Saturday, April 5, 2014

Turbinate Reduction Surgery

I have had problems with severe seasonal allergies, sensitivities, and haven't been able to breathe well through my nose for years now.  I few weeks ago, I decided to go for it and made an appointment with an ENT doctor (on March 11th).  I found out that it was caused by enlarged turbinates, blocking my nasal passage.  (I had never heard of them before then, either.) 

"Mucosal membranes covering the turbinates contain large supply of blood vessels and can easily shrink or swell in response to various factors. As a result, turbinates can expand due to allergies, chemical or physical irritants, temperature changes, or infections which will congest the nose. This enlargement is reversible and turbinates normally will return back to normal size. However, persistent inflammation, allergic reactions and exposure to various environmental irritants may lead to the chronic swelling of turbinates (usually inferior turbinates), a condition referred to as turbinate hypertrophy."

Dr. Johnson sprayed Afrin nasal spray in my nose in her office, causing them to shrink temporarily, and I was able to immediately breathe!  She said if I wanted to be able to breathe like that, I could use a steroid nose spray and Allegra-D everyday for the rest of my life, or for a more permanent option -have turbinate reduction surgery.  Since, I've been taking Allegra-D/Zyrtec-D and using nasal spray on and off for like 8 years now, I was ready for the next step.  (She also said that my left septum was a little deviated, but she wasn't going to worry about that for now.
I scheduled my surgery for Friday, April 4th.) 
My mom stayed the night on Thursday, so she could be there in the morning to watch the girls.  Chris & I got up at 4:45 and were to Bentonville Northwest Hospital a little before 6am.  I got admitted, then we went to pre-op, and the nurse told us that there wasn't a room ready for me yet, since I wasn't on the schedule until 9:30 - and that all the babies getting tubes would go first, starting at 7:30!  Total bummer!  So we waited forever, before getting called back.  I had to give a urine sample for a pregnancy test first, (which was negative, btw) then got to put on a fancy gown and compression socks! 
I got an IV put in my arm, and a nurse asked me a million different questions... And the anesthesiologist came and visited with me.  Of course, they made me extremely nervous, my chest broke out in hives, and I was panicking about going into the OR.  I was mad about having to wait for so long, and was hungry (no food or drink after midnight.) Finally they left, Chris turned on the TV, and I was able to calm down.  Dr. Johnson and her nurses came in around 9:30, talked to me, and put some valium-like medicine into my IV.  I kissed Chris, and they wheeled my very sleepy-self off to the operating room.  I don't remember much after that, just them telling me to keep breathing (with a mask over my face).  I remember opening my eyes once in post-op, then them pulling the breathing tube out of my mouth, and the sticky heart monitors off my chest.  I told them my throat and nose hurt... I was so sleepy.  They said they would give me more pain medicine and then go get Chris.   
{Dr. Johnson came out and told Chris that my turbinates were very enlarged, and tilted more than normal, almost completely blocking my airway.  She was able to reduce the size of the inferior turbinates by removing extra tissue and straightened out the bones.  She seemed to be very happy with the procedure.}  
Around 12:30, They took out my IV and took the gauze off my nose,  then had Chris pull up the car, while someone pushed me to the door in a wheel chair.  I slept on the way home, and went straight to bed and slept until around 4pm.  (***warning TMI***) My nose drips out blood, especially if I bend over or help with the girls... and blood has been running down the back of my throat, along with some blood clots and bloody mucus.  I had a headache Friday night, but slept good (9:30-6:15) and woke up with just a sore throat.   Chris picked up my pain pills, but I haven't had to take one yet!  I can already breathe so much better through my nose.   I'm not suppose to blow my nose, bend over and lift anything over 20 pounds, and no exercise (or heavy housework :) for 2 weeks.  I have a checkup appointment on the 18th.  She thinks my turbinates should be completely healed and shrunk in 4-6 weeks!   Hoping to have an easier time breathing when I exercise, less problems with allergies and sensitivities (especially with fragrances)! 

I found this on my ribs this morning... looks like someone bit me! haha  - think it's from the heart monitor! ?

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