Let’s Count the Red Flags

Now that I was home I would be doing all of my follow up care with Dr. O.  He was my “satellite” doctor here in Kentucky.  By the time three days had passed I was in an absolute panic to get the packing out of my nose.  I have sat at my computer now for twenty minutes trying to think of a metaphor or similar situation that can compare to the sensation of having a pillow shoved up your nose but I just can’t.  So I won’t. Just take my word for it, it was not pleasant.  I walked into the exam room and sat in the chair which is similar to a dentist’s and tapped my nails on the armrest and shook my foot at a 100 beats per minute until Dr. O entered the room.  I was so ready I almost grabbed the string and yanked it out myself when I saw him.

He greeted me cordially and began walking towards me.  He had me lean my head back and then he scooted an instrument tray closer to my head.  He leaned over me and a nurse on the other side of the chair moved in closer.

Too close.

I gripped the armrests of the exam chair like the lap bar on a rollercoaster.  My heart rate spiked, I started sweating and my chest was starting to heave up and down.

They were too close.

He reached up and pulled the string down but it didn’t budge.  He pulled harder.  I was digging my fingernails into the vinyl of the chair.  It still wasn’t coming down out of my sinuses so he gave it a fairly forceful yank and finally it broke free.

Too much.  This was too much.

I’m surprised I didn’t rip the armrests off that chair.

And then I started to bleed.  I could feel it, that warm fluid dripping out of my nose onto my face.

And I lost it.

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photo credit: Wikipedia.com

I sat up straight as an arrow, every muscle in my body became rigid.  “I’m bleeding” I shrieked at Dr. O and I turned to the nurse “Gauze! I need something to catch the blood and apply pressure! Hurry!”  Thank goodness I didn’t say “stat.”  That would have been the pinnacle of overdramatic. (red flag)

In reality I did get a nose bleed but it was fairly minor.  It stopped in a matter of minutes and was nothing compared to the one I had experienced in the hospital, but when I left the office that day my legs felt like Jello and my heart was pounding out of my chest.  My hands shook the entire night and I was jittery.  I jumped and screamed like Shelley Duval in The Shining every time a person simply entered a room and I wasn’t expecting it. (red flag) The logical side of my consciousness told me to calm down.  Why was I getting so worked up?  Nothing bad had happened.  I didn’t know this girl who was afraid of having a simple procedure at her ENT, but she was pretty pathetic.  I remember making a mental note to check my calendar. Was it that time of the month? Was that the reason my emotions were so all over the place? Now that I thought about it, those had been all over the place for the past two or three months as well. (red flag)

I would find out much much later that being in situations that remind you of the traumatic event can trigger feelings of extreme fear and anxiety when you have PTSD.  But as before I had no idea that a trip to the psychiatrist might have been a good idea.  I just figured my emotional outburst had been from the fact that I was on edge.  I had been nursing an awful sinus headache all day.  I couldn’t shake it. (red flag)  Must have been from the gel packs and the change in pressure when a thunderstorm had rolled through earlier.

That must be it. (denial. red flag.)

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One thought on “Let’s Count the Red Flags

  1. Pingback: Let’s Count the Red Flags | The Chronicles of Mayo

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