Sunday, February 22, 2009


Warning: if you have a problem seeing, or hearing and reading about blood, you may want to avoid this post. Really, the title should have been warning enough.

When I was a kid I would get the occasional nosebleed. I don't remember them being a real issue for me, I just know they would happen every now and then. To be honest, I've never thought anything of the condition other than I probably picked my nose too much and caused some damage. Then of course I'd have to be careful not to pick my nose after the occurrence of a nosebleed, lest I should provoke the spilling of more blood.

That was then. This is now.

Today I was sitting in church, minding my own business and taking sermon notes like a good Baptist kid. Suddenly, as the pastor was wrapping up his second point, my nose began gushing blood. No, I wasn't picking it. It just started happening. Of course I didn't see any blood at this point. But you can tell the difference between your typical runny nose and a nosebleed. There's a significantly different consistency.

So I quickly gathered my Bible and bulletin, pinched my nose shut, then briskly walked toward the back of the sanctuary. Luckily there was a baptism today, so I sat closer to the back than usual to make room for families wanting a better view. If I had sat where I normally do, that walk of shame would have been a bit prolonged.

Making my way to the bathroom once I hit the foyer became more of a challenge. Of course no one stopped me in the sanctuary, they were engrossed in the words of the preacher (or at least did a good job of pretending to be). In the lobby, however, I was stopped by a few people that I knew. After quickly explaining myself as best I could in the nasally voice that a pinched nose provides, I finally made it to the men's room.

Hovering over the sink I realized just how bad this nosebleed was. I'm not going to sit here and say that I was hemorrhaging, but I don't think any of my childhood nosebleeds ever got this bad. I gathered some paper towels, pinched my nose as tightly as I could, and tilted my head back ever so slightly.

To the half dozen or so men who walked in while I stood there, this must have been a confusing sight. I thought it was pretty obvious what was going on. Inevitably, however, each of them asked, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Got a nosebleed?" No, not a nosebleed. I'm just checking out the ceiling tiles.

While I was busy clotting, several of these men did offer their foolproof suggestion on how to stop a nosebleed. I thanked them for their advice, but pretty much stuck with the same thing that's been working for me all my life. While many people tell you to lean back while pinching, I prefer to lean forward. Leaning back leads to drainage and swallowing and, well, that's just gross. Somehow, despite my preference of leaning forward to let the blood clot, I still end up tilting back. I guess it's a natural reaction.

As I emerged from the bathroom, somewhat paler than before I went in, I wondered about the cause of today's gusher. I have been getting over a cold for some time. I suppose this could lead to some dryness in the sinus cavities which could trigger a nosebleed. But I do watch a lot of TV. And there have been some instances of nosebleeds on recent television shows that I frequently watch.

On Prison Break, main character Michael Scofield was dealing with nosebleeds off and on all season. It was discovered that he had a pretty severe brain tumor. Of course he underwent an experimental, totally fictional operation and is alive and well. On Lost, after being tossed about the timestream like ragdolls, several characters began experiencing nosebleeds after each flash. This led to the death of one such character in last week's episode.

Now, I'm not saying that I have a brain tumor. But isn't it at least a possibility? I'm not saying that I've been involuntarily traveling through time. But I'm not going to be closed-minded enough to pretend it's not an issue that some people have to deal with.

Right now I'm feeling fine. Okay, I'm feeling a little queazy from swallowing a bit of blood earlier. And it may not be the blood that's actually making me sick. It could just be the idea of swallowing blood. Gross.


  1. you should definitely lean forward.

    remember on GI Joe how they'd use the last minute of the show to give tips to children?

    well bloody barry had a gusher and sure enough they told him to lean forward.

    true story.

    j "yo joe!" h

  2. Thanks for stopping to talk to me in the lobby, sorry I held you up.....can't be a brain tumor.....maybe it has something to do with the bald spot that looks like Lincoln on the back of your head (see previous Legends of a Bank Teller people)