First of all, I just wanted to thank LisaMP, JordanSF, and everyone else on here for the information and stories about your experiences. Reading through all of this information has been invaluable!
So, I'm a 28 year-old male long-time allergy & asthma sufferer who spent many years completely congested (100% mouth breather). Around 10 years ago I visited an ENT who said that I had nasal polyps (among other things), and advised that they may regrow post-surgery due to allergies, so I didn't have any procedures done. I did however start using fluticasone propionate nasal spray which partially opened up my nostrils and allowed me to breathe through my nose (I've been using the spray ever since).
Now, years later, I'm finally at a place in my life when I want to do something about my chronic sinusitis, enlarged tonsils (with tonsiliths), and obstructed nasal passages, which have been affecting my work, sleep, and general well-being. I have been on allergy injections for several months now, and after reviewing my history and looking at my CAT scan, my new ENT is recommending surgery.
So, on Monday April 23rd I'm scheduled for a number of surgical procedures. I'm having endoscopic sinus surgery (frontal, maxillary, ethmoid, and sphenoid), septoplasty, turbinate and concha bullosa resection, extensive nasal polyp excision, tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. I'm obliviously a little nervous about the whole thing, but I've done my research and feel at least somewhat prepared for the procedure and recovery.
I hope to post back here to report my progress and keep a record of my recovery. Until then, any additional advice or reassurances are always appreciated. Wish me luck!
I showed up to the surgery center at around 8:30 for a 9:45 surgery. I had my mom and girlfriend with me, and thy were an amazing help for keeping me calm. The nurse, surgeon (my ENT), and anesthesiologist met with us to ask questions and discuss the procedure. As the surgeon was talking to us, the anesthesiologist discreetly came up and added something to my IV. Sneaky guy! I felt the effects pretty quickly, and became pretty mellowed out. Shortly after that I was wheeled into the operating room where I was given the general anesthesia. It was my first time under GA, so I was curious how long I would be able to stay conscious.. Turns out it wasn't very long at all! I think I counted past 10, but not much longer than that before it was lights-out!
I came to in the recovery room. I felt pretty loopy from the anesthesia, but for the most part I was pain-free, and was able to talk to the nurse without too much difficulty. She seemed to think I was doing really well, so she soon brought my mom and gf out to stay with me. They told me that my ENT had met with them after the procedure and had said that everything had gone very well. Apparently my tonsils were pretty deep and nasty, so I'm glad they're gone. He also said he had removed a ton of polyps from my nose and sinuses.
They kept me in the recovery room for about 2 hours while the effects of the anesthesia wore off , my vitals stabilized, and I sucked on some ice chips. The nurse went over care instructions with us, and gave me some Demerol and anti-nausea medication to tide me over until I could get my prescriptions filled. My mouth was still a bit numb from the topical anesthetic, but overall I don't think I was very swollen and I was able to talk and swallow fine. I could even breathe through my nose, despite having the splints in there for the deviated septum, which was a nice surprise.
They prescribed me Lortab 10mg for the pain, prednisone, an antibiotic (Cefdinir), Afrin decongestant, a 2% lidocaine as a topical anesthetic, and a saline spray. I've been taking 2 Lortab every 4 hours religiously and have not really felt any pain yet. When I got home, I put some ice packs on my neck and drank some ice-water for a while. Later on I had a couple freezies and jello, and I was feeling pretty good some I got my mom to may me some well-cooked spaghetti with butternut squash soup to help it slide down. Chewing was a bit of a chore, but overall it wasn't bad at all. I also haven't had any nausea from the anesthesia or pain killers, so that's good as well.
I hadn't really slept much the night before the surgery, so I dozed for a bit in the evening. A couple friends stopped by to wish me a speedy recovery, and it was nice to have a bit of company. I went to sleep in a recliner around 10pm and have been getting up every 4 hours for the meds. I couldn't get back to sleep after the last one, so I thought I'd get on here and post my update!
So far, I think things have been going really well. I know that the worst is still ahead of me , especially when the tonsil scabs start coming off, but overall I'm feeling pretty optimistic. I see the Dr. on Thursday to check up on my progress and have the splints removed.
