My Septoplasty Adventure Part 2: Surgery and Recovery

Read Part 1 here for more background on Septoplasty!

If you’ve had surgery before, then Septoplasty surgery itself will be easy peasy. Pay attention to your instructions about eating and drinking before surgery (typically eat dinner no later than 12 hours before surgery and nothing to drink after midnight). Try to see about getting your prescriptions for pain meds and antibiotics filled before your surgery so you don’t have to worry about that after surgery. Trust me – you’ll want to go straight home and rest. My doctor did get this taken care of and I thank him immensely. Yes, he did want me on antibiotics after surgery. I watched some YouTube videos where some people did come down with sinus infections so he believes in giving them as you’ll have a lot of gunk in your sinuses afterwards. DO talk with your doc if he does not prescribe them.

Plan to buy protein drinks or other soft foods to have for the first few days. My surgery was at 10 am and by 5 pm that same day I was hungry. But I just ate little bits every few hours. You will be intubated and more than likely your throat will hurt afterwards.

One of the important things you will need to do is purchase a saline flush kit. My doctor does not recommend a Neti pot. You need one with a squeeze bottle as shown below. Do practice beforehand. I did not, but after a day I finally got better. I’m used to nasal sprays, including saline ones, but with this you really need to master the technique of flushing out your nose. My doc wanted me doing it at least 4 times a day. I bought a kit with 30 packets of saline but ended up buying more because I came to really like doing this. I could feel the junk in my nose and since you can’t blow your nose, this is the only way to get it out. I got my splints out a week ago and I’m still doing it, although not as much — typically in the morning and at night.

As for the surgery, it’s like any other surgery. You go under and then a minute later you wake up! No, not really, but that’s what it feels like. Mine took just over an hour. The funny thing was when I finally woke up from the anesthesia, I started talking in Spanish. While I do not consider myself a true bilingual person I do spend time on WhatsApp every day chatting with friends in Costa Rica so I’m fairly proficient in Spanish. It’s so bizarre that this happened.

Anyhow, as expected my throat hurt like hell and I was thirsty. They gave me some Percocet and water and that did help, but my nose was still mighty uncomfortable. Here’s a pic of me later that day with my awful little nose sling thingy.  No makeup. Rare that I would even post a picture like this, but I don’t want to sugar coat this. This is surgery and you won’t feel wonderful afterwards.

post op–feeling miserable

Sleeping that night was awful. I tried sleeping in my recliner but my cat wanted to sleep with me. Somehow I got a few winks in, but it wasn’t easy. I took a Vicodin at bedtime and then another at 3 am. By morning the throat pain was gone. I was able to drink a little coffee but it tasted awful. I pretty much slept as much as I could all day. Like the day before I just ate soft food. The good news was that the bleeding was subsiding and I was able to sleep in my bed with an extra pillow. By the next morning the bleeding had stopped and I just kept tissue with me at all times. I detested the nose sling anyhow.

The next few days I saw steady improvement with less swelling and increased appetite, although I could not smell or taste anything! Also the front part of my mouth behind my incisors was numb. On the last two nights before I got the splints taken out my throat started to feel sore again. Not sure why. Perhaps some post-nasal drip down my throat at night.

On the seventh day I got my splints out! I was so happy to have this over, but let me tell you that this for me was the worst part. Although they sprayed numbing spray in my nose (some of which got in my throat) I could still feel the doc slowing take them out.  They were huge! Probably a good 2.5 inches long.

Nasal splints

He then suctioned out my nasal passages. That was uncomfortable, too. You know how they say to imagine yourself on a sunny beach when you’re having an uncomfortable medical procedure? Well, I tried that and it did help some but I was still anxious for it to be all over.

The next few days I continued to take Advil because my nose felt a little uncomfortable. It’s been almost a week and I almost feel back to normal. My nasal passages still feel just a tad bit swollen but no more blood when I flush out my nose. Yesterday I went running for the first time and being able to breathe through both nostrils was wonderful. And yes, my sense of smell and taste came back right after the splints came out.

In the end I’m glad I went through with this procedure. It actually was an easier recovery than I expected and I already am sleeping better.

back to normal! After my first run