The Nosebleed from Hell, a Fart Broadsides My Heart: Yes, I Know Where My Towel Is

The following post is rather graphic in nature. If you don’t like talk of blood and such, please skip this one.

Where’ve I been? Well, lemme tell ya’ …

Sunday March 9th, I got up first thing in the morning and headed to the loo. Grabbing some toilet paper, I blew my nose.

I am never blowing my nose again for as long as I live.

There was blood everywhere. I was gagging as it ran down my throat. The little bit of toilet paper I had in my hand was far from enough and I panicked as I tried to stop the flow. It wouldn’t stop, only getting worse. I yelled for help, and 9-1-1 was immediately called.

There were eight people in that bathroom from all over town before the firehouse siren even went off. They couldn’t stop the flow either. One of them commented later that it was spurting, as though an artery had been severed. At one point I felt a pop. There was blood running from my right eye. The EMT who had taken charge looked at it, and told me it had come from the left nostril, through the tear duct into that right eye.

After the ambulance ride to the hospital the next couple days faded in-and-out. I came home once, only to go back in a few hours, bleeding just as badly as earlier. The E.R. docs tried every trick they knew, including a foley catheter jammed through my nose into my throat, the end inflated, the ballooned end pulled back against the sinus, packed and held in-place by inflatable bladders jammed into my left nostril, the inflated catheter clamped off with a 5″ hemostat laying against my left cheek.

I’d lost so much blood I ended up hallucinating for a while.

Through all of it there was a towel in my right hand. I went through dozens of those towels, feeling as though I was in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and someone had asked me if I knew where my towel was.

They escalated me to the O.R. and E.N.T. teams by the next morning.

24 hours later, after three emergency surgeries, and an angio where they tried inserting coils into my nasal arteries (which also failed to work), they finally severed the ethmoidal artery that feeds blood into the left side of my nose from the cranium.

The flow finally stopped, almost 56 hours after it had started.

That was Tuesday evening.

Wednesday afternoon I passed a little gas. Really, not much gas at all.

It was as though someone had flipped a switch. My heart went into atrial fibrillation, my pulse going to 170 almost instantly and my blood pressure bottoming out to 80/50. I spent till yesterday in cardiac ICU. They wanted to shock me into a cardio-conversion using paddles, but because of my nosebleed they ultimately decided it was too risky.

So here I sit, finally at home, towel nearby just-in-case, my heart still in a-fib, three units down on blood, weak and light-headed from losing 24 pounds in that first four days.

Am I alright? I don’t know the answer to that. When people ask I answer, “For now.” What was the cause? No one knows. When the ambulance folks arrived my BP was 213/138 … but there was serious debate whether that was from prior to the bleed or from my panicked state at the time.

One doc removed all the packing from my left nostril on Sunday. I told him I could feel something was still in there. He looked and said “No, there isn’t.”

I change the packing in that nostril three times each day. This morning when I pulled the cotton out to spray the nostil and replace the cotton, something was stuck to it.

Mary stood by with my towel as I took probably a full five minutes to gingerly pull a full six feet of bloody, mucused 1/4″ cloth packing tape from within my left sinus.

Really, don’t do that unless you absolutely have to. It’s still raw up in there. It would help if I didn’t have to breathe.

Sure, I’m ok. For now.

But really, you never know what might happen.

Just make sure you know where your towel is.


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  1. Um…I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. See, all that stuff your mother told you about farting and picking your nose has come to pass.

    Ugh. So glad you’re back with us. Don’t do that again. Ever!

  2. As a faithful reader, I was getting worried. I pray that your odd series of health scares are over and you will be feeling like yourself soon, free of any lasting negative effects.

  3. Geez Dave! What a month you’ve had between the car accident and this! Take care and get back to your old self! and don’t do robin’s quiz today. It will only make you laugh and given what you’ve been going through, who knows the side effects on that one. 8)

  4. I’m glad your back. We missed you. Take care of yourself and please be very very careful. Very!!!!

  5. Well Dave, Did you at least say something clever like abracadabra or hocus pocus before you pulled out that packing?

  6. LPC, my goodness what a crappy couple of weeks you’ve had. I read the title of your post and thought “what the heck?” I sat with my mouth hanging open as I read it. So glad to hear YOU’RE BAAAAACK!!

    Who knew a lil gas could cause such an issue with your heart. WOW

    Rest, Relax and let someone else do the cookin 🙂

  7. Geez! I’m glad you’re ok, Dave. If you believe in the ‘power of three’ then you should be done with your share of emergencies. I think a car accident, bleeding episode, and heart problems are more than enough for one person in one month.

  8. ‘When it rains, it pours’ ! Good grief, Dave. Glad you are still with us to tell the dasterdly tale. Stay well, dear friend!

  9. I hope you are past the worst part and that you heal quickly. We’ve missed you!

  10. My goodness… what a story !!!! i am so glad to “read” from you … and i hope Mary is ok !!! i am keeping you guys in my prayers… take care and call me if you need anything …. anytime…
    take care of yourself !!

  11. Old Millington Guy

    Geez Dave that must have been extremely frightful. I hope you are on the mend. Get well soon from all of the old Millington guys.

  12. OMG! Glad to hear your alright!!! Knoah send’s you some well wishes!!

  13. I am glad to hear that you are doing well and on the mend. That sounds really frightening.


  14. Thanks for the kind comments, everyone!

    @Sandy: The thought crossed my mind briefly while I was extracting the thing but the situation made the thought go away.

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