Nasal gazing (or how my nose was broken by my son and then my doctor)

Permanent Riot

I know that my broken nose doesn’t need it’s very own blog post. From what I’ve read it’s the most common facial injury. But just because it happens to people worldwide on a daily basis does not make it any less disruptive to me and my nose. What I should be doing at the moment is sleeping, but the splint on my nose prevents me from breathing through said nose, so instead I am breathing through my mouth. And all this breathing through my mouth is leaving it dry, chapped and icky feeling. So much so that I find myself waking every hour. So instead of going right back to sleep, I’m going to take the ill advised route and write a middle of the night blog post – and tell you how I came to have a twice broken nose.

It all started with an overly excitable almost 5 year old and his dislike for going to sleep. We had just gotten home from a week-long trip away from our house and it was our first night back in our own beds. Paul has a track record of injuring people with his bedtime squirrely behavior and hard head; both Ben and I have suffered many a split lip from his wild head bobbing, so it’s really a wonder that we weren’t more on the lookout for this sort of situation.

Everyone was ready for bed – teeth brushed, jammies on, stories read and songs sung. The only thing left was a tuck under the covers and kiss goodnight, but Paul was hiding under his bed and giggling about how he wasn’t going to get into it. He thinks these kind of situations are games – the scowls of disapproval don’t make it any less fun for him and what he’d like more than anything would be for someone to crawl under after him and drag him out. So instead we told him that he was welcome to sleep under his bed and started to shut the door. Which (predictably) led to a shriek of NO and immediate jumping into the bed. He was lying face down (and I’m sure you can see where this is going) when I walked over to give him a kiss. Right as I bent down he decided to whip his head up and – CRACK.

My hands flew to my face and I’m sure I screamed involuntarily (rocking on the floor and clutching my nose) for a solid five minutes. I remember thinking “all of this screaming surely isn’t a good idea. I must be scaring the kids” but I was totally incapable of stopping the screaming even though I knew that I should. It just hurt too much. Once I was calmed down enough to get a few words out (at this point Ben still wasn’t sure what had happened) I told him “I think he broke my nose”. The snapping noise was so loud and sharp that apparently to him it had sounded like Paul had slapped me in the face. Once he realized that it was actually the sound of a breaking bone he turned a bit green and had to lie down for a minute. All the while Paul actually seemed to be the least fazed of anyone, and Amelia was quite distressed with all the yelling.

Once he had collected himself a bit, Ben realized that I needed to go to the doctor and that taking three kids to an ER at 9pm was probably a recipe for disaster- so he called my mom, who rushed right over. Reason #3,452 that we are so lucky to live near my parents! The urgent care facility we went to was predictably crowded and slow, but every employee we met was inexplicably polite and helpful with a dash of cheer thrown in for good measure. We took a seat and had a chat and if it weren’t for the throbbing pain and bag of ice on my face it could almost have passed for a date.

When the doctor finally arrived, he confirmed that my nose was broken and told us that there wasn’t much he could do to help – I would have a follow up with an ENT in a week and was sent home with a prescription for pain medicine and a list of symptoms to be on the lookout for. He also warned me that much of my face and the area under my eyes might become more bruised and swollen over the next week, something I was not looking forward to. The funny thing was that the next day the area under my eyes was not bruised or swollen, and neither was any other part of my face, save for a small bruised area on the bridge of my nose. As the days went by the bruising went down even more and by the time my ENT follow up visit rolled around, both Ben and I had convinced ourselves that it looked almost entirely back to normal. There seemed to be a bump lingering on the bridge of the nose but we figured that must be a bit of residual swelling and that the doctor would almost certainly just give us the all clear for me to go home and carry on as usual.

In reality he took one glance and told me that my nose was crooked. He could even tell by looking (despite the fact that the red marks and bruising had gone) exactly from which direction I’d been hit. Once he checked out the inside of my nose he confirmed that the break had left one side of my nasal airway obstructed and that the best way to fix it was to reset it. Reset. Such a harmless term for what they actually do, which is to break your nose again and shove it back into place using pliers. They gave me two options for the resetting – either to do it in office that same day with only local anesthesia, or to schedule it for several days later in the hospital under general anesthesia. Now I am a complete and total wimp when it comes to anything remotely surgery related – which is why I fought tooth and nail to avoid a cesarean section with the twins. So telling me that I could have the procedure done under general anesthesia was not a bonus for me, but terrifying. I opted for the in-office procedure and went back to the lobby to wait for them to get ready. Both the doctor and nurse assured me that the worst part would be the injections of numbing medication (one above my nose, one in each cheek, one below the nose and then inside each nostril) and I have to agree with them. Having long needles shoved into your face is pretty darn terrible as it turns out. But the only real sensation during the resetting itself was a lot of pressure and a few unpleasant cracking nose (there goes my nose again).

So here I sit, wearing a nose splint and wishing that I could carry a sign that says “it’s not a nose job”. I can’t tell you the number of sideways looks I’ve gotten in the last day and a half. I made it over 30 years without breaking a bone in my body and what finally did it was my son’s hard head. I find that kind of funny. I get to remove the splint after a week and go back for yet another follow up with the ENT in two weeks. Just in time for the end of preschool, start of summer and the preparations for our upcoming move. Here’s hoping that the next follow up goes more smoothly than the last one… and that this is my very last broken nose.

Nasal gazing (or how my nose was broken by my son and then my doctor)

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