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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer - Not

It’s been below freezing the past few nights. The electric heater has dried out the air in the house. Static electricity levitates my hair as I try to smooth it down with a comb. My nightly routine includes face cream, hand lotion and saline nasal gel. Even so, my hands are cracked and the lines on my face are more prominent.

This morning I bent over the bathroom sink, splashed water on my face, dried off with a towel and observed that the water swirling into the drain had turned red.

“Nosebleed,” I muttered to no one in particular and grabbed a few tissues from the box.

Frantically I began a one handed search in the medicine cabinet for the Afrin® nasal spray. Finding none there, I tossed the bloodied tissues into the wastebasket and grabbed a clean handful with my sticky red fingers.

Blotting the nose, I fumbled through my purse until I came up with the bottle. I squirted once, twice, three times hoping that this will constrict the blood vessel sufficiently to stop the bleeding.  I sat down, tilted my head back and attempted to relax. For a few brief minutes it seemed to work, then as soon as I stood up again, the bleeding began with even more force.

The bleeding wasn’t heavy. It just wouldn’t stop. It seemed so harmless; still it brought me to a halt. I’ve gone to a hospital several times in my life just to stop a nosebleed. I’ve received infusions, had my nose packed, received conflicting diagnoses and listened to more wacky medical opinions about nosebleeds than I care to remember.

“Amputate my nose? No thanks, doc.”

In an emergency room of the hospital I will be at the bottom of the triage list and it will take hours to be seen by a doctor. So, I shuffle through the first aid drawer until I find the little box labeled “Stop Nosebleeds!”

Like Alice in Wonderland I pull out the paper envelope and follow the instructions:
Tear open the sterile pack where indicated.
Twist the fibers as shown for easy insertion.
Insert so the exposed end is just to the base of the nasal cavity.

As promised, the fibers absorb the blood and expand enough to stop the nosebleed. Guess I might ready to pull that sleigh after all.

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