Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Forcible Nasal Penetration

March 2009May 2009August 2009

My five-year-old son Jalen and I were watching TV a few weeks ago when
this odd spot for Symbicort – coincidentally, one of my assorted asthma medications – aired. This led to the greatest conversation I'll ever have with my son.

Me: That's the medicine that I use, J. I need it because I have asthma.

Jalen: [exasperated] I know! You ALWAYS tell us you have asthma.

Mrs. Bootleg nearly peed her panties when she heard that. My son's insensitive retort confirmed, once and for all, that everyone I know is sick n' tired of my asthma-infused anecdotes. My friends and family are ready for me to move on, it would seem.

The events of 5/11 are too fresh in my mind to ever forget. Besides, yesterday's medical escapade was only tangentially related to my asthma, so enjoy the free read and quit complaining, Jalen!

7:30 AM - In one of the most surreal moments of my life, I'm actually reviewing old TBG posts and taking notes so that I'm prepared to discuss my recent medical history in detail with the ENT specialist. According to, uhh…myself, I asked my primary care physician for referral to an ENT way back in January 2009. He insisted that I needed a pulmonary specialist, instead. Ten months later, I had my ENT referral. How much longer will the medical industry's "jerk around their clientele at an insane mark-up" approach be legal? And, when will some local Prostitution Union sue on the grounds of "gimmick infringement"?

10:00 AM - I arrive at the health care facility 15 minutes early for my appointment. I attempt to check-in, but end up stuck behind an angry old lady who's complaining to the receptionist. Seems her appointment time was "15 minutes ago". Seems no one has bothered to tell her that the doctor was running late. And, when the receptionist asked which doctor she was there to see…seems her and I are seeing the same guy.

10:01 AM - We've been told the doctor is running 30 minutes behind schedule. Other than African-American hair stylists, who falls 30 minutes behind before lunchtime? Suddenly, however, I remember that my cell phone has full internet capabilities. The next 45 minutes should fly right by.

10:02 AM - Suddenly, I remember that no bars = no coverage = no internet.

10:45 AM - With the help of an old Entertainment Weekly - I'm very disappointed in you, David Letterman – enough time is killed to get me inside to see the doctor. I go over the major talking points in my head, fully expecting to be rushed right out of the room so that the doctor can keep his two-hour, three martini lunch get back on schedule.

10:50 AM - The doctor shows me my CAT scan. With the combined technology of freeze-frame and (possibly) strobe lights, I get a look – segment by segment – at my various sinus paths. My favorite medical revelation: "See these open areas in front, Aaron? They're supposed to be filled with air. In your case, they're completely filled with soft tissue and mucus." Even my diseases are more thorough at their jobs than me.

10:55 AM - The doctor asks if he can take a look inside my nose. I idiotically assumed there would only be some head-tilting and a flashlight involved. I do my part by nailing the head-tilt – not too far back, but far enough to see up in there. The doctor then says, "Let's numb you up." Wait, wha…? spissht…spissht… Both of my nostrils were sprayed with a moderate anesthetic.

10:57 AM - Now, I don't know how much time most of my doctor's patients need for the numbness to commence, but it's safe to say I needed more than 120 seconds. The doctor pulls out a thin metal rod with a teeny little light at the end and shoves it up my nose. WAY up my nose. And…I can feel it. WAY feel it. Like, under my skin in the space between my eyes, at the bottom of my forehead and over my eyes. "Excruciating" doesn't begin to describe it.
Here's a short film that sums up the experience.

11:00 AM - As the anesthetic drips from my nose down the back of my throat, the numbness finally kicks in big time – after the doctor is out of my nose, naturally. For a few minutes, I couldn't talk as the pins n' needles sensation spread into my esophagus. This was unlike anything I've ever experienced. The doctor must've picked up on my freaked-out expression subtle cues of concern and offered me some water…

11:00 AM - …which I promptly gagged right back up. "That happens sometimes", the doctor says after it happened.

11:05 AM - With my gift of gab returned to me, the doctor and I agree to one last-ditch attempt to heal my sinuses with steroids. My old friend prednisone didn't work when I was on it six months ago, but the next step would be surgery.

And, I'm really in no hurry to find out what's MORE invasive than the Total Recall moment I'd just went through.


SHough610 said...

It could be worse, imagine if this was something with your butt and they had to get this invasive.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I can only hope I'm blogging long enough for the colonoscopy diary. And, I'm still reasonably certain that the camera up my nose will still be a bazillion times worse.