It’s now been almost a month since my septoplasty. I haven’t noticed any change in my appearance, but Rieko thinks that my nose is slightly less twisted than before. In terms of breathing, the difference is huge. Before the surgery I couldn’t breathe at all through my left nostril, and my right nostril was often stuffed up because of my dust, mold, and pollen allergies. (This left me with the irrational fear that I might someday be taken prisoner and have my mouth duct taped shut, causing me to suffocate to death.) Now I can inhale a previously undreamed of stream of air into either of my nostrils, and even though I still suffer from off and on nasal congestion from my allergies, I can always basically breathe through my nose, one nostril or the other.
In terms of taste and smell, the difference is subtle. I think I notice scents a little quicker than before and perhaps the urinals in train stations stink a little more, but it’s hard to compare. I’ve been so busy with work in January that I haven’t had the space of mind to pay close attention to a change in the taste of food.
I’m pretty satisfied with the results, as when I sleep I breathe naturally through my nose, which I have read is really important. Mouth breathing has a number of negative effects upon your health over the long term, including less oxygen circulating in the blood, and even a weakening of the heart. I would definitely recommend a septoplasty for anyone with a deviated septum. Though traumatic, the risks of the surgery are almost nil. Of course the legions of un or under-insured in the States may find this difficult given the hideous corruption of the medical and HMO crisis in the States. (Of course if you come to Japan and work for a year or more, you automatically qualify for national insurance, which is inexpensive and based on your income.)