Following My Nose

Greetings everyone! It’s been a little over a week since my surgery and I thought I’d post an update, tell you a little about how things went down, and about what the plan is from here. This post will be just a friendly update, nothing too deep, and I’ll try to keep it quick.

We arrived home on the 17th, which was a couple days earlier than expected (due to the availability of freight), which allowed us a little extra free time before my surgery on the 20th. As it happened, a couple dear friends of ours named Ken and Allison were planning a visit to the nearby waterpark, Six Flags: Hurricane Harbor, a park which I’ve visited many times throughout my life since childhood and teenage years. (Back when I first started going, it was called Wet ’n Wild, but it changed its name after Six Flags purchased the park in 1997.) After learning of our early arrival, our friends were gracious enough to invite us to join them on their Hurricane Harbor adventure, so the four of us spent a nice day at the water park, riding the rides, catching some waves, and reliving some of our childhood memories. By the time we went home, we were famished and exhausted, so our dear friend Allison cooked up a nice Chinese dish and we all ate and sang songs and talked about the fun we’d had, then parted ways late into the evening.

On the 20th, bright and early, I went in for surgery. I felt surprisingly calm about it all, especially considering how much time I’d been spending the day or two before on the preparation of my Last Will and Testament, Living Will, and Power of Attorney documents. I kept making bad jokes about how if the anesthesiologist bungles the job, I was grateful that my life insurance was big enough to pay off our house so that Christina wouldn’t have to work two jobs while trying to find a replacement husband. She took the joking well, though, and I’m grateful; I guess she understood that my bad “gallows humor” was my way of diffusing my own minor anxiety about the upcoming operation.

My mother joined us at the surgery center, waiting with us in the lobby and providing much-appreciated company for Christina during the operation. We were both very grateful that she could come out and be with us. After the surgery, she asked me how I felt, and I told her “my neck hurts.” My nose felt fine, and all in all I wasn’t in too much pain, but the surgeons had kept my neck in an awkward position for so long that it had resulted in some lasting pain in my neck and the base of my skull that took quite some time to wear off. Honestly, this was the worst part of the surgery.

We parted ways with my mother after a few more words of thanks, and went home. It took quite some time for the anesthesia to completely wear off, but even after that, my post-surgery face wasn’t in too much pain. There was very little blood, very little drainage, and though I suddenly had some stitches and stints inside my face that were providing a bit of persistent annoyance, I felt pretty normal overall. I had to keep the sinus passages cleaned with saline and take a nasal vasoconstrictor to keep the bleeding down, and I was forced to sleep in an inclined position, and I couldn’t breathe properly through my nose (which made sleep quite difficult), but these were all just annoying, not particularly painful. Having expected a horrific amount of pain and blood during the week following the surgery, I was quite surprised and delighted at how little I was actually suffering. I guess it’s true what they say: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. If I’d been expecting sunshine and daisies, I’d be upset instead of delighted at these minor inconveniences.

During the next couple days after surgery, our dear friends Ken and Allison came to stay with us, and we all had a wonderful little visit together, full of music and stories and the making of extravagant plans. Christina made a delectable grilled salmon feast which, despite my lack of olfactory sense, was an absolute delight for all involved. We also took a few long walks to the park in the evenings, appreciating the cool air and the Summer nights, swinging on the playground swing-set after all the kids had gone home. Ken chased ducks and Christina and Allison and I blew bubbles. We had a lot of fun together, and made our friends promise to return again before we hit the road again.

Three nights ago I got to see my dear friends Dawson, Sarah and Tommy. We went to a local bar that’s going to be closing soon and moving to another location in November. I wasn’t able to drink as a result of the pain medication I’m taking, but I had a good meal and some good conversations, and I was grateful for the opportunity to catch up. And two nights ago, Dawson and Christina and I went to see The Incredibles 2 at the local Movie Tavern. It was a good time, though the chef felt it a good idea to add cheddar cheese to my Thai rice bowl without telling me about it. Not only does cheddar have no place in Thai food, but I’m lactose intolerant, and it didn’t say anything on any menu about there being cheese in the Thai bowl. So I ate it without knowing what I was eating (it was too dark to see my food in the theater) and wound up suffering through all the trials and tribulations of dairy consumption (I’ll spare you the juicy details) for the rest of the night. I enjoyed the movie, and seeing my friends, but I am far from pleased with the Movie Tavern.

Yesterday and today was spent with our friends Ken and Allison again, and I’m aiming to make some time with my family as well before we hit the road again. It’s been a very productive and uplifting couple weeks. All in all, the surgery and recovery which I had expected to be a challenging trial has, in truth, been a wholly positive experience. I can breathe better than any other time in my life, I got a nice long two-week vacation with Christina and our dear friends and family, and I’ve had very little of the suffering that I expected. The dairy disaster was worse than the entire surgery and recovery combined! So I’m very grateful for this time I’ve had, and in a weird way, I’m actually grateful for the infections and deviated septum and all the complications that led me to requiring this surgery and taking these two weeks off.

Well, that’s the news from my neck of the woods. I’ll be sharing more later, as time goes on. Love you all! Be excellent to each other.

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