It’s Surgery Day

TechyDadsCATScanAnnotated[1] As this post goes live, I’ll be in the hospital.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have some sort of mutant structure in my nose that tried to form into a third nasal passage.  (Thankfully, no third nostril, though.)  This has pushed on my nasal passages causing one to become tiny.  This, in turn, means that it is almost impossible for me to breathe out of one side of my nose.  Although I’m really nervous about this procedure, I’m also looking forward to not lying awake in bed at night, unable to breathe properly, and feeling the panic rising that I’m not going to get a decent breath of air into my lungs.

My doctors have told me that I’ll have a quick recovery, but depending on how I feel, I might skip posting for a few days.

Have you ever had a surgical procedure performed?  How quick was your recovery?

Sleepless Nights Approaching Surgery

For the past week or so, I haven’t been sleeping well.  My nights are filled with stressful dreams that leave me exhausted in the morning.  There are two reasons for this.  Unfortunately, the solution to the first reason is, in fact, the second reason.

Let me back up a bit.  I’ve always had a problem breathing through my nose.  One nostril seems perpetually stuffed up.  Almost twenty years ago, I had surgery to help correct this.  Unfortunately, one of the big helps would have been fixing my deviated septum and the insurance company at the time deemed that "for cosmetic purposes only" a day before the operation.  While the surgery (cutting my noses’ turbinates) helped, my problem just got worse over the years.

These days, I live with a near constant pressure in my nose.  It will often feel like it is about to stop but just keeps going on.  Medicines don’t help and it is affecting my sleep.  (Though my sleep study found that I have a normal sleep pattern.)  I’ll often wake up after a good night’s sleep feeling tired instead of well-rested.

My doctor finally decided to give me a CAT scan and immediately saw the problem.


TechyDad's CAT Scan

For those who can’t immediately read CAT scans, here is a marked up version:

TechyDad's CAT Scan Annotated

My right nostril is a lot narrower than my left nostril.  My doctor informed me that this is because a structure in my nose tried to form a third breathing passage instead of what it was supposed to form.  (Three nostrils with only two openings – Worst. Mutant. Superpower. Ever!)  This pushed the left side of my nose over to the right side, narrowing that passage down.  Once any irritant is added to the mix (allergies, cold, etc), that passage goes from "narrow stream" to "completely blocked up" very quickly.

The good news is that this problem is fixable.  I’m scheduled to have surgery at the end of this month to take care of this issue.  Much like JSL’s surgery, I’ll be put under while the doctors perform various procedures.  This time, insurance is covering a deviated septum operation.  Hopefully, this will open up my nasal passages and allow me to breathe easier.

Which leads us to the second reason why I’ve been unable to sleep well:  Anxiety.

As the surgery date approaches, I’m getting more and more anxious.  I’ll admit that I like being in control of situations.  Being out of control scares me.  Being put under anesthesia while people slice into you is about as far from "in control" as you can get.  Add in that my brain keeps coming up with bad things that could happen and my stress levels are rising day by day.

I know, intellectually, that this is similar to my fears about flying.  Completely overblown and thanks to various shows/movies depicting surgery (and air travel) as something that regularly goes wrong.  After all, a completely uneventful surgery that goes as planned or a flight that doesn’t even hit horrible turbulence are just boring when depicted on screen.  Still, my fears aren’t listening to my intellectual retorts.  They just see "big scary surgery" looming ever closer.

As much as I’m dreading Surgery Day, I’m also hoping it gets here quickly so it can be over quickly.  Then, hopefully, I can actually get a good night’s sleep.

Surgery Results

On Friday, I got up, dropped NHL off at Aunt S’s house, and then went back home to pick up JSL and B.  It was almost JSL’s surgery.

We packed some toys for JSL to play with and a stuffed monkey to keep him company and went to the hospital.


There, JSL sat nervously while we had our information taken and waited our turn.  They gave JSL an armband and let him fill one out for his monkey as well.


Finally, JSL’s name was called and in we walked.  They weighed JSL and checked how tall he was.  Then they showed us to a bed.

Here, JSL changed into a hospital gown and had the procedure explained to him.  He was given a medicine (versed) that helped him relax.  Pretty soon, JSL was curling up with his stuffed monkey, ready to go to sleep.  At this point, the nurse came over and wheeled his off to surgery.


We waited anxiously for news and soon enough learned that the surgery went well and he was in recovery.  Once he was conscious again, we were allowed in.  He was still tired and complained that his throat hurt (from the tube that went down it).

He ate some popcicles, took some medicine for the pain, and eventually got to ride a wheelchair out.

popcicles_after_surgery wheelchair_jsl

Unfortunately, that’s not where the story ends.  He has developed a low grade fever and a stuffed up yet somehow  leaky-at-the-same-time nose has kept him (and by extension us) up all night long.  The doctor said this is normal and recommended some medicines to help alleviate the symptoms.

Hopefully, he feels better soon and sleeps through the night.  Otherwise, we’ll seriously test just how little sleep I can get and stay coherent.

Surgery Day


Today’s the day that we’ve been nervous about for some time: Surgery Day.  Today, JSL is going to go under general anesthesia to have his adenoids cut back, his turbinates cut out, and to have his tongue tie taken care of.  JSL is understandably nervous.  So is NHL for whom surgery is an anxiety trigger.

