A nose, as Shakespeare almost said, by any other name would smell as sweet.
Nearly three weeks on from my septoplasty operation, and I can finally gauge how it all went. The infection’s gone, the painful swelling has responded to treatment, and my sense of taste and smell is pretty much back. (By the way, have you ever noticed how great stuff tastes? I read of one poor woman who bought a very expensive box of chocolates in advance, to cheer herself up after a septoplasty, then found she couldn’t taste any of them!).
And I am – this is actually quite exciting – able to blow my nose, albeit tentatively, just a gentle snuffle, without worrying about looking down to find most of my nose nestling in the handkerchief.
I’m not out of the woods yet. The inside of my nose is still very tender (hardly a surprise), I’m still very congested (I wake up every morning with a sore throat and a headache), and when I touch the inside of my nose I feel like a blind man running his fingers over a baby dragon. But it’s still very early days – I’m told that it can take up to a year for all the bits to settle down properly.
I’ve written up my diary of the operation and its aftermath, on the off-chance that it will be of use or interest to anyone thinking of having anything similar done – if you’re anything like me, you won’t know the half of it. (But, as ever, now it’s over, it doesn’t seem so bad…) You can read that here, if you wish.
I’m still finding it hard to get back into things – everything I was doing before the operation feels like it was being done by someone else (in some ways I feel like I’m taking over another person’s life, but their interests weren’t necessarily the same as mine).
In the same way that pregnant women are said to crave unusual foods – pilchards and ice cream, that sort of thing – I’ve had an inexplicable craving to listen to the music of Anton Bruckner. Bruckner wrote long, grand, noble symphonies (“cathedrals in sound” someone called them) with slow movements of an achingly profound, transcendent, shattering beauty. (Trust me on this. Fill the bath with scented foam, light some candles, close your eyes and lie back and listen to the adagio of his eighth or ninth symphonies. If you don’t emerge after half an hour determined to sell all your possessions and devote your life to good works I guarantee the shop will give you your money back.)
And while I’ve been listening to dear old Anton, I’ve been rustily getting my fingers back into the knitting habit, a whole two inches this week. The pattern makes better sense than I’d expected, from a knitting point of view, for all the knit-purl-knit-purl taradiddle that it contains. (Essentially, you have an elaborate pattern row followed by a mostly plain row, which makes it easier.) The diamond effect is starting to emerge nicely, too, an interesting reversal of the usual pattern.
At least my doppelganger and I seem to share a fondness for baking bread. For whatever reason – I suspect the warmer weather has a lot to do with it – I’ve had some notable sourdough success lately. Illustrated here is a couple of sourdough “granary” or malted flour loaves, moistened with a glug of olive oil to help it stay soft for longer.
I’ve also included my favourite bread of the moment, Piadini, or Italian flatbread. It’s basically a standard bread dough (the recipe calls for carbonated water, though I don’t know if it really makes a difference). After it’s risen once you divide it into 8 rounds and then cook them in a frying pan without any oil, like English muffins, pricking them all over with a fork to stop them swelling up with air pockets. You can either eat them warm, straight from the pan (my preference), or let them cool and then fold them over and fill them with whatever takes your fancy – tomatoes, cheese, felafel, you name it – like a sock puppet sandwich. And because you don’t have to worry about a second rise and baking time, you can start after breakfast and still have them ready for lunch.
In other words – now I’ve got my sense of taste back I mean to make the most of it…