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Diary of a Septoplasty

A septoplasty is an operation to straighten the septum, which is the thin piece of cartilage and bone in the middle of your nose, the bit that means you have two nostrils instead of a trunk.

I had a deviated septum – you could see it sticking perkily out of my left nostril, plain as day – meaning I could only really breathe properly through my right nostril. I also suffer a lot from colds, congestion, migraines, blocked sinuses, you name it, and the doctors thought that all this might be eased if I could breathe properly. (They also discovered that I had a fracture up there too, so an operation was kind of necessary.)

Now, this is a faithful record of my experiences. The important thing to remember is, most people have no problems whatsoever. It’s a straightforward operation, and in the majority of cases it goes smoothly. But it’s clear that some people – like me, and those who’ve posted below – have a difficult time after the operation: discomfort, flu-like symptoms, shivering, numb teeth, loss of taste, you name it. In pretty much every case, after a week, 10 days, a fortnight, it cleared up – after which everything was fine, better than fine, marvellous.

So I guess the moral here is, if you’re feeling pretty rough after the operation, don’t panic. As you’ll see below, this is nothing to worry about. It goes away, and you feel better – a lot better.

I closed the comments because I’m not a doctor, and people were starting to ask me questions I couldn’t really answer (and if you’re worried, please talk to your doctor; they should be able to reassure you). Hopefully if you are worried about what you’re going through this blog and the comments will reassure you too: you’re not alone, this happens to other people too, and if you give it time everything should get better.

The Operation – Wednesday 5th January

I got to the hospital for 8am, no food or drink after 9pm the night before, and was shown to the waiting room (which was so full of patients and visitors all the chairs were taken and I had to lean against the wall) and then after a quarter of an hour or so was taken to the ward where my bed was waiting. The nurse asked me a bunch of questions (name and address, did I have crowns on my teeth, any allergies, etc.). Then the surgeon came round and curtly informed me that the operation probably wouldn’t cure any of the breathing problems I’d been referred for – which didn’t do much to raise my spirits – and got me to sign the disclaimer forms so I couldn’t sue him afterwards.

A little later the anaesthetist dropped by, which gave me a chance to plead brokenly for anti-nausea drugs and some stimulants to wake me up after the general anaesthetic. (Usually I get very sick and drowsy for hours afterwards.) He promised to give me everything he could think of that might help and then asked me all the same questions the nurse had.

I was fitted with wrist tags (my details duplicated on each wrist and another tag (red) with my penicillin allergy clearly marked), measured for surgical stockings (very fetching but a very tight fit and a bugger to get on) and finally asked to strip down to my (cotton) underwear and put on the surgical gown. Then I got into bed about 10.15 and was wheeled down to the theatre by a couple of nurses, the bed hilariously catching in several swing doors on the way.

There was a slight hold-up at anaesthetics, so we parked in the corridor outside the theatre for a couple of minutes. I was transferred to the care of a couple of theatre nurses who moved me onto another bed, and then wheeled me into the pre-theatre ward, which consisted of just a reception desk and me. Two more nurses checked my details against my wrist bands and asked me all the same questions all over again.

After a short wait I was wheeled into the anaesthetic room where five or six people in scrubs were bustling about. I was fitted with various electronic tags and a needle was inserted into the back of my hand. At this point the anaesthetist realised they hadn’t established my height and weight to calculate the exact dosage to give me. He asked me, but I only know it in imperial, and all their charts are metric. So they spent an entertaining few minutes trying to convert the numbers by mental arithmetic. Finally they were satisfied and I was given oxygen to breathe and told to take some deep breaths to clear my lungs. Soon after I felt a cold sensation crawling up my arm as the drugs were bled into my body. The anaesthetist asked me how I felt. For a time I felt normal, no change, then warm and a bit fuzzy, and then I must have blacked out. (It was a rather gentler experience than the last time, when I was actually aware of losing consciousness – this was more like falling asleep.)

When I woke up around noon it was all over, and I was in yet another ward. The nurses asked me if I knew where I was, but I was too far gone to do much more than blink and stare at them like a very sleepy cow. There were three or four nurses in the room, chatting to each other while they waited for me to wake up. (At one point one of them said, ‘What’s he had?’ and another picked up my chart. ‘Wow!’ she exclaimed. ‘He’s had everything!’) They kept talking to me, and taking my blood pressure every few minutes.

After perhaps 15-30 minutes I was deemed well enough to be returned to my original ward. The whole middle of my face, from below my eyes to above my chin, was completely numb. My brain too, of course.

It took me about three hours to wake up enough to get bored, which was a major improvement on the last time I had surgery, when it took three days. I was pretty groggy for much of the time, very tired and remote, but I felt no nausea. I had a drip of some kind going into my hand. I was given iced water to sip, and after a while I felt the need to empty my bladder. I got up, feeling very light-headed, and made my way to the bathroom, but painful squeezing could only force out a few painful drops – the usual fasting-cum-general-anaesthetic experience.

The consultant looked in to say it had gone well, but it had been a rather complicated procedure. He’d dealt with the fracture, and he hadn’t had to cut the skin as it had all been done from the inside. He’d put a splint up my left nostril which would have to remain for a week or so until it had healed.

