Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Our Brush With Inconvenience

Do what you love, love what you do, leave the world a better place and don’t pick your nose. — Jeff Mallett, Frazz, 8/3/2004

I walked in the house last night after work ready to enjoy a nice glass of Chianti only to find Matt, the roommate, stripped to the waist, head hanging limp over a bucket of blood. After a quick assessment, I recognized the symptoms, “Bleeding from one or both nostrils” as evidence of a nosebleed. And I mean this was real hemorrhaging, not just some oozing, candy-assed nosebleed. I’m talking great gouts of blood! Real carnage!

Matt has been taking a blood thinner since his unfortunate heart attack last year, so he bleeds liberally. And this had already been going on for several hours without showing any signs of stopping. As you may know, a nosebleed that lasts more than 20 minutes is one that requires medical attention.

Now, I was all about having my glass of Chianti and going to bed early. But one look at Matt sitting there with a great, gory stalactite of half-congealed blood hanging from his nose convinced me to abandon my plans and stand by anxiously in case I was needed to rush him to the hospital.

Nothing we could do would staunch the bleeding. He applied pressure; he stuck a wad of absorbent material in his nostril; he applied a bag of frozen green beans (we didn’t have any ice) to the exterior of his nose; he drank a homeopathic concoction of cayenne pepper that was supposed to stop it. To no avail. After the third hour of steady bleeding, I bundled him in the car, bucket and all, and headed for the emergency room.

Here’s where it gets a little anti-climactic, because Matt went away to see the doctor while I sat in the waiting room for two and a half hours. Presumably, they took Matt back, stopped the bleeding and cleaned him up, but that’s largely irrelevant, as this story is really about me.

Here’s what I saw. A little girl who had been busted in the face by some other kid; a chunky girl with a dislocated shoulder; a woman who was there for a sleep study; a gang banger in a basketball jersey and four or five of his loudest friends; a guy with food poisoning who looked like he was going to heave all over the floor; a shifty salesman from Alabama with an ugly woman; and assorted other people with various maladies.

Finally, Matt came back. He was all fixed up good as new. We went home and went our separate ways. But, it gives me chills to think of what *could* have happened if I hadn’t come home when I did. He was teetering on the edge of consciousness when I got there. Another few minutes and we could have lost him! But, for good or ill, I guess it was not his time.

* * * * * *

King Hussein of Jordan nearly bled to death from a nosebleed.

Attila the Hun developed a nosebleed on his wedding night and choked to death in a stupor.

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