I need surgery!!! Well, the ENT said it wasn’t necessarily necessary, but he highly recommends it. I had my first appointment with him Friday morning, and he looked at the scan my allergist took and stuck a camera up my nose and took some pictures. I now know a lot more about my nose, including what it looks like on the inside. It’s a little freaky.
For those of you not in the know, here’s a diagram pretty similar to the one the ENT showed me in his office:
Basically, you’re front sinuses only have one drainage point, the one that goes into either side of your nose. Some people, like me, have really narrow ones. So it’s rather difficult for stuff to drain when it needs to, and it’s difficult to get proper airflow going. In my case, this results in pretty much constant pressure due to the lack of airflow and an increased chance of infection (which happens when the sinus cavities fill with puss). Infection is treatable with antibiotics, but the pressure and inflammation on its own can only be alleviated with steroids. Topical ones, like nasal sprays, won’t work if the medicine can’t get up there, which is what’s happening with me. In that case, the only way to treat it is to take steroids orally, which is not something you want to do for the long-term (because of the oh-so-fun reactions; just look at my posts from mid-May when I was last on prednisone), or to have the surgery to widen the passages and allow proper drainage and airflow. That’s problem #1.
Problem #2 that the ENT wants to fix is my deviated septum. The septum is the thing running down the middle of your nose behind the bone. What happens when it deviates is that part of the septum decides for whatever reason to break away from the rest and lean to one side, obstructing drainage and airflow like a big jerk. My deviated septum is leaning toward the right, and it’s pretty far back in my nose considering the fact that the ENT had to go looking for it with the scope and ended up far enough back to elicit a loud “Ow!!!” from me just as he found it.
Problem #3 is that my turbinates (the tube-looking thingies I couldn’t remember the name of last time) need to be reduced. You have four turbinates (I thought there were four, but the pictures I found all seem to show three on each side for a total of six; I’ll have to ask the ENT again at my follow-up) in your nose which direct the air so it can be warmed and humidified before it goes down your windpipe and into the lungs. They start in the front and go all the way back.
The tissue on these can swell up because it is erectile tissue. That’s right. Erectile. Like a penis. When the ENT told me that with his face all serious-like, I was fighting really hard not to giggle. As Ren so eloquently put it, “So…you have four dicks in your nose.” Yes. Yes, you do.
Anyway, these nose-penises can swell for a number of reasons: allergies, irritation, because they’re just dicks like that. 😉 And according to the ENT, mine appear to be swollen all the time (in a constant state of erect, if you will; these nose-dick jokes are never going to get old). He sprayed this high-power Afrin in my nose to reduce the swelling enough to get the scope up there, and for about an hour I could breathe so well I was getting a little light-headed. Then after an hour it promptly wore off and I felt more stopped up than ever. So he wants to go in and reduce the amount of tissue on each of my turbinates so they can’t swell up so much.
So with this one surgery, he could fix my three-fold problem: open the sinus passages for better airflow and drainage, repair the deviation in my septum, and give me a nose-penis reduction. The surgery is in no way cosmetic (which I explained to my step-mom; apparently in her day they’d offer to do a nose job at the same time if you wanted one since it was more invasive back them), but it’s also not strictly medically necessary. I’m not going to die or anything if I don’t get it done, but it would vastly improve my quality of life, (hopefully) reduce my recurring infections, and only put me out of commission at work for a couple of days and at dance for 1-2 weeks max. Since I’d like to be able to breathe (because, you know, air is good for you, prana/life force, etc.), I’ve decided I’m going to do it. I will, however, most likely put it off until after the big dance show in November because it’s not urgent and I can’t afford to miss that much rehearsal time…plus that will give me a chance to save up some time-off at work just in case I’m too much of a weenie to go back to work before I’ve fully recovered.
I really like this ENT, even though I had to drive all the way across god’s green earth to get to his office. He’s really knowledgeable, listens when I talk, and explains things well. Now all I have to do is figure out how I’m going to pay for the out-of-pocket costs (we have a flex-pay program at work where they’ll take it out of your paycheck before taxes, but I have to figure out if the surgery will be covered before open enrollment ends August 2nd, and you can’t call the help-line without already being signed up in the program), schedule the date, and con a friend into driving me to-and-from the surgery and maybe looking out for me for a day or two afterwards because I can be a great big baby when it comes to stuff like that (just ask my mom about how things went after I got my wisdom teeth cut out). The only compensation I can offer for such friend-services will be my eternal gratitude and devotion, gas money, and the potential to witness the hilarity of me under the effects of anesthesia.
So to sum up, I’m having surgery later in the fall to fix, among other things, the giant dicks in my nose. I hope you have enjoyed this educational experience.