I put on a medical-grade mask and drove into San Francisco today to get a checkup. It’s been over two years since my second surgeon evicted The Squatter, and what with all the events in my immediate family (plus the pandemic) I haven’t done any follow-up.
The good news: my left maxillary sinus appears clear. Not particularly irritated, and no suspicious new tenants.
It’s fascinating to look at the sinuses side by side (as it were) with a scope connected to an external monitor. The doctor gave her best guided tour of the right side (control) and the left (surgical site). Sinuses are weird: you go through a crazy forest of mustache and nose hair, and enter into a strange cavern that would challenge any serious spelunker. At least on the right side.
On the left, the whole of one turbinate is missing, and the remaining area has been fused and smoothed over, like a sheet of drywall you patched after your college roommate punched a hole through it.
From the perspective of the scope, my left sinus is an underground cavern that could accommodate guided tours every 30 minutes.
The downside of all that space is it creates a cavity that allows all the mucus to pool during the day. Believe it or not, your body is continually producing mucus, which it needs to keep the breathing passages lubricated and deter would-be invasive germs.
For folks with allergies, they get more mucus than needed. Same for very dry weather.
I don’t have environmental allergies. What I do get is a release of mucus when I hang my head in a certain way, especially later in the day. The right sinus has baffles and locks and customs official to stop that snot. The left… not so much.
The doctor said that I could explore some additional corrective surgery, but that would be terribly intricate and painstaking work.
Better just to irrigate and keep a box of tissues handy.
Either way, it beats having a tumor near my brain.
The mucus must flow.