this for posterity! (And you will note that I have a dressing across my face in the pic. That’s the mustache dressing I have to wear off and on, because there’s mild bleeding involved with my nose healing up. We were told to expect this, and it’s okay as long as it stays mild and slow and infrequent. The dressing is to try to keep things as tidy as possible, especially when I’m trying to sleep. Paul opined we should put a mustache on the mustache dressing!)

Such a Helpful Kitty
Such a Helpful Kitty

But he got in and out of the lap three or four times as the night progressed, because hello, cat. Which helpfully reminded me that I had a bladder.

I will be sleeping in the recliner again tonight though. I can make it up the stairs okay, but my sense of balance is not entirely happy with that. Plus I just like sleeping with the cat in my lap, as long as he deigns to be there. <3

(And the good news there is, George also had medical news yesterday, since Paul was busy taking him in for followup testing while Dara and I were dealing with the surgery. They still don’t know exactly what kind of cancer George has, but he is responding very well to medications, and he’s eating and drinking water. So his prognosis is a bit less dire and his chances of making it through my recovery period are good! We are all very grateful for this, to be sure.)

More to come as I proceed through the week. Including the Frankenstein-themed Murkworks Movie Suckoff. :D