that time they vacuumed my nose off.

Yesterday, I went through endoscopic sinus surgery, bilateral endoscopic ethmoidectomies, middle meatal antrostomies, sphenoidotomies, bilateral endoscopic frontal explorations with possible tissue removal, bilateral inferior turbinate reductions and septoplasty.


If you understand what any of that means minus “endoscopic sinus surgery” and don’t have any kind of medical-oriented degree (or cheated/Googled), color me super impressed.

In other words, yesterday, my ENT and his surgical team vacuumed everything out from inside my nose.

Or that’s what I imagine, anyway. I underwent sinus surgery to clean out the fluid and fungal crap in my sinuses, fix my deviated septum and widen some kind of bilateral passages. And after the surgery, all my surgeon could say to Parents and Boyfriend was that I’ve got some “sick sinuses.”

(I assume sick doesn’t mean super cool in this instance.)

Pre-op: Feelin' good.
Pre-op: Feelin’ good.

A few things I’ve learned about sinus surgery:

Sinus surgery is…


Nurses and doctors are hesitant to tell you what you can really expect as far as recovery. As in, no one so much as mentioned the word “pain.”

And they should have. Good god, they should have.


When someone’s digging around in your cheeks and between your eyes and above your eyebrows and internally, everything ends up in pain. My teeth hurt in the aftermath. My nostrils. My eyelids. My ears. My neck. My throat. Everything.


I have a contraption hooked on my ears that holds a cotton pad under my nostrils (WARNING: VISUAL COMING) to catch the dripping blood and snot that won’t stop oozing from my nose. And later today, I get to start flushing out my nose with saline nasal spray, which will, or so I’ve heard, open the floodgates of blood and snot. (Oh, boy!)


I can’t bend over (um, ow.), can’t blow my nose, can’t breathe from my nose (or even sniff, really), can’t lay all the way down (I have to be at a 30-degree angle). And my blood-catching contraption gives me a slight Hannibal Lecter look, which believe me, is super attractive.

I’ve also learned:

– Vicodin is great, except when it isn’t. (I.e. when it’s about an hour before your next dosage time and it isn’t really working anymore and you can’t take anymore yet and you have no options.)

– Vegetable broth (no meat for the pescetarian!) tastes like snot. (And I know a thing or two about what snot tastes like.)

– I have a much lower threshold for pain than I originally led myself to believe.

– I feel guilty when people take care of me and don’t like being the focus of everyone’s attention. (Hard to believe, I know.)

And with that, ladies and gents, it’s time for more meds and half-laying down.

Blow your nose for me.

I will eat your children. (Not really, it hurts to chew.)
I will eat your children.
(Not really, it hurts to chew.)


Add yours →

  1. Everything you said is EXACTLY what my hubs went through in February. They fixed his deviated septum and then spent something outrageous like TWO HOURS to clean out all of the junk and gunk in his nose. When the doctor met with us after the surgery he said, “Wow. There was a lot up there.” The cotton ball to catch blood? SUPER SEXY. Did your teeth go numb? His did and it lasted for several weeks! Enjoy the pain meds and I pray you have a speedy recovery!

  2. Haha. Too funny. I found out that my pain tolerance wasn’t as great as I had thought after going into labor with Lucy…

  3. More importantly, did it help? Feel a difference? Doctor has recommended surgery and just the thought makes me, ugh… what was your recovery time?

  4. Honestly, it did help. It’s now been almost a year and a half since the surgery, and I haven’t had a single sinus infection (or even much of a stuffy nose) since then. In all, it was about a 2-4 week total recovery – I had to rinse out my sinuses twice a day after they did the vacuuming thing, and that lasted a few weeks (just a saline wash to help get dried blood, etc. out of my nasal cavity). And I remember it taking awhile to get my sense of smell and taste completely back. But with all the trouble I was having, it was DEFINITELY worth it. If you’re having a lot of sinus issues like I was – basically one sinus infection a month or every couple months and then one big sinus infection for 6 months – I would consider it.

    • thank you for updating. I am having a sphenoidotomy, turbinate reduction and septoplasty in a little over a week and have been looking to see if I can find any stories like yours. My sphenoid on one side is filled, which exhausts me at best and at worst gives splitting headaches (was in the ER in December thinking my head was splitting open….because it was about to).

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