Truth be told, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t nervous either.  I keep saying it is a routine procedure.  I keep telling myself that it will only last an hour at most.  I keep saying that the doctors do this all the time.  I keep remembering that two of my nephews have had this done with no complications.  Still, I can’t help but be scared over what will happen.  It’s all I can do to hide my nervous feelings from JSL and NHL since I don’t want them getting even more nervous.

Have you ever had a child go in for surgery?  If so, how did you handle the nerves?

Note: The "gloved hand with scalpel" image is by johnny_automatic and is available from

My Sleep Study Experience

For awhile now, I’ve had trouble with sleep.  No matter what time I go to bed or how long I sleep, I often feel tired in the morning.  What’s more, B has noticed me gasping for air and kicking during the night.  Of course, the worry here is sleep apnea.  After getting my nose looked at by an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, I was told to get a sleep study.

At my initial visit to set up an appointment, I was showed around the facility and given a walk-through of what would happen.  This was very reassuring as I didn’t know a thing about what "a sleep study" entailed except that I would be sleeping during it.

Then, on Sunday night, I arrived at the center to check in.  After signing some paperwork, I was showed to my room.


Obviously, this isn’t a four star hotel, but it’s not too shabby either.  My room happened to have no windows, but I didn’t really care about that.  They do have rooms with windows that people can request if that is important to them.

The room was pretty sparse.  Just a bed, a chair, night stand (mainly used for electronic equipment – more on that later), and a fan.  Of course, the only real purpose of this room is for sleeping so sparse is just fine.

If you wanted to watch TV or have a snack (that you packed beforehand), there’s a common room with comfy couches, a table and chairs, a TV, a fridge and more.  Wi-Fi was available so I could browse the Internet while I waited as well.


After being shown my room, my technician explained what would happen during my sleep study.  Basically, there are four stages of sleep.  The first two are light sleep stages that we can easily be woken out of.  The third involves our brain replaying items from our short term memory and storing them in long term memory.  The fourth stage is REM or the stage where we dream.  We need stages three and four to feel rested so you can sleep for 10 hours, but if you are only getting stages 1 and 2 you will wake up feeling exhausted.

The technician explained again how things would basically work and asked what time I usually went to sleep.  Then, he told me to change into my pajamas.  Once that was done, I was free to stay in my room or go into the common room.  I did the latter but eventually moved to my room for awhile.

Soon, my technician returned.  It was time to get wired.  Literally.

We went into the lab.  He began by asking me to thread two sets of wires down my shirt, down my pants, and out of my pants legs.  I did this with a little difficulty.  (Those wires loved getting stuck along the way.)

Next, I sat down as he put glue on spots of my scalp and attached wires there.  Wires were also placed all around my face.  The wires coming out of my pants were attached to my lower legs near my ankles.  All of these wires were plugged into a little rectangular box which I was told to wear around my neck.  By the end, I was truly a "Techy" Dad.


I later joked to people that I felt like one of those bombs from the movies.  Cut the red wire!  No, the blue one!


I was allowed to pass the time any way I wanted until it was time to go to sleep.  It was odd having someone walk in my room and tell me it was time for bed.  Normally, that’s me telling my boys that!

I sat on my bed and still more items were attached to me.  An oxygen meter was placed by my nose and mouth to record what I was breathing into/out of and how much oxygen I was getting.  A microphone was attached to my throat.  Finally, straps were placed around my torso and stomach with more wires.  This whole affair was plugged into that rectangular box which, in turn, was plugged into a port on the night stand.  (Remember that "electronic equipment"?)


I felt like I had a giant wire ponytail.  Not exactly conducive to sleep.  Especially when you factor in that the room had a camera and microphone so they could watch/listen to me all night.


I was all ready for bed and could now lie down.

ready-for-sleep like-im-going-to-sleep-like-this

The technician turned off the lights and shut the door, but it wasn’t sleep time just yet.  First, he needed to run me through some tests to make sure that the sensors were working properly.  I had to keep my head still and move my eyes up and down.  Then side to side.  Then, I had to move my left foot and then my right one.  Thank goodness I wasn’t told to do the hokey pokey.   With all of those wires, I wouldn’t have been able to turn myself around.

Finally, I was given the go ahead to go to sleep.  I remember having a fitful night of sleep.  I wasn’t sure whether the setup made me uncomfortable, or whether it was just nerves, or something else, but I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  It didn’t help when, at one point, my technician woke me up to readjust some sensors.  (I took the opportunity to use the little Cyber-man’s room.  Quite an interesting experience, but one I won’t blog in detail about.)

Finally, at 5:40 am, I was roused by my technician who said that they had noticed I was waking up and it was time to go.  Funny.  I didn’t feel like I was waking up.  Then again, they are the ones who had wires monitoring my brain!

They carefully unhooked me and removed some of the items.  Then, we went back to the lap where the glued on wires were removed and I pulled the other wires out of my pants.  I was sent to the restroom to wash up and was allowed to pack up and go home.  (Once at home, a nice, long, hot shower took care of the glue in my hair.)

I still don’t have the results of the sleep study.  Part of me is hoping that they find something.  It will mean that the co-pay wasn’t "wasted money" and perhaps my sleep issues can be resolved.  On the other hand, another part of me hopes they don’t find anything because, really, who wants something to be wrong with them?  In any event, it was quite an interesting experience.  However, I don’t think I’d want to repeat it anytime soon.

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