The Nose

Well it’s official.  I suck at this whole blogging thing.  It’s really not my fault, I always find myself being too busy to remember to tell the blogosphere about it.  I will try to redeem myself by telling you about the horror I have endured this week, but before I do that I will need to fill you in a bit first.
Last August I had undergone a septoplasty on the NHS in order to correct my breathing problem as my nasal passage was quite rubbish and I had a deviated septum.  At the time I was still very unsure about what happens during a septoplasty, what gets taken out etc. so I was very nervous as it was my first ever “major” surgery under general anaesthetic.  The surgery took 45 minutes where I believe my left nasal passage was made a little wider and a section of cartilage was removed from the septum.  I have honestly tried to block out most of what happened over the next three weeks of my recovery as it was all very horrific.  I had what felt like two miles of packing shoved in my nose, which, when taken out, was the most… awful feeling I have ever felt – a horrid dragging sensation is the only way I can describe it.  Following discharge from the hospital and having the packing removed my nose remained quite swollen and blocked.  On top of that I had a swollen throat on the brink of tonsillitis (which wasn’t the greatest, as it was my only breathing hole).  I had steadily worsened and lost my appetite due to constant nausea and vomiting – which in the end was due to the bout of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories I was given which had well and truly destroyed my stomach.  Nevertheless, it turned out that after all that the surgery actually made my nose worse – it has collapsed and completely blocked my left nasal passage.  I also had severe recurring sinusitis which meant that it felt like I had a constant cold and/or hay fever so my nose was forever blocked.
Thankfully, my medical insurance with the company I was waiting for had kicked in so I stopped beating around the bush and decided to be seen privately.  I was referred to the best surgeon in the area (Dr. Huw Williams) who also has a background in ENT – things were already looking up.  Not only that but he was the same surgeon who had done an open septo-rhinoplasty on my eldest cousin as well as some work on a colleague of mine – and on top of that, research I have done on the good doctor shows up no red flags whatsoever, only amazing feedback.
I have to say, that after countless consultations with the man, every time I left I felt more and more positive about the upcoming surgery – he knew exactly what he was talking about from an internal and external point of view.
On Monday 17th February I was scheduled into Spire for my operation and I was nervous as hell – what if something went wrong?  What if he forgets to do something vital?  What if I’m horrifically ill again?  The next thing I knew it was post-surgery and I was waking up.  I felt blurry, bruised and battered.  I didn’t have a pack up my nose (YES) but that meant any bleeding had been swallowed in my sleep and so after a few up-chucks I had more or less expelled it all (it was not pretty and seeing yourself throw up blood is quite frightening).  This time I was given some different antibiotics but as it turns out, it seems that any sort of antibiotic hates my guts – and I mean that literally.  It meant that anything I tried to eat couldn’t be kept down, so I stopped taking them and just kept on with my course of painkillers.  I am a bit funny about being seen not at my best but here goes…
Post-surgery
In case you were wondering why I have a bandage around my head in the picture above, I had to have some cartilage harvested from my right ear as the previous surgery left me without enough vital cartilage to use.  At this point, I didn’t look too rough apart from from some majorly swollen lips a la Angelina Jolie.  However as the days went by the black eyes started to develop:
Black eyes starting to develop
As well as feeling like my ear was surgically removed and sewn back on (seriously, it’s the weirdest feeling) I also was not allowed to get the splint on my nose wet at all – meaning I could not shower – well, not my head anyway:
Sew lush
Mind you for the first few days I had absolutely no intention of showering due to the immense pain I was in and the fact I was feeling so unbelievably rough and being sick for most of the time.  Other than that, I was starting to look like a chipmunk from the swelling – I looked like Alvin, Theodore AND Simon combined, who had all been in a fight:
Chipmunk cheeks
I had sutures on the tip of my nose – having had an open surgery, the nose was cut on the tip and everything was lifted so the doctor could work on the insides and then once he had finished, it was sewn back together.  I have to admit, and I probably sound like a wuss but when you’re having to constantly dab your nose where there are also sutures just plain old sodding hurts like a bitch:
Swollen sutures
 Finally, yesterday on the 25th February I had my splint taken off.  I was excited to see what my nose looked like, my black eyes had almost gone and I managed to clean my face with a flannel and hot soapy water.
Ready for the splint removal – looking fabulous.
“You don’t sweat much do you?” said Dr. Williams as he attempted to prise the splint off in stages with a metal pin, the bastard thing was stuck down quite fast.  The moment 99% of it was almost removed, he pulled the rest of it off and that remaining 1% hurt so much that I couldn’t help screaming “AAAARGGHH SWEET CRAP!” – I immediately apologised and he laughed and said it was alright.  When I had a look in the mirror, the shape of the splint had cause my nose to look slightly angular and did look fairly amusing, I’m just sorry I didn’t take a photo.  Admittedly, for anyone who doesn’t know, but I always had a slight issue with my nose, it was never straight, had a funky bump near the top and a hooked appearance – of course I just lived with it, I could never justify paying that much money for cosmetic surgery.  So of course, the fact that I needed my nose fixed for breathing purposes meant that the appearance could also be changed.  I was clear with Dr. Williams that I didn’t want anything drastic and that first and foremost I would just like to be able to breath again – he completely understood and told me that when he was done with my nose it should be straight and I will be able to breath again.  He is not one for drastic, crazy cosmetic changes that don’t suit the patient.  So even though my nose is still fat from the swelling, I was speechless – there was my new nose and it was straight.
Swollen but straighter
As you can see, he has taken out the hooked appearance and shaved down the bump – it could be down to the face that I am not wearing makeup in the second shot and having lost a bit of weight in the last week perhaps but the appearance of my face seems to appear smaller as well:
Profile 1
Profile 2
Good lord I look rough in the second shot (amazing what makeup can do to a girl’s face eh!)  I can definitely see the changes from how my nose looked before – you can see the bend in my nose where my nose collapsed to the left and blocked my left nasal passage and that my tip was long and my nose was quite pinched and thin – therefore forcing me to have quite a restricted airway.  I guess my nose in the second is obviously still quite swollen at the moment, and it does still look ever so slightly bent, but there is actually quite a bit of swelling in my left side at the moment so I think that might have something to do with it, however the appearance is starting to look a lot better each day.  It was explained to me that because cartilage is in a way like memory foam, because I had such a severe bend in my cartilage from day one, it was possible that my nose may ever so slightly bend back – but honestly I think I can live with a little bend.
Front view

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