Have you ever had surgery?

When I was 11 years old, I broke my nose.

It was my first lesson in dehydration. I went to a friend’s sleepover, and the next morning, a few of us went to our friend’s softball game, and then immediately went to the carnival. I probably hadn’t had enough to eat (and definitely nothing with any nutritional value) or drank much water. It was a hot day, and like all kids, as soon as we got to the carnival, we went from one ride to the next. I think after 3-4 rides in a row, I blacked out walking to the next ride. Unfortunately, the carnival was set up in a parking lot, and I must have fallen face-first. I’m sure I looked awful (blood smeared on my face and the front of my shirt). It was my first (and so far only) experience wearing a neck brace, being strapped to a back board, riding in an ambulance and being taken to the ER.

The end result was a broken nose and a swollen lip. Luckily I didn’t break any teeth. (That was always my mom’s #1 concern for superficial injuries. Unfortunately, my middle-older brother has broken two adult teeth … one because he got in a fight, the other I believe was because he rode his BMX bike down a slide.)

To this day, I hate carnival rides. (I’ve also grown to hate roller coasters that go upside down. Or just being upside down in general.) Also, since then, I have fainted about three more times. Have I ever posted about that? I can’t remember. One of the times was after giving a speech during class in college.

Anyway, because I was still young, and growing, and played sports that included balls flying around, we waited on surgery. I didn’t really mind the way my nose looked (a little crooked and bumpy, but whatever), but the issue was I couldn’t really breathe through it.

So, after I graduated from high school, and had zero chance (or interest) in playing sports in college, my mom took me get a consultation for a nose job. I was actually surprised how easy it all was. I feel like the appointment went something like this:

Mom: “Doc, my daughter broke her nose years ago. We’d like to get it fixed.”

Doc: Looks at me. 

Doc: “We have an opening on [such-and-such date].”

Mom: “Great, let’s schedule it.”

Seriously. Maybe there was more to it. (Like a referral from my pediatrician that I was in good health and cleared for surgery. Right?)

Going into surgery, I had no idea what to expect. It was 2000. Did we even have Google back then? I remember right after being wheeled into the operating room, laying on the surgery table, getting poked and adjusted and whatever, and my doc walked in and I asked him “my brother asked if I will have any scars … will I?” I honestly had no idea how the surgery would be done. (Feel free to search “nose job surgery” or “rhinoplasty” on YouTube or something … I’m sure you will find LOTS of graphic videos … personally, I have no interest in watching them – I do now have a general idea how the surgery was done, but I don’t want to watch it, so I’m not even going to find a video to link to. There is a reason that despite my mom’s strong encouragement, I never became a nurse.)

Thanks to the wonders of general anesthesia, it felt like I blinked and suddenly I was in the recovery room. And miserable. My nose was packed with gauze, I felt nauseous, and there was a kid screaming on the other side of the room. I went home and couldn’t keep down Tylenol-3 so my mom gave me children’s Tylenol.

And I looked awesome.

This was a few days or maybe a week post-surgery. I looked MUCH worse immediately after surgery. Also, I would like to point out that I was wearing overalls. Why were those ever cool?

The absolute worst part of the whole experience? Other than going out in public looking like that? (I had to shop for school supplies … I moved into my freshman dorm maybe a week and a half after the surgery.)

Getting the packed gauze out of my nose.

It felt like that stuff was packed in tight, all the way behind my eyeballs. The worst of the worst part is they pull the gauze out of one nostril, and you start crying and feel like you want to puke and/or punch someone … and they have to do the other nostril. And this time you don’t have the bliss of ignorance.

The funny thing was, after all of that, my nose doesn’t look that much different. A little bit straighter, a little less bumpy, but more or less the same nose. Which was the goal – I didn’t want to look different, I just wanted to breathe through my nose. Which I can now. So, it was a success.

Since then, the only surgery I’ve had done was to remove four wisdom teeth. That was less traumatic. Having surgery on your face is no picnic. Personally, I would like to avoid surgery in any way I can for the rest of my life.

Have you ever had surgery? Did the experience suck? But was it worth it? 

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9 Comments on “Have you ever had surgery?”

  1. Wow, that seems like bad timing for surgery! And I think we all had those same overalls. So freakin’ cool! My only surgeries were wisdom teeth and a c-section (much worse than wisdom teeth).

  2. I broke my nose playing pick up football my freshman year in HS. I had surgery shortly after the accident. Pulling that gauze out was the most painful experience I ever had in my life. I stay away from all doctors and hospitals now.

  3. Yikes! That photo looks soooo painful! At least now you can breathe!!! My husband wants to get surgery on his nose so he can breathe better (especially at night). I’m not opposed, he just would be out of work for awhile. And working construction, where you don’t get PTO, that would be tough…

    I’ve only had surgery to get my wisdom teeth removed, which I planned during spring break my freshman year of college. While other 18 year olds were heading to Panama City, I was heading to the oral surgeon. I guess I’ve always been a nerd. Hahaha

    1. I think post-surgery, I was bed-ridden for a couple days, but after maybe 4-5 days, I was ready to leave the house. Of course, I still had the splint on my nose for maybe a week or so, and the bruising took up to two weeks to completely go away, but I could be mobile. And if he can’t breathe, there’s a chance insurance might cover a lot of the costs. I think it covered a lot of mine, but I was on my dad’s insurance, so I never saw the amounts.

      Also, I never went on a crazy spring break. I usually just went home, or my senior year, I visited my best friend / now sister-in-law in Texas, where she went to school.

  4. I’ve had sinus surgery twice, and you’re right — when they pull the packing out, it’s like they’re ripping your brain out through your nose. Ugh.

    Also, nice overalls. 🙂

    1. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll eventually need sinus surgery. I feel like I’m constantly congested. Always at night. Some nights I’m propped up with a ton of pillows. But I do NOT want to deal with recovery again.

  5. Ooo, I love hearing about stuff like this. I am not sure what is wrong with me. LOL. I have heard about rhinoplasty and how painful it is. ughhh, the gauze part sent shivers up my spine!

    Has a doctor ever said if they think the fainting is related?

    They had to put me out to remove 6 wisdom teeth – I am not sure if that counts as surgery?

  6. ooooomg, that looks painful! The only surgery i have had was on my mouth. I had some weird thing where the jaw bone was exposed on the inside of my mouth. Like, my gums just didn’t grow there. So they had to cut skin from the roof of my mouth and sew it onto the bottom. I was young, so i don’t remember terribly much, other than my mouth being shut and non operational for a week. I hope i never have to do it again

    I am afraid to have my wisdom teeth out…i am hoping they just never bother me…

    1. I had my wisdom teeth out a couple years after this, and it was a breeze in comparison 🙂 But I’m not sure if I would have felt the same if the wisdom teeth were done first.

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