Saturday, March 14, 2015

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself (and also cars)

Stuff is scary once you have a kid.

I'm undergoing outpatient surgery this Monday for sinus polyps that were discovered in the far back of my throat + nose area after over a year of not being able to breathe through one side of my nose (pregnancy is weird and seems to have triggered their growth back in November 2013).  I felt like I had a bad cold and my throat was half-blocked, but nothing could be done while I was pregnant, and then I was trying to breastfeed so I was still SOL, but now -- now I am free to do all the surgery my little heart desires (which is exactly NONE SURGERY thanks, but apparently that's not an option if I want to breathe).  I still have a deviated septum and they're going to try to fix that on Monday too, but I'm mostly concerned about the polyps because they're the main issue here.  Obviously having weird grape-clusters of polyps is in and of itself a bit disconcerting, but I was assured they should be noncancerous.

Anyway though, it's an outpatient procedure, I'm taking the next week off work (goodbye precious PTO...I'd better enjoy the hell out of my week on the couch with a packed nose and Netflix!), and I'm no longer breastfeeding so I can take whatever painkillers they prescribe.  It sounds about as intense of getting wisdom teeth out.  And yet I am terrified.

I know I should statistically be way more terrified of getting in my car every day with Freddie -- car crashes happen all over the place, whereas you don't hear about people dying from outpatient nose surgery all the time, right?  I passed a terrible car crash the other day while coming home from a funeral where the car was flipped over and there was clearly a carseat in the car.  Cars scare the shit out of me, yet every day I get in the car, usually with my daughter, and we do what we need to do.  And sometimes I take her out when I don't even need to.  Those times when I take her places that aren't 100% necessary are the times I worry most that that day will be the time something terrible happens.

Maybe it's the routine nature of using a car (or Death Carriage, as they should really be called) that causes me to not have a total freakout every day before my commute to drop her off, then go to work.  That and the lack of alternatives -- where I live, there is no metro system, I can't bike to my job (I used to in Roanoke -- not all the time, but a fair amount of the time when weather permitted), I definitely can't walk there.  It's Death Carriage or Bust.

But surgery -- I could just not have surgery!  It's not like I *need* to do this, one part of my mind insists.  I could solve the problem of fear by eliminating the experience!  But I do need to breathe.  My all-mouth-breathing-all-the-time method over the past year+ has done a terrible number on my teeth (apparently all the mouth-breathing in my sleep has been bad for my gums).  It's done a terrible number on my ability to smell and taste things to the fullest extent.  I sound like I'm slurring words together when I talk fast, because my throat closes in on itself (or rather, the polyps move around weirdly and choke me a tiny bit, but it FEELS like my throat is closing in on itself).  I AM A DELIGHT.

So I'm having the surgery.  I'm scared to death of something catastrophic and unexpected happening -- someone fucks up somehow and suddenly my daughter doesn't have a mama (and my husband doesn't have a wife, and I don't have a life).  But I'm also scared of never being able to breathe easily again.  One of these things is worse than the other, obviously.  But action is better than inaction.  I can't live my life in fear of unlikely bad things happening.  I struggle enough fearing the rational fears I face -- Death Carriages, bathtubs, that sort of thing.  I have to just power through this and look ahead to the fun nose-packed week I have ahead of me, when at least I will be awake again, happy to be alive, in pain and eating chocolate pudding.

Bonus of this surgery: everyone in my life can heave a sigh of relief that THANK GOD, now Hayley will finally talk about something other than her sinuses!  


  1. Good luck! Let us know if you need anything. Outpatient or not, surgery is still scary. Being able to breathe again will be worth it!

    1. Aw, thank you! And agreed -- I can't wait to smell some hyacinths!

  2. My husband had this surgery a few years ago after suffering pain from polyps and sinus issues for several years previously. It was definitely a tough few days/week after the surgery and then he pretty much felt no different than he had before the surgery for a couple of months. Then, when the swelling went down and healing progressed, I was like he was a new person. Scary, yes. Worth it in the end, definitely yes! Good luck! (And enjoy the Netflix and chocolate pudding!)