after the ballooning

Things I’ve learned about sinus surgery/balloon sinuplasty and other random thoughts from yesterday:


1. You have no idea just how far back your sinus cavities go until a nurse packs your nose with numbing gauze. Chris and I took one look at the nurse’s supply tray and we were both like, “yeah, that’s not going all the way in there.” (Insert a “that’s what she said” joke here.) But it did. Equal parts fascinating and horrifying.

The doctor’s office was late getting started and we did a lot of sitting and waiting. At one point, Chris threatened to take a picture of me with my nose packed with gauze, IV in my hand, playing Candy Crush on my phone. I think the glare I gave him convinced him otherwise.


2. I’ve gotten used to people assuming that Chris and I are married. I figure that when you’re of a certain age (like we are), and you’re obviously a couple, people just assume that you’re married. Especially if we’re out with the kids, it looks like we’re a little family unit. And that’s fine, I don’t really care what other people think. Hell, I’ve taken my kids out to do stuff with my brother Chris, and people assume he’s their dad. Until my girls address him as “Uncle Chris,” and they probably put it together. But again: I don’t care, it’s not really on my radar to worry about how other people perceive my marital status.

But I have to say, it’s kind of jarring when people call Chris my husband. It happened a few times yesterday, nurses called him that. Like, “your husband is in the waiting room,” that kind of thing. And my brain goes, “Wait, what? I don’t have a hus- ohhhh right nevermind.” I didn’t bother to correct them, because really, they’re just doing their job, and they don’t care about my relationship status. Still, it throws me a little.

Like a couple of times when we’ve gone out to eat, and Chris paid with his debit card, and the waiter has come back with the check and said, “Thanks for coming out tonight, Mr. and Mrs. [Chris’s last name].” It’s happened in reverse, too, when I paid with my card, and the waiter called him Mr. Wilkinson. It’s just… strange.

Point being: wedding rings, y’all. Check for them.


3. The anesthesiology nurse warned me that it stings when the sleepy meds start to drip into my hand from the IV. I said, “oh yeah, I see what you mean,” and then I don’t remember anything after that. No counting down from 100, it was just lights out.

[Side note: that same nurse told me afterward that during the last part of the surgery, my heart rate went way up and I started to thrash around. I really wish she hadn’t told me that. I kind of wanted to keep the vision that I was just peacefully asleep for the whole thing. Knowing that my unconscious self was able to register pain and react to it is probably the kind of thing that will give me nightmares.]


4. The next thing I remember was being in a wheelchair in the recovery room, crying and bleeding all over Chris. I must’ve woken up earlier, because they got me from the bed to the wheelchair after I was awake, but I don’t remember that part. And Chris said he heard me asking for him as he was walking down the hall to the recovery room, so again, I was obviously sort of conscious, but I don’t remember that at all. I just remember that my whole head hurt like hell and I couldn’t breathe. And I hate crying in front of strangers (like the medical staff who were in the room with me), but what can you do? That happened.

The ride home was pretty miserable. I moaned and whimpered the whole way.


5. Percocet is a wonderful thing. Chris helped me get settled in bed (2 pillows to keep my head elevated, towels on top of the pillowcase in case I bled everywhere, bottle of Gatorade on the nightstand in case I got thirsty), and I slept in a lovely, comfortable, narcotic haze for a few hours.

When I woke up, we had dinner, lay on the couch, and watched TV. I cut the Percocet into one-fourths so I could space them out, keep myself pain-free, and not be completely loopy and stoned. It worked pretty well.


6. Trying to sleep the first night after sinus surgery is pretty awful. I can’t breathe through my nose (nor am I allowed to blow my nose), so I woke up pretty much hourly. Not fun.


7. The tools they used in the surgery shaved several layers of skin off the tip of my nose, and it’s now starting to blister. This is decidedly not awesome. I’m keeping Bacitracin ointment on it.


8. On the upside, I’m 24 hours post-op and I’m not in any real pain at all, just general discomfort (like when you’re congested with a bad cold). I’ve switched to regular Tylenol, so that’s not so bad. I just wish I could breathe normally.


I guess time will tell if this was all worth it. If it means that I get less frequent headaches, and I stop getting sinus infections that require antibiotics every couple of months, then it definitely will have been worthwhile. Just have to wait and see, I guess.

2 thoughts on “after the ballooning

  1. Wait until that packing comes back out. It is simultaneously one of the oddest and satisfying experiences ever. It’s not painful. It IS weird, and every second feels better than the last.

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