Just over 4 years ago, I had a nose job. Why, you ask? Wasn’t your old nose good enough for you? The short answer is, No. It wasn’t good enough to perform its primary purpose. From a purely external aesthetic standpoint, it was perfect, or as near as perfect as one could want, but the internals were defective. I wrote about that here.
About 20 years ago, I was sitting with my sister on the terrace of my other sister’s house. In the deepening gloom of the Calcutta evening, she peered at me and said “Why is your right eye smaller than your left eye? Does it feel different?”
“No, I don’t feel different. There is no pain or anything. I never noticed any difference.”
Well, from that point on, every time I looked into the mirror while shaving or brushing my teeth, I would peer closely to see what she had seen. After weeks of this My Beloved Bangalan, who had also been asked many time to see if she could see anything, got exasperated.
“Oh, go and see the doctor and have it checked out, for god’s sake!!”
So I went to see the doctor.
“Do you have headaches or dizzy spells?”
“Is there any pain when I press here?” He pushed with his thumb all around the eyes.
“How long have you had this?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let me see your driver’s licence.”
I showed him the driver’s licence, which is about 4-5 years old.
“Hmm… see, there is a difference in this photo too.”
“Yeah, I see.”
“Oh, by the way, your licence has expired”
“Oh thanks, doc!”
“Ok, sit up here and let me have another look at it.”
He turned the light up to highlight my face and peered into my eyes with that thing eye doctor’s use. The he leaned back and pursed his lips.
“Now, I don’t want to alarm you…”
“Too late now, doc!”
“I think you should see an eye specialist, a brain doctor and get a CT Scan done of your brain.”
‘Oh, is it that bad?”
“It may be nothing, but the last time, I saw something like this it was pretty bad and brain surgeons were involved….”
I went home, quite impressed, depressed and oppressed by the facts before me.
The CT Scan was a weird experience. After the usual signing of forms, I went in an lay down on this platform. They scanned my head, then said, we’re going to inject you with this dye and rescan, so we can see if there are any blockages. They stuck a needle in my hand and as the dye went in, my entire body responded with a warm glow from deep within; sensation that I have not experienced since.
Next step was a heavy-duty eye surgeon, who went through the usual push/press-any pain thing. Finally he looked at my eyebrows.
“Wait a second. This eyebrow on the left is smaller than the other one. Looks like the end is chopped off. Why?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s because I had 2 stitches put in there. I was in a bus that got rammed and I hit my head on the handlebar.”
“OK! I think this is what has happened. The stitches have pulled up your eye lid here. That’s why this eye looks more open.”
“Oh.”, was all I could muster.
“If you want, I can put one teeny tiny stitch here at the corner of the eye and pull that eyelid down a bit.”
“Uh, no thanks, doc. I’ll stay with it as is.”
Two weeks later, I learned that the scan of my brain revealed nothing. ( You may laugh out loud .. )
It did contain the news that my sinuses were growing polyps. I went off to see another doctor. He advised nasal rinses, drew an accurate and highly symmetrical picture of a neti pot and said surgery is probably not required, and surgery only temporarily clears polyps. No one knows whence they come and trimming them via surgery offers relief for a few years before they embark on a reunion tour.
Fastforward, to the clean air of Canada, 15 years later. My troubles with my nose became worse and worse until finally I went to see the family physician.
“My nose reacts to changes in temperature, weather and it’s getting worse. What do I do?”
“Here, go see this allergy doctor and then go see Dr Mendelsohn the nose surgeon.”
Dr. Mendelsohn duly confirmed that vines of “grey grapes” had overrun my nose, blocking 100% on the right and 90% on the left.
“5% of the people are cured with steroids, so let’s try those first.”
I turned out to be among the 95%.
I was meanwhile flying in Air Canada’s mouldy turpoprops to Columbus, OH and back, Monday and Friday, every week. I flew and travelled with a fresh box of Kleenex with me. Living in the hotel every week for 2 years I was running through a box of Kleenex every night. I was seriously considering adjusting my investment portfolio to include tissue paper manufacturers when my number was called by the Ontario Health authorities and off I went for my surgery. A complicated affair, because of the heavily wooded, by now, sinuses as well as a deviated septum.
I lay down and looked at the lights overhead. Someone stuck a needle in my hand and I woke up groggy a few hours later in the recovery room with a moustache bandage around my nose.
The next day I was back and the nurse said, “I’m going to take the packing out of your nose. Would you like some ginger ale?”
“Oh no, I’m fine.”
She took the moustache bandage off to reveal the packing; two little tampon like things with string hanging down. She grabbed one and pulled hard. Sympathetically, she handed me some tissue for the tears in my eyes and said “Bet you want that ginger ale now, before I yank the other one out, right?”
I nodded and took a few sips and steeled myself. After that though it was regular trips to the allergy guy to fix my cat and dust allergy (that contributed to the development of polyps) and my surgeon. Right now I’m in the middle of monthly allergy shots and have been told that I should have surgery again whenever I’m ready. I attempted to write a blues song about it and some readers helped out as well. Tomorrow I’m back in surgery to harvest the new growth of ‘grey grapes’ out of my nose.
In the meantime, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea so a CPAP machine is a must. I have got quite used to it now. About the only thing that is bothersome is the full mask I have to use because of my nasal issues. As the polyps get worse, I have to breathe through my mouth more often and when I sleep I drool into the mask.
I must say that the symptoms this time are nowhere as dire as they were last time around. The deviated septum is fixed, the allergy shots keep flare ups down. I remain hopeful that I shall be out of there quick and things will be much better soon. I sleep much better than I used to over 4 years ago, when I used to get about 2-3 hours of disturbed sleep every night.
On the other had I do have to contend with Spittle, Drool, Saliva, Snot and Slime, purveyors of Ruined Sleep and Value Added Resellers for Tissues.
What a firm!