Saturday, February 02, 2008


This Sinus Thing Is Soooo Draining

OK, so I know I've bitched and moaned more than a few times over the past nearly two and a half years about this sinus thing I've been suffering for just as long. Many, many trips to see "my doctor" (I see a different resident every time I go in), have resulted in little more than frustration and a frequent prescription of nasal spray. I've tried saline rinses, neti pots, decongestants, antihistamines, antibiotics, steroids, Flonase, Nasonex, all to pretty much no avail.

I'm always asked the same questions:
Do you have any new pets?
Do you have carpets?
Is there mould in the house?
Do you smoke?
Did you move into a new place?

No, in fact we haven't had a pet in about 4 months.
Hardwood on the main floor, carpets in the bedrooms.
Not that I'm aware of.
Yes, but that was a year and a half ago and this started a year before we moved.

The last time I saw "my doctor" back in October or November I think it was obvious that I was about to snap. I basically told her that for more than two years, I've been SUFFERING from this sinus thing and that the usual sinus spray solution wasn't working. I told her I was fed up. Something had to be before I cut my own head off. I demanded a referral to an ENT (ear, nose & throat) specialist. She told me she'd arrange something for me and be in touch, and then she handed me another prescription for Nasonex. Sure, why not?

About a week or so after that I received a call informing me that I had an appointment for a CAT scan the following week. It was all pretty quick, unless you count the two years I've waited until that point.

I went for the CAT scan, and waited for a call from "my doctor" to let me know what the result was. After waiting for a few weeks, I was just about to make the call when I received a letter in the mail informing me of an appointment with an ENT specialist on February 1st. Finally, the ball was rolling.

Yesterday, February 1st, the weather report called for seven types of hell and 6 to 10 inches of snow. I called the ENT clinic to see if I was still on, and they told me I could come in earlier since some of their patients had cancelled due to the weather. I got there at before 10:00 and still had to wait until about 11:00 before I was called in. My appointment was for 10:45. Glad I arrived early. I was asked about my condition by the nurse. I answered all of the questions listed above and then some. I told her it's been going on 2 1/2 years and at that she looked rather concerned. I wasn't sure how to take that. She seemed surprised when I told her I had already been for a CAT scan, and that the results should be on their computer. She went off to look for them and came back about 25 minutes later. She then had me sit on their exam recliner while she sprayed some sort of crap into my nostrils. "This will allow the doctor to insert the tubes in your nose and down your throat, so the spray will numb your throat, just to let you know." The nurse sprayed away and I was greeted with one of the worst tastes I have ever experienced. "I have suckers if you'd like one to take the taste away". I declined, not wanting to appear to be a wimp. She then walked away and left me in the examining room alone. About a minute later, I realized that I was unable to swallow. My throat was constricting. I began to panic. Nobody was around and I was sure I was going to die right there alone. I had to concentrate on my breathing. I felt a bit dizzy and disoriented for a few minutes.

I kept my eye on the clock that hung on the wall facing me. About 15 minutes after the initial panic my throat seemed to open up again. Another ten minutes passed before a resident came in, introduced herself to me and shook my hand with what felt like the hand of a well-chilled corpse. "Your hands are so nice and warm! I'm freezing in here today," she informed. "It sure feels like it," I replied.

The resident asked me the required questions again, plus a few others. She stuck some small version of a log-splitter into my nostrils and spread them to just before the tearing point and scoped out the area with a flashlight. The resident then took her icy corpse hands and feelt the sides of my neck, then walked out of the room and I was left alone again.

After another lenghty wait, in walked the doctor with the resident. So let's look at this again. I got there at 10:00, was brought in at 11:00 and then, at about 12:25 I finally saw the doctor. Did I mention that my parking meter expired at 11:27? But I digress. The doctor asked me the usual questions again, and a few new ones. She asked the resident to make sure that the CAT scan they had looked at was, in fact, mine and not those of another patient of theirs by the same name. Once it was confirmed that they were my pictures, the doctor asked me if I felt pressure behind my left eye or in my left cheek. "Oh my God, I've got a huge honkin' tumor," I thought. I told her that I wasn't sure if I feel pressure or not. I've had this for so long I think I'm just used to all the discomfort. She tried to insert the scope tube into my left nostril, but encountered a bone spur from my septum that blocked the path. She moved on to my right nostril and slid that tube right down my throat. Rather uncomfortable. Perhaps if she was there while I was unable to swallow nearly an hour earlier I wouldn't have felt a thing, but who am I to say?

When she finished with the scope, she brought me over to the monitor to show me the CAT scan results. Apparently this bone spur on the left side of my septum is preventing my left sinus from draining properly. This could be the cause of my problem, though she couldn't guarantee that surgery would resolve it. The doctor told me that I have a couple of options. Go ahead with surgery, or maintain an agressive saline rinse and Nasonex regimen for a few months and see where that leads. I would have to rinse and spray every morning and every night instead of just in the morning as I've been doing. If the saline and Nasonex clears it up, that doesn't necessarily mean it's cured either. It could return if I stop doing that. I opted for the rinse & spray for a few months. I will see her again in April to see if things have changed for me.

I tried the saline spray they gave me before bed last night, and it didn't seem to go beyond my nostrils, so this morning I dug out my neti pot and gave that a try. I put the spout in one nostril and poured and it just didn't flow out the other nostril like it should. I got a very pathetic drip at best. I'm hoping that that will change over the next couple of days. We'll see how things go over the next couple of months. Perhaps I'll be in there getting that surgery in the near future. Maybe while I'm in there I'll get a bit of Botox, maybe have her tighten up my turkey neck, maybe a little lipo on the gut & butt. Or I'll just get my ass back on the treadmill.

sounds wildly unpleasant.

Now get your ass back on the treadmill.
Wow, that sounds so fun!!! I never ever go to the doctor's office w/o a book or knitting.
Got here by way of Wide Lawns, Narrow Minds.

I've been in the same place, sinus that feels like a migraine all of the time. Saline rinses and three sessions with a really good accupuncturist worked for me. It may not work for everybody but it sure worked for me. Keep it in mind.

I hope that your Mom and family are just facing things one thing at a time. It's not easy. Take care of your Dad.
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