How can something so big have such limited airflow?

I’m talking about my nose. I went to the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist today to see what we could do about my snoring. I’m told that it’s not unlike laying next to an entire camp of lumberjacks operating high powered chainsaws when I really get going and there’s been more than one occasion my poor wife has had to retreat to the living room couch where she can still hear me through closed doors. In other words, it’s a little on the loud side.

So I went, as I said, to see the Nose Doctor today to see if we could figure out what the hell my problem is. He opened with every Doctor’s favorite solution to every problem you’ll have this side of an icepick stuck in your eye socket: Lose some weight, fatass. OK, he said it a little more nicely than that, but I could tell he was thinking it. So then he did the tongue depresser trick where he sticks it just far enough in your throat to kinda trigger your gag reflex without actually sticking it far enough to actually make you retch and then he checked my ears to see if my brain was still where it was supposed to be and then he shoved what looked to me like bent needle-nose pliers into my nostrils to see how far he could stretch my nostril before I intentionally kicked him out of pain.

Turns out that at some point in my past I broke my nose. I have no idea when that might have been. Sure, I can remember knocking my schnoz with various objects over the years, never intentionally mind you, but I never thought I’d broken it. But he says I have and that’s part of my problem so he wants to perform surgery on my nose. Specifically he wants to perform a septoplasty which is a fancy way of saying he wants to forcibly straighten my broken nose. Here’s one brief summary of the operation:

    The basic principle in a septoplasty is to straighten the crooked portions of the septum. The operation is almost always done through the nose, without an external incision (there may be an incision if a rhinoplasty is also done at the same time). Badly deviated portions of the septum may be removed entirely, or they may be removed, readjusted, and reinserted into the nose.

Oh yeah, that sounds like fun.

Best of all it’s all done with a local anesthetic so I get to be awake and aware as he goes in, removes parts of my nose through my nostrils, shapes them into lovely and interesting new configurations and then shoves them back up inside my head. With my luck I’ll get a guy who used to carve ivory for a hobby and I’ll end up with a miniature “Wall of China” carved out of cartilage holding up my honker. I’m actually more concerned with the week off of work it’ll require and the fact that I’ll walk around with cotton gauze bunched up in my beak for a few days.

Can I just say that my confidence wasn’t boosted by having the Doc get interrupted in the middle of telling me what was involved because another patient who had been through this procedure was in to have her gauze removed and was bleeding profusely so they needed his assistance? Not to mention the resounding “OW! OW! OW!” that rang out during his absence followed by his muttering something that I’m assuming was supposed to be consoling to an obviously unhappy patient.

Yeah, I’m really looking forward to this.

But if it means I’m less of of an auditory experience for my wife when she’s trying to sleep then it’ll be worth it. Plus after we roto-root my nose we’re going to do a sleep study to see if I’m dumb enough to stop breathing while I’m sleeping. It just gets better and better, don’t it?

25 thoughts on “How can something so big have such limited airflow?

  1. Ask Michael Jackson how he keeps his nose looking so good. If you prefer little ones, he’s probably the best source to give you some tips on how to score one. I bet he knows how to blow one without causing to much damage to it too.

  2. Sounds like we’ll be getting a new picture on the website.  SEB’s goin’ [B]Hollywood[/B]. cool smile

    Ouch!  I can’t imagine breaking your nose and not knowing it.  When I broke mine I couldn’t stop crying and then the doctor shoved some liquid cocaine up my nose and it was all good.  Took a big ‘ol tuning fork and straightened it right out.  Unfortunately for my wife it didn’t do a damn thing to help my snoring though.

    Hope you’ve been through the battery of OTC remedies first.  Wouldn’t want them to go poking around and pull out your soul. shock

  3. Les, I’ve actually had this surgery. Deviated septum WITH a boney spur. My doc said it could have been something I was born with or happend when I was young and didn’t know it. (You know like when your dog or your sibling accidently wacks you in the face with their hard head.)

    My ENT is also a facial plastic surgeon. I wanted my nose to look the same and he said no problem. However they did put me completely out and I was in the hospital for 2 days. In addition to gauze packing (about 4.274 miles of it), I had a little metal splint stitched INSIDE my nose.

    My recovery went fine but taking out the packing was HELL!

    BTW, while I could breathe much better after the surgery it did NOT stop my snoring.

  4. I feel for you Les, and for the Mrs. too.  If you decide to do it, best of luck to you… it sounds nasty! 

    Y’know we’ve got the same issue here, and my poor husband is at the point you are; willing to go under the knife just so I can get a full night’s sleep.  I just can’t see his going through so much pain (especially if it ultimately doesn’t work).

    We’ve exhausted all the positioning, appliances, herbs and OTC meds, but the nasal roto-rooter job is just so scary.  I read about a laser surgery that removes the excess skin in the back of the throat, but even THAT sounds quite unpleasant. 

    While it’s a beautiful and amazing thing to have a husband who’s willing to suffer just to make his woman happy, it’s hard to imagine letting your man go through all that.  What the hell, sleep’s overrated anyway!  shut eye

  5. I had this surgery done a few years ago for similar reasons.  I was asleep though, which was much better probably.

    And yea, removing the packing is by far worst than the surgery *shivers*

    Sleep apnea isn’t fun, hope ya don’t have that.  G’luck Les. =)

  6. I’m sure this won’t completely solve the problem, like I said I was told to lose some weight as well, but it might help to lessen it I’m told. Ironically I can’t fall asleep on my back, only on my sides, so I start off in that position already. Though I’m sure I probably roll onto my back eventually.

    I’ve read recently that there’s a new proceedure that inserts some rigid supports under the skin of the back of the throat to help cut down on how much it flaps around when you’re sleeping. This stuff just makes life so much fun, eh?

