Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Along the Road to Recovery

First off: I'd like to thank you all for reading this blog and your well-wishes before my surgery. I do a miserable job responding to your comments and it looks like there are a lot more of y'all who started reading this right as I go from a "peak to a valley," but I truly appreciate your support and readership.

I feel like I could begin and end this post simply by writing "surgery sucks," but, well that obviously doesn't paint much of a picture. Nor does it convey how much I'm missing the ring.

Then again, a one-sentence summary probably would read more along the lines of "it's not the surgery that sucks - it's the 6-week recovery after that sucks."

Despite my pre-anesthesia jitters, surgery went well. And by well, of course, I mean that I didn't die, didn't have to stay overnight, and was only mildly miserable when I got wheeled out of the hospital that afternoon.

By the time I went to bed, I had graduated from jello and pudding to cheese and painkillers. The next morning, I had a doctor's appointment to remove the packing and clean my stitches - at which time I also was informed that my nose "was awful...absolutely horrible once we got in there" and that the damage was far more extensive than they had originally diagnosed. My doctor informed me that he had to do two additional procedures that involved grafting cartilage to the front and bridge of my nose to keep it from collapsing in the future, whether I got popped again or not. Essentially, there was so much wreckage in there that on top of fixing my deviated septum, the doctor felt it was necessary to re-build my nose from the inside out. This obviously made the procedure far more extensive and invasive than originally planned, but was done in order to give me the proper care as the doctor saw fit, and I'm glad he decided to do it while I was already opened up.

As he explained how I'd need to care for all the extra, unexpected stitching, he removed my packing. I am by no means squeamish, but this was far and away the most horrifyingly disgusting, gruesome thing I've ever experienced. I wouldn't doubt that there are still imprints on the armrest from my death grip as he pulled out all the...bleh. Just, bleh. The things that came out of my nose...

Once you get inside it, the human body is gross...

My surgical drainage lasted a few days, but the pain subsided quickly. For the next few days, I was more uncomfortable and inconvenienced rather than swollen or in pain, which was encouraging. By the end of the week I still had significant internal swelling, but I already felt like I was breathing easier than I had been before the procedure.

My 2-week check-up and cleaning went well. My stitches have already begun to dissolve on their own, my wounds are clean and healing nicely, and I've been green-lighted to resume workouts and gentle nose blowing. (NEVER take it for granted that you can blow your nose - especially in the gnarly New England winters when it runs every time you step outside.)

I've eased my way back into "full," strenuous workouts and am feeling good. I think I played my cards perfectly wearing myself out pre-surgery and making sure I was "due" for a few days rest anyway. If you squint at the half-full glass, I kind of only really missed one week of training. It was worth it though - through all the discomfort, I wanted first and foremost to do this right and be done with it, and thus far everything's healing beautifully.

And, more importantly, I can breathe again. Easily and fully breathe. Which is a remarkable feeling once you've gone so long and forgotten what it's like to fill your lungs with air and scents and all sorts of nasal goodness.

Since my surgery, I have not been to my boxing gym, nor have I even gloved up to work the heavy bag at my "normal" gym. This has been done intentionally. Not only do I miss the ring terribly, but, well, I'm just not ready to go back. I don't have headgear with a face guard for regular sparring, I'm out of boxing shape, I don't have a "plan" in place to get back to competing and, frankly, I want to enjoy a few weeks off where I'm fully healthy before I dive back in.

If you're going to go, go all out. I'm not a defensive fighter, so I want to make sure I'm comfortable and at peace with my "new face" before squaring off again. I won't be effective if all I'm thinking about is how to not have my nose get grazed by a glove. Similarly, I'm not a wannabe competitor, so I don't want to rush back and aimlessly plod through half-ass workouts. Like my recovery, when I get back to boxing I want to get back at it "right."

And right now I'm still technically recovering. Just biding my time along the long road to recovery...

1 comment:

Paul said...

Glad everything is healing well, Jon. The break from training and competition will only intensify your desire and your focus when you return.

Recharge the batteries, and the atomic power will be back inside your gloves sooner than you think!