The only issues I have right now is that my nose seems to be bleeding more than I was told it should. The nurse said that change gauze under the nose 3-4 times a day was common, but I've been needing to change them every 2-3 hours. I've been keeping an eye on it though and haven't had any unstoppable bleeding, so I think it's alright. I think it's also partially due to the saline spray rinsing out some of the blood. I'll give the office a call in a few hours when they open to check on it. Does anyone know whether this sort of bleeding is normal?
I'll keep you all updated as I go through my recovery. Hopefully it will be helpful to others. I know I was very nervous going into the surgery, especially since I had not seen many people who had all of these procedures done at the same time. So I hope that this can be reassuring to others and give some idea of what to expect.
Oh, and for those of you curious, I'm pretty sure that my doctor used the coblation method for removing the tonsils and adenoids. I'm not sure what techniques were used for the septum, turbinates, sinuses, and polyps, but I do know that he used computer-guided navigation to do a more thorough and safe job inside of the nose.
Fairly uneventful day. I spent most of the day in a recliner trying to watch TV and/or dozing. I couldn't really focus on anything more involved like being of my computer or playing video games. I probably got 2-3 hours sleep total in the morning and afternoon, but it was never for any long stretches. I would always wake up due to a bleeding nose, difficulty breathing, or choking on some blood dripping down the back of my throat (gross!). I've been able to breathe through my left nostril, but the right one is blocked up, and is where most of the bleeding comes from. I think the splint is blocking it up, so I'm looking forward to having that removed on Thursday (day 4).
I haven't been in really any pain whatsoever, so I stepped back the dosage to 1 pill every 6 hours or so, and I haven't been using the lidocaine to numb the throat at all. I expect I could go off the pain killers altogether at this point, but I know the pain will increase sometime in the next few days, and I want to have something in my system when it does. Better to be prepared.
I've been drinking water & gatorade, and had some chicken soup with rice & carrots for lunch. Around 4pm I was feeling itchy so I had a bath & shower, which helped some and made me feel refreshed. I ate mashed potatoes & gravy as well as some stir-fried veggies for dinner. I also tried to have a little bit of chicken breast...it was a bit dry and tough to chew thoroughly, but it went down OK.
After watching a movie with my mom and girlfriend (The Double... wasn't that great imo), I tried to get an early night's rest. It didn't exactly work out as planned. For one, I got extremely itchy again. I was able to trace that to the Milk of Magnesia, which I was trying to take to counteract the constipation from the pain killers (sorry for too much info). It turns out, I must be allergic to it, because I was really itchy all over and got a bit tight-chested. Combine that with a number of other annoyances (humidifier leaking, electrical problems, late next spam texts waking me up), and I didn't have a very good night at all.
I called the doctor's office about the bleeding and some other questions I had, then headed out to the pharmacy with my mom to grab some supplies (I had to re-teach her how to drive a manual car, which she hadn't done in many years, so that was kinda fun). I was really tired, but it was nice getting out of the house for a bit. I spent most of the rest of the day in bed watching through stuff on the DVR and trying to nap. I had some mashed potatoes and gravy, as well as some scrambled eggs to eat. The eggs kinda got stuck in my throat, but I was able to wash them down afterwards, so it wasn't too bad. I had another combo bath / shower this afternoon which was nice.
I'm still not really in any pain. My tongue is a bit swollen and it is becoming more difficult to talk and swallow, but overall I'm doing very well considering, and my thoughts are pretty clear now that the anesthesia is out of my system and I'm not on much pain killers. The nose bleeding has also calmed down a lot. I still have difficulty sleeping though, so I'm just struggling with being tired and bored right now. I'm looking forward to having the splints out tomorrow, but not looking forward to the tonsil scabs coming off. I'm trying to mentally prepare for that, but recovery has been so easy so far that I know it will be a difficult transition.
I'm going to have dinner soon (going to attempt refried beans and scalloped potatoes), then probably watch another movie tonight and try to get some rest.
