A few years ago I was sent to an ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor) for allergies and was considering getting my tonsils out. However, I also had a lifetime of trouble breathing out of my nose. My first appointment was with a doctor I refused to see again because he was such an ass. He called me a wimp because I passed out when he inserted a tube up my nose. (While it’s true I am a wimp, he left the room when I passed out and had the nurse attend to me.) He also suggested an invasive procedure in which part of my bone would be shaved. As he described the procedure and I was still at half-mast, I told him he didn’t need to explain the gory details or he’d be cleaning up my lunch off of his shoes. His bedside manner probably wasn’t too far off from House.
My intuition nudged me to get a second opinion, so I did. The next ENT I visited said that the first doctor’s recommendation wasn’t necessary – that it wasn’t my nasal bone that was the problem – it was due to hypertrophied (enlarged) turbinates, located inside the nose and often cause problems with allergy sufferers. I was scheduled for a turbinate coblation the following week, prescribed a valium, and told it’s very simple and would not hurt.
(One thing I suggest is that if you are planning to have a turbinate coblation and you have a weak stomach, do not view videos beforehand! My first mistake was looking up this procedure online and finding a video on Youtube that almost made me puke.)
Not wanting the valium to wear off too quickly, I took half of the valium before I left the house, then the other half on my way to the doctor’s office (yes, I had a designated driver). But my nerves seemed to overtake the valium’s effects. I probably should have left coffee of the breakfast menu, too (oops!).
The first part of the procedure included shoving a tissue filled with a numbing spray up my nose and leaving it there for a good 10-15 minutes. Next thing I know, this big wand thing is being shoved up my nose. It didn’t hurt. Much. Yes it did. It stung like a bee. I squirmed. My eyes bugged out. I thought to myself, You S.O.B., you said it wouldn’t hurt! I saw blood. I passed out. Thankfully, it was all over within 10 minutes, even though it seemed three times that.
To help with the healing, I started doing a saline sinus rinse after a few days. (I prefer the NeilMed brand, and it’s different from a neti pot.) Once the scabs healed, I could breathe again!
I hadn’t realized how badly I needed this procedure and wished I had it sooner. I started sleeping better because I could breathe better. When allergy season picks up, I continue to use the NeilMed sinus rinse as needed and it seems to help do the job. It’s been a few years, and I’m wondering if I may have to do it again. One of the ways that I determine if my turbinates are enlarged is by lightly pulling/pressing my cheeks near my nostrils as if to separate them. If I can breathe better while doing that, then I know something in there is swollen.