I looked down at my hands and was startled to see some blood. "Oh, I seem to have cut myself", I said in a puzzled kind of way...
The Man and Sam said together, "You've got a nose bleed!"
Paper towels suddenly appeared on my plate and I was barraged with advice, I knew from past experience to be wrong ... Namely to put my head back and hold my nose. No, no no! I was about to panic, but knew from past experience that was not a good idea. I needed to stay calm, not easy when the red stuff was gushing -- yes gushing -- all over the paper-towelled plate!
Seventeen years ago was the last time I had a nose bleed. I woke up in the middle of the night to discover my pillow completely saturated. We lived in Germany at the time and fortunately our next door neighbour and friend was also our Internist. He was able to stem the flow that night, but for the next two days the nose-bleeds recurred until I ended up in hospital being treated for extremely high blood pressure. The positive side to the saga is that without the nose-bleed it would have probably been a stroke -- so lucky me!
As I said, that was seventeen years ago and since then my blood pressure has been very good. But last Thursday, all I could think was my pressure has gone haywire again. I couldn't understand it, but it was all I could do not to panic and to remember what to do. I leaned forward and with more paper towel in hand, applied pressure to the fleshy part of my nose.
In the meantime, The Man, after an initial panic, called the emergency surgery and after talking to the lady on the other end I had to go to the phone myself to answer questions. After what seemed like an eternity she advised me to get to the emergency room -- within the hour. I was feeling quite worried -- especially after a huge blood clot deposited itself into the paper towel I'd been using. Within 5 minutes we set off for the hospital, leaving Sam with a family of friends nearby.
Southport Hospital is about 10 minutes away. It was around 7.30, there was no traffic and the hospital was very quiet. There were two or three people in the waiting room when we walked in and up to the window to make ourselves known. We were directed to have a seat and told that the triage nurse would be with me shortly. Less than a minute later, I was called in to be assessed. Passed experience had taught us that triage would see you and then you would wait and wait and wait.
Not so ... not last Thursday night. After checking me out I was led directly to a cubicle and a trolley brought for me to rest upon! Within 5 minutes I was seeing the doctor -- who was the loveliest man -- named 'Mike'. Old enough to be my son!!! I explained to him what had happened and about the blood-pressure problem.
"But," he said, "your blood pressure is quite low!" I was so surprised -- so pleasantly surprised! By this time the nose-bleed had abated and after a good look up the nostril with his little flash-light had determined that the next step would be to apply a pain killer to the affected area before cauterizing the blood vessel that had ruptured. After the procedure was completed he wanted to keep me for a while to make sure things had settled down and The Man was allowed in to keep me company. And also I wanted the doctor to explain to him what he was explaining to me.
The Man looked at me and suggested that we really should cancel the dinner party the following day. And I had to agree. We were both mightily relieved that all this had happened when it did and not in front of guests and we didn't want to take a chance on a repeat performance! Besides I was feeling quite exhausted -- as much from relief as anything else. We both agreed I should rest for the next few days.
Amazingly, we left for the emergency room at 7.30 and I was back home again by 9.30 -- two hours later. Well done, NHS. At no time did I have to look for an ID. They asked for my name and my doctor. Within a short time I had a bracelet on my arm with my name and NHS number -- one, two, three. I didn't even have to go to a pharmacy for the antibiotic cream. Mike handed it to me himself.
Fortunately, I had forgotten to take the lamb out of the freezer until just before dinner so we were able to put it back for another day. Our guests were of course completely understanding and they got together anyway, which made me feel much better about having to cancel.
As far as why it happened -- there is no telling. It could be the lining in the nostril was weakened by a cold or become dry from the central heating. The doctor said he could see the blood vessel affected so I'm believing it's now been fixed. So far so good ...
I'll say one thing more though ... there is nothing that ruins the look of a beautiful manicure more than seeing it caked with blood...