Real Patients: Surgery


I had one surgery in the year 2000, right before I retired. And I had three after that. One at the Air Force Medical Center at Wilford Hall. Another one at UAB, the last one in Birmingham, Alabama. By one of the country's best sinus specialists.

Because of my nose pretty much, sometimes when the doctors would look up my nose they would say it looked like cranberries in my nose. So, it's pretty much like I had no room to breathe in and out of my nose. Sometimes when I do the saline nasal rinse, the water would go past through one way but then it wouldn't pass through the other side because it was so clogged up.

They go in and clear out the sinus cavities and actually take some bone partitions and some other stuff out of there.

So, I guess they would go inside your nose and they would shave, like, you know, half the bone off, I guess to make it more narrow to where you can breathe more.

It took a little recovery, a couple weeks. You could feel that. They packed the sinus all the way up, especially when they go all the way to the frontal sinus. All the way up into here.

They put wedges in your nose. They're about four... four-inch wedges that sit up in your nose. And you have to have it in there for two weeks after you have your surgery. You can't blow your nose. And you pretty much can't do anything. You barely can breathe. You only can breathe in and out of your mouth.

The next step would have been the bronchial thermoplasty procedure. And so he asked me, was I interested in doing that.

The next step after the medications weren't working, they did a bronchial thermoplasty.

And he stated whenever I felt like I was ready to go through the procedures that he was willing. He thought I would be a really good candidate for it. So, I felt like I was and that's why we proceeded into the bronchial thermoplasty procedures.

And they go into your lungs. And they do the right lower lung and then the left side. And then the third procedure they do the upper.

The procedure itself was not really difficult to go through. There was really no prep. You know, you just couldn't eat or drink the night before 'cause they do sedate you. And then you go sit in a chair. The procedure's done sitting straight in a chair.

I guess it's like a little prong pretty much and it goes into the airway and it burns the muscle. And they put it on there for like I think five to 10 seconds. And pretty much it's supposed to smooth the muscle cells. And pretty much once you have like an asthma attack or anything like that, or a reaction, it's not supposed to make the muscles contract in your lungs. It's supposed to keep it open.

Doctor Ott had warned me that I may have like congestion. 'Cause some, if you read online it will tell you it can kind of spear up an asthma attack.

After the first procedure of the bronchial thermoplasty, you know, I had a lot of symptoms of wheezing and coughing. And pretty much all the symptoms of asthma but 10 times worse.

Third, fourth day, coughed up that plug. I felt a lot better. I kind of felt a lifting in my chest. And then when I did the last procedure for the upper two quadrants, again, three or four days, fourth or fifth day I coughed up that plug. And then I felt a lot better.

After the first procedure it took me I would say 14 and a half minutes to run a mile. And then after the second procedure it took me 10 minutes and 30 seconds to run the mile. So I kept seeing that progress throughout the surgeries.

So the bronchial thermoplasty is a one-time procedure. One time, three times you have it done but it's a lifetime procedure. You never have it done again. So, it will aid you for the rest of your life is the way I look at it.