Last Monday at 9:45 am I sneezed. I few second later I tasted blood in the back of my throat. I retched and ran for the bathroom where I puked a mouthful of blood into the toilet. While leaning over, blood started running out of both nostrils in a steady stream. A moment later a film of blood covered my eyes rendering me partially blind. Blood was seeping out of my tear ducts. I did not panic. I figured it was a bad bloody nose. I moved to the sink while pinching my nose. I washed my eyes clear of the blood and concentrated on trying to stop the flow of blood. After 40 minutes, I called for my wife. There was sink full of blood awaiting her. It was all over. There was was so much blood I stared to think that it was to much blood. I was feeling weak and dizzy too. I started to panic.
I went to the emergency room for the first time since I broke my leg back in 91. Two hours later I was released with the diagnosis of a posterior nosebleed. I had popped a blood vessel way back up in my nasal cavity. They packed my nose with an inflatable gauze tube. It was four inches long and inflated to twice the diameter of my nostril. It also hurt like hell and cause intense pain in my forehead and to a lesser extent, my eyes.
I spent five days on my back with an icepack on my eyes and nose. I did nothing. I was able to answer a few emails from time to time, but for the most part I simply stayed in bed and listed to music or watched Adam Richman slowly kill himself with food. Five days is a very long time.
On Friday afternoon I had the packing removed, which was pretty gross. It was like somebody pulled a wet and bloody knife out of my head. The pain went away within minutes. My doctor gave me a six-month wound care process to follow. I’m finally feeling like myself again.
What struck me as odd, even horrific, was how suddenly I went from active and healthy to completely out of it. I was in a conference call with a few of my peers just five minutes before I sneezed. I had planned on going to a doctor appointment after the conference call to have my nosed looked at. It had been bleeding in the morning over the previous three days. Not a lot of blood, but enough to get me thinking I might have an infection or something. Then bam! Out for a week. I lost a week from a damn nosebleed. I mean… what the hell?
My doctor tells me this all stemmed from a trip to Atlanta I had taken two weeks previously. I had a small nosebleed at the hotel after landing. I don’t normally get nose bleeds, so I was surprised it had happened at all. Apparently the flying, plus trips to Los Vegas and Tucson, had dried out my sinus cavity creating perfect conditions for a big bad nosebleed.
We are more fragile than we think. It’s a sobering thought.