The nose has it

I’ve been offline a bit recently. Let me tell you my story…

Last Monday (the 18th) I was sat at work, idly chatting to my manager. Suddenly he tells that my nose is bleeding. I look down and there’s bloody all over my shirt. I hold my nose as prescribed but it doesn’t want to stop. Soon a first aider appears and then another (all giving me conflicting advise, I should add). The blood just won’t stop so they decide to get me to the local A&E – my manager kindly takes me. It’s about 5pm by now so it’s busy in A&E. In fact I spent hours sat holding my nose and when I’m finally seen it’s stopped by itself. After a Doctor has a quick look and confirms that it’s stopped they send me a home – I get a taxi. Next day my wife takes me to work.

All was fine. Until Friday.

Again, sat at my desk looking at my monitor and suddenly my nose starts dripping blood again. Again it doesn’t stop and someone kindly takes me to A&E. It’s early afternoon and quiet so I get shunted through quite quickly through to the specialist department (although now with a cannula in my arm). The nose specialist gets me to unblock my nose and let it stream into a pot whilst she looks at it. She finds the source of the bleed, in my right nostril so cauterises it. It’s not quite the “soldering iron up the nose” that people expect – they spray liquid up your nose to numb it and then use a thin stick, on the end of which is a chemical that performs the burning action when pressed against the skin. I leave after a couple of hours and all appears well. However this was slightly more traumatic than my Monday experience and I’m feeling wobbly so go straight home.

That night, exhausted, I head for bed early and around 9 put the light out. At this point I sneeze and my nose starts bleeding again. But this time it’s different, apart from being at home. It’s more traumatic – blood is everywhere and it’s going down my throat in massive amounts. My wife calls 999 and I’m soon off to A&E again by ambulance. A cannula is put in my hand and I’m seen quickly by a specialist. This time it’s my left nostril but the bleeding is so far up she can’t see the source. At this point she apologises and says she’ll have to use a “pack”. You know it’s not going to get well for you when they apologise first.

The “pack” is properly called a Rapid Rhino. If you watch the video in that link you’ll get a sense of what I’m about to tell you. It’s a long white putty-looking device. It’s the width of a chipolata sausage but the length of a jumbo sausage. She inserts the first inch up my nostril and I was wondering if she was going to have to trim off the excess. No. It goes all the way in – some twisting and crunching and it goes in. It was the single most painful experience of my life. It’s then inflated with liquid so that it applies pressure from inside the nose.

This has to stay in for at least 24 hours – it’s midnight now so it won’t be taken out until Sunday morning. I’m moved to a ward, covered in blood and feeling very sorry for myself. The Rhino is very uncomfortable in place and I’m on constant pain relief to make it all a little easier. I spend my time in hospital doing… nothing. My brain switches off and I sit there like a dribbling vegetable. I can’t sleep and I have no appetite.

Sunday morning they remove the pressure on the Rhino and, a little after, remove it. Removal was painful but not as bad as when it was put in. I go off to see the specialist again and she can see 2 points in the nostril where it could have been bleeding from so she cauterises them.

I’m now back home but taking things very easy. I can only drink cold and hot food, have to apply antibiotic cream up my nostrils 3 times a day and have some limited mobility – staying out of the cold outside, not stooping, etc. I was signed off work for a week, unsurprisingly.

It’s amazing what a simple nosebleed can do to someone, but this weekend has been hellish.

But what caused it? The likely candidate was the 2 colds I recently had, pretty much back-to-back. I was using a Vicks inhaler as as well as decongestant sprays overnight. Never again.


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