An epic nosebleed

a story about ‘inflation…

I was excited to bring Jeff home because it was a vote of confidence from the hospital that he was doing well. But I was also scared to bring him home because I am not a medical professional. How do you take care of someone who has just gone through a very invasive vascular surgery?

Googling doesn’t help you here. In fact, I don’t recommend it because you might find some scary stories. I asked the hospital social worker to help us arrange home healthcare, and these people were wonderful. It was so valuable to have someone come and check Jeff’s vitals. But I was really good at preparing Jeff’s meds. I became an expert at using the pill splitter. As Jeff’s mind was still foggy from the anesthesia, I had to keep everything straight for him. I was also good at walking with him to make sure he got his exercise. For the first week or two, he had to wear a stretchy binder around his middle to keep his stitches from moving around and bothering him. So I also became an expert in putting the binder around Jeff and the use of the gigantic velcro that came with it.

Funny, the dog (Maris) quickly realized that Jeff wasn’t really the alpha dog when he came back. As much as she missed her daddy, she looked at me as the alpha dog. And when we walked together, she knew something was up. She walked gingerly beside me instead of being her normal adventurous self.

Jeff was discharged on a Tuesday, and things were improving every day. On Friday night, Jeff woke me up just after midnight. He was so gentle, his usual MO, that I didn’t realize it was an emergency. I am normally a really deep sleeper – you can carry a conversation with me, and I might even talk in my sleep, but I won’t remember it the next day! So when he woke me up, I remember seeing a flashlight and thought I was dreaming. But Jeff was holding his phone in the dark, reading up on how to stop a nosebleed. I was really groggy but sat up straight… the rate at which his nose was bleeding, and knowing that he was on a high dose of aspirin, I knew this meant another trip to the ER. I will spare you the gross details! So while we tried to stop the bleed, I told him to hold on to the tissue and stopping up his nose, I went and got dressed. After about an hour of trying, we went back to Hillcrest Hospital.

We ended up spending the whole night in the ER. Who knew a severe nosebleed was a thing that ER professionals saw all the time! I have never had a nosebleed in my life (and neither has Jeff, really), so we were discovering a whole new world. We think that the darn NG tube and the multiple efforts to get the thing down his nose caused a lot of trauma high up in his nasal cavity… the first attempt to control the bleeding did not work. It was time to use the balloon.

I am thankful that Jeff nor I suffer from nosebleeds because if you can help it, you don’t want this balloon up your nose. They inflated a balloon inside his nasal cavity at the source of the bleeding in order to create enough pressure. Jeff had a tube hanging out of his nose, which we then taped to the side of his face. It was not a pretty sight. And the pressure inside his head was causing a headache! Jeff was a good sport for putting up with it, but honestly, he was really miserable. He worried with a chuckle that one nostril might be permanently bigger than the other! When it was all said and done, the balloon was in there for five full days, and he had to see an ENT to get it removed from his nose. When the ENT pulled it out, the first thing I did was to look at Jeff’s face and said, “you’re still symmetrical!” We all had a good laugh.

The nosebleed was a setback, but honestly given all that we had just been through, it was a minor one. We were so grateful for life that we were really okay waiting those five days, no matter how uncomfortable. Jeff even went to get a haircut with the balloon up his nose and the long tail of the tube taped to the side of his face! With the balloon out, Jeff’s spirit continued to inflate (haha, sorry), and he continued on his road to recovery without any other roadblock. Soon, Jeff no longer needed the binder to walk comfortably around the neighborhood. His pace quickened daily. The dog gradually stopped walking gingerly around him and returned to her adventurous self. And full two months after that crazy day on March 25th, Jeff is getting ready to play in a golf tournament at the end of June with his best friend. Frankly, I’ve never been so happy to see him play so much golf. (Wives whose husbands are golf fanatics… you know what I’m talking about!) God is so so good.

Our first outing after the surgery
Jeff says “keep up!”
After those small steps in recovery, taking a short hike in Punderson State Park on 5/30.

2 thoughts on “An epic nosebleed”

  1. From a life-saving clot to a non-clotting nose, from binder pressure inward to balloon pressure outward, here’s to a pressure-free and ER-free summer for you guys!

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