Yesterday I had Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery or FESS.
Some of you will recall I discussed my upcoming surgery in the blog Up My Nose With a Rubber Hose a couple of months ago. FESS involves the insertion of the endoscope, a very thin fiber-optic tube, into the nose for a direct visual examination of the openings into the sinuses. With state of the art micro-telescopes and instruments, abnormal and obstructive tissues are then removed. In the majority of cases, the surgical procedure is performed entirely through the nostrils, leaving no external scars.
In other words, they slide a tiny camera up my nose to see what the problem is and then hack out whatever is up there (i.e. polyps) to open up my sinuses and allow me to breathe better.
Let’s call it a Roto-Rooter for the sinuses.
And hopefully the surgery will allow me to smell and taste better than I have over the last few years where basically I couldn’t do either – and having only three of five senses is a drag. But as this is just one day post surgery… I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to find out if my sense of taste and smell return.
Because the surgery is done so close to the brain and eyes, the most serious risks associated with FESS are brain damage and blindness resulting from damage to the optic nerve. However, the chances of this complication occurring (they told me) are extremely low. Cerebrospinal fluid leak represents the most common major complication of FESS, but it occurs in only about 0.2% of cases in the Unites States. The leak is usually recognized at the time of surgery and can easily be repaired.
The surgery was uneventful… for the most part (there were no bright lights or out of body experience). I arrived at St. Mikes at 11am and was immediately whisked into a small room (with the Husband in tow) where I changed into my hospital gown (they really should give you some kind of undergarment – especially if they are working on something far away from my manly bits… like a guy’s nose).
I also had to take my wedding ring off. This was not because St. Michael’s is homophobic; there is no jewelry allowed in the operating room. This created a kind of Lucy Ricardo moment the night before when I tried to take my ring off for the first time since my wedding almost two years ago – and couldn’t. Suffice to say it took about a tub of margarine and a crowbar to finally get it off.
By noon I was being taken to the operating room (where I inadvertently mooned the anesthesiologist while being helped onto the operating table).
The last thing I remember was being told I would begin to feel sleepy.
The next thing I remember was pain.
Turns out having your sinuses hacked up hurts. And the part where the packing consisting of bloody gauze was ripped out of my sinuses in the recovery room was perhaps the worst bit.
So the kind nurses gave me my very first Percocet.
But since your humble blogger doesn’t even drink alcohol, his very first Percocet totally knocked him through a loop.
I was, according to the nurse who was nice enough to bring me hot tea and a digestive cookie when I was wheeled back to my room, “totally stoned.”
Personally, I don’t ‘get’ those folks on A&E’s Intervention take Percocets for fun.
What’s fun about feeling so dopey and out of it. And I think the worst part was not being unable to snap out of it (though I tried). La-la land just ain’t for The Gay Groom. Luckily after a few hours the worst of it wore off and I could at least stop drooling and keep my eyes from rolling around in their sockets.
Anyway, the surgery went well and I was sent on my way around 5pm in a taxicab. Or so I’m told… I don’t remember much.
Back home, the Husband has been a prince.
He’s kept track of my medication, made my dinner, brought me hot tea, and ensured I had whatever I needed when I need it.
Just goes to prove yet again that The Gay Groom knows how to pick em.
So currently I’m taking Tylenol 3s but (since I don’t like codeine and because there isn’t all that much pain anymore) I’ll be switching to Extra-Strength Tylenol tonight or tomorrow. A Gay Groom reader has been nice enough to tell me that there is a video on YouTube of someone having the FESS procedure if I want to see what they did to me.
I most likely will have a look at the video – just not yet.
Big thanks to the staff at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom