Cometh the Hour

It was a close call. When the surgeon looked inside my head, he said he groaned. My airway was inflamed leaving precious little room to manoevre surgical instruments. On waking from the anaesthetic, the surgeon remarked “You sure like to give me a challenge!”

I’d arrived on the operating table by the skin of my teeth. For the previous 10 days, I’d been battling a nasty upper respiratory infection and right up to the last minute, I didn’t know if I’d be well enough to make the trip to Nottingham. An antibiotic luckily cleared my head and chest in time but the evidence that a battle had taken place, was left behind.

The intricate endoscopic surgery took over 2 hours to complete. The inflamed area of bone in my forehead was first drilled out to prepare a clean surface for the reconstruction. The surgeon then fashioned a large flap of mucosa taken from the nasal septum and used this to line the exposed bone of the anterior frontal wall. The graft is held in place by a disposable dressing until it heals and my airway has been internally splinted to prevent the formation of adhesions. Photographs were taken throughout the procedure for the benefit of my surgeon in Ireland. He is due to remove the stitches and splints in another 10 days and I’ll return to Nottingham for the verdict in two month’s time. I’ve been warned that the donor site in my head will be sorer than the host site but so far, so good. Exhaustion is the main symptom.

I was discharged from the hospital the following day and returned to the hotel with my husband. On hearing of our circumstances, the hotel staff had kindly facilitated my husband by allowing him to keep his room until it was time for us to leave for the evening flight home. I was delighted to be able to watch the rugby match in peace and quiet. As the final whistle blew, we left Nottingham city centre for the airport. I came home victorious in more ways than one.

Cometh the hour, cometh the woman!

(Picture taken on mobile phone – Nottingham Main Square).

18 Responses to Cometh the Hour

  1. Annb says:

    Wow Steph – never a dull moment – I winced just reading this so I can only imagine what it must be like for you! In our experience here the donor always complained more than the recipient – but I just but that down to the donor being a big baby – I fear, in retrospect I may have been a tad unjust! Happy healing, will maintain crossed digits here ’till you’re out of the woods! Take care.

  2. Grannymar says:

    it is good to have you home again and to chat with you earlier. Rest plenty in the next week to help the body mend and the energy return.

  3. Bendy Girl says:

    Glad to hear you’re home safe. Hope you’re resting 😉 BG Xx

  4. Steph says:

    Annb – Sorry to have made you wince! I’m so used to discussing my head with the medics, I forget sometimes, the gorey nature of the problem.

    Please tell the ‘donor’ that he has my sympathy 😉

    Grannymar – I was so tired when I woke up yesterday, I turned over in the bed and cancelled the day. Today is a better day and I’ve enjoyed making contact with the world again.

    Bendy – Thanks! You’ll be interested to hear that I’ve just had a phone call from customer services at the health insurance company. They were ringing to apologise for the frustration caused last week over getting funding organised for the surgery. My case has been used to make the process more customer friendly for others. I now have a hot line to Head Office for future use (should I need it again).

    The call left me wondering if perhaps they read my blog??? 🙄

  5. Baino says:

    YOu bring a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘up yer nose with a rubber hose!” Sounds positively awful! Wishing you a speedy recovery and the ability to BREATHE!

  6. Val says:

    So pleased you are home. Hope you are feeling better soon. xxx

  7. Jenny says:

    Ive only recently become aquanited with your blog and i am in total awe of your strenght, your bravery and your perseverence. I find myself delving further and further into your blogs and am each time met with more inspirational and courageous accounts. you’re an amazin person and in me have found a firm follower and fan, looking forward to more amazing blogs,

  8. Lily says:

    Glad that’s over for you. Your rugby analogy is a good one 🙂 Hope the next few days are easy for you.

    I’m smiling at the phone call you received.

  9. Steph says:

    Baino – Ha ha! That’s a great one! 😀

    You’re right about the breathing problem. When you can’t breathe through your nose, your throat and nasopharynx dry out, especially when sleeping and you wake up choking. The doc reckoned I’d temporarily lose all sense of smell and taste as well but luckily, it’s only diminished this time. It should return fully with the healing process.

    Val – Thanks. It feels very good to be home!

    Jenny – Hello and welcome to this blog! Thank you for your very kind words, I’m blushing now! 😳

    Thanks for reminding me that my story matters. Sometimes, it’s too easy to get lost in the detail. My story is unusual for sure and I hope that maybe one day I’ll be able to pull it all together, with a happy ending!

    Lily – The match was the most brilliant distraction ever and the win, was heavenly timed!

    I’m still smiling too! 😀

  10. achelois says:

    I am thinking of you. Rest & recouperation must surely be the order of the day. Was so so pleased to read you are home. Take care Steph.

  11. Steph says:

    achelois – Thanks for lighting that candle. It worked!

    Everything about my trip to Notts, went smoothly so I’ve a lot to be thankful for. As cities go, Nottingham’s been good to me but I do look forward to the day when I can finally wave goodbye to the place.

  12. Alexleej says:

    I am so glad that you are home safe and sound and you have my every sympathy for the ‘baby bird blankets’ as my friend calls them that are resident in your nose. I hope the next few days go past swimmingly and that you are as right as rain very shortly. Just for interest how many days/weeks after taking antibiotics do you class as being infection free (for the time being)? Best wishes,Alex

  13. Steph says:

    Alex – Hurray! I’ve found someone else who knows what it’s like to have scaffolding in their nose! 😉

    As regards being infection free, probably best not to think about it. Look at it this way – if you’ve stopped all antibiotics without a recurrence of infection, you’re doing well. At least the infection didn’t recur while you were still on the antibiotics!

    ‘For the time being’ features quite regularly in my vocabulary too.

  14. Alexleej says:

    I was really grumpy this last scaffolding. It was erected for half term so the children were shouted at in a strange language quite often in between breathing!!! I have been off antibiotics for a whole 8 days and counting – whoop! I hope you are in a better mood than I was and that the sun is shining on your emerald isle!

  15. Steph says:

    Alex – I had so much discomfort with the splints after last summer’s op that this time, I made sure to speak to the surgeon as I was awaiting going under anaesthetic. I asked him to be extra diligent when applying the scaffolding and explained how/why I’d had problems before. The first question he asked me the following day was “how are the splints”? We can’t expect surgeons to know of these problems unless we report them. I’m happy to say that this time round, the scaffolding is less uncomfortable although it’s early days yet.

    I finished the antibiotics yesterday so fingers crossed I remain free of infection. I’ve been instructed to do daily wash-outs with NeilMed to protect the operation site.

    Like you, I savour every antibiotic-free day!

    The Spring flowers are blooming in Ireland although it’s still very chilly!

  16. Geri Atric says:

    “The surgeon then fashioned a large flap of mucosa taken from the nasal septum”

    OMG! *faint……………*
    That makes my own nose hurt just reading this!

    I’m so glad everything went well.

  17. Steph says:

    Geri – Thanks! I bet there’s not many people who can claim to have part of their nose growing in their forehead! 😉

  18. […] you know, I had a fairly easy post-operative phase before the internal splinting was taken out of my head last week. I mistakenly thought that […]

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