Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off with the Old

Remember that nose I was telling you about? The long one I had embraced? It's gone. Its in some biohazard bag heaven in the sky ... in shards and chips and pieces, I'm sure. I now have a "new" nose that took me a whole second to get used to after freaking out it was going to be crooked after knocked my splint sideways in my sleep on Night 5 or that I was going to look like Clare Arnold with a upturned, look up my nostrils nose, before he took the surgical tape off and it dropped. Yes, she's pretty and all, but not the nose for me.

In the first moments I can remember coming out of anesthesia, I remember going "ow, ow, ow, ow" over and over. Folks, this was pain. After going "ow" for a while, they gave me one wimpy Percocet and a freeze pop. My throat hurt worse than any Strep I can remember. But not nearly the pain I felt on the car ride home: The meds wore off. It was rush hour in DC: Potholes. Stop lights. Asshole drivers and quick stops. I could have walked home faster, I swear. I had the Percocet with me, but the nurse insisted I eat before I took it. I had my freeze pop that was helpful till it was quickly gone (yes, that means the meds wore off that fast) and I had water they had given me too; I was left with a dilemma: Take the Percocet to deal with the pain and risk getting sick, or suck it up for an 8 mile, hour post-op car ride, so there's no threat of dry heaving - I did the latter. It was awful. AWFUL. I closed my eyes and said over and over: It will only get better after this. This is the worse it will be. And, aside from the horrible pressure and gross gauze changes and I can't sleep, I can't eat but I'm hungry in the days that followed, it was.

I suppose it was a "smooth" recovery, I woke up the next day and smiled when my mom got there (mornings were the best, but I started feeling crappy again by lunchtime). And the pressure. OH. MY. GOD. The pressure: Like little nose gnomes were blowing up huge helium balloons in my face. I don't think that the amount of restructuring they did to fix the genetic and trauma-induced issues of my nose is a fate I would want to wish on my worst enemy. But, so far, I have no complaints. Because even with all the splints and stitches and packing in and around my nose immediately post-op, I felt it - I felt that I could breathe better than I can ever remember (even after all those drugs!). And whether or not the past 6 weeks have spoiled me into thinking that breathing like this is sub-par, I still think it's very swollen on the inside because I can't breathe as well as I feel I should. I don't have that amazing, OMG, AIR! feeling I had post-op - even with all the blood and gunk in there - though not nearly as much as was to come: That was a fun thing no one warns you about.

So, here we are, this is my nose now. After the initial "weird" and a moment a few days ago when I looked at myself in the reflection of the elevator ceiling and thought "Huh, my nose looks small today" before I realized it's because, Oh, it is smaller now, I’m totally used to it. And not even that, it’s like, Oh, this is correct. And I don’t think twice now; I know it’s different, but I takes me looking at photos to realized HOLY SHIT IT’S DIFFERENT. (So far I have to say my Dr. did a great job, but his bedside manner is sub-par. When someone is yelping in pain 7 days post-op while you shove tweezers and scissors up someone’s healing nose to snip stitches, you don’t smile and laugh, especially after they open their eyes to see your teeth and yell “stop laughing at me”. …but I digress…)

As for others, I've gotten an "It doesn't look any different", a couple "I miss the old nose", some "It's great!" and some "Looks good", to round out the reactions. Actually, I think most people forget to notice at first...including my grandpap. So that's good, I think, because I never wanted a drastic change. I suppose this is what it was suppose to look like -- before the little boy threw the rock at my nose and before I flipped over the handlebars of that bike and landed full force on my schnoz -- a nice, proportional nose that I can breathe out of – Ahhh.

Currently, it's still healing (which for some reason, some people find it hard to believe – “But it’s been six weeks” “Yes, only six weeks” Hi, major reconstruction.). And I have a scar between my nostrils that was completely unexpected. The right nostril is starting to look less high than the left as the swelling continues to decrease on that side. However, the nose overall is still swollen. And the tip is still numb. This week marking week six means I was allowed to wear glasses again and so I had some on for a few hours. When I took them off I had some serious, large dents in my nose. I started freaking out internally until I realized they were too big and surface-y to actually be cause for permanent concern and the dents were just because it was still so swollen.

And I know I said it’s only been six weeks, but I wish it would just go down already. So I can breathe. So the tip looks less large. So I don't look like a linebacker for the Lions. But sites say it can take a year for all the swelling to go down. And why is it I always have to be that statistic?

Oh well, it's over now. Am I happy I did it? So far, yes. I am. But I'm still waiting for the end result, as breathing isn't quite where I think it should be. And I know it's still swollen and recently I noticed there's still a small bump on my nose - so not as prominent - but with all that pain and money, it's like BE PERFECT, but it's close enough so far. It looks like its belonged there all along.

Now, to finish paying it off...