Mouth Wide Open

Recovery from sinus surgery is pretty damn unpleasant.

I have to mouth breathe because there are splints and blue foam tampons in my nostrils.

I have to take tiny bites of food because my mouth is also my sole means of breathing. I can’t taste what I’m eating, though I can slightly tell the difference between sweet and salty. This is probably a good sign that it won’t take weeks or months for my sense of smell and taste to return.

The pain could be worse. I feel like my nose was rearranged, but it’s not an intolerable feeling. I’ve only taken 2 pain pills, but they made me too sleepy. This wouldn’t be a problem with almost any other surgery, but with sinus surgery, I fear sleep.

I sleep in roughly 30 minute intervals. I wake up when my lips and gums and tongue are completely parched and adhering to each other. I take a tiny sip of ice water and roll it around my mouth, and fall back asleep for another roughly 30 minutes. Repeat until my body allows me to stay awake.

Monday, the splints and packing will come out, though I’ve read that the unpacking can be quite unpleasant and possibly a bloody mess that will require immediate repacking. I might need to take a pain pill before the appointment.

I’ve sneezed 4 times today, I think because my nosebleed has mostly stopped and the tampons are drying out and tickling my nose. The quivering, uncertain moments just before the sneeze are terrifying. But I keep my mouth wide open during the sneezes, as I was instructed, and they don’t hurt. I laughed kind of hard last night and it was painful, so only mild humor from here on out.

My brother is waiting to see how my sinus surgery turns out before he looks into getting his own fixed. I told him to just try using a sinus rinse first, to see if it solves his problems. “The only thing I fear more than sinus surgery is a sinus rinse,” he said. Pfft. The rinses are the easy part! I’m going to avoid talking to him until I’m in a better frame of mind. I don’t yet know how much this is going to help me and my animal brain is still telling me that this was a huge mistake.

Sinus rinses will be part of my daily treatment for at least a year post surgery, and possibly forever. I don’t mind, though, if the surgery is effective. Sinus rinses helped me function the last couple months in a way that Mucinex D, ibuprofen, and Zyrtec couldn’t.

Tiny is stressed. I hope as I feel better, she relaxes a little. Her entire routine has been upended, and she’s pretty exhausted. I wish I could do more.

My nose looks ridiculous. It’s not at all my slender, defined nose. Someone swapped a wide, pugnacious nose onto my face, and I don’t remember consenting to that.

For now, I’m dreaming of a time when I can breathe out of my nose again, a life without daily sinus headaches and frequent migraines, and a nap with my mouth closed. I’m also wondering why anyone would subject themselves to this for purely cosmetic reasons.