After the surgery, I was required to go for cleaning every day. I always had an iBrufen before the appointment to help me with the pain – in retrospect, it wasn’t always necessary.
Wednesday, 20.02.209: I saw my face. I looked ghastly. Two plastic tubes were sticking out of my nostrils, and the rest of my face was grey. I was too weak to bother with my appearance. Also, due to stitches, functionality of my upper lip was limited and my upper jaw was sore. Brushing my teeth was impossible, so mouth wash only.
N drove us to visit Dr. Zastrow as scheduled. The elderly nurse from the day before was there. She asked me to lie down, and told me that she will be removing the tubes and stuffing. She was so gentle, yet it hurt some (though definitely less than what I had expected). I shut my eyes tight. I did not want to see blood. N later told me that he was surprised that so much could fit inside my nose – there were a whole lot of condom-kind stuffing attached to the back of the tubes in my nose.
Then, I moved to Dr. Zastrow’s room, where he was meant to clean my nose and use suction to pull out clots. That’s when shit hit the fan. He inserted a slim, 6-inch long pipe in my nose and it reached places that it really shouldn’t have. It hurt so much. I held on to N’s hand, while tears trickle down my face. He then sprayed something, and asked me to clean my nose with a nasal pump at least five times a day, followed by cream application. I nodded weakly, and swayed out of his clinic. I really don’t like him. He embodies pain for me.
At home, I had graduated to eating overcooked rice with a teaspoon. I could walk around. Light and sound sensitivity had also abated, so I could Netflix and chill, instead of focusing all my energies on hurting Dr. Zastrow in my head.
Thursday, 21:02.2019: I woke up feeling stronger than the day before. I could now do my nasal washes and gauze changes, and walk around without squinting.
Off to Dr. Zastrow for nasal cleaning. I get in the same daunting green chair. Today, he decides to push me off the edge and inserts 4 inches of suction pipe in my nose to clean. For a minute, I thought I would pass out from the torture. I sobbed and had to scream STOP for him to cease pushing it further. I felt violent. I would have thrown his stuff on the floor if I had the strength. I understand now that he was only doing his job, but I do truly, absolutely, definitely wanted to push him far away. He mentioned anaesthesia for the next time, and I manage a weak smile. Now you are talking doc!
I could eat smaller bites, and was CRAVING McDonalds Happy Meal. So, on the way back, we got it and I literally sniffed it all in – that’s how fast I ate. My appetite was almost all back, though the ability wasn’t fully there yet. For dinner, I had a slice of sucuk pizza and homemade kheer. Take that, Dr. Zastrow.
Friday, 22.02.2019: N returned to work, and I went for the doctor’s appointment in a bus. It felt good to be walking, soaking in some sun, and breathing in fresh air. N met me at the doctor’s. Dr. Zastrow was off, so Dr. Khaluke took over for the day. He is much younger, and patient. I begged him to be gentle, and he said ‘always’ with the sweetest smile ever. He did what he had to do, and for the first time since Monday, I did not cry. If I were a cartoon, here’s when you would see my eyes popping out with big, bright red hearts. I thanked him profusely, still unable to believe that it were over. Dr. Klauke for the win!
Saturday, 23.02.2019: Dr. Zastrow was still out, and it was a lady doctor for the day. Dr. Konrad-Schriber has such a sweet face that you can be sure of a painless experience. Talk about deceptive looks! She got to it, and had to pull out a big clot clinging on to my raw skin. I wailed, screaming for her to stop between sobs. It was Thursday all over again. I was sure that it’d be painless like the day before. It hurt, and bled instead. But she was such a sweet and compassionate woman, who tried to console me after instead of shoo-ing me out or rolling her eyes (unlike you-know-who). She also put an ice pack on the back of my neck. It felt amazing.
To compensate for the ordeal, I had bread and butter for lunch. My first bread since Tuesday.
Sunday, 24.02.2019: No cleaning today, but I continue with nasal washes. I have learnt that the more I do it, the less the doctor would have to. And I was infinitely more gentle with myself. Also, I would spit out clots of blood after cleaning. It was a good sign. They don’t belong in my nose. Disgustingly cathartic.
Monday, 25.02.2019: I had read enough horror stories about splint removals to work myself up. I was anxious, and ready to bolt. My only source of strength was that vague promise of anaesthesia.
The day I got operated, an Italian/German guy also had a similar procedure right after me. I saw him wheeled in on Tuesday as I walked out of the hospital room. I bumped into him every day after that; his appointments were always either after or before me. Today, he was scheduled before me. I saw him go into Dr. Zastrow’s clinic (yes, he’s back), and come out three minutes later. He was smiling. He had his splints removed this fast? And where is the agony? Is he a superman?
Anyway. I got in that blasted green chair, with Dr. Zastrow ready to inflict oodles of pain (in my imagination). I closed my eyes shut, and he got to work. He cut a thread, pulled it out, and asked me to see it. I refused. When will he understand that I don’t want to see anything bloody? Then he tugged splints, and they come out. Believe it or not, it was PAINLESS. He cleaned a little, sprayed something, and then announced that I was done. I broke into a goofy smile. ‘Now you are smiling,’ he said. Everything was out, and now my nose was to heal on its own. I could have hugged him, but I knew he’d probably get upset. So I settled for an over-enthusiastic handshake, and danced out of the clinic.
N later told me that he thinks there is a cave in my nose, for the thread that Dr. Zastrow pulled out was almost half a meter long, and splints were twice the size of my nose.
Life is almost normal now. I can breath a little better but my nose still needs two more weeks to heal completely. It is still swollen from the inside and needs daily washes for next three weeks.
I will post the next, and last episode of this series after two weeks. I should know by then if all this was worth it. So until then, my new nose and I wish you a fabulous weekend (and carnival, if you are in Cologne).