Just over a year ago I had surgery after breaking my wrist. It’s healed up quite well and I have movement in the upper 90s percent range. The pain of the break was, of course, extreme but really that was the worst. When the ER doc set my wrist it didn’t hurt much and of course I was out for the surgery.
Yesterday however, I experienced pain.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had sudden, unexplained nosebleeds. Yesterday morning after showering I had another. I was able to get the bleeding to stop with pressure and went on to work. Then, while sitting here at my computer, minding my own business and eating an apple (fuji), I felt the trickling start again. Trickling is the appropriate word here too. This was no timid “sorry for the inconvenience” drip. This was a constant trickle. I went to the bathroom and got some TP to try and stop the bleeding but this time there was no discouraging it. I kept bleeding for at least twenty minutes, during which time I was swallowing blood and a couple of my co-workers were trying to help me pack my nose and apply sufficient pressure. Nothing worked, so finally my boss took me to the nearby ER.
Cut to the gist, the doctor looked at my nose and had to cauterize the tissue. He told me he was going to spray some anesthetic in my nose and it might burn. Right. It might burn and habanero peppers might be a bit warm. The stuff ran down my throat and I nearly gagged on it, but it did at least act as a warm-up for what I was about to experience.
I had my eyes closed the whole time so I had no idea what was going on. To describe what I felt would be to say was that a pair of vise grips was inserted into my nose, followed by a bunch of fireplace matches, that were LIT! I sat there on the gurney pretending I was Superman by trying to crush the side rails with my hands, reminding myself that this was necessary while the doctor had the decency to say “stay with me here.” He recognized that right then I wanted to bite my arm off to distract myself from the pain.
Finally after about, oh, 6 years he stopped trying to brand his initials on my cerebrum through my nostrils and I was able to open my eyes. I couldn’t see, of course, since they were full of tears, but I could open them. He placed a lovely clip on my nose (sky blue) and gave me some gauze to hold under it and said that should do the trick. I then had my blood pressure taken for the second time (both times it was normal) and had some blood drawn to check my clotting, which was also fine. At this time I could also see what had been done. A nasal speculum had been inserted to hold my nostril open and several Silver Nitrate swabs had been rubbed in my nose, which cauterized the wound. Up until now I’ve always thought of silver nitrate as the primary ingredient in one of the antique photography recipes. Now it will forever be known as “that stuff that set fire to my nosehair.”
Eventually I was able to return to work with instructions on being careful with my nose for a couple of days to give it time to completely heal. Apparently it was just one of those things. The tissue became fragile and just burst, which is not uncommon.
So, I just wanted to tell that story to somebody. How about the rest of you describing your pain? Just for the sake of argument though, I concede up front that nothing compares to childbirth. I don’t know personally how it feels, but I’m willing to accept that as a benchmark.