Warning! This post has pictures of me post-surgery. It isn’t pretty.
When I found out that I was getting a septoplasty, I immediately started researching online for people’s experiences. I like to know exactly what to expect when I have to go through something. While I did find a few great blogs, I wanted to share my story as well so that if anyone else has to go through this, hopefully my experience will help!
The Night Before Surgery
I ended up taking the night off of work on Monday, which was the day before my surgery. I work until 1:00am, so I wanted to make sure that I had a good night’s rest before going in. After dinner, I went food shopping to grab a few last minute things for both myself and my family. I set up my little “recovery station” on my nightstand (I will make another post with my survival kit once I am past this whole experience!) At around 11:45 I ate a couple of small donuts and a cup of milk, since I was not allowed to eat after midnight. I had a hard time sleeping that night. I stayed up pretty late anyway, so I probably could have gone to work.. but it was nice to be able to relax and watch some TV to keep my mind off of the next day.
Day 0 – The Surgery
I woke up in a surprisingly calm mood. I stayed up until Aubrey got on the bus for school and then went back to bed to try to sleep, since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything and I was getting hangry. 😉 I couldn’t sleep, so I just ended up just playing Candy Crush and scrolling through Instagram until Keith came in to check on me and cuddled with me for a little while. Before I knew it, it was 11 and it was time to start getting ready to go. My surgery wasn’t until 1:45, but they ask that you arrive 2 hours prior so they can get you all prepped.
We got in and sat in the waiting room for about 20 minutes until they called me back. They asked me to provide a urine sample and then had me get undressed and into a hospital gown. They got an IV started (ugh) and then got me this weird inflatable heating blanket that was like HEAVEN.It kinda looked like a pool float!
The anesthesiologist came in to talk to me, and then my doctor did. Before I knew it, it was time to say bye to Keith and get wheeled into the operating room. They wheeled my gurney right in and I hopped onto the operating table. They put a mask over my face and told me to take a few deep breaths, and I was out.
The rest of this day was pretty hazy, as I was really in and out of it.
I woke up a while later (I’m not even sure what time, to be honest) and saw Keith walking towards my bed. They offered me some toast and water and I remember taking small bites in between dozing off. They had to change my nose dressing 6-7 times. The last time, I asked how many times is the “norm” and the nurse said 1-2. They gave me some ice in a glove that formed over my face, which was way better than a solid ice pack.
I fell back asleep for a little while longer and woke up to Keith saying he was going to go home because they were admitting me. **Side note: It is not typical to be admitted after this surgery, so don’t worry! They just couldn’t get my bleeding under control and I was really out of it so they wanted to keep an eye on me**. I don’t remember being wheeled up to my room at all. I remember asking for some Tylenol and some toast, which I didn’t each much of. A wave of nausea came over me as she was coming back in the room so she got me a bag for me to vomit into. After that I felt a lot better. I woke up quite a few times throughout the night. Not because I was in pain, because I wasn’t at all.. just couldn’t sleep.
Day 1 – Post Op
I was curious to see what my nose looked like under that packing, so while I was changing it I decided to take a couple of pictures.
Keith came to see me around 9:00, I assume once he got Aubrey off of the bus. He sat with me and we watched a movie while I ate some breakfast. They started me off with some jello, broth, and an Italian ice.. when I demolished that I asked if I could have some real food and ordered an omelette and a side of bacon. I really wish I could have tasted it because it looked yummy!
I dozed off for another nap so Keith said he would come back in a little while. During that time, I ordered lunch and my nurse came in to say I could go home! I definitely recommend either wearing a button-up shirt to the hospital, or at least bringing one to come home in, because you do not want to accidentally whack your nose when you get a shirt on!
I got home and crawled into bed and watched some Gilmore Girls until I fell asleep again for a little while. Keith offered me some dinner but I really wasn’t in the mood. I had a meal replacement shake and a few bites of pudding and napped a little more. I did a nasal irrigation and switched my dressing, and relaxed for the rest of the night.
