A little over a month ago I underwent a functional endoscopic sinus surgery. I found out that I needed it so badly based on the CT scan taken before the surgery.
I could only wonder how I was able to cope with it for so long. Perhaps it was because I just thought I had sleeping problems and taking 5 mg of Zoldem would solve it. It did for quite some time, years in fact, and what helped me contend with it, I guess, is that I am an active person – meaning I want to move, I want to be doing something, like following a daily work or physical exercising regimen and also keeping up with my daily mental drill of reading and doing crossword puzzle with my wife.
In fact before rising from bed, upon waking up, I do stretches to prepare my body and limbs for the rigors of the day. Included in these discipline is the breathing exercise – doing it from my mouth and/or nostrils. What I often do is close one nostril and breathe on the other, and vice versa, just to see if the passages are clear. I could not really tell for sure if something was obstructing my left nostril because somehow I could still breathe through it.
But I started to have doubts, so much so that I carried with me all the time an inhaler, not necessarily the renown Vicks inhaler, as there are inhalers made in Thailand with different scents, just so it gives me the assurance and confidence that I can still smell it in both of my nostrils.
My doubts got proven finally by the time I noticed that I could easily blow mucous from my right nostril, but nothing came out from my left nostril. Instead the slimy thing from my left nostril gets stuck inside and I had to remove it using a handkerchief manipulated by my pinky finger. I know my condition was not getting any better, that in fact getting worse, as I could smell foul odor coming from within.
At that instant I was trying to recollect the inconveniences and fears I had had brought about by the abnormality I was having with my respiratory system. I mentioned about the ubiquitous inhaler I had and the ever present sleeping pills which actually quelled my fears every time day turns to night time. Suffice to say that I always dreaded night time because that is the time when I had a never ending battle with the demon inside me – of not being ablr to have a good and restful night because of my breathing anomaly. I was in denial of my breathing anomaly, but attributed my sleepless nights instead to stress, being a light sleeper, of thinking so many thoughts, and by being just an insomniac.
Looking back now I’ve really been an insomniac for the wrong reason. Fearing that I would be addicted to Zoldem, I tried taking alternative medication, including chamomile tea, but to no avail. I find myself almost always going back to taking Zoldem.
Getting exasperated and feeling now the discomfort and self-disgust of cleaning my left nostril all the time in public, I finally decided to consult an EENT doctor. This, after distinctly noticing I was losing my sense of smell and the appetite to eat. I also was feeling sluggish and easily getting cramps in my legs, which made me let-up a little on my exercise – riding on the stationary bike or doing an hour of brisk walking around our subdivision. Sweeping the yard, feeding the dogs and the lovebirds has always been part of my daily chores.
2019 novel coronavirus
While all this anxiety was going on in my life, a more dreadful turn of events was going on in China when in late December 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Just from December 31, 2019 through January 3, 2020, a total of 44 case-patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology were reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. During this reported period, the casual agent was not identified.
This news gave me more the urge to see the EENT doctor immediately as I was already strongly doubting the efficacy of my own immune system. The doctor did not like what he saw and gave me antibiotic good for two weeks. He also prescribed a powdered medicine for nasal and sinus irrigation. After two weeks nothing changed as he still could see pus inside. He again gave me another week of antibiotic while I continued with the flushing, but this time he recommended a CT scan of my sinuses as he was already certain I had polyps. His apprehension was confirmed by the CT scan results – the left sinus was clogged up and the findings were suggestive of a sinunasal polyp.
The functional endoscopic sinus surgery was the best thing that ever happened to me after my two knee replacements in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The timeliness of it could not be overemphasized, what with the formerly unknown cases of pneumonia in Wuhan being identified now as a new type (novel) of coronavirus that has become a pandemic causing health havoc throughout the whole world. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name given to the 2019 novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is the name given to the disease associated with the virus. SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Bottom line is that I can easily breathe now. My respiratory system is back to normal and I can sleep well now sans Zoldem and other alternative sleeping pills. The infection is gone and I could no longer detect any foul smell coming from my left nostril. I don’t feel sluggish anymore and the cramps are gone. I still do my stretches before rising up from bed and so with my breathing exercises and I look forward to a satisfying brisk walking every other day in the afternoon,
But what is even more gratifying is that I could feel my immune system strongly back to fight the infections that may try to inflict me one time or another and I don’t fear confronting the coming of the evening anymore.
What a remarkable difference the functional endoscopic sinus surgery has made in these trying and concerning times of the COVID-19 pandemic.