By a Nose

Something suddenly came up.

That’s what I kept repeating to myself – Marsha Brady’s little mantra. “Something suddenly came up.” It would be my go to excuse should I emerge from my septoplasty surgery (read: nose job) resembling Owen Wilson’s crooked peak.

Of course, that’s where your friends and the Internet will lead you. The dark pit of despair – second-guessing your decision to finally, after years of clutching Kleenex by the fistful, reshape your schnoz.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself. While I had originally billed my recent surgery as a little of the ol’ nip/tuck, what I found was the septoplasty was completely internal. As I wrote in these pages a few weeks back, the procedure was selected to correct my deviated septum – a problem that has provided me with a constant stream of seasonal sinusitis. Basically, I blow my nose a lot and it’s snot fun. So I booked passage to Elm St. in Worcester – where my doc has his residency and surgical care center – in a bid to save the sniffer.

Before the surgery I did what every Internet savvy hipster does – I scoured every website returned by the Google search ‘Septoplasty Recovery’ and through a quick scientific survey of the 33,212 hits I digested, I learned that I had a 1.25% chance of surviving the procedure (approximately). And if I did survive, I’d have bovine cervical cancer. Of course, I talked myself off the ledge by Googling ‘Hangnail Removal.’ Just as I thought, the mortality rate was even higher and that one leads to heartworm.

With the Internet having failed me as if my name were GoDaddy, I decided to hit the streets and do a little low-tech investigation of my own. So I surveyed every mouth breather with a pulse that I could find jockeying around my office and found that to a person, they all knew someone who had a septoplasty. And to a person, every single one of them had monstrous complications. Why isn’t John Stossel all over this?!?!?

Pushing aside the likelihood of a long dirt nap, I decided to press everyone for intel on what to expect immediately after my surgery. Everywhere I turned I got the same description. I could expect a mammoth swollen nose, packed with enough cotton batten to justify the Civil War. In addition, my eyes would be battered and bruised – with great big shiners announcing the daily beatings Andi administers. (And here I had taken such pains to cover up the thrashing she throws my way – YES!!! This is a cry for help!!!).

Well, the last time I had a black eye, I was in the 7th Grade at Rockland Junior High. In fact, it’s the story of that shiner that shines a light on how I became close friends with my good pal at the time, Jay Bain (he of the Boxer Short Rebellion that I exposed on these pages a few months back).

Anyway, I remember Jay was new to school and had taken it upon himself to show us who was boss. Unfortunate for me, I crossed his path in the school library as I attempted to liberate a book from the stacks. Jay grabbed my book, made a little sing-songy remark about the title (It was Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World and I think he gave the late Jimmy Walker a shout out with DYNO-MITE!!!) and then punched me square in the eye. I grabbed my book and went to check it out – telling myself that no matter what, I would not tell on Jay. Tattling was the cardinal sin and would only lead to severe repercussions. Of course, the school nurse possessed interrogation techniques envied by the secret police. Two seconds of waterboarding and I coughed it up. “Jay Bain did it. He’s in the library. You’ll find him between ‘Do’ and ‘Du’.” And by the grace of Dewey Decimal, they’d collared their criminal.

Anyway, that black eye stayed with me for awhile. In 7th Grade, a few weeks is an eternity and I remember going to sleep each night, hoping against hope that when I woke up, I would have my flawless face back again. And I remember waking up each morning looking like I’d gone a few too many rounds with Bald Bull. Where’s Don Flamenco when you need him?

So, when I first awoke from surgery and got my bearings straight, I immediately requested a mirror. I had to see first hand, the carnage inflicted upon my countenance. Tentatively, I rose the glass to my eyes, squinting at the horrors about to emerge. And suddenly, there it was in all its glory. My face, bashed into a million piec… wait, my face, looking exactly the way it had before going under. In fact, aside from the crimson-tinged gauze taped to my nostrils, a passerby would have no clue anything traumatic had transpired over the last few hours. I looked exactly the same.

Stepping away from the bed, my mind raced. As I was still under the effects of the anesthesia, I didn’t feel any pain. And my face looked the same. I started to question everything. How did I know they actually went through with the surgery?

Looking over my shoulder, I acquired the evidence my eyeballs needed. There, at the head of the bed, rest the pillow I had just risen from. I could clearly define where my head had been as it was the only part of the pillow not stained ruby red. As for the rest of the formerly pristine pillow, it was as if my head had exploded – a great arterial spray soaked into every fiber. Subconsciously, my hands headed northward looking to gain confirmation that my cabeza remained attached and hadn’t been blown off. Yup, still there.

I pray I never see file footage of that surgery (although I think it may be an extra on the Hostel DVD). As it is, I’m not sure how I’m still alive with all that sangria sprayed everywhere. Either way, I made it through looking none-the-worse for the wear and started my week’s long recovery at home.

As I write this now, I’m about 2 ½ weeks out and am starting to feel the benefits of the surgery. Already, I breathe better out of one nostril. I’m told it can take 4 – 6 weeks for a full recovery (for the swelling to go down) so I have a little time ahead of me before I’m completely mended. Time will tell if the surgery corrects some of the glaring issues I’d been dealing with (most notably the eye issues). I will certainly keep you all posted.

If there is one thing I bemoan about this neat and tidy nip/tuck, it’s that my planned April Fools joke was ruined by the doc’s careful touch. As I had envisioned looking like a meat puppet, I was going to have Sean snap some pics which I would then post here on April 1st alongside a story recounting my ill-advised jaunt into Southie on St. Patty’s Day. I was going to claim the blemishes had come from a little barroom scrap I got into when I, a man of English descent, had stood up for Crown and Country in Fitzhooligans or some other establishment. Alas, that joke went South when I emerged the pretty boy y’all know and recoil from.

Oh well, there’s always next year and the hope that sometime between now and then, Andi will take a frying pan to my mug.

A guy can dream.

One comment [now closed]

  • Yeah, Jay got the plan wrong. You’re supposed to walk up and punch the biggest tough in a new school, not the biggest nose in a new school! 😉

    The worst he ever did to me was staple my arm. You… a punch in the face and an expose in alleged child abduction on every local newslet. Yeah… he was such a good friend. Where is he now? Maybe he’ll let us know the next time he stops by these parts after Googling his name!