A few minutes after lying down again I was aware my nose was dripping. When I dabbed it with a tissue it came away red with blood, and I realised that I’d been dripping blood on the sheets and pillows too. I hailed a nurse who explained it was perfectly natural, there were scabs and blood inside my nose from the operation, and the nose was trying to flush it all out, plus I’d loosened things up when I got up to go to the bathroom.

He said he’d get me a nose bag, a little pad that sits under the nostrils and ties round the back of the head (the sort of thing you can imagine Hercule Poirot wearing to protect his moustache in bed). This catches any drips and prevents mess. Unfortunately he didn’t come back again and by the time another nurse got me one my sheets and pillow looked like props for a Tarantino movie.

By four o’clock I was well enough to eat. They didn’t have any vegetarian food, so I had a couple of pieces of buttered toast. That was when I discovered I’d lost my sense of taste and smell (hospital food may be bad, but it’s not that bad).

Margaret came to pick me up around half past four. We had to wait – the consultant was supposed to discharge me – but in the end as he was running late they reckoned it was all right for me to go. I was given a paper bag with a couple of clean nose bags, a letter for my GP and a shedload of painkillers, which seemed ominous. But for the time being I was in no real discomfort, was awake enough to help Margaret navigate through rush hour traffic, and felt pretty good, all things considered, well enough to have some soup and a mug of tea and watch TV till bedtime.

The First Night

That state of affairs didn’t last. I got about an hour and a half’s sleep that night, and it was pretty horrible. I had to lie with my head propped up, with my nose (protected by the nose bag) not touching the pillow. All night I had heartburn as mucus drained down my throat; it felt salty and when I spat it out it was red, so I was swallowing bloody mucus all night, and trying not to choke or be sick. Added to that, the drugs they’d given me to wake up after the anaesthetic seemed to really kick in after midnight, like your mouth only goes completely numb after you’ve left the dentist’s, so my heart was pounding in my chest like an engine overheating, thump-thump-thump-thump all night. I would fall asleep, but wake up again after a few minutes, over and over; and so the long night wore on.

Thursday 6th January – D-Day +1

Next morning I woke up with a splitting, axe-in-the-skull, end-of-the-world kind of headache. I also had some aches and pains in my chest, arms and legs (“flu-like symptoms” as they say). My nose was very sore, a dull aching throb. I painfully peeled off the crusted nose bag, which was uncomfortably filled with dried blood and mucus, and took a look in the mirror. The inside of my nose was too dark to see properly, and too sore to touch, but the outside wasn’t swollen or distended at all. And it looked straighter right away, which was encouraging.

I got up unaided and took some paracetamol, then went back to bed. As the day dragged on I got more and more tired, but couldn’t sleep, so I listened to audiobooks and classical music radio in a sort of doze. I started the recommended process of half-filling a bowl with boiling water and breathing it in under a towel for 10 minutes, three times a day. My nose was completely blocked, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that the steam must be helping. I deliberately didn’t wear the drip bag through the day, but as my nose occasionally dribbled pink mucus I used tissues to mop it up. After a while the tickling trickle inside my nose began to drive me mad, but you’re forbidden sticking anything up there or blowing your nose for at least a week, so I had to keep dabbing away.

As the anaesthetic wore off my nose started to hurt more and more – hence the painkillers I’d been given – but my lips and front teeth remained numb, and my sense of smell and taste was non-existent.

That night I slept from about 11.00pm – 3.00am, then lay awake till just before the alarm went off at 7.00. Not helped by occasionally catching my nose with my hand as I replaced my glass of water, which made me see stars.

Friday 7th January – D-Day +2

A truly horrible day, just awful. Definitely the lowest point.

I woke up very groggy, very remote, almost semi-conscious. I had another splitting headache, more aches and pains, and could barely sit up unaided. I took some paracetamol again, and felt well enough to sit up and have some breakfast, but as the pills wore off I lapsed back into a sort of vegetative state.

My scribbled diary entry reads: “Nose still blocked & v. sore. Unbelievably uncomfortable and unpleasant. No sense of taste, nose just a huge blob of swelling pain, tired, semi-conscious, dripping bloody mucus, headache, constipated, can’t breathe properly, maddening itching inside nose, swallowing mucus all the time, can’t sit up properly or for long, sore throat, chills, aches and pains, sore teeth, numbness around lips and teeth, mouth ulcers from the oxygen tube.”

But then, at 11.30 that night, the blockage in my nose suddenly shifted and I felt something pour warm and wet into the drip bag – which was pretty unpleasant in itself, but it meant that I was able to begin to breathe through at least one nostril at a time.

Saturday 8th January – D-Day +3

I may have been able to breathe but I still couldn’t sleep. By daybreak I had yet another headache, and the same feeling of remoteness and distance, but not as bad as yesterday. My stomach was fluttering, and my legs were shaky, so I once again I pretty much stayed in bed till teatime, when I got up for a while. For the most part I dozed and slept and listened to audiobooks (Dickens and Patrick O’Brian, god bless them).

But there were more encouraging signs – the pain in my nose, though still distracting and very sensitive if I accidentally knocked it (ouch ouch ouch!), was noticeably less by teatime, definitely not the throbbing agony I’d had till now. And for most of the day I was able to breathe through at least one nostril, the one on the right (the one without the splint) – at least when it wasn’t blocked.

I was still constipated, though this was not (yet) a problem. Even though I couldn’t taste anything I found I only wanted to eat boiled rice with milk, yoghurt and fruit juice, and toast.