It's been a little while, so I thought I'd give another update. Hopefully others are actually reading this and are finding it helpful in case they go in for a similar procedure...
I went to the doctor's office to have the splints in my nose removed. Despite being on the pain killers, this was an uncomfortable and painful process. Having the splints out wasn't too bad, but after that he put a suction up there to get rid of some of the excess blood and mucus. I was really sensitive, so this was quite painful.
My mom was driving me back from the office when I got a call from a friend. Her 2-year old daughter had had an accident and they were at the emergency room waiting for stitches. She was supposed to be taking her 4-year old daughter to Disney on Ice that evening, but would miss it due to the accident. So, she was asking if my girlfriend would be able to take her instead. My gf was happy to help, but the timing would be tight, so I decided I had to drive down to the hospital to pick up the 4 year old before my gf got off work. I was still on the pain killers, but it was rush hour traffic, and my mom wasn't really comfortable driving my manual car, so I drove. Between the traffic, the heat, and the energy of the child, it was a very stressful drive, and continued to be stressful once we got back to my place to get her fed and ready for the show. I had just pushed myself too hard, and I felt depressed, tired, and nauseous afterwards. I thought I would be OK, but I really learned that I couldn't push myself that hard.
The upside is that without the splints, I was able to sleep a lot better. There still was some blood & mucus, which was annoying, but at least I was able to finally sleep on my side and not propped up all night!
Fairly uneventful. Nose was feeling pretty good with the splints out, and was able to eat some good meals (mmm...Chick-Fil-A!)
Unfortunately, during this time, I started to start to feel quite sick. I'm not sure whether I had a fever (I don't think so), but I had chills, sweats, dizziness, nausea, headaches, light-headedness... all that good stuff. I started to suspect prednisone withdrawal symptoms, since I ad been on 40mg per day for 5 days before the surgery and 4 days post, and I just stopped cold-turkey. I talked to the pharmacist about it (didn't think it was bad enough to bother the dr. over the weekend), and they seemed to think it was possible. I started to feel better later in day 6 though, so I just kept what I was doing.
My mom flew out the night before, so I was finally able to spend some alone-time with my girlfriend. I decided to try to go out and see a movie with her - The Five Year Engagement. The movie wasn't bad, but I wasn't able to enjoy it, since I was still feeling some of the symptoms of the past couple days. My tonsils had also started to hurt more, but not so much that the pain killers couldn't do their job (I've been taking one 10mg hydrocodone tablet 3 times daily). I was cranky all day, and should have been nicer to my gf I've been snapping at her too easily.
I called the dr's office and discussed my symptoms over the weekend. They said the prednisone withdrawal was possible, or that it might just be a typical vagal (sp?) response due to the sinus packing, and I might might want to move my cleaning appointment sooner.
I also talked to them about the other issue I've been dealing with (and another possible cause of the sickness symptoms) is severe constipation. I haven't really had a bowel movement since before the surgery, and I've been eating a lot. I had one very small movement the morning of day 5, but it was hardly anything. I originally tried the Milk of Magnesia, but as I mentioned, I had an allergic reaction to that. I moved to a stool softener (docusate sodium) and lots of prune juice, but that also didn't work. I tried Miralax on the advice of the pharmacist (over ExLax), but that also didn't work. So, on the advice of my doctor's office and the pharmacist, I tried using a saline enema laxative. Sorry to be gross...it's not something I ever thought I'd publicly discuss, but hopefully it helps others if they're having a similar problem. For me, it was the only thing that worked, and worked nearly instantly. I don't feel like I got fully cleaned out from it, but it definitely helped out a lot, and I felt a lot better afterwards.
Nothing eventful today. My throat still hurts, bu I don't really see any signs of the scabs coming off yet. I think a small piece came off a few days ago in the shower, but that's it. Any idea when these should be coming off? I was expecting them by now...
Also, just FYI I've been tracking my weight, and despite eating well and staying hydrated, I'm down 11.5 pounds so far. I'm not really overweight, but could stand to be down a bit for summer, so hopefully I can keep it off after I'm recovered!