They don’t call it “ear, nose and throat” for nothing

20 Oct

One day, back in 1994, the invention of Breathe Right strips hit the shelves. It was a god-send to me. I put my first one on and I could Breathe. Right. For a change.

Back when I was a road warrior and traveling every week, me and my little strippers would check into our hotel and rest comfortably. There were times when I would be in some podunk town back East (no offense East coasters…) and I would get all settled in, iron my dress slacks, set the clock, eat me some room service grub and then get ready to turn in only to discover… I ran out of my Breathe Right strips.

It was a calamity. I couldn’t sleep without them. I was quickly turning into a junky and knew I had to score me some so I could get some rest.

I’d throw my clothes back on, go to the lobby and get directions to the nearest drug store.

Which, in podunk-ville, was never nearby. It was usually “oh across the freeway, turn left and then go right at the second light” which always would confuse me. Since I never drive. And hate driving in podunk little towns.

At 10p local time, I’d show up just as they’re about to close, racing down the aisle to get my fix of nasal band-aids. I’d feel like a junky, but I didn’t care. I needed it.

For fourteen years I was addicted. It was a drug. Toxic even. Like most junkies, the signs of abuse were only noticeable when you looked close enough. The bridge of my nose suffered the most – if you looked closely, you could see the ghost of my Breathe Right strip past pulling my nasal valves open.

Pretty huh?

So one day, two years ago. I quit. Cold turkey. Withdrawals were pretty much to be expected, but I had had worse when I quit smoking. I could handle this. Right?

Except, I couldn’t sleep.

It was horrible. I couldn’t breathe. But I couldn’t Breathe Right anymore either. I mean, the skin on my nose was almost permanently imprinted. I couldn’t give up. I would prevail!! After all, tomorrow is another day. Or whatever your slogan is.

For the sake of brevity, let’s just say, I found a way to get through the tough times. But after a year and half, I couldn’t take it anymore. Doctor, doctor, it sucks when I can’t breathe at night…

He says he’s got an awesome set of tools and can fix it. He would have to take some cartilage from my ear, and some fatty tissue from my scalp to repair it but I’d breathe again. Are you kidding me? Would he have to cut my hair?? Really, isn’t breathing overrated anyway? I mean, I’ve lived this long without a good night’s sleep…  ‘Cept I was desperate at this point and knew I had to fix it or get a fix.

So I opted to fix it. As soon as I wake up in recovery, I touch my ears. I’m not even awake, but all I can think of is “did Tonto take my ear and scalp?” Nope – ok, exhale – through my mouth since my nose was nowhere near being useful. But my ears were intact. The nurse was watching and actually laughed. She understood perfectly.

At least I think she was laughing at my ear grab. It wasn’t until later when I got home and the anesthesia wore off that I realized I had what looked like a tampon stuffed up my left nostril and the string taped to my cheek. Had I seen that, it would have freaked the freak right out of me.

If Dr Van Gogh had cut off my ear, would I be so glib you think? Would I still think all of this worth it with a squishy ear and some missing skin? All’s I can say is, thank GAWD I don’t have to question this more closely… For now at least.

P.S. I’m writing this 1 day post op after taking some Oxy and maybe sipping a little bit of wine. Just saying.

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One Response to “They don’t call it “ear, nose and throat” for nothing”

  1. Nicki October 22, 2010 at 4:51 am #

    I love your storytelling. Glad you can breathe and aren’t horribly disfigured.

    Big hugs!

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