Sunday 9th January – D-Day +4

I fell asleep almost immediately but woke up shivering at 2.00am. The sheets, pillow and duvet were soaking wet and very cold. I still had some sweat running down my back, but was surprised to find I was actually quite warm and comfortable, and no remaining trace of fever whatsoever. I actually felt pretty good, for the first time since the operation, and my nose wasn’t very blocked for once. It was very strange. I lay a while, luxuriating, and went back to sleep.

When I woke up next morning it was back to the usual headache, blocked nose, sore nose, and feeling faint and light-headed. But I still felt better, somehow.

I got up after lunch and felt a bit more awake. Found (with relief) that constipation was no longer a part of my life. When I lay down again around 4pm my right nostril cleared up for about 40 minutes, then blocked up again. But obviously the blockage was beginning to break up, like an ice floe in spring, and it was just a matter of time now; later in the evening it cleared again when I lay down.

That night the nose bag was so uncomfortable and itched so much I had to take it off around midnight. (We put a tea towel under the pillowcase just in case, but nothing ever ran from my nose onto the pillow after that.) I didn’t wear one again.

Monday 10th January – D-Day +5

I woke up very congested again, as usual. The left nostril was very gummed up with dried blood and mucus, but the right nostril was clear by 11.00am. The good news was, I could almost taste my breakfast if I sniffed; the bad news was, I could now taste the unpleasant mucus too. (It was a bit like when the squirrel died in the ceiling space at work that time, the same all-pervading unpleasant sickly sweet taste of decay.)

More good news, when I dabbed my nose through the day the tissue came away mostly with yellow mucus, very little blood at all.

Still felt light-headed when I stood up, same fluttering stomach and weak legs, though I was less drowsy lying down now. But I still couldn’t get up for long.

Curiously, I had a sore throat and my nose was throbbing painfully again, after a couple of days of feeling better. Why now?

Tuesday 11th January – D-Day +6

No nose bag to annoy me overnight, and no drips on the pillow, though I had to keep dabbing at my nose with a tissue as it ran on and off all night.

Woke up with the usual headache, but felt MUCH better, MUCH more myself. This was the first time I almost felt I had my head back – and about time, too. I was still light-headed when I stood up, though, and consequently spent much of the day in bed. But I was able to pick up a book and read, I wasn’t forced to lie back with my eyes shut listening to music and audiobooks.

My nose was less painful than yesterday, though still pretty sore. No blood to speak of, just more of the nasty-tasting yellow mucus. Occasional hints of taste and smell, but still mostly absent. Front teeth and lips still numb, too. Sometimes I could breathe fine, other times completely blocked.

Wednesday 12th January – D-Day +7

Slept fitfully, woke up with headache, dealt with by paracetamol. Nose still painful to the touch. Slimy yellow mucus, just occasionally mixed with blood. Still mostly congested, breathing through the mouth. Sore throat, teeth, lips and upper palette still numb and a bit sore. Every now and again, though, a tantalising suggestion of taste.

Thursday 13th January – D-Day +8

Despite not sleeping well (again) and waking with a headache (again), felt much better, almost back to normal. Head a bit congested, but fully compos mentis, awake and alert. The tip of the nose is till sore, but for the first time the congestion eased to the point where I was actually aware of the splint – I could feel I had something up my nose. Nose dripping yellow mucus.

Friday 14th January – D-Day +9

Went to Lauriston Place to get the splint removed. The consultant put a large magnifier on his head and took a pair of scissors and cut the stitches. Then he reached inside my left nostril with forceps and pulled the stitches out, which made my eyes water, and the sensation as they slid from right to left was very peculiar.

Finally he reached in and pulled out the splint itself. He gave me a wad to hold under my nose (“it might get a bit messy”). It was over very quickly, but while it lasted it was like someone pulling a small mammal out through my nose, very unpleasant but such a relief when it’s over. There wasn’t too much mess till he told me to blow my nose gently and then all this bloody snot sprayed out, like opening the trapdoor to a disused attic and getting showered in mess and droppings. The splint was surprisingly large, three inches plus and kidney shaped, large enough to wonder how they got it up there in the first place.

The consultant told me I had an infection which was making my nose swollen and tender inside and gave me some antiseptic to put on it, on condition I didn’t let anyone see on the way out, as they weren’t supposed to give stuff away.

And that was pretty much that. In and out in ten minutes.

After that it blocked up again soon enough – and 9 days further on it is sometimes clear when I lie down, but mostly my sinuses are just clogged, so even when I can breathe it feels very stuffy and congested in there. But it’s early days yet and patience, so we’re told, is a virtue…

52 comments to Diary of a Septoplasty

  • Lynne

    OMG ! I will have a baby ANYTIME! (Well, no I won’t, I’m 70 years old, but it sure sounds easier than going through what you are!)

  • Gordon

    Hi Lynne,

    Well, I don’t want to overstate things – there is worse pain in the world, as my brother and his kidney stone proves! But I was warned to expect “some discomfort” so I should take a week off work to give things a chance to settle, and was told to expect “some crusting and discharges” – but nothing like this at all, at all.

    I’m not saying it’s not worth it – and obviously not everyone is as badly affected as me – but reading some online accounts it’s obvious I’m not the only one. So anyone thinking of having this done should know what a worse case scenario looks like!

