Complete stupidity – Part 4

The worst nosebleed story I think you'll ever hear

Wednesday 9th September 2009
Word count
Read time
6 mins

I used to get quite bad nosebleeds. They weren't necessarily all heavy, some were, but they just often lasted a long time. Sometimes they just started for no apparent reason, if it was a hot day, or if I sneezed heavily, it might start up. I think the blood vessels and skin were just a bit thin or weak or something, meaning they'd break easily. It was fun having them at school or college because you got to walk across to the medical place covered in blood. OK, maybe it wasn't fun, just funny seeing the looks I got from people thinking I'd been in a fight or killed someone.

One day, in a Chemistry lesson (that's probably one of the worse places to have one), I sneezed quite hard, and one started. Got some blood down my jumper and on my desk, but that was no big deal. Got some of those blue paper towels and then went and stood in the corner of the room, by the sink, so I could still listen to the lesson. Everything was fine.

20 minutes and about 10 paper towels later, I was still standing there. I was getting a few funny looks off people as it had been going on for so long but it wasn't that heavy, probably a drop a second. By this stage, the semi-solid blood clot stuff was blocking what air I could breathe through my nose, so I had to breathe through my mouth. A few of these blood clot things were coming out onto the towel, which was nice. With some of them, if you squeeze them, they pop. Anyways, still standing there, breathing through my mouth, and then, for a reason I never fully understood, my mouth closed and I suddenly took a very quick but deep breath in through my nose.

Never do that. Bad idea.

My nose cleared instantly, but all of that blood and semi-solid blood clots had to go somewhere... and they chose to fill up my mouth. And by fill up I mean fill up, it was right up to my teeth, and my cheeks were bulging slightly to keep it all in. If I had to open my mouth it would have just poured out, I dread to think what would have happened if I'd had to sneeze... they'd be cleaning the walls for weeks.

So I was standing there with a class of students there, with a mouth full of fresh, very warm blood, wondering what the hell to do. It was probably only there for about 10 seconds but it felt much longer than that. I couldn't spit it out into the sink because everyone would see, wouldn't be very pleasant to watch, and the teacher would think I was coughing up blood and call for help. I was feeling more and more sick by the second, but I knew what I had to do, I had no choice... I closed my eyes and swallowed.

I felt fucking awful for the rest of the day.

You occasionally get a bit of blood going down your throat with a heavy nosebleed, that's fine, but not a whole bloody mouthful of the stuff. Shortly after that, the nosebleed stopped, and I went back to my seat. A few people asked me if I was OK, not knowing what I'd just had to do, and I just nodded politely and tried to ignore the very weird sensation coming from my stomach.

Bad times.

I'd been thinking about having my nose cauterized to stop nosebleeds. To do this, they basically burn the skin and it then covers over the cut or whatever it's trying to close up. Think of it like fusing together two pieces of metal a welding torch, you melt the sides, put them together, and they join. Well, after the above event I thought it was about time I got this done.

So, got it booked, went along. Turns out what they do is they get what's basically a really long matchstick (same sort of width, just about 10 times as long, with the same sort of ending as a matchstick) and they put silver nitrate on it, which burns the skin, causing it to reform, thus protecting the exposed blood vessel. You get some anaesthetic for this, they soak some into some little balls of cotton wool, and shove it up your nose... it then gets to work on numbing the area. I had those put in and then went back outside to wait.

Problem was, these people clearly hadn't considered the effects of gravity. The anaesthetic just ran out of the cotton wool, and down onto my mouth... by the end of it my lips were more numb than my nose.

Got called back in, slightly worried about the fact that my nose didn't seem numb at all, and sat in the chair of doom. The doctor then proceeded to get out the mega matchsticks, and he started the procedure. For the first few seconds it was fine, no pain, I was quite relieved. Then, however, it felt like someone had put a ball of fire up my nose. I could quite literally smell the skin burning. You may think that it's obvious I'd smell it if it was in my nose, and yes, that may well be true, but it still wasn't pleasant. Nobody wants to smell themselves burning.

The anaesthetic clearly didn't do it's job, I was in quite a bit of pain. I can't really explain it, it was a mixture of both the local pain where the actual burning was taking place, and the pain that was going all round my sinuses and through my head.

He then finally took it out. He reached back to his desk, to get what I thought was a tissue or something, but no, it second matchstick, and started with that one too.

It finally ended and I could go. I had an incredible urge to sneeze but I knew I couldn't, not only because it would hurt, but I also wasn't sure what was going to come out. As we were walking to the car I could hold it in no longer, and sneezed, hard. A mixture of foamy silver nitrate and God knows what else came out, it looked a bit like the froth on top of a pint of Guinness. I got some very odd looks from people but I just looked at them and smiled. I got some of this stuff on my hand, and then found out that it stains skin black, so I had a hand like this for about 2 weeks.

Despite all that, I've only had one nosebleed since this procedure, which was caused by another heavy sneeze, so at least I can say it was a success.