Since starting my veterinary career, I’ve seen numerous surgeries. For some reason, I find surgery fascinating, and I jump at every opportunity to see something new. In the past, I’ve learned by observing animal operations. However, now I’m getting some first-hand experience as a patient.
A few months ago, I was told I had a deviated nasal septum and overgrown turbinates in addition to narrow sinuses. While I had never noticed it before, things started adding up. I’ve always been a mouth breather and always woke up more tired than when I went to sleep. My father always joked that I sounded like a crack addict because my nose was always stuffy. Knowing that the surgery would improve my schoolwork and quality of life, I opted to go through with it.
Things started off well on the day of surgery. One of my aunts works in the registration office at my local hospital, so it was nice to see her beforehand. While checking in, the receptionist pulled out my paperwork and a special surprise. It was a funny card from my Oma (German synonym for grandma) that my aunt had snuck into my file.
The surgery went well according to my surgeon, but the rest of the hospital experience was a little unnerving. While in pre op, it took a while for the anesthesia nurse to come. She began by jacking my bed up so high I felt like I was in orbit. A second nurse came in shortly thereafter and said we were ready to go since my IV catheter had already been placed. I repeatedly told her that it hadn’t, showing her my bare arms to prove it. Apparently, there was another patient having surgery that day whose last name was one letter different than mine. Thankfully, the hospital personnel ask you a hundred times what type of procedure you are having done. If not, who knows what they might have done to me!
But the confusion with this other patient did not end there. Upon waking up from surgery, the first thing I noticed was my bag of belongings hanging on the wall. But they weren’t mine. The bottom of the shoe had a Nike swoosh on it, and I’ve never owned a pair of those in my life.
While waking up, I also noticed that I was breathing through my nose. At that moment, I had a bloody moustache gauze taped to my nose, so if I could get enough air with that gauze obstructing my airways, the surgery must’ve made big improvements.
After waking up, it took almost 4 hours to get the bleeding to slow down to a level when it was safe enough for me to go home. Now I sit here at home with massive splints up my bloody nose, wondering what I will do with myself since I can’t work. The recovery seems miserable so far, but hopefully I’ll be breathing better once the splints come out next week.