Sunday, February 27, 2011

Epistaxis

Well. It's been a rather horrendous week since I've last blogged. There are worse things to happen to people than nosebleeds, and I'm well aware of that. This whole post, I'm sure, will be one of those "first world problems" whining and moanings.

Last Saturday, I was at work (of course) when I got rather sniffly. I kept sniffing during a meeting but it didn't abate, so I took a swipe at my nose and- what? blood? I hadn't had a bloody nose since I was about seven or eight, so I barely knew how to deal with it. I ran off to the bathroom and ran cold water over my nose, letting it bleed out. I didn't think much of it- I'm at a very high altitude in Albuquerque, it's really dry here, and I'm surprised I hadn't had a bloody nose before Saturday.

I went home without a further thought to the nose, until it began to bleed uncontrollably on Saturday night. I kept my head over the sink and let my nose bleed until it stopped. Since my blood was clotting, I assumed that it was just a nosebleed and I'd be right as rain as soon as the bleed clotted over.

After 8 bleeds, which happened every 2 - 4 hours, I finally went to urgent care on Sunday afternoon. Something was wrong, I hadn't slept properly because the bleed kept waking me up, and I was worried about the amount of blood that I had lost.

At urgent care, they thought my nose was okay ... until it started to bleed again there. The most disgusting thing that they make you do when you have a bloody nose in a medical facility is pinch it while holding you head back. This forces all your blood down your throat, and you're essentially swallowing (drinking) your own blood.

The doctor at urgent care decided to cauterize my nosebleed, and he proceeded to do so. It felt like a branding iron inside my nose. At least my nose had stopped bleeding, right?


Well. It stopped bleeding for an hour and then started right back up again.


More bleeding, every 2 - 4 hours. When it felt like the bleed had stopped for a good while, I took myself off to the emergency room. It was around 6:00 a.m. and I was exhausted. No sleep, lack of blood, things just ... aren't good.


I sent my sister a picture of the ER:

That was just above my head. Again, in the ER, they thought my nose was fine. It wasn't bleeding, it seemed to be okay ... and no. It started bleeding after I had been in the ER for a couple hours. The doctor on call actually apologized to me, telling me that he was going to have to put a nasal packing into my nose and that it would hurt, it would feel like someone was trying to burst my head apart from the inside out.

Then- then!- though my right nasal cavity was packed, the blood kept trickling out of my left nasal cavity. They decided that the nasal packing wasn't long enough (it was plenty long), so proceeded to take OUT the packing and insert a new, longer, more horrible packing.

First, here's the packing:
 
It's horrible, my eyes are tearing up just looking at this picture. Basically, they put a long (really, really long), skinny, medicated, dense cotton tube up your nose. It HURTS. It feels like someone's trying to break your nose. Then, as if that isn't enough, there's a balloon inside the cotton thing, which they inflate so that the wound can't bleed. It's ... unbelievable. I immediately felt pressure in my skull, in my sinuses, and just generally.

I couldn't look down, I couldn't stop crying (physically), I could barely keep it together enough to sign my discharge papers a few pain-filled hours later.

I went home, crawled into bed, and felt like I was going to die. The pain was this unrelenting, throbbing thing that had taken up residence in my head and was trying to claw its way out.

Monday and Tuesday were spent in agony. There's nothing else to say, other than that I also developed a new symptom- vomiting blood. Massive quantities of blood. Did you know blood, when swallowed, will make you nauseous and upset your stomach? That's right, vampire fans, blood's not good for you.

Wednesday, I decided to try and take a shower. Big mistake. I literally fell in the shower, ended up showering while sitting, and then pretty much had to take a few hours to recover. Standing made me dizzy, sitting was only marginally better, and I could barely breathe what with the packed nose (I will never get a nose job as long as I live) and the congestion.

After very careful navigation through my house, to my car, and back to urgent care, the blasted packing finally got removed. I thought I was going to die when they deflated the balloon, then I thought I was vomiting through my nose when they removed the packing. It was terrible. The packing didn't want to come out, I was terrified that I was going to start bleeding again. I was exhausted from lack of sleep and from sheer pain, as well as not eating since Saturday (you try forcing food down your gullet with a nasal packing), which had led into a semi-hysterical state wherein I couldn't answer the doctor or paramedics or nurses with anything resembling normalcy.

The doctor, dear sweet man, warned me that I may start bleeding again. He apologized, told me that my nose is too small to see whether or not I had a posterior bleed, and then proceeded to prescribe me with a truckload of medicine.

Apparently, a nasal packing can cause sinus infections (not surprising), so I'm on anti-biotics. The constant pain (and slight tinge of pain-induced insanity I displayed) gets some Percocet. The packing also elevated my blood pressure a crazy amount, and high blood pressure causes more bleeding (fun), so I'm on blood pressure medication. And I'm on anti-nausea medication for the wooziness caused by the other drugs. Seems that the fix has caused more issues than I could have ever expected.

I woke up on Thursday having slept for more than four hours for the first time in five days. I hadn't vomited in 24 hours. I was still in pain, but I wasn't delirious anymore. I felt ... almost ... like a person again. Then I got up and fell down. I will never get used to my body not doing what I want it to do, but the lack of food and then the drugs took their toll. I couldn't stand or sit without effort.

I took it easy. Lots of orange juice. A folding chair inside my shower (no, I'm not kidding). A chair in my bathroom so I didn't have to stand while brushing my teeth. I took a look at my phone and almost died when I saw the 6,000+ e-mails that I had received since Monday morning.
It's been a slow recovery. I thought, honestly, that as soon as the packing was out, I would be up and running around and kicking butt. I'm an idiot.

This weekend's been about trying to eat (no hot foods allowed, and the weather's cold lately), weaning myself off of Percocet so I can be aware and alert for work, and trying not to gag while I use this disgusting nasal spray that I was given.

I can't blow my nose, I can't sniff too hard, and I'm not supposed to bend at the waist or look straight down. These are not that annoying until you actually have to think about them.

My co-workers sent me an Edible Arrangement yesterday, complete with fluffy teddy bear. I have to say, the chocolate-covered strawberries were really the first thing that actually made me want to eat something, so they worked!
I'm currently watching the Oscars pre-show and judging fabulous dresses and being grateful that I didn't have to get gussied up for an Oscar party (well ... I suppose I could have, but I really am not feeling up to it).

Everyone wish "Alice in Wonderland" good luck, though there's very slim chance we'll win!

5 comments:

Amanda,  February 27, 2011 at 5:55 PM  

They made you tilt your head back? That's been out of style for a good 15 years. Where did these people get trained???

Feel better!

william February 28, 2011 at 7:54 AM  

sounds like a horrocious experience. hope you feel better. inception won visual effects, right?

jeanny February 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM  

Amanda- right?? I was confused, but they did it in urgent care and the ER. Weirdos.

William- yes. I'm surprised "Tron" didn't get nominated. I haven't seen "Inception," but Chris Nolan has a reputation for wanting all fx to be practical and not cg, so while I love his movies, I feel like he's trying to kill my industry. It's an affront to vfx'ers everywhere!

Liz February 7, 2014 at 12:53 PM  

WOW i could barely read this post because what happened to you is so terrible to imagine. (definitely not filed under "first world problems") you pooooooor dear! i know this was like 3 years ago now, but WOW I HOPE YOU FEEL GREAT THESE DAYS

Jeanny August 24, 2015 at 10:58 PM  

Hi Liz, I just saw this comment, so sorry! Thank you for your well wishes, I'm fine~ ^_^