My top 10 tips to make your Septoplasty Turbinectomy surgery a breeze
So what does a Septoplasty Turbinectomy mean to me? The Septoplasty refers to a correction to the bent middle part of my nose, you know the bit that seperates both nostrils, well mine was bent and needed straightening. The Turbinectomy in this case refers to the turbinates or curtains hanging from inside the back of the nose. These provide a kind of air conditioning for the nose and humidify the air which ensures any particles are trapped in this area and don’t make it down into the lungs. Mine were becoming swollen due to allergies and needed trimming plus I have polyps in my nasal passage which have grown back over time. This isn’t my first attempt at trying to get a clear breathing passage, as I had a similar procedure 5 years ago.
So why would I get this done? Mainly it’s to improve my quality of life and help with my fire breathing techniques, ok don’t tell my surgeon about that last one, but mediation and yoga require certain breathing techniques performed through the nose (which is taken for granted for most people) and I just wasn’t able to get enough oxygen in whilst performing these techniques, plus it was kind of distracting and I wasn’t able to focus on my breathing but rather lack of it. But on a more serious note I had woken (luckily) a few times gasping for breath and suspect I have a sleep apnoea problem. Before I investigate this further I wanted to clear up a couple of common causes, which for me was weight, fitness and my blocked nasal passages. I will continue to monitor this condition but hope a change in lifestyle will greatly improve my quality of life.
So here are my top 10 tips to make your Septoplasty Turbinectomy surgery a breeze:-
- Find a good Ear Nose Throat (ENT) Specialist – As mentioned, this wasn’t my first time having this procedure and I can’t honestly say the first time was a pleasant experience. ENT’s know what needs to be done, but may approach the outcome in different ways. It’s the subtleties that make the experience bearable or painful so ask your friends for a referral and don’t just take the advice of your GP, because they may have not been under the knife with that particular ENT.
- Begin your fast the right way – All surgery usually starts with a fasting period, which is to ensure the anaesthetist knows what’s in (or not in) the stomach and prevents a possible reflux whilst your under. Choosing the right food to get through the fast without feeling excessively hungry can improve your experience. As you may be fasting for 6+ hours you’ll want something that keeps you feeling full longer. I made sure I consumed 50-60g of protein before the fast began, because protein breaks down slowly and keeps those hunger pains at bay. 50-60g of protein is a couple of eggs and some lean bacon, but your dietary requirements may be different. Regardless protein is the key. Compare that to a bowl of sugary cereal or white toast and you’ll only be feeling full for just a few hours, and feeling hungry whilst you wait for surgery can turn the bearable into the unbearable. Furthermore, starting hydrated before the fast is also advisable, which means drinking plenty of water and no alcohol or excessive exercise the night before.
- Arrive on time – Don’t stress yourself by running late to your surgery, give yourself plenty of time to get to admissions. You may already be apprehensive about the surgery so why add to this with stress. I thought I arrived at my hospital with plenty of time only to find I walked through the entire public hospital before realising that this was the wrong hospital and the private hospital where I was scheduled for surgery was actually next door. Although feeling a little rushed I knew I still had plenty of time and was feeling less stressed. Bonus Tip: Go by yourself – This might actually be the introvert in me talking but being by myself was a lot less stressful. I could also feel the tension from the couples in the waiting room. Although you might be at ease with the procedure, the person you are with might feel their own anxiety and this negative energy is going to impact you too.
- Take a good book – It’s a long wait, a really long wait, a really really long wait, so take a good book to read. The few magazines in the waiting room won’t hold your attention for more than a hour and surfing the internet on your phone will also become boring after time. Did I mention it’s a really long wait. However, a good book is going to captivate you longer, and make the time fly by. Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s such a good book, I couldn’t put it down”, well that’s the sort of book you will want to take. I might have gone a little heavy with a book titled “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi but ‘Flow’ it’s something I’m currently learning about and hey, I had the time and plenty of it.
- Bring positive energy – We are all connected and people who exude positive energy, positively affect others including your surgeon. You want him/her to have a steady hand, right, and to have no negative thoughts whilst cutting away. Well it all starts with you, and unless you have a robot performing the procedure your positive attitude will affect the surgeon even subtly. If he/she feels your tension or negative emotion then it’s only human nature this may impact the way they feel and operate. I know it’s tough doing something that you haven’t experienced before but I know you’ll be alright, so keep your positive energy flow around you.
- Perform a Gratitude Mediation – If you are still with me after the positive energy tip, I’ll stretch the friendship a little further with the suggestion of a gratitude meditation. I attempted this when I was first coming to after the operation. In my lucid state I performed a mini gratitude meditation, to be thankful for a successful surgery and a reminder of all the things I was grateful for. Again it’s positive energy flow and well what else are you going to do while you wait for your vitals to stabilise. I also used the gratitude mediation during my recovery to keep me reminded why I had this surgery in the first place. I found and use some great guided meditations at Omvana.com
- Drink plenty of water – After the operation you are likely to feel a little flat and perhaps dehydrated. Although food might not be on your mind, you should be thinking about drinking plenty of water. Water is what your body needs for recovery so don’t go easy on the water. Remember you have been fasting for around 12hours by this stage. Bonus Tip: Don’t drink Tea or Coffee – As I lay in my recovery room a nurse pops her head in and asked if I’d like a tea or coffee, she shouldn’t have. Hot drinks are going to make the blood flow and that isn’t your objective here. Contrast that to a cool drink of water or apple juice and perhaps an ice block or two and your blood will be clotting in no time.
- Find a good podcast – If you are in for an overnight stay then don’t rely on the idiot box to get you through the night. Find a good podcast to listen to and turn off the TV. You might as well be learning something while you wait and the free to air tv channels are just going to try and sell you something anyway. You might be bed ridden but you still have choices. Alternatively, get that good book out, that one you couldn’t put down.
- Get plenty of rest – Your body has just experienced some trauma so it’s wanting to repair itself, so let it divert it’s energy into repairing instead of other basic functions. Get plenty of rest, sleep, meditation or what ever your body is asking for. Rest is also good for keeping your blood pressure in check and will help prevent broken capillaries, which although very small can make the blood flow again.
- Make sure you pick up your meds – Yes, it’s a rookie mistake but they let me leave the hospital without my prescription medicine. You will need to pick-up something for sure and for me it was painkillers, FESS saline spray and antibiotics. You should also get a flyer from your surgeon with some basic care advice on it.
BONUS: Well that’s some of my best tips, but the one I think made a difference the second time around was having already done allergy desensitization testing a few years earlier. This involved having a hundred skin pricks of known allergens and seeing which ones I reacted to. The specialist performing these tests then gave me a series of injections over a number of weeks with increasing allergen strength to build up my immunities. I think this process greatly reduced the recurrence of my polyps and now hopefully, I can maintain a clear nasal passage for the foreseeable future.
And that’s all folks. The top 10+ tips to making your Septoplasty Turbinectomy a breeze. Good Luck! and I’d love to hear how you go with your operation and any tips that get you through the process. Also feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to give you a straight answer from my personal journey.