Empty Nose Syndrome Myth
A few weeks ago, I logged onto my website and scanned my blog stats. Under Search Engine Terms, I read the words “Empty Nose Syndrome Myth.” A bomb detonated in the center of my head.
After my surgery, when my nose and sinuses were raw and scabbed, and I was smothering, I found the Empty Nose Syndrome Association website: http://www.emptynosesyndrome.org/. There, I discovered several hundred victims of turbinate reduction surgery. I spoke with dozens of others struggling to breathe, searching for moisturizers, sleep aids, treatments, research, hope. I was stunned to hear stories of unsympathetic ENT’s, and ENT’s who don’t believe in Empty Nose Syndrome. That just seemed impossible. How could they not believe in it? After months of research, I came to understand that ENT’s who don’t believe in Empty Nose Syndrome choose their belief in opposition to substantial medical literature.
Between scouring the Internet, I paced my apartment, my mouth torn open in a primal scream, the pain unfit for human consumption. I passed out for a couple of hours each night only to be wakened by the blazing pain and suffocation of my life. Empty Nose Syndrome is like running a marathon that never ends. Soon there is no strength, not even fumes, but you have to keep running. It’s your life. They shoot horses, don’t they?
No such compassion for human beings. Not even much recognition of the suffering. In my case, I won’t say there was none. Most of the ENT’s I saw acknowledged the scabs, the loss of turbinate tissue, and even the Empty Nose Syndrome. But they acted as if it was no big deal. As I sat before the first one, yowling like a cat on fire, he appeared to be checking the tan on his ankles. It was December; Fake bake or Florida. My mind was scrambling with pleas: Do something! Help me! What’s going to become of me?
Call the medical board! Call the police!
He gave me a squeeze bottle for nasal irrigations, a prescription for infection, and an appointment to return in five weeks. I wondered what in the name of Compassion he thought I was going to do for the next five weeks. It was like telling a woman whose hair is on fire, “Alrighty then. See you back here in five weeks.”
This was better than the next ENT who pronounced my mucosa “pink and healthy,” in spite of the shoe leather dryness, infection and scabs. This one, I believe would have said there is no such thing as Empty Nose Syndrome. I also believe he would have said there is no such thing as dirt, or water, had the pronouncement been expedient, and helpful to his own, or a colleague’s, career.
Empty Nose Syndrome is the verifiable result of the surgical removal of turbinate tissue—which is bone covered in mucosa. Turbinates are the inner organ of the nose. They are the necessary form which serves the indispensable function of breathing. There are cases where turbinates become enlarged and interfere with breathing. I suspect these cases are few. I believe that hundreds of thousands of unnecessary turbinate reductions are done each year for the fee. As I said, Empty Nose Syndrome is a verifiable condition. We have CT scans these days to show what is, or is not, inside of a body. See below the CT scans of a normal nose, and three in which turbinates have been surgically removed. What does the bottom image look like to you? Does that look like a Myth or does it look like an Empty Nose? How do you think that guy feels? How do you think he breathes?
How can ENT’s say that there is no such thing as Empty Nose Syndrome? It’s akin to saying that a man whose leg’s been amputated isn’t missing a leg. These trained professionals surely know that Empty Nose Syndrome exists. They see the physical evidence. They see the suffering and turn a blind eye. Careers and income are at stake.
Myth is what doctors create when they use their M.D.’s or their D.O.’s to spin an illusion to cover up truth. Myth is the fairy tale that what modern medicine has to offer is always good. Myth is the denial that patients are sometimes harmed by doctors, not by accident but by greed.
I don’t know that an ENT made that search: Empty Nose Syndrome Myth. But I have never heard of anyone other than an ENT calling Empty Nose Syndrome a myth. Before ENS happened to me, I had never heard of it at all.