Saturday, September 08, 2007

I'm back -- with boogers!

Hi folks. Sorry I haven't been updating this. I've been answering most people's emails -- more than half of them, anyway -- but I just haven't had the energy to post here.

If I'm true to form, I'll probably go a long time before posting again here. You're certainly welcome to email me (azureus at harborside dot com).

On to today's letter, which could be titled: TECHNICOLOR BOOGERS.

A brief history: I had extensive endoscopic sinus surgery done 8 days ago--all four sinus cavities were cleared out, turbinates resectioned, and windows were cut. My head had so many polyps they were either going to start going down my throat or out my nose. My CT Scan was completely grey in color, which concurred with my inability to breathe through my nose or smell. I've been back to the dr once, and he used the "sucker" and got a lot of mucous out of the way, and he is having me do saline sinus rinses multiple times a day now.

My question: What is all the junk coming out of my nose? Why the rainbow of color, size, thickness, and consistency? Today I have had clear, red/bloody, yellow-brown, and brown; sometimes like normal boogers and snot, and other times like really thick snot and mucous that has sat around too long. The one that shocked me that I'm really interested in was somewhat was 1.5" long x 0.5" wide x 0.25" thick chunk of red, white, clear, and yellow, and it came out when I blew my nose. (Yes, I measured it) It was similar to the consistency of raw chicken fat or something equally gross. Then a few minutes later, I blew my nose again and the same sized and consistency chunk came out of the other nostril. I felt much better and finally felt like my nose was really cleared out after these came out, but I couldn't believe something that big and solid was in there. My doc said he didn't use packing, but I wonder if these two were really something natural or if it was a dissolvable packing type of thing? And is that an abnormal size chunk to come out...could I possibly blow out nasal tissue? What about the turbinate resection...could I have blown out cilia and membranes? Any thoughts? And, lastly, is there a record for having the largest boogers?

What struck me right away is that you had your operation only 8 days ago. Eight days is nothing in this business! Of course you're still producing wild mucus. I would expect it. Don't worry about blood-red, black, brown, or yellow. It's GREEN you need to beware, since that would indicate an infection.

But I'm jumping the gun. I should begin, first, with the usual disclaimer: such questions are always more appropriate for your doctor, rather than some dude who has never examined you and who doesn't know precisely what operation was done. My response is an unreliable guess based on the information you've provided me. An educated guess, perhaps, but still unreliable. You ought to talk to your doc about this, or at least share your concerns with his nurse.

Now, on to my thoughts in the matter:

Your doc might have used dissolvable packing. He's old school (I can tell, since you said he resected your turbinates and created windows -- if that means what I think it means, your doc is probably in his 50s or 60s), so to him, "packing" may mean "strip gauze." If he left any gelfoam in your sinus cavities, this stuff can come out looking like tissue.

Short answer: this early post-op, don't fret about anything except green mucus. Two other things which would prompt a call to the doctor: copious watery drainage, which could indicate a leak of cerebrospinal fluid, or signs of infection (facial pain, redness, fever, severe headache, stiff neck -- any of those).

Otherwise, keep irrigating like crazy and you should do well. Good luck.


PS: the nasal and sinus cavities are HUGE. Much bigger than the nose on your face. There's plenty of room in there for enormous boogers.