So…this isn’t my normal kind of post, but I had several friends ask me to share about my experience with my surgery to repair my deviated septum and enlarged turbinates. I’m right in the middle of it (just had surgery yesterday), so I’m basically going to blog what I’m thinking and feeling after this initial set-the-scene post.
Feel free to skip this series if it isn’t your cup of tea, and I’ll get back to kid’s stuff soon!
My Covid (not-Covid) Story
About eight weeks ago, my husband started having cold symptoms. We didn’t think much of it UNTIL we found out he had been around someone earlier in the week that had tested positive for Covid. He went ahead and started quarantining. Thank goodness, because a few days later, he couldn’t taste or smell.
On November 16, he tested positive.
Since we had been around each other quite a bit…and I was having similar symptoms, the health department said I was presumed positive. I decided to go ahead and get a swab because I wanted to know for sure (plus, I had heard of people having long covid issues and then having trouble with insurance without that positive test).
On Tuesday, I sat in my car for about an hour and fifteen minutes to get that dreaded Covid swab. And it was awful. Ridiculously painful (more about that later). Honestly, I was embarrassed because I thought maybe I was just being weak/babyish/etc., so I didn’t tell too many people about it. Later that day, my nose started feeling stuffy, and I started having some chest/breathing issues. I also had a metallic taste in my mouth, horrible headaches, and insane fatigue.
I was sure I had Covid.
(I had to wait for over a week before they finally called with my test results. And wouldn’t you know? The test leaked. I never got results, so I didn’t know whether I was positive or negative.)
After our quarantine was up, I was feeling a little better, but I continued to have terrible headaches, fatigue, and some shortness of breath. I had read that many people have those symptoms even though they are technically over C-19, so I didn’t think much of it and went back to work. I struggled through the three weeks before Christmas break.
Off and on during those weeks, I was in contact with my doctor. I hate taking medicine, but I needed some relief. I took an inhaled steroid and later albuterol to help with shortness of breath. I started on a steroid nasal spray because my nose was stuffy. I was taking a daily antihistamine. My cough moved into my lungs (which often happens with my asthma), and I was diagnosed with bronchitis. Thankfully, I took an oral steroid that cleared it up.
The one area we could not get to heal up? My nose. It wasn’t stuffy anymore. It was more of a feeling that I was breathing through a coffee stir straw. I’m sure I was driving my poor nurse crazy with all my emails! I finally got an in-person appointment with a nurse practitioner. She took one look up my nose and told me a functional problem needed a functional fix. No one had ever told me there was anything wrong with my nose structure before, so I was a little incredulous! She gave me another prescription for a nasal spray. She said it should bring relief right away, and if it didn’t, I should consider seeing an ENT.
Guess what? The only thing the medicine did was make vomit…so I started thinking more about what the she had said. And then, something else happened that week (the week of Christmas). I decided to get tested for Covid antibodies. I got the results back…
I was negative.
I was so shocked.
That’s when I knew I HAD to see the ENT. Up to that point in time, I had been blaming all of my lasting symptoms on Covid. The terrible headaches. The fatigue. The numbness/tingling in my cheek. The inability to breath through my nose without it whistling. The shortness of breath. But without any antibodies, I started thinking about things completely differently. Especially about the event I believed set it all off.
The dreaded Covid swab.
I mentioned above that my Covid swab was awful. Oh, it was! It was unlike any test I’ve had before. (Here’s a good article about why some people’s covid tests hurt so much more.) Not only was it so painful I thought I was going to pass out, but I felt like my brain was stabbed. I started experiencing excruciating headaches and the inability to breathe fully through my nose. I went home after that test and had to lay down the rest of the day because my head literally hurt so much I couldn’t lift it. For weeks after that, I could feel a painful pressure in that side of my nose–almost like the swab was still in there.
Thankfully, they were able to get me into the specialist quickly. The Tuesday after Christmas, I went to the ENT. He took one look at my nose and said, “I can see why you are having so much trouble. You have a SEVERELY deviated septum. And your turbinates are enlarged on both sides. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst), you’re a nine.” I wanted to know if he thought the Covid swab could’ve caused my issues. While he obviously couldn’t say, he did think it was very possible that it aggravated and inflamed my nasal passage. Especially since the test was done on the side of my deviated septum.
Since I had been doing everything possible already to bring down the inflammation, he thought the only real option I had was surgery. Earlier in the week, I remember that I had remarked to my husband that I couldn’t live this way anymore.
I had to do something.
So, I signed up for the next available surgery.
To be continued…
Tomorrow, I will share about the day of my surgery–my septoplasty and bilateral turbinate reduction.
(Just so you know I’m not a wimp, I did have to get another Covid test before my surgery. They did it on the other side of my nose, and it didn’t hurt at all. It was slightly uncomfortable, but it was nothing like my first swab. It was a completely different experience!)