Those of us with the misfortune of having sinus problems know what it’s like having a headache that feels as though your forehead is growing at an unforgivably and painfully fast pace.
We know what it’s like when smells evade you and bright lights make you cringe your eyes. Antibiotics, nasal sprays, neti pots and saline are no strangers to you.
While you sleep, your mouth has to be open because it’s the only way to breathe effectively, as your nose is too busy trying to get air through with all the mucus and whatnot blocking it. As sinus problems sufferers, we also know that sometimes the ultimate solution is surgery. Here are a few things to expect after you have had this procedure done. First, let me just tell you that if you are afraid of anesthesia (because perhaps you watched a certain movie titled “Awake” that placed the fear in you that you will feel every painful thing being done to you), don’t worry, you won’t have time to feel fear because you won’t even feel yourself falling asleep.
1. Killer headache and throat pain
The doctor and nurses will warn you about about the throat pain that follows the anesthesia before putting you under. As soon as you open your eyes and become aware of where you are, you will also become aware of the pain that is currently itching at your throat. And since you just had a scope digging around in your sinus cavity, you will feel the effects in the form of a strong headache. Don’t you worry, though, a painkiller will take care of that. You might have some pain in the next few days, although it’s not likely. After three of four days of rest at home, you should be ready to return to work.
The effects of the anesthesia won’t wear off for a few hours. Walking from the hospital room to the parking lot, the car ride home, and somehow making it to your bed where you’ll finally sleep off the remaining effects of the anesthesia, will all be blurry memories. It’s a great thing your doctor had you arrange for someone to accompany you that day.
3. Bloody Nose
After surgery, your nose will still be draining residual blood. In less modern times, you would wake up from your surgery to find that, in order to avoid having blood run down from your nose to your mouth, the doctor packed your nose with gauze, which you would later remove and unfortunately discover is a painful task. Nowadays, however, there is medication that fortunately dissolves the blood, which avoids the discomfort and pain of having your nose packed. The gauze, instead, will be placed over your nostrils to absorb the blood that comes down. It won’t be much, but you will want to have the gauze there to stop it from flowing. Whether to nose-pack or use the dissolving medication could be up to your doctor, so you might want to ask about your options prior to the procedure.
4. Very uncomfortable post-op visit
This was a big surprise to me when I arrived for my post-op visit. It turns out, after your surgery, your sinus cavity will have some remaining gunk that needs to be removed. The doctor will apply a local anesthesia to numb the area, but when he goes up your nose with that rod, you will feel it. It’s not as bad as it sounds but it is very uncomfortable. You will be surprised and slightly disgusted at the size of the bloody layers that come out of your nose. Your doctor might also use a vacuum to extract anything that doesn’t need to be grabbed with the tool to be removed. Depending on your doctor, you will have about three post-op visits; by the third visit, most of the remaining crusts will have been removed.
5. No headaches, better sense of smell, and clearer breathing
Let’s not forget that the purpose of the surgery was to fix you, and that’s the great part about it. Say good-bye to those terrible headaches and hello to your newly rediscovered sense of smell. You also will find that you no longer need to sleep with your mouth open because your nose will be clearer and therefore you’ll breathe more effectively through it. Hooray!
6. Continued used of nasal sprays and other medications
You will need to continue the sprays and antibiotics your doctor prescribed. The weeks after your surgery are your healing period and those medications will help speed up the process. During this healing process, some swelling might occur, which can cause a headache even though the sinus blockage has been removed. There are different reactions during the healing period, so following your doctor’s advice is beneficial to having a successful recovery.