Nasal Surgery: Did I Die at My Post-op Appointment?

Nasal Surgery: Did I Die at My Post-op Appointment?Nope. Not even close. Would I be writing this if I had?

In my last post, I wrote about how nervous I was for my upcoming post-op appointment. I’d recently gotten a septoplasty to correct my deviated nasal septum, and the thought of returning to the doctor’s office (where I panicked after bleeding all over the floor) had me shaking.

I thought about it for days. I ruminated. I paced. I played the “what if” game. What if, during my follow-up appointment, I bled again? What if I passed out? What if I felt nauseous?

Here’s what really happened. Hold on to your hats, people.



I arrived for my 2 p.m. appointment only to find out that the office, for one reason or another, had completely forgotten about my appointment. They told me to stay in the waiting room and they’d fit me in as soon as possible.

Great. Fertile ground for even more anticipatory anxiety, especially given the waiting room’s crappy magazine selection and surplus of whining children.

An hour passes. Nervous, I took a Xanax.

Another hour passes. Still nervous, I took another one.

A third hour passes. Xanax numero tres.

Shortly after spending three hours in the waiting room (with my father, who’d kindly come along for moral support), I was called back into the same room where I’d (previously) bled all over the floor and almost passed out.

I wish I could say that I had relied exclusively on cognitive behavioral strategies to calm myself to prepare for the visit, but…nope.

Not at all. It was the Xanax. I was all floaty-like by the time the third pill kicked in, hovering above all of my problems.

When I was originally prescribed Xanax almost ten years ago, my doctor told me I could take up to 4 pills if the situation warrants. Prior to the surgery follow-up day, I’d never taken more than 2.

Three. I’d taken three. I’d gone from a trembling mess in the waiting room to a sedate little Buddha in the exam room.


I sat there patiently as my surgeon stuffed a tiny pair of scissors into my left nostril and snipped the single stitch that held my clear plastic splints in place. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but there wasn’t any pain.

Then, I braced myself. I knew what was coming next. He grabbed the first splint and pulled it out. Would there be blood? Would it hurt? Would its sharp plastic edges slice open the septoplasty stitching?

Nope. The splint slid like an oily sunbather down a water slide. And so did the second one.

And then?

Nothing. No blood. No pain. No problems.

That night, thanks to both the Xanax and the fact that I could breathe well again for the first time in memory, I slept like a log.

And now, I’m in the final phase of my recovery. My worst complaints are a dry nose, some sore front teeth, and a here-and-there headache. And even with an anxiety disorder, I can handle that.

As long as there’s no blood, people. Blood, stay away.

Photo: Thomas Hawk


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