    Anyway, at least you know why I was so quiet for a couple of weeks…

    Cheers,
    Gordon

  • joan

    Hi! Just heard about this site from the traditionalknitting yahoo group:) Strangely enough, I had rhinoplasty at 17 to correct a deviated septum caused by my then 5-yr-old brother’s head making rather hard contact with my then 12-yr-old’s nose (ouch!). Didn’t hurt that it straighten the schnozz:)
    I remember really really hurting for a week later and making frequent use of the shots of painkillers that were offered, so I could sleep. The tenderness in my face stuck around for about a month, and thankfully I had no infections, but the stupid wad in the nose was disgusting. Getting the stitches out wasn’t fun. I think the worst of it was getting shots directly into my face BEFORE they put me under but AFTER they gave me drugs to make me drowzy.
    With all that, I think it was worth it. I don’t have colds on just one side of my face any more, nor do the sinuses give me trouble. One creepy thing about it was that I remember hearing the doc DURING the surgery, saying he was having a LOT of trouble breaking my nose and then hearing a thunderous CRRRRacKKKK and then going back to unconsciousness. Eww. It was 1971 when I had mine done, but it seems like things have not changed much in 40 years!
    I hope you are feeling a lot better now!
    Oh, and BTW, I LOVE to knit:)
    Nice “meeting” you and your blog!
    Take care,
    joan a/k/a fuguestateknits on ravelry and on the ‘net

  • Gordon

    Hi Joan,

    And thanks for getting in touch. I think you probably had it worse than I! I was told to expect stitches (the expression “make 3 incisions and fold the skin back like a flap” was used) but in the end with the wonders of modern science they could just do it all without cutting. The left side of my nose is definitely clearer, and I can breathe more easily, that’s the good news – but unfortunately it hasn’t cured the problem it was supposed to, which is massive congestion in the sinuses, like waking up with a heavy cold or a migraine. So I don’t know. Still, Margaret tells me I don’t snore a whole lot these days, so it’s job done as far as she’s concerned!

    With all good wishes for your own projects and hope you’ll enjoy the blog in future,
    Gordon

  • Katrina

    I found you on google and glad I did. It’s reassured me I’m normal and quite fortunate, I’ve got off a lot lighter than you. I had my septoplasty last Wednesday, today is Tuesday. My main post op problem at the mo is feeling like I’ve got a REALLY bad cold – fuggy head, blocked ears and generally feeling disorientated. That and the slugs, seemingly as part of my op the surgeon left a load of slug eggs in my nose, these are now hatching and crawl out of my nostrils every hour or so – it’s really gross!
    Every now and then I get moments of clarity, everything clears I can breathe, taste and smell! It feels great – sadly it doesn’t last long. At least I know that when all is healed it will have worked!
    Just out of interest how long did it take for you to fully recover?
    Katrina

  • Gordon

    Hi Katrina,

    Well, I wanted to warn people that when a doctor talks of “some discomfort” it may be a little more uncomfortable than they expect! I seem to have a metabolism that is badly affected by congestion and operations, so I’m probably an extreme example. I’m glad your experience is proving less of a problem than mine. Good luck with the slugs!

    I was told that it could be up to 9 or 10 months before all the nerves were properly healed, and so it proved. I was mostly fine within 3 or 4 weeks, but even now, a year on, my nose still feels a bit tender inside. But I can breathe easily through that nostril, which is great – if only it cured my sinus congestion, which was the whole point in the first place!

    Wishing you every success with your recuperation,
    Gordon

  • keith

    8 days ago after septoplasty op nose blocked completely on one side the other still weeping.for me personally its been a nightmare not being able to sleep due to blocked nose,headaches,pain in ear and teeth.
    violently sick after second day which was about 3 pints of black stuff which they said was probably blood which had gone down into my stomach during the op and said it had to come up at some time (they didnt think to warn me though one good thing i have self disolving stitches that should be gone in the next week. would i have this op again no way..

  • Mark

    Hi guys. I have a septoplasty due in a few months. I have read a lot of feedback regarding post operation thoughs & feelings mostly to be fair(as i expected) negative. I am wondering however what the look of the nose was in the days & weeks after as i regard myself as….not vain, lets say, extremely self concious of how i look!… And too say i am worried sick about the outcome would be the biggest understatement ever. I think i would be suicidal if i looked in the mirror after and…….. Some, any feedback on that would be welcome, please… Thanks…

  • Gordon

    Hi Mark,

    I can only speak for myself, but I’d say you really have nothing to worry about. As you can tell from this blog I didn’t have a great time after the operation – but when I looked in the mirror I was amazed at how normal my nose looked! I was expecting to see this great, red, throbbing, swollen tennis ball in the middle of my face, but no – it was absolutely normal. (I’m a little ashamed to say I felt a bit cheated by that.)

    When I tilted my head back and peered inside I could see it was pink and obviously tender – and strighter. But that was it. Even having the splint inside didn’t change the shape.

    So: best of luck with the operation. You can I think relax completely about how you’ll look. And I probably had a particularly bad reaction to the whole operation, others I’ve spoken to weren’t affected as badly – so just go with the flow, and look forward to breathing normally in a few weeks time!

    Best wishes,
    Gordon

  • Katrina

    Hi Mark

    I’m with Gordon, you’ve nothing to worry about.

    When I first looked in the mirror (about 3 hours after coming round) I was shocked because I looked distorted but I still had the packing in then. The packing was removed the following morning and most of the swelling disappeared with it.

