Monday, October 1, 2012

The girl with the crooked nose

It was Hank Scorpio who once said that “you cant ignore the little things, it’s the little things that make up life”. It would be nice to think that it’s the overwhelming life events such as marriage, death, children and careers that shape who we are. But, in my case it was something as small as a sibling fight that set my life on a very different path.
During the fall of 1998 my brother found a love which would follow him consistently throughout his entire life.
Together they would survive his depressive episodes, other relationships and a brief flirtation with “new romantics” style lacy blouses.
I’m talked about professional wrestling.
The entire combination of soap opera story lines and hardcore violence enthralled him. All his sketchbooks were filled with amazing drawings of Mankind, the undertaker and the rock. Our computer was soon filled with files detailing the lives of his heroes.
Normally this would be ok, but considering that my brother was already a kid with issues and a violent temperament this led to the infamous “nose” incident.
My brother physically abused me consistently for around a decade but it was the first “serious” case that left the deepest impact.
I was fourteen years old when he suddenly grabbed me in a headlock, wrenched my hair back and then slammed my face several times into a wall.
Needless to say my nose broke and I ever so slightly changed.
After I recovered I began snorting instead of sneezing..constantly.
It drove people insane, bullies sent me notes telling me I was disgusting, teachers stared at me with concern and boys found me repulsive.
I was also constantly getting sinus headaches, feeling sick and run down and as the years went by this turned into full on chest infections.
When I was twenty five I met my husband Mike and my brother moved to America, I was finally brave enough to tell a doctor that I strongly suspected I was dealing with an abuse injury.
Of course I was right, but it was worse then that, years of not treating a minor break had led my nose to completely freak the hell out.
He explained this accounted for everything, my constant snorted, my exhaustion, the fact I was always feeling sick.

These feelings had led to me loosing friends, boyfriends and alienating my family. I knew that many people I once knew suspected I was a hypochondriac who faked illnesses for attention.
This was far from the truth and I have the blood tests to prove it. The incident involving my nose also changed my relationship with my brother. We had always fought each other constantly but after he broke my nose I began to take these fights a little more seriously.
I began to fear him.
I also began to fear confrontation, when I once screamed at people who screamed at me I now found myself bursting into tears. The other night I found myself crying hysterically after stepping on a thumb tack, years earlier I had stepped on a metal spike my brother bought for his coat only to have him scream in my face when I cried in pain.
I found myself unable to deal with people swearing at me, yelling at me or insulting me because in my mind I subconsciously assumed they were going to hurt me.

One week ago, two years after my diagnoses I finally had my nose fixed. I did it because after moving to a wonderful city like Stuttgart I hated spending all day in bed snorting and choking.
I hated the constant abuse of nurafen to stop the sinus headaches.
I also did it because I hated having my nose constantly remind me of my past.
Also the health insurance here is beyond amazing, I could never have afforded this operation in Australia.

The first thing you need to understand about surgery is that I am terrified of being unconscious. I think this has to do with that weird art house film sleeping beauty where the sex worker drugs herself and lets clients do whatever they want. Not that I would ever suspect one of my doctors of stubbing out cigarettes on my arms, dressing me up like a doll or in one memorable scene cuddling me while crying.
Still the complete lack of control freaked me out so much the nurse had to give me a mild sedative.
What followed was a dozy state of pure joy as I dreamed of my cat Hugo joining a rock band. By the time I awoke, slightly dizzy with a sore throat I was so high on morphine I honestly thought the operation wasn’t that “big a deal”.
What followed was twenty four hours of barely being lucid where I dreamed the following.

1: I was best friends with Enid Coleslaw from Ghost World, together we decided we wanted to make a documentary about the time aliens invaded earth so we had to break into District 8.

2: Stuttgart was attacked by the candy zombies from the cartoon Adventure Time. Despite my zombie terror I heroically led my family, pets and friends to safety. We ended up building a new society in a mineral bath.

3: I ended up teaching a group of three year olds how to fly, one of them turned into a doll.

4:My husband and I were invited to the Joker’s wedding. It was an elaborate and exciting affair complete with giant silver balloons, free bags of diamonds and a costume contest. It was a pity the Joker ruined it by slaughtering half his guests with a machine gun.

After the incoherent phase disappeared what followed was  week of crabby disgusting horror.
When my nose wasn’t busy bleeding disgusting goo it was in agony, my throat hurt, my face hurt, at one point for some odd reason even my feet hurt.
I was forced to take enough nurafen to kill a large dog which led to chronic insomnia.
I found myself lying in bed at four in the morning with my feet twitching thinking obsessively about Dirndls.
After a day of this I was taken back to the doctor and he removed my nose splints.
I of course screamed hysterically and almost fainted then spat out a mouthful of blood resembling a zombie from dawn of the dead.

A week has now passed and I find myself snorting far less, breathing easier and oddly enough smelling things.
For example my apartment has a truly strange burning sweet smell I’ve never noticed before, like smoking rose petals.
I’ve also noticed chocolate tastes much stronger so I’m eating far less.

Many people have told me this entire experience will change my life for the better.
It’s too early to say whether or not it has accept for the first time in eight years I am sneezing during a cold instead of choking!

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