Here are my experiences and recommendations for the recovery following a septoplasty and bilateral turbinate reduction.
I’ll be honest. The day after my surgery, I was wishing I could go back to the day of my surgery. At least I was pretty much out of it, on pain pills, and I wasn’t too aware of what was going on. Day two was worse for me!
Day 2 (Day after Surgery)
I did not sleep well at all last night. I was so paranoid about accidentally rolling over onto my nose that I had three pillows stacked on each other and basically slept upright. I was so stiff and sore when I woke up!
I think I only changed out my gauze once or twice during the night. The only problem with that? My nose basically looked like a horror show this morning. Dried, crusty spots with still dripping spots. Sorry if TMI! This surgery is not a good idea if you are squeamish around blood.
Today, as part of my recovery, my doctor wanted me to start using a saline nasal spray and also to use a sinus rinse (gently, very gently). I’ve used a neti pot before, so I had a basic idea of what to expect…or so I thought.
Because he wanted me to rinse it out four times during the day, I thought I would take a shower and try my first rinse in there. (I knew it would be messy, so I thought that would contain it.) Unfortunately, I made a mistake in estimating how plugged up my nose was, how freaked out I would get by not being able to breathe, and how much I would feel like I was drowning while being in the shower and using the rinse at the same time.
Basically, I had a full-blown panic attack.
I took some time to do some deep breathing (as deep as you can breathe through your mouth when your nose is plugged up) and talked myself down. Once I was calm, I tried again over the sink. Two things made a big difference: 1) I made sure the water was warmer in the NeilMed Sinus Rinse bottle (I had used room temperature water in the shower and something about that freaked me out). I also turned on a podcast so I could distract myself. After that first initial sinus rinse, the other three weren’t too bad as long as I used my tricks above.
My best advice for day 2?
- Get this NeilMed Sinus Rinse, some extra sinus rinse packets, and a couple gallons of distilled water. Follow the directions, but do it gently. I’m not a doctor though, so make sure to ask your doctor if this is okay for you to use.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use lip balm. My lips got terribly dried out from breathing through my mouth. They also recommend a humidifier, but I don’t have one of those due to my experience with mold (that’s another story…).
- Don’t overdo it. I continued to rest (and I was still tired because I was taking pain medicine). I did get up several times and take a short walk around my house. I also ran the sequential compression device they sent home with me from the surgery center for several hours while I was resting.
- Keep your head upright and elevated. This helps the swelling go down.
- Laughing or smiling big is not the best idea (it’s better for healing the less your nose moves/stretches, plus it doesn’t feel great!)
- Sneeze with your mouth open!
- Have someone with you for at least 24 hours after surgery. I needed help with my gauze several times and it was also nice to have someone bring me food/drinks and take care of me!
Today (two days after my surgery), my gauze mustache must have fallen off during the night, but I didn’t have any bleeding on my pillow. I continued to use the gauze and tape until the afternoon. After I had done a couple of nasal rinses, I wasn’t getting as much bleeding though.
Today I had a little more awareness of my nose. Before, it just felt like I had been punched or something. Today, it still ached, but I don’t really know how to describe it—I guess I could just feel more parts of it. Like it was coming back awake after being asleep (weird, I know)! That said, I did also feel more twinges of pain, so I continued on my pain pills through the day and night.
I was a little more active today. I sat at the table for meals. I got my own coffee and drinks. I even went to my daughter’s eye appointment (someone else drove, of course, since I’m still on pain meds). I’m feeling more hopeful that I will feel better soon!
I slept pretty well last night. My nose was still stuffy during the night, so I continue to sleep almost upright. Today, I’m starting to feel more normal. I seem to be smelling and tasting things better. I’m still doing the nasal rinse, and, thankfully, I’m getting less and less icky stuff. My nose is still stuffy, but I can somewhat breathe through it.
I went on a short walk outside–a few blocks. That felt good! I haven’t been able to exercise for almost eight weeks now, so I feel pretty deconditioned. I’m used to a walk most days, some jogging and weightlifting each week, so it’s been a long two months! Unfortunately, they still don’t want me doing an harder exercising for a few weeks since that could cause inflammation–but a short walk seemed to be fine.
I am still dealing with a headache, so I hope that goes away. I’ve read that it can take weeks/months for complete healing though. There is a heaviness/pressure in my nose. I took a pain pill last night, but I will probably just take some Tylenol if I start to feel worse. I did notice my temperature elevated again this afternoon, and I had a few chills. I am on an antibiotic, so I’m hoping I’m not getting an infection of any sort. It’s Saturday, and my plan is to go back to work on Monday. I guess we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.
Today is Sunday. I’m feeling quite a bit better, but I’m a little nervous about returning to work tomorrow. I teach first grade, so I’m usually pretty active during this day. I spent most of the day resting and rinsing my nose. Hopefully, tomorrow will go well!
Hopefully this helps someone. Let me know if you have any questions, and definitely refer to #2 above for my best advice for healing from this surgery!