I was very pleased with the Callahan Eye Hospital in Birmingham, Al., where my two surgeons coordinated their work and did both the tear duct and frontal sinus surgeries during one session. That was a huge help, as I only had one anesthesia session to recuperate from and one time span to heal. The whole hospital staff were extremely accommodating to my Mitochondrial Myopathy needs. They told me to bring a blanket to the cold waiting room for the time prior to being taken back. (Daughter said she was glad to have it during the long wait for me to be through.) And they kept piling warm blankets on me once I was in pre-op.
I also asked the Anesthesiologist to at least consider using a smaller size intubation tube, as my throat pain after surgery is always much greater than it should be. I think he did that, as my throat has not been as sore as after previous surgeries of late. I can’t be sure about that, because I’m mouth breathing right now, and that’s keeping it irritated.
And, they definitely were very careful to protect my neck with lots of padding on each side, as I have two fused vertebrae, and C7 is more degenerated that it was last year.
They were able to release me, but I was extremely weak when we got home. I did not have to spend the night. We planned on having the walker handy, in case I had trouble walking up the steps. And we certainly needed it. It was all I could do to shuffle my right leg at all – it just would not cooperate. So once I was in the house I sat down in the recliner and didn’t move any more that day, except for bathroom visits. Daughter stayed overnight and hovered over me and took care of anything I needed. I slept well that night.
I was able to move around much better on Tuesday, so one daughter went home and the other one came to spend the day. I had to use an ice pack several times during the day for my eyes and for my nose. The mustache bandage was very uncomfortable. They drape a roll of gauze under your nose and tape it across the cheeks. And you have to mouth breathe. Not pleasant at all. I was expecting this, though, as this is my third sinus surgery in the last two years. The other two surgeries were pretty standard. This one was complicated, so it’s no wonder the surgery took longer, and I feel much worse.
I started testing my glucose levels, but I really wasn’t hungry and didn’t have any trouble with my numbers. I spent the day taking meds and dozing in and out. I used the sinus saline rinse for the first time, but there was so much dried blood up my nose it did not do much good. But it was a start, anyway.
Wednesday was NOT a good day! I used peroxide on q-tips to clear out all the dried blood in the entrance to my nostrils. And now I can tell why I can’t breathe through my nose – just gurgle discharge. I have a huge set of stents up my nose on both sides. The Otolaryngologist had said he might have to revise my septum again to reach what he needed to do – and evidently he did just that. (I just had the deviated septum straightened a couple of months ago.) These splints are much larger than what I’ve had before – it feels like it’s plastic ribs, shaped like the spokes of an umbrella, shoved up my nose so it spreads the nostrils wide. No wonder I hurt! And no wonder I can’t breathe!!
Not being able to breathe is making sleeping extremely difficult – I only got a few hours worth on Wednesday. My glucose numbers were nudging up a bit, compared to the baseline numbers I had last week. But the range was still pretty good. I still wasn’t hungry, but I made myself eat. I can’t chew anything – hurts where the Ophthalmologist operated on the right eye blocked tear duct. Strange that it was the simple surgery that is hurting, not the major bone cutting done around my eyebrows. Of course I’m still full of pain meds. It might be a different story about what hurt if I were not on them.
Thursday was worse. My glucose levels were out of control. I was having to test before and after meals to keep an eye on the numbers. And no matter how careful I was with what I ate – it kept going up. It’s been ten years or so since I had to educate myself about Diabetes, so I had to Google what I needed to do to get it to come down quickly. I drank two glasses of water, did a little housekeeping as exercise, and ate some protein. It came down some – but not enough.
As for sleeping, this was the last day for four doses of the corticosteroid that is causing the blood glucose to spike – I made a decision to NOT take that fourth dose last night. And I took two Benadryl before bed. With that in me I was able to sleep until about 2:30 AM before the suffocating feeling just made it impossible to go back to sleep. So I alternated reading for a while and then trying to go back to sleep. So I did get some rest – but no more sleep.