    I was expecting to have black eyes but didn’t. All it was was my eyes were puffy under the lids and my nose looked swollen – but not red or bruised, just swollen. To be honest if you were meeting me for the first time you wouldn’t have known.

    After about a week the swelling was pretty much gone – apart from just a small patch mid nose that took another couple of weeks to go completely – again only I could see that!

    It is now 2.5 months since I had my op and I am all fine. I occassionally get twinges in my right nostril but that’s just part of the healing process. It gets less and less.

    Personally its the best decision I ever made. Before my op I literally couldn’t breathe through my nose so sleeping and eating were a nightmare. I also had a constant running nose – by that I mean pouring not the occassionally sniff/drip. It was horrible. Most people thought I had a really bad cold that had lasted months and months!

    Now I can breathe, I’m not drippy – at all! I can taste, I can smell and I can sleep. Since the op I’ve slept through pretty much every night for 8 hours. I used to be one of those people who woke every 2 or 3 hours – again I suspect this was linked to my inability to breathe properly.

    So, in short, go for it. Cosmetically you will look no different after a couple of days (in fact I think my nose looks better as it looks slimmer to me) and medically (if your symptoms are anything like mine were) it will radically improve your life/well being.

    Good luck.

    Oh – PS – don’t worry about the pain. The hospital will give you bin loads of drugs. Just take them regularly and you won’t feel a thing : )

    And PPS – don’t let anyone make you laugh in the first few days. Whilst you are intially healing your top lip and your nose kind of move together so dramatic mouth changes (such as smiling suddenly) might make you wince. It wears off after about 3 days though.

  • Gaz

    Hi guys.
    I just stummbled accross this page upon doing some research online. I am way behind everyone here. I only just have my initial appointment at the hospital at the end of the month, having been referred by my doctor. This “septoplasty” proceedure from what i make out appears to be nothing more than basically for breathing problems etc. After taking a few punches a while back, the top right handside bone of my nose has shaped (slightly) inwards & so it appears slightly crooked. While i have had trouble breathing +constantly blocked nose etc I am thinking that a septoplasty will be suggested, and i was thinking if i under-go this, will it have some significance in altering the slightly squint bone on the upper cartlidge of my nose? Viewing “before & after” photos has taken up hours of my life and i know that everyone will simply suggest i wait an see how the appointment pans out but, i am not sure i can trust the guy i am going too see in the sense that, he might only see fit to fix my breathing issues & not the appearance!… Do the NHS even peform septorhinoplasty?
    From experience could someone tell me post septoplasty – if this has in anyway helped alter a crooked look aswell as the breathing improvment please!..? Much, much much appreciated!…

  • Gordon

    Hi Gaz,

    Obviously I can’t comment on your own case, but the consultant I spoke to at the hospital when I was referred (like you) for an initial assessment wasn’t the same person as the surgeon who performed the operation. I met the surgeon for the first time on the day of the operation and he was very receptive & sympathetic to what I said to him. So in a sense you get two chances to get your point across – once with the consultant at your referral, and again with the surgeon.

    Again, in my experience the doctors are very open to trying to solve your problems – so I suggest you tell them exactly what you want and they can tell you if they’re not going to do it! It may be that the “crooked look” you mention is all tied up with it anyway, and can be dealt with all at the same time as the breathing problems you have.

    And in my case, even though the septoplasty didn’t solve my underlying sinus problem, there’s no question that it has helped my breathing. So if the doctors recommend it, it’s still probably worth going ahead with it.

    Best of luck with it all!
    Gordon

  • Gaz

    Hi Gordon,
    Thank you for your reply!
    Can i ask, how long a time period did you have too wait from meeting the consultant for an initial assessment, and the surgery? I understand that obviously it differs depending on certain factors, but just curious?…

    Gaz

  • Gordon

    Hi again, Gaz – I think it was about 6 weeks or so. It was complicated by the fact that this is Scotland, and the day I was scheduled to go in there was a heavy snowfall. Roads were closed and the trains cancelled – I made it in, but the hospital staff didn’t! So I sat there all day until they admitted around 3pm it wasn’t going to happen. (I wouldn’t have minded, but they wouldn’t let me eat all day, just in case.)

    But it was rescheduled for soon after, and at least next time I knew what to expect…

    Cheers,
    gordon

  • Tina

    Hi Gordon

    How long did it take you to totally recover, I had my operation on 31 May and I must admit headache wise it has been nowhere near as bad as I expected. I didnt have any packing or a splint at all, but Im still wearing a nose bandage (or whatever they are called) during the night, and have mucus coming out during the day, but like you today my nostrils are starting to hurt more and are very crusty and my cheeks and two front teeth fel sensitive and numb.

    Any advice would be great, thanks.

    Tina

  • Gordon

    Hi Tina,

    After a week it was definitely a lot better, and by a fortnight it was pretty much fine, so hang in there and I think you’ll be amazed how quickly it clears once it starts to clear. (One of the reasons I stopped keeping the diary was that there was nothing much to say, really, after Day 9.) I guess we’ve had a real operation, though it’s downplayed by the doctors, and the body takes a little while to get over it. I was advised to expect to take at least a week off work to recuperate (it didn’t matter as I was unemployed at the time), and I think that was about right – one week of real grot, then a gradual improvement. Certainly if you’re anything like me, within a couple of months you’ll be struggling to remember the discomfort!