Day 2 – Post Op
I was preparing for this day to be the worst, as that is what I have heard from various blogs/friends. I had to bring Addie to a preschool evaluation, so Keith’s mom drove us since I am on some heavy duty pain meds. We were there for about an hour, and by the time we got home I was exhausted. I went and laid back down and napped for a while until Keith got home. I woke up and did another nasal irrigation, took some Afrin, and changed my dressing and just lounged for the rest of the night. Still no pain, just really tired. Zelda has kept me a lot of company, even though she wedges herself between my legs and makes it impossible to move. Aubrey made me a sweet card that I put on my nightstand.
Day 3 – Post Op
I woke up and my nose felt sore. Nothing unbearable, but it was noticeable. Keith made me another omelette and toast for breakfast which was good. I’m sure I could eat more, but I’m really not in the mood to eat. I only do it so that I don’t get an upset stomach from the pain meds. I called my mom and chatted with her for about 45 minutes and watched some tv. The kids came and hung out in bed with me for a little bit which was nice. I’m hoping that I feel up to getting out of bed soon so that I can play with them.
I started Weight Watchers last month, the day after my birthday. I’ve lost a little over 5 pounds which is awesome, but I haven’t been 100% loyal to the plan so I know I can do better. When I did the program about 10 years ago, I had a lot of success with it. But then babies happened, and then they changed the plan to SmartPoints, so I need to re-learn points values. While I take another week off from life, I am scouring my magazines, websites, etc to find yummy recipes so I can be fully armed with a meal plan when I jump back in.
Day 4 – Post Op
Today is Superbowl Sunday and the PATRIOTS are playing! Woohoo! Too bad I can’t taste any of the yummy food that Keith will be making. Womp womppp. Keith and his mom took the kids to their cousin’s birthday party while I stayed home and took the longest shower of my life. The mustache dressing is really starting to annoy me. The elastics that wrap behind my ears are making them sore, so I put a piece of gauze in between my ear and the elastic and it helps. I just can’t wait until I stop bleeding completely so I can stop wearing it. If I am sitting in bed and playing on my phone or laptop, I take it off for a break and just put it back on when I want to lay down. Addie’s birthday party is next weekend, so it has been nice to be able to look around on Pinterest for some inspiration to help pass the time. Parties are my thing. I love throwing them, and love planning for them! I already have Pinterest boards going for Brady and Aubrey’s parties, and they aren’t until May and July.
I have to say, before I had this surgery the thought of the neti-pot really grossed me out. But I have become obsessed.
Day 5 – Post Op
My nose is still bleeding a pretty decent amount, and it was starting to get me worried. I decided to call my ENT to get their opinion. They asked me to come in and they would squeeze me in between patients. I am supposed to get the nasal splints out tomorrow, but he said everything looked okay so he took them out and cleaned everything up. I was dreading getting them out but it was not bad at all, and I am the biggest wimp ever.
I still couldn’t breathe, so he looked in my nose and saw that both of my air passages were scabbed over. He removed the scabs and I could instantly breathe! It was amazing. He suctioned out a lot of gross stuff and put a bunch of decongestant in my nose and invited me to come in later in the week if I felt like getting cleaned out again. He’s a pretty cool dude.
It wasn’t long until I couldn’t breathe again, but I know it’s because I am still swollen from surgery. I had a rough time falling asleep. The mustache dressing is really getting to me, but my nose is still too leaky to sleep without it. Now that my nose is cleared out, using the neti-pot is so much easier and so much more effective.
Day 6 – Post Op
Today is my 8th wedding anniversary! We didn’t really do much to mark the occasion. My mom is in the hospital, so we visited her. I had a rough time falling asleep last night. The mustache dressing is really getting to me, but my nose is still too leaky to sleep without it. Brady hit me in the nose when I picked him up and I’m pretty sure I saw stars. The pain was short-lived thankfully!
Day 7 – Post Op
It has officially been one week since my surgery! My mother in law has officially started her journey back to Maine. We are really going to miss her. The kids loved having her around, and so did we. I’m pretty sure there are still a couple pieces of my stitches left in my left nostril. When trying to clean out my nose I felt it and tried to pull it and it hurts like hell. I was going to make an appointment to get it removed, but I really don’t feel like taking the kids with me lol. It’s not too bad, so I will wait until my appointment next week when I get my sinus splints removed. We ended up going to Chick-fil-A for dinner, which was a dumb idea on my part because I still can not taste any food so it was pointless 😦
Day 8 – Post Op
I sneezed for the first time since my surgery. It stung a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad. Tonight I think I will try to sleep without the dressing on, because my nose has been prety clear. There really isn’t much change otherwise. I will update when the sinus splints are removed, or if anything worthwhile happens in the meantime!