I was very relieved today that my glucose numbers were almost back where they should be after breakfast. I still have several days of 3x Prednisone before it tapers off to two a day. I was hopeful it would behave from now on. But I had terrible numbers before and after lunch and dinner again. I had planned on just doing a couple of pricks a day – but instead I’m going to have to buy another round of test strips. I re-opened my myfitnesspal.com account and started planning my meals to get the right amount of sugar and calories. That helped me figure out what probably spiked lunch so badly, so I won’t be eating that again for awhile. It’s getting complicated trying to find soft foods that give me fiber, too. Staying on all liquids is not doing my bowels any good. Insulin resistant starch is my friend right now.
I tried to go to sleep, but the suffocating feeling was just overpowering. So I sprayed two Afrin pumps in each nostril and managed to sleep until 3:30 AM. I was so dry when I woke up I couldn’t get comfortable. Mouth breathing is no fun!
I was able to cut back on my pain meds today. I hope I can continue to decrease that dosage. I had more success with today’s attempt to use the NeilMed sinus rinse, now that the entrance is not all blocked with crusting. And for the first time I felt pressure pain under my left eye when I squeezed the solution into the sinuses. It’s the left sinus over my eye that was seriously blocked with an inch or so of abnormal bone growth. That’s the reason I had to go to the scull base surgery specialist to have this surgery.
I still have all the nervous jitters from the Prednisone, almost to the point of hyperventilating at times. Using the sinus rinse is not really helping much. It feels like the water is going up there, but not coming back out. There must be a lot of dis-solvable packing up there that is just soaking it all up. Then I drip discharge the rest of the day. There is still bright red bloody discharge at times, and there’s much less clotting clumps than I had with the other surgeries. So I must be really packed up there.
I’m also still fighting to get good glucose numbers, but they’re not spiking quite as badly as they were at first. Once I find a meal that works, I’m just having that meal again. I can’t taste anything, anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. I can’t smell ANYTHING. I’ve kept Vick’s Vaporub on my nose since I got home, and I have yet to smell it at all. I’m sticking to soft foods, but feeling like I probably could eat something with a little chew to it, if I could just figure out what I dare try.
Even though I’m on a lower dose of steroids, the sleep time is getting worse – not better. A lot of that is coming from the over powering feeling that I’m suffocating – it’s almost like I’m drowning. This must be what water boarding feels like. I’ve tried relaxing breathing, and that helps a bit – but doesn’t last. Then the weird sensation takes over again.
Routines are getting a little easier, but I still forgot to test my glucose before breakfast today. So much to remember to do! I did not try to go to church – nowhere near ready to talk to people. Hubby went on without me, and I carried the phone around in my pocket all morning. I did take a long steamy shower, which helped my head somewhat. We have a very nice handicap accessible shower with a chair and plenty of bars, so I felt safe.
We decided to go on out to our usual Chinese buffet for lunch. That was my first time out of the house for the week. I used the MyFitnessPal app to figure out what I could eat – I know exactly what they serve and what I’m used to that would work.
I was not at all expecting to be as weak as I was – even walking from the car into the restaurant was tiring. So I got the soup and sat down, letting hubby get food for me. He is so sweet to me – he’ll do anything to help me. I took care of him when he had his heart attack, and he always takes care of me when I need help. I expected to feel better when we went back to the car, but I was regretting that we had not brought at least a cane. I wall walked all the way down the porch to where we parked.
So I was wiped out the rest of the day. It stayed hard to walk around, with my right foot refusing to lift. I just shuffled along in my socks, holding onto the walls. That’s what I call wall walking – sometimes furniture walking. It’s easier than using a walker in the house.
I didn’t seem quite so wound up and stressed over breathing at bedtime, but sleep was still elusive. I have no idea how much I got, as I was up and down all night long.
Post-Op Week One Summary
I knew this recuperation was going to be much worse than the two sinus surgeries I’m already had – one just a couple of months ago. It was a much more serious surgery, after all. But I was not expecting all this problem with my glucose levels. I’m thankful he had warned me it would be an issue. I also was not anticipating so much of a problem with breathing. I KNEW I would have a lot of trouble with the Prednisone jitters, muscle weakness, and no sleep.
I’m looking forward to seeing improvement this week, as the routines are becoming easier. And I will see both doctors this Thursday. Daughter will take me, so hubby does not have to deal with the downtown UAB traffic and the narrow one way streets on Southside.
I prayed hard to have this surgery, and God worked a miracle to get it done quickly. Without His intervention, I would not have even seen the scull base surgeon until this October!
Now I depend on Him for the healing, doing all I can to promote that healing.