    Hope it goes well for you & all good wishes,
    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi Gordon

    Many thanks for your reply, its nice to know that there are/were others going through our pain.

    Best wishes

    Tina

  • Gordon

    Hi again Tina,

    I should add that the specialist said it could take several months before you get fully “back to normal”, as the nerve tissue etc. has to regrow – I had mine done in January and he said I should allow till at least the autumn before judging it a success or not. (In my case I don’t think everything did recover fully – it still feels slightly anaesthetised in there! – but I did apparently have a lot done. And I can breathe more easily, no question.)

    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi again Gordon

    For a couple of days now I feel like I have a cold/flu, obviously the nose is still bunged / runny, but Im still tired, heady, a bit nauseaous – For all I know it could be a cold, but was just wondering if u had these symptoms too – Still got the numbness on my teeth, so annoying 🙁

    Thanks

    Tina

  • Gordon

    And hi again Tina.

    Sorry to hear you’re still going through the mill.

    Couple of thoughts – and remember, I’m so far from an expert in medical matters the nurse had to explain blood circulation to me when I had a blood test a few years ago! First of all, it could all be reaction to the operation; or secondly it could be, like me, a slight infection you’ve picked up. Do you have a follow-up appointment scheduled with the consultant to see how it turned out? If so, they could advise you, they’ll be able to tell when they examine you. Alternatively, you could check back with your GP if the cold symptoms persist. I definitely experienced “flu-like symptoms”, yes – and of course the sinuses are going to be affected by the operation, so until it all clears, you’ll be bunged up, nauseous, etc. And everyone’s body is a little different – mine just shuts down at the sight of a needle – and each has to heal in its own way, I guess. Can you taste things yet?

    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi again Gordon

    People will talk soon – ha ha !!
    I have a follow up Friday next week so yes I will obviously tell him about it all.
    It just amazes how little they tell you, mine didnt even tell me exactly what he was going to do (well he did but not in plain English !!) and as for side effects I was just told swelling, headaches and crusty/weepy nose – mind you Im not sure if my symptoms now are as a result of the anaesthetic or the op???
    As for taste – woo hoo its back 🙂

    Thanks
    Tina

  • Irene

    Hi

    Stumbled on to this site in my pursuit to find out if my symptoms are ‘normal’. Had septoplasty on 31 may 2012. My nose has healed very well. Still get that ‘blocked’ feeling many times but overall it’s going well. My problem is the flu type symptoms I still have. If I do anything that requires any energy…hanging out washing, dog walk, cooking… anything… I started to feel dizzy, shaky, lose colour and get headaches. It’s been a week and 3 days since the op and it’s not getting any better. Has anyone else gone through the same thing?

  • Tina

    Hi Irene

    I had my op the same day as you and I still experience the same symptoms from time to time. From speaking to Gordon on here I think its pretty normal but I am going to mention it to my consultant at my appointment on Friday. What Im struggling with now is nose ache and my two front teeth are really aching too, Im sure it will all get better soon.

  • Gordon

    Hello Irene (and Tina!) –

    From what I can tell from people who’ve been in touch with me, it’s really not that uncommon, and in a few days more you should feel a lot better. Obviously, if you don’t, then you need to see your doctor, or contact the hospital. Some people have very straightforward experiences, while for others – like us – our bodies take a bit longer to get over the effects. But I’d say it was at least a fortnight before I felt absolutely “better” and I stopped getting dizzy spells and headaches.

    Anyway, I hope you (both) continue to improve! Hang in there – it does get better, though it may not seem like it right now…

    Cheers,
    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi again Gordon

    I cant remember, did you experience any teeth pain, if so do you have any remedies, really getting on on my nerves now 🙁

    Thanks

  • Gordon

    Hi Tina,

    No, sorry, I don’t recall much in the way of tooth pain. But if it’s any consolation I feel really guilty reading your emails! I think it’s affected by the proximity to the nerve. From what I remember, the consensus seemed to be that it might take a while, and varies from person to person, but it will definitely fade. But, yes -when it won’t go away that deep down pain is pretty grim, I know.

    Gordon

  • Irene

    Hi Tina & Gordon

    Thank you both for replying. Can’t tell you how ‘nice’ it is to have communication with people who have been and are going through similiar things.my shaking,headaches and general aches have got worse today. Tina I have had terrible pain in teeth for 2 days. Used paracetamol to help which it did to some extent. I know how you are feeling. It drove me mad. I also have a terrible taste of blood in my mouth today and have mucus (sorry to b so graphic) going down the back of my throat. Just horrible. Thank you to both of you for you kind, friendly response. Tina, wishing you a speedy recovery.

  • Tina

    Hi Irene & Gordon

    I agree it is ‘nice’ knowing that you are not the only ones suffering, I have had exactly what you are experiencing now Irene.

    Why do you feel guilty Gordon???

    As previously said I will be saying all this to my consultant on Friday so hopefully we arent abnormal and will be right as rain soon 🙂

    Take Care x

  • Irene

    Hi Tina & Gordon

    Had a dreadful 2 days. Been very bad with face pain, dizziness, aches and generally feeling very unwell. Better today though. Got my check up today. Tina, hope you are feeling better.

  • Gordon

    Hi Irene,

    Sorry to hear you’re still going through it – how did your check up go? Any comfort from the doctor?

    I’m just back from a 3-day round trip from Wick to London for a 3-hour meeting, and am tired and migrained, but keeping my fingers crossed!