Day 13 – Sinus splints are out!
I have to laugh at the timeline of my surgery. Typically, you get your nasal splints out one week after surgery, and the sinus splints out 2 weeks after. My nasal splints were scheduled to be taken out ON my anniversary.. and my sinus splints were taken out on Valentine’s Day. My poor husband had to spend both days listening to me complain, and also had to watch the sinus splint removal.
So, the sinus splint removal was definitely worse than the nasal ones. They are a little bigger than those clear electrical outlet covers, and feel like cardboard. Before my doctor came in, the nurse sprayed me with a generous amount of numbing medication. I sat for about 5 minutes waiting for my doctor, who also came in and sprayed some more. It still hurt like hell. Afterwards he stated “I’m surprised you let me take that second one out!” with a laugh. I may be slightly dramatic. 😉 I definitely felt a lot better for a few minutes.. but then I started to get congested again. Womp womp.
Days 14 & 15 – Ouch
I woke up in a pretty fair amount of pain. While I did have some pretty hefty pain meds from surgery, I really didn’t want to use them because I had to care for my children all day and the meds put me to sleep. I took some Tylenol and went about my day. By the time I got to work, the pain was getting to be unbearable. I considered taking my pain meds, but again, didn’t want to be falling asleep at my desk. I tried my best to make it through the whole night but ended up leaving about 2 hours early. I finally took a percocet and crawled into bed with a bag of peas wrapped in a face cloth for my nose. (I got rid of all of my gloves because I thought the pain was over! Wrong!). Keith rubbed my back until I fell asleep, which was probably about 5 minutes lol. I woke up the next morning still pretty uncomfortable, but my son’s speech therapist was coming over so I had to get dressed and put on a happy face. Her daughter went through the procedure a couple of years ago, so she has been one of my biggest cheerleaders throughout the whole thing and understands what I am talking about when we discuss everything so it is definitely nice. Once I got Brady down for a nap mid-day, Addie and I laid in bed and she played with her Bunchems while I dozed. I knew I wasn’t going to make it through a night at work, so I called out and when Keith got home I took some meds and took a nap.. or at least what I THOUGHT would be a nap. I slept from about 4:30pm to 10:30! I woke up starving. I took hamburger out to defrost and just told Keith to make some spaghetti with it, but the kids wanted mac & cheese with hamburger so he made that instead and there were no leftovers (who likes leftover mac & cheese, anyway?) I was a little annoyed, because we didn’t really have much in the house and I didn’t want to go and get fast food so I laid on the couch and wallowed in my misery for approximately 10 minutes before passing out again and woke up at about 5:00 to Zelda (our cat) meowing because she wanted to be fed. I took some Tylenol (the pain was lingering but not awful, plus I had a headache) and fell back asleep.
Day 16 – Could this be it?
After going back to sleep after out cat woke me up, I woke up to get Aubrey ready for school and for Brady’s physical therapist to get here. I felt amazing. I did a nasal rinse (love that thing) and took some Afrin to get the swelling in my nose to go down and just felt really good. I guess the 12 hours of sleep I got did me really well! I’m hoping that this is the end of my pain. I go back to see my ENT in a month so he can check everything out. I will post updates as needed, maybe every month or so. I have heard that it can take up to a year to feel the full benefit of this surgery. While I am not 100% there yet, I am definitely feeling the best that I have since my operation. This is a total far cry from yesterday, because yesterday I was telling my girlfriend that I had completely regretted getting this done (told you I can be dramatic).
Thanks for following along, friends! If you are contemplating getting this surgery, I can’t say 100% that I recommend it yet, as I am still stuffy and can’t breathe well. BUT.. in the few moments after getting my splints removed or taking some Afrin, I will say that I can breathe a lot better even though it doesn’t last.
If you are in the middle of recovery, I truly apologize. I know it’s SO difficult and frustrating. I felt like a baby whining about my nose hurting, but it seriously hurt like hell. I am here for you. Whether you need to whine, or rejoice after getting your splints out.. or if you just have any questions, I am an email or comment away!