Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Swear, I Was Not Picking My Nose!

I was deep into avoiding my paperwork when I felt a distinct "crack" sound in my nose. Either the weather was changing, or my MySQL Server had just crashed. I had little time to think about it, for I soon felt a huge rush of blood pouring out of my left nostril. I sat there for a moment, not knowing what to do. My first instinct was to click Edit and Undo, but my mouse hand was busily covering my blood-spattered snout.

There's a certain stigma attached to having a bloody nose. You can offer up any excuse you want to your friends, and even if you raise your hand to God while swearing on a stack of Bibles, they are still going to think in the back of their minds that you were picking your nose and hit a gusher. Or worse, they'll think that you're a cocaine addict. So, it was with great trepidation that I got up from my desk with my hand still over my nose and headed towards the Men's room. I must have looked like a parody of Marsha Brady as I made my way down one flight of stairs, up another, across the hallway, then through a swinging door that fed into the restroom.

I looked at myself in the mirror, wondering what removing my hands from my nose would reveal. Slowly, and with the utmost care I removed them and stared at the image looking back at me. I needed a shave. And the blood looked as if it had dwindled down to a trickle. Thank God. I grabbed a paper towel and cleaned up the red residue from my face and hands. And since I felt some snot-like substance in my nostril, I decided that this was indeed an opportune time to blow my nose. Upon doing just that, I had a simple, two word thought: Oh Shit!

Blood gushed again from my nostril as if it had just been behind a great dam. A quick inspection of the paper towel revealed deep red stains along with bloody snot and possibly blood clots. The red liquid was flowing off of my face and into the sink. I started to panic. A quick thought to shove leeches up my nose was summarily rejected. Then, I began to think about those health-segments that they used to show during the Saturday Morning Cartoons in the early 80's. I seemed to recall it advising nosebleeders to pinch their nostrils while leaning their head back. Putting all of my faith in TV, I pinched my nostrils, leaned my head back, and hoped that this problem would begin to take care of itself.

For a few moments I stood perplexed. Was it working? Was I going to pass out? Do I look as nerdy as I feel? As my mind mulled these and other questions, I noticed a slight ferrous taste developing in my mouth. This wasn't my Carnation Instant Breakfast coming back to haunt me. I lunged towards the sink as I realized that TV had betrayed me! Blood had been dripping down my throat. I leaned forward in full defiance of what television had taught me and held my nostrils tight for dear life.

It wasn't too much longer before the bleeding stopped. I cleaned up my mess of bloody paper towels and headed back up to my office. Thankfully, everybody was at lunch so nobody noticed my little mishap. With great relief, I sat down at my desk and began once again to procrastinate the day away. However, the Nose Of Doom obviously had other plans, for not 20 minutes later, I felt the familiar feeling of blood rushing out of my nose. I was caught unprepared again! I grabbed the first thing that was handy, a napkin from Subway, and held it to my nose. The remnants of the previous day’s Cold Cut Trio lunch would prove to be ineffective at keeping the blood at bay.

People had started coming back from lunch. I was going to have to face the music. With my blood soaked Subway napkin shoved firmly up my nose, I went off in search of Kleenex. Two matronly co-workers ushered me into their office where I was told to sit down and lean my head forward. Kleenex was found and put beside me. "Oh, Thomas, it must be this dry heat!", one said. "It could be high blood pressure. Do you have high blood pressure?", remarked the other.

I indicated that, no, I did not have high blood pressure and began to believe that the dry heat rather than a cruel joke from God was responsible for my embarrassing predicament. "Changes in the weather do this to my daughter all the time", the first office lady told me. "Oh, yes, in fact, I used to get them all the time myself. You just need to sit tight and apply pressure. This darn heat can be terrible on the lining of the nose", said the other. I sat and listened to tales from their own bloody nosed past. I was put at ease. There would be no judging. My reputation was safe.

With my spontaneous nasal bloodletting at an end, I thanked the ladies for helping me out. I rose from my chair and started off to the washroom so that I might clean up. The ladies smiled at me and told me to watch out for that dry air. I assured them I would and soon I was off. As I turned the corner, I heard one remark to the other "I bet he was picking his nose!".

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