  7. I’ve gotta put in a plug for the weight loss – I’ve lost 25 or so pounds in the last 6 months, and my wife says I snore far, far less than I used to. I don’t know if flab somehow accumulates in the schnozz, but losing some all over seemed to help me. It’s not like I turned into some sort of athlete, either – I’m still a moose by most standards.


  8. I’m currently around the 275 mark, down from an all-time high of 296 back when I got married. I was down to 263 for awhile, but managed to put 12 pounds back on somehow.

    I just had a physical done so I’d have an idea of what kind of shape I’m in on the hopes of motivating myself to exercise as that’s really my biggest issue. Anne and I have been trying to get into walking daily, but we’ve not been very good about it lately. Still, we keep trying.

  9. I’m running in the mid-230’s now, at 6’2”. Wifey and I started Atkinsing last September. She’s continued to be religious about it (and has dropped over 40 pounds, and looks freaking fantastic, and snores less, too), while I’ve settled in to a comfortable minimal-sugar, minimal-bread routine that is easy for me to follow. If it ever stops freaking raining, we’ll get out on our bikes; I’ll be pulling did jr. in a trailer, so that ought to drag a few pound off, too.

    Stay away from them office donuts, aka engineer pellets…


  10. Ieesh!  I feel for you.  The hard part is that every doctor feels that their specialty is “the answer.”  Surgeons want to cut, chiropractors want to crack, the sleep specialist will want you to sleep with a pressurized mask on your face (I am not making this up!), GP’s pass out pills, naturopaths want you to get in touch with your inner crystal power, and somebody, somewhere will want to pray with you about it.

    It would be worth losing the weight first and see what that does. I lost 55 lbs and that did help with the snoring.  Still have quite a few pounds to go.  I didn’t do any special “diet” like Atkins, etc. I was in physical therapy for a different problem and just made some really obvious changes to my diet based on the book “Eat, Drink, and be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating”

    I took 3 years to lose the weight on the theory that if I lost weight fast it would be by changes that I would not be able to sustain.  I did have to start exercising a lot more which worked out pretty well because now I can go up stairs – even lots of stairs. 

    Best of luck!

  11. Yet another vote for the weight loss—it got rid of my snoring (I lost 90).  Then again, if you really do have structural problems in the nasal region, that might well be contributing to it.

  12. Why do you think I posted about it on my blog? grin

    Seriously, though, I may do that. Depending on other factors it may be something I put off until next year depending on how well my wife holds up dealing with my snoring.

  13. Your Dad is on a C-pap machine and fights it daily so I’m with the second opinion and lose weight crowd .  But Do what you feel you have to do.

  14. I’ve read recently that there’s a new proceedure that inserts some rigid supports under the skin of the back of the throat to help cut down on how much it flaps around when you’re sleeping.

    Y’know I think a friend of mine mentioned seeing something on the news about that, too.  I’ll have to investigate!  Maybe not as painful as the roto-rooter… and probably nowhere near as invasive.

    My brother and one of my co-workers are both using the CPAP machine and swear it works wonders.  I wonder how noisy it is though… what say you, Momma?  My problem is that I’m a light sleeper, which is why the old man’s snoring is an issue.  If the CPAP is noisy, it’ll keep me awake anyway, and hubby will have to sleep with something on his face (which I imagine will go over like a turd in a punch bowl!) for no good reason.

    Life sucks as an adult.  Every time you turn around you’re having to choose the “lesser evil” out of a bunch of shitty choices!

  15. I had my septum repaired in early January and though the week-long recovery wasn’t a lot of fun, the procedure itself was trouble-free and the results have been terrific.  It’s nowhere near as bad as you may think, and let me tell you: the deviation in MY formerly broken nose was SEVERE, so much so that I could barely get any airflow through my right nostril.

    So go for it!  It’s worth the trouble.

  16. I hope you can find something to help your snoring .  It can be very frusrating.

    There are some tips in this Stop Snoring Ebook that may help.

    Good luck.

  17. Les, I agree with DOF and Lisa – *definitely* get a second opinion. AND a third opinion. I come from a long line of “shake the walls” snorers, and I can tell you that when my uncle was told that straightening his septum would solve the problem, he immediately had the surgery . . . and it did NOTHING.  Useless and unnecessary surgery in his case.

    Just my .02

  18. Nice bit of comment spam there, Natasha. Very cleverly done. I’ve removed the links as a result.

    Anyway, as you can probably tell from the lack of follow up entries on this one, I never had the surgery done. By the time I got psyched up enough to do it I got laid off and lost my insurance.

    I may yet have it done now that I’m back to being insured, but not because I think it’ll eliminate my snoring. My deviated septum is still an annoying problem simply for the hell it plays with my sinuses and breathing in general.

  19. . . . and one of these days, I’ll remember to look at the goddamn DATES on the previous 3 or 4 posts before jumping in.  red face

  20. You said it!

    Sometimes I read a post, think it’s recent, reply… hen realize that it’s 8 months frikkin old!

    Oohh…. foot in my mouth!

    Les, glad you took out the flags. Surfing is so fast, it’s unimaginable!

  21. Les;  Did your doctor rule out obstructive sleep apnea? 

    OB; I have a new CPAP machine and it is nearly silent.  The new CPAP machine replaces a 12 year old CPAP machine that made some noise, although it was still much quieter than my snoring (so I have been told).

  22. Checking for sleep apnea was next on the list after getting my nose straightened out (as I mentioned in the original entry) so, no, it’s not happened yet.

    We’re planning on hitting the doctor’s office soon for general checkups/physicals now that we’re back under an insurance plan so I’m sure all of this will be revisited shortly.

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