    Gordon

  • Gordon

    Tina,

    It was lucky for my consultant that he was on holiday when I had my check-up, and saw one of his colleagues – or I’d have been sorely tempted to ding him one on the nose and ask him how he liked it, ask him if he was experiencing any “mild discomfort”!

    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi Gordon & Irene

    Ive just had my check up and my consultant was as useless as I thought he would be !!!! The one good thing he did was take some of the gunk out of both nostrils so I can breathe a bit easier.

    Im still suffering fluey symptoms and he reckons it may be a reaction to the anaesthetic??? I feel really sore and headachy where he poked around but at least its a bit more comfortable.

    When I first walked in he said “I expect your breathing is a lot better now isnt it”??? when I said “no” he looked dumbfounded – the reason being he thought I had the op a few months ago!!! Doctors !!!

    He reckons it will take up to 6 months for everything to get back to normal including the loss of feeling in my two front teeth (great)!!

    Its to early to say whether I regret having it done or not but I have to go back in 6 weeks so I should have more of an idea then.

    Thank you to you both for your help and information.

    Irene – Hope you feel better soon and can get back to normal.

    Gordon – Hope your migraine has gone and you enjoyed London.

    Tina x

  • Gordon

    Hi Tina,

    Well, I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t felt better eventually, so I guess that’s what you’ve got to hang on to. I was told to give it six months for the real benefits to come through, and as I say, I think it depends how close the nerve is to the operation as to how badly your teeth etc are affected. I’m sorry you’re having such a wretched time of it, though. I suppose it’s just the luck of the draw with doctors – especially consultants.

    I get a lot of migraines – and air travel really does my head in (combined with lack of sleep from staying in hotel rooms and the frustrations of waiting on delayed flights!) Next time I’m going to try travelling by hot air balloon…

    Hopefully each day from now on things will continue to improve. Fingers crossed!

    Gordon

  • Irene

    Hi Tina & Gordon

    My check up was painful! He had to take out a lot of ‘left over’ packing and other stuff… Not nice. I’m still not feeling ‘Well’. I still ache and still get shakes at certain times. Bad throat tonight too. I’m also finding breathing hard (but I feel it’s a problem with my chest rather than my nose?) Tina, you sound like you are still really going through it. I truly hope you get some relief soon. Do you feel a bit more reassured now you have had your check up? My surgeon couldn’t really answer my questions as to why I’m getting flu type symptoms… So I came away none the wiser really! Gordon, round trip wick to London??? You must be exhausted! Is flying still a prob for you then ? Anyway, take care both of you and here’s to being healthy!

  • Tina

    Hey Gordon & Irene

    Im feeling a lot better today, just the teeth pain and hot and cold sweats, hopefully they wont take 6 months to go away !!!

    I really hope you get better soon Irene

    Tina xx

  • Gordon

    Dear Tina and Irene – it’s been a few days now – how are things? Any better?

    Gordon

  • Irene

    Hi Gordon

    I’m to bore myself with my own words… I’m really unwell. Gone back to work on a part time basis and when I’m there and esp when I get home, I feel achy, hard to breath (chest), sore throat, shakes, headaches. These symptoms just won’t go and I am really at the end of my patience. Spoke to doc, told I have a ‘virus’… but I haven’t been right since this op and I don’t know why. My nose is great! It’s the rest of me that’s not good. I’m really v low about it.

    Eileen

  • Gordon

    Hi Irene (Eileen?), I’m really sorry to hear that. I was keeping my fingers crossed for good news! I hope that whatever it is that’s messing you up clears up soon and you can get the benefit of actually being able to breathe properly…

    All the best,
    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi Irene & Gordon

    So sorry you are really suffering Irene, hope you feel better soon.

    My nose is still sore and a bit crusty (sorry), but apart from that I feel fine, for once I was one of the lucky ones.

    Take Care

    Tina x

  • Irene

    Hi. Gordon & Tina

    Sorry Gordon, my phone changed Irene to Eileen… Sorry for the confusion! Im so pleased to hear you are doing well Tina. Great news. I’m still suffering from flu type symptoms, and my breathing (chest) is really bad. Just hoping it all clears soon as I’m desp to get my life back on track! Take care both of you.

    Irene

  • Tina

    Hi Irene

    I feel so sorry for you, I was going to say if you wanted a chat we should get in contact with each other but I dont really want to publish my email or phone number on here.

    If it makes you feel not quite alone, Im still suffering with my tooth pain.

    I hope you recover very soon.

    Tina x

  • Gordon

    Hi Irene,

    Not sure if you ever look in on these pages, but if you do, how are things…?

    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi Gordon

    I was wondering the same thing, let us know how you are Irene

    Tina x

  • Irene

    Hi Tina & Gordon

    I did reply almost straight away to you Gordon but I’ve just seen it didn’t ‘post’. Anyway, I am doing really well now. The aches, pains, swollen glands etc are all away and I’m feeling really well. They still don’t know what caused it. Maybe a coincidental virus or maybe a reaction to the general and they also mentioned that it could have been a reaction to the steroids I was on! Who knows. At my last check up 2 weeks ago the consultant felt a part of my nose wasn’t healing properly so maybe have to have a wee procedure done under a local. Got to go back in a few weeks to have it checked on. Apart from that all is good and it’s great to feel well again! hope you are both well. Take care.

