Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nostril Damages (did Nostradamus predict this, too?)

All right, all right, I’m getting to it. I thought I could get away with NOT showing you what I looked like in the aftermath of the surgery. But astute reader, Mr. Richard Fader of Paterson, New Jersey*, wrote in to ask about the gory details.

First of all, I do not have two black eyes. I think that’s what happens to patients getting a rhinoplasty, aka nose job. At least it used to, back in the day. I had only a septoplasty, which doesn’t change the way your nose looks, it just removes the obstruction from one side of the internal chamber. Presumably, now (at least after a few more weeks of healing) I will be able to breathe like a normal person. And that will be ever-so-nice.

There wasn’t even much swelling on my face—perhaps if you were looking for it (and my husband, the Center of the Universe and I were looking for it) you could see a bit of puffiness in the cheeks and nose. But frankly, if you knew me, and didn’t know I had just had surgery, you would not have noticed anything different about me. Not even the day after the event. (The day OF the surgery I had a giant gauze-pad mustache taped across my upper lip to absorb blood, and wads of packing up my nose. It was pretty darn hard not to notice that.)

So what characterized the physical change in me? After the doc removed the packing, he instructed me to lean back in the bed for 15 minutes. The CoTU, seated bedside, remarked, “Wow—look at your nostrils!” I must say, the man has no survival instincts at all.

“What?” I wanted to know. “What about my nostrils???”

I pulled out the mirror in the bed-table and looked for myself. One was a rectangle, one was a circle.

“Yikes! I guess when I asked the doctor (when the decision was first made to have the surgery) about outcomes, I neglected to mention that I didn’t want my nostrils to change appreciably. Who knew I was supposed to specify that??”

“Well, they’ll probably go back to normal,” CoTU offered. “Eventually.”

“Unbelievable… Well, there is some good news in this little development,” I said.

“There is?” (What did I tell you about his instinct for survival?)

“Yes—you are 6’ 4”. If this happened to you, everyone would see your uneven, asymmetrical, raggedy-assed nostrils 24/7. I, being 5’ 1 ½”, am protected. The only people who will see my nostrils are the grandkids, and we can use this to teach ‘alike and different’.”

Here is an actual photograph of me in the recovery room after the surgery. Okay, it’s not an actual photograph, I just said that because you will think that with my drawing skills my full-time job is as a graphic artist. I know. I’m that good. Anyway, I wanted you to see how awful I looked with the oxygen mask across my nose and mouth. The starfish-y looking thing on top of it all is the very official blue vinyl glove they filled with crushed ice to serve as my hospital-issue ice pack. Can’t wait to see what they charge my insurance company for that.

*Honk if you remember him, and his contribution to our pop culture.


  1. I love the drawing. I guess this is one example of an advantage to being short. Has the nostril returned to normal yet?????

  2. Okay, the drawing made me laugh out loud..

  3. I particularly like the fact that the drawing's done its hair. Takes the emphasis off the swollen and bruised conk....

  4. My husband has some sinus surgery a few years back and it wasn't pretty! His post-op photo wasn't nearly as beautiful as yours:)

  5. Nostrils are getting more alike, grace a dieu.
    And Matthew-- that's my artistic version of bed-head!

    Y'all are wonderful!

  6. oh man! that picture is too much!! it totally made me snort i laughed so hard!

  7. That is actually a great drawing. Looks like an early Davinci.