© by Othmar Vohringer
The week started of quite pleasant and on Wednesday it got even better when my wife and I spent a relaxing afternoon fishing on the lake. I have to admit that I have to watch myself as Heidi recently seems to do better at catching fish then I am. If that keeps up I will be the one asking her for tips.
In the two hours we fished I caught one decent sized Pike Minnow that I released since I am not so keen on eating them. Pike Minnows taste nice but they have a lot of very fine bones that makes eating them a chore for me. In that same time frame Heidi caught five fish of which she released all but one cokanee salmon. For those that are not familiar with salmon. A kokanee is a sockey salmon that spends its entire life in freshwater.
We decided that we will have that fish for dinner and on the way home we discussed what side dishes we want to make with it. Arriving at home I cleaned the fish and then went downstairs to my office to check on my emails. I had a Fish & Game Club board meeting that evening and sometimes board members send last minute information.
I was just about to answer an email when I felt a funny sensation in my nose and before I had time to wonder what it is a stream of blood gushed forth with such violence that within seconds the desk, keyboard, my shirt and pants were totally covered in red. Pressing both hands firmly on my nose I run upstairs, leaving a copious blood trail behind me.
For an hour I tried to stop the bleeding but no matter what tricks I tried, and I tried them all, the bleeding had mo intention of slowing down. When the blood started to drip out of my mouth Heidi stepped in and said, “Like it or not but I am taking you to the hospital.” With both hands pressing towels on my nose and a mouth full of blood, spitting and swallowing at the same time I was hardly in a state to argue that it is no big deal and probably will stop at any moment now. So I followed her obediently to the car.
On the short drive to the hospital I was thinking at any time now the bleeding would stop and when we arrive at the hospital I would look like a fool for bothering a busy doctor with nothing. As it turned out the bleeding didn’t stop and by the time a doctor was called I created a sizeable puddle of crimson on the hospital floor. Finally, what seemed like an eternity a doctor showed up and when he said, “Oh my gosh” it dawned on me that the fish dinner may be delayed and that the club’s board meeting may have to commence without me.
As it turned out the doctor in the small hospital seemed a bit at a loss what to do to stop the bleeding. As a last resort he gathered up as much stuffing as he could carry in his hands and proceeded to shove it all up my nose. Up to that point I had no idea that a nose can expand to three times its normal size and that it could accommodate four large sized surgical sponges. But hey what do you know that seemed to do the trick. The bleeding stopped. With the doctors recommendation, “Leave the stuffing in the nose for at least two days” still ringing in my ears I began to wonder how on earth I am going to breath with my mouth while eating or drinking. Or I am supposed to quit eating and drinking for two days too?
The answer to that problem solved itself three hours into me trying to relax a bit in front of the TV and sipping on a cup of coffee in our living room. I heard a “plop” and then saw a little ring form in my coffee cup, like when one throws a stone in the water, the moment I set cup on my lips to take sip of my favourite beverage. “Plop” there is another one. “Plop” there goes another one. What the heck it that? I just wanted to tell Heidi that the stuffing starts to leak when I felt that said stuffing literary is been pushed out of my right nostril. I just made it to the sink when the stuffing vacated my nose followed by the Niagara Falls of all nosebleeds.
The same procedure followed as previously. I am getting a ride to the hospital while pressing towels against my face. It got interesting back in the hospital when the doctor, called out in the middle of the night and somewhat irritated inquired. “Did you pull the stuffing out?” and continued without pause in a distinctly reprimanding voice, “I told you it has to stay in your nose for two days.”
I explained what happened and the doctor reached for my pulse and then exclaimed, “no wonder your blood pressure is through the roof. We have to get you on medication.” An hour and a blood pressure lowering injection later my nose was bleeding like there would be no end to the supply but I started to feel a bit woozy. Upon telling the doctor that I start to feel a little “funny” it seemed to trigger an emergency button in his brain. He decided that perhaps now would be a good time to consult with a specialist. Great thinking. I would appreciate that. I started to worry a bit and looking at Heidi I sensed that she was about to make a decision for the doctor if he does not come up with an idea soon.
An hour from that phone call and with more stuffing up my nose, still blood tripping out my mouth, I was whisked off in an ambulance to the hospital in Pendiction, some hundred kilometres from Merritt, while Heidi was following us in the car. Arriving in Pendiction the nose specialist was awaiting me, an Iranian, he padded me on the shoulder while assuring me in a calming warm voice. “Don’t worry my friend I fix that for you.” Thank God finally somebody seems to know how to stop that bloody nightmare.
“Lay on that table and tilt you head back,” the doctor said. Half here and half in la-la-land I felt a sharp sting shooting up my nose. The best I can describe the sensation is like someone stuck a burning torch up my nostrils. From somewhere distant I heard the doctors reassuring voice. “That will do it for now and tomorrow I will operate on your nose. Don’t worry everything will be just fine. You will sleep well tonight.” With more stuffing up my nose and that burning sensation an my confidence in the medical profession established the nurse wheeled me to my room.
The next day a nurse came the room to tell me that the operation had been rescheduled for the next day due to emergency overflow from a bad road accident. Well at least I did have a good night sleep and the bleeding did stop. I was in good hands and could wait a day.
On Saturday morning someone from the operating room came to tell me that I would be operated on in a few hours. Ah, that’s why dinner was missing last might. At 10 am I was carted off to a room full of strange instruments and lights a nurse smiled at me saying, “You will feel a bit dizzy in a minute” No kidding the world started to spin before me like a carousel. Just before it got dark around me I heard that by now familiar warm reassuring voice “You’ll be fine when …” the rest of the sentence faded away as the world got darker around me.
“Good morning Othmar you’re in the recovery room, everything went fine as I promised you.” I open my eyes and looking at the doctor mumbled something about how grateful I am and that I really would appreciate a coffee about now.” I am not familiar with all the medical terms but as I figured out there were a few bone fragments from an earlier nose bridge fracture- another one of these things I didn’t want to bother a doctor with and let nature take care of it instead- that had to be removed because they pierced through the nose membrane and that in turn caused the profuse bleeding.
I learned that the nose is a delicate organ with an intricate web of blood vessels and if several of them are cut it can results in severe bleeding and in rare cases can cause critical blood loss. I was just on the edge of reaching the critical stage. Heidi came to pick me up on Saturday afternoon and rather then admiring the beautiful countryside between Pendiction and Merritt I slept all the way home. Staggered in the house got comfortable on the couch and sleep sound until the next morning.
Today I feel still a bit woozy. Doctor said it will take a few days for the body to replenish all the blood I lost and I shall take it easy for a few days. Other than having a nose resembling that of a bulldogs face – that will go away to in a few days too – there is no visible sign on my body from that ordeal.
Oh before I forget! A big thank you to my lovely wife for standing at my side throughout the ordeal and remaining absolutely calm and having the situation under control even when the first doctor seemed for a moment to loose it. She drove several times back and forth between Merritt and Pendiction and spent a full day cleaning up the bloody trails I left behind throughout the house and on all the clothing, computer and the office desk.
One thing that had me worried is the high blood pressure but the Iranian doctor assured me. "Nonsense you do not need blood pressure regulating medicine. You have had an exiting experience and trauma it is normal for the blood pressure to go through the roof, you’re a human not a machine. I checked all your organs and systems and everything is in perfect condition.” At age 56 I guess that is a compliment.
What a weekend!