    Irene

  • Gordon

    Hi Irene,

    Very glad to hear it! Sorry that you’ve had some complications and hope you get it sorted soon, but still very good to know that you’re no longer feeling so sick.

    Hopefully you can start to feel the benefits before long, too.

    All the best,
    Gordon

  • Tina

    Hi Irene

    Glad you are better, and hopefully they will get you back to normal (if you ever was normal) ha ha

    Take care

    Tina xx

  • Briony

    Hello Gordon, Tina and Irene,
    I’m so glad I found this site. I was supposed to have the septoplasty done last year but I got lost in the system and then my husband died so I didn’t feel I could cope with it. However here I am having had that and a fracture repair done last Tuesday finally finding something that is telling me it’s normal to feel like this! The fracture repair was an added extra after I fell in May and stopped my fall with my nose. Nobody said anything about teeth pain and numbness when I asked about side effects. I might have thought more about having it done if they had because I play a flute and sax and having a numb top lip is likely to cause a few problems if it turns out to be a permanent change.
    I hope that trying to blow my nose gently hasn’t damaged anything but I’m so fed up with not being able to breathe. I have found that if I treat it like a cold and take lemsip it helps the pain and I can breathe enough for a couple of hours sleep. I’m on Augmentin because of problems that nearly got me admitted to East Surrey hospital last Thursday and I’m really looking forward to the clearer head and feeling more human bit this week.
    Plus side my nose is now beautifully straight. The surgeon did say he wouldn’t be able to do anything about the damage I’d done because that came under cosmetic surgery but when I came round he said he’d repaired the fracture to ‘facillitate a good outcome’. 😀

  • Gordon

    Hi Briony,

    Good to hear from you! I’m sorry that you’ve had a rough time of it—but if there’s one thing this page has taught me, it’s that no matter how bad it feels right now, sooner or later it gets better. And that’s not just my opinion, but the testimony from so many other people going through what you are right now confirms it. It’ll get better, and before you know it, you’ll be flicking your cuff nonchalantly and saying, “What? Oh, that old thing—yes, I seem to remember there was a bit of discomfort…”!

    I created the page—you can see it doesn’t really have anything to do with the rest of my blog, which is my life as an archivist who knits ganseys and writes novels in his spare time—because of the deep, personal betrayal I felt by my doctors for not even hinting it might be like this.

    Of course, it takes everyone different lengths of time for their breathing to get easier, their noses to clear, the numbness to pass. And we all have different complications, it seems. But at least you can see that the universe hasn’t singled you out for special treatment—and It Will Get Better!

    Good luck, and good wishes,
    Gordon

  • Briony

    Thank you Gordon,
    I’m just having a ‘Poor Me’ day. Yesterday was quite good so I was hoping that the headache had finally given up only to find out today that it hadn’t and I was feeling grotty again. It’s difficult not having my husband around because he would have made me feel better.
    I’ve never heard of Gansey’s, I love to knit, my favourite being Arans. Ordinary knitting seems boring after the lovely cable stitches and patterns on those.

    Thanks again for your good wishes
    Briony

  • Gordon

    Hi Briony,

    Well, i think if anyone was justified having a “Poor Me” day, it was you! (As you’ll see from my diary above, I wallowed in a whole “Poor Me Fortnight”, pretty much. So I hope you feel better soon.

    Ganseys are a sources of endless fascination to me—after 20 years I haven’t got tired of them. I’m thinking of marketing a special aftershave that smells of herring guts for that authentic flavour!

    Cheers,
    Gordon

  • Patrick

    Hello – i had a septoplasty and a turbinate reduction last Tuesday. The first couple of days were fine after surgery – I was taking the Hydrocodone and lounging around the house. However, on Monday I returned to law school and I’ve been battling “waves” if you will of awful symptoms (including hot/cold sweats, headache, aches, my abdomin is swollen, drainage, excessive amounts of mucus tinged with blood from my right nostril, but not my left, constipation, dark stool, and so on. I also have the general pain in my teeth and sinuses. My question for you all is do you think the flu symptoms are a response to my body going into withdrawal from the hydrocodone or is this typical septoplasty aftermath? I took quite a few of the hydrocodones between Tuesday and Saturday and then cut myself off. Also, does anyone go through the waves? I’ll be perfectly fine for a few hours and then I’ll bust out into a sweat, get a migraine, and practically fall over from being so dizzy. Hope I hear from you guys – I’ve read the past conversation and it’s comforting to know someone’s out there.

    Best,
    Patrick

  • Gordon

    Hi Patrick,

    First of all, sorry to hear you’re going through the wars. I’m by no means an expert—I just posted the blog to share my experiences because it was much worse for me than i’d been led to expect—so if your symptoms persist you must see a doctor.

    But having said that, it seems as though the operation affects different people differently. Some people have a relatively easy time, others not so much. What you describe, especially the flu-like symptoms, does sound like a “not untypical” septoplasty aftermath. I certainly had periods when I felt not too bad, then I’d get the migraine, nausea, pain-type after-effects—the “waves” as you call it.

    I was advised to take at least a week to ten days off work, and it may be that you were betrayed by feeling better into returning to law school before your body was quite ready.

    Anyway—I hope you feel better soon. As you’ll see from some of the previous posts, it can happen that people are ready to despair after 7-10 days, and then suddenly everything improves. So fingers crossed!

    Best wishes
    Gordon