The only thing more traumatic (and dramatic) than a bad nosebleed is what it takes to stop one. So I wrote a few entries ago that all the sneezing has prompted nosebleeds, but what I didn’t say was that they would last for a couple of hours and my bathroom sink would sometimes look like a CSI scene. They’re not as serious as they are annoying; plus they’d turn up at the least opportune times, as if there’s ever a right time for them. But right on cue, I had a nosebleed during my visit with my primary physician yesterday and we got an appointment with an ENT specialist today.
So at 11 this morning, I snapped these photos while waiting for him. His office was like any vanilla modern facility but I spied the medieval hardware on the table near me and knew nothing good would come of it. He was a soft-spoken grandfatherly man who didn’t ask too many questions and explained even less. He casually mentioned he was going to give me a numbing agent for the cauterization then left to get something. I quickly searched “nasal cauterization” on my phone’s wikipedia app and read this: If a person has been having frequent nose bleeds, it is most likely caused by an exposed blood vessel in their nose. Even if the nose is not bleeding at the time, it is cauterized to prevent future bleeding. The different methods of cauterization include burning the affected area with acid, hot metal, lasers, or silver nitrate. Such a procedure is naturally quite painful. Sometimes liquid nitrogen is used as a less painful alternative, though it is less effective. In the few countries that permit the use of cocaine for medicinal purposes, it is occasionally used topically to make this procedure less uncomfortable, cocaine being the only local anesthetic which also produces vasoconstriction, making it ideal for controlling nosebleeds. Eh? did that really say burning? And cocaine? Hmmm.
So when the doctor came back, I cross-examined the poor man. At least if something went wrong I’d have evidence of his weapons on my phone! Let’s just say by then end of my 30 questions he was neither soft-spoken nor grandfatherly anymore. And he shut me up by spraying my nostril to open up the vessels. My trigger-happy hand shot up to wipe the spray from my face and smacked his hand. He calmly reminded me to not do that when the actual cauterization took place. Then he numbed me and left me…to stew in my own hypochondriac meltdown. How do you really know if you’ve been numbed enough? And since I’m so congested from my cold anyway, how can i smell if if I end up catching on fire? Etc, etc. It’s hard to be in my head.
The whole procedure took under 60 seconds. And all that interrogation was useless; whatever information he gave me flew out the window when I saw the cauters coming at me. Knowledge does not trump fear! I might have momentarily passed out, too, I’m not sure.
He says this should stop the nosebleeds for now and I should take it easy (was it the crazed look in my eyes that prompted that comment, I wonder). I’m happy to hear that, but it hurts. Still hurts now a couple of hours later. And they didn’t give me a lollipop on my way out either. Maybe I need to get a new pair of shoes :D.