Home > Disgusting, Disturbing, Illness, Scary, Traumatic Childhood > The Time My Nose Bled

The Time My Nose Bled


My nose will bleed at the slightest provocation.

I don’t know whether the skin inside my nose is just unusually thin or WHAT, but the arrival of winter always means blood everywhere.

On my pillows when I wake up, flowing from my face in the shower, in each and every tissue — it simply doesn’t matter. Nose bleeds, like the honey badger, just don’t care.

But dry air is not my only enemy. Even a glancing blow to an area merely resembling my nose will cause it to start gushing like a waterfall. I was always that girl in gym class who somehow managed to get a bloody nose every damn time. I’ve been maimed by errant soccer balls, field hockey sticks, and footballs. If it has the capability to get airborn in the confines of a high school gym, then it’s hit me in the face. I’d sit on the bleachers, dribbling blood onto my gym outfit as the rest of the class continued playing tennis or handball or whatever the fuck they did. While my life essence pooled onto the waxed floor.

Heathens, the lot of them!

Anyway, I remember one particularly horrible nose bleed experience. It was several years ago, and my nose had decided to start leaking because, you know, why the hell not? I was just brushing my teeth before bed, minding my own business, when a lazy trail of blood splattered into the sink. Before I knew it, the trickle had turned into a flood, and I used half a roll of toilet paper just to stem the tide. The flow had finally stopped, but I’d be damned if I was going to go to sleep with a nostril full of clotted blood.

I gingerly tried to clean the area with warm water, but the damage was simply too severe. In the course of my probings with toilet paper, I noticed a red slug-like tendril poking shyly out of my nostril. In horror, I dabbed at it with my tissue, and gave an experimental yank.

It felt like I had just torn away a piece of my soul.

The rush of blood was instantaneous and terrifying. It was like someone had hooked a garden hose from hell to my nose, then thrown the taps open. Blood spattered everywhere, turning my pink girlish bathroom into a gruesome crime scene. I fumbled for the toilet paper, thrusting an entire roll against my face in a desperate effort to keep myself from bleeding out.

Apparently, that little strand of blood I had pulled on was the entire original clot. The tentacle was several inches long, and once removed, the blood flowed anew, and even worse than before.

The bleeding eventually slowed, and I decided to just go to bed, crusty bloody nostrils or not. My face was pale, and my hands were shaking, but I figured I wasn’t at actual risk of dying.

If you, like me, suffer from frequent nosebleeds, take note. A few sprays of Afrin (or its generic equivalent) will stop the blood in its tracks. The nasal spray constricts the blood vessels in your nose, which reduces swelling and seals off the ends of any ruptured vessels. But take care not to use it too often, or else risk the dreaded rebound congestion. But a spray once in a while to stop an out of control nosebleed should be fine.


A physiological explanation from my mom:

FYI, the reason the nose bleeds so well is because of an area on the nasal septum called Kiesselbach’s Plexus. It is an area which is fed by the anterior ethmoid artery, the splenopalatine artery, the greater palatine artery and the septal branch of the labial artery. All these arterial branches come together to form the aforementioned Kiesselbach’s Plexus. They anastomose in this area, meaning they come together to form a sort of ball of arteries. When a nose bleed happens, this Plexus becomes involved and in some unfortunate folks this area is very friable, or easily torn. When a nosebleed comes into the ER, the very first thing to do is to give three squirts of Afrin x 5. Also filling a latex glove with ice in the fingers of it and placing it across the nasal septum helps to clot the blood. If the Afrin doesn’t work and the nose continues to bleed, then cautery of the Plexus happens – not a pleasant thing to participate in. Then the ENT or whoever sticks a balloon thingie up there and inflates it to keep constant pressure on the Plexus. Just thought you’d like to know. Usually this type of nosebleed involves young men for some unexplained reason.

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