Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Nose Knows

 “You’re so ugly your face hurts,” Dusty used to tell me in junior high.
  She didn’t care that we were supposed to be working on our assignments. The teacher was out. She’d turn her plump body around in her chair or perch on the desk in front of me, her fat face staring at me, taunting and waiting to see if her words made me cry.
  I took her words into my soul, repeating them to themselves over and over throughout the years.
  “Flat nose, Prudich. You look at you. You’re so ugly, even your parents can’t love you.”
  Flat nose. Yep, I had a stubby, flat nose with a weird bump on the bridge. My mom called it the Williams’ bump because everyone on her side of the family had one.
  Flat nose. Ugly. Even my cousin my age would press his nose down, unknowing that the kids in my school taunted me like that. Reminding me of how ugly it was. And how it wasn’t normal to have a nose like that.
 What else isn’t normal about my nose? No one ever mentioned this. I am a mouth breather. Yep. My flat ugly nose was so narrow in the bridge I had difficulty breathing out of it.

I remember as a young child always feeling stuffy. I kept blowing my nose to clear it. I’d be standing in front of the full-length mirror in the hallway, holding my little monkey under one arm, as I blew and blew and picked my nose.  My older sister standing near me, adjusting her clothes for the day.
  “Stop blowing your nose, Mary,” she’d admonish. “Nothing will come out. You’re going to make it bleed.”
   I remember that night, I’d blow my monkey’s nose, saying, “Does that feel better? Or is nothing coming out?” Something had to be there, blocking my passage ways.


    I’d come home from junior high in tears. I’d tell my parents how ugly and flat my nose was. They’d assure me nothing was wrong with it.  Well, Dusty told me there was. Even though I was repulsed to look at her day after day during the school day, I put a lot of weight on her words.
  “Does your face hurt?” she would hate. “It’s so ugly, your face hurts.”
  I never had a response for her then. I was ashamed of myself because I was a stutterer. An outcast. Someone others hated and were so terrified to speak up for me or even admit they were my friend.  I do now.
  “Yes, my face hurts, Dusty. Not because I’m ugly, but because I hate to look at your face day after day in school.”
    At 16 or 17 years of age, my dad took me to an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor to have to be looked at because I kept complaining about always being stuffy and nothing could be done to help it. The doctor said my nasal passages were too narrow. He recommended surgery to widen the passages. So for my high school graduation present, I got nasal surgery in the hopes it would help my breathing problem. The surgeon shaved off the Williams’ bump and put it on the end of my nose. I had a famous nose. My surgery, before and after photos, appeared in medical text book back in the late’70’s. Wish I had a copy to show my new Ears, Throat and Nose doctor.
   Life goes on. After a while, the pain in my sinus became something I learned to live with. My nose still felt stuffy and I could still feel a block in the right side of my nose, but I didn’t complain or talk to the doctors much about it. After a while, I did manage to pick it and fuss with it until it bled. The pain subsided for a while. I never thought to talk to a medical doctor about it until this year.

Your Face is so ugly it hurts
It wasn’t ugliness that caused my face to hurt. It was my sinus and chronic sinus infections that made the pain unbearable. But I learned to live with it. Most people take breathing through their nose with their mouth closed as second nature. To me, I can do it for a brief amount of time, but find I must open my mouth before I feel like I’m suffocating. I wake up in the mornings with a minor sore throat from sleeping with my mouth open.  
  
Do you Hear Me Now?
June or July of this year. An audiologist called me for a check-up on my hearing. It was free. I went to it. I love free exams. She noticed that there was a discrepancy in the hearing in my left ear versus my right, so she recommended I see an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor. I went to my regular doctor for the referral. I finally told her about the consonant pain my sinuses and my nose bleeding because it felt so stuffed. She approved of my referral. But there was nothing wrong with my ears. She even agreed I really didn’t need the hearing aids that the audiologist wanted to sell me.

Recommendations and Solutions
 September 1st was my date to see my new specialist. I counted down the days. Not sure what he would say. He looked at my nose and ears. I did say I was experiencing pain in my left ear, but he couldn’t find anything wrong there. He said he could see why I can’t breathe out of my nose. It’s still too narrow.
  For now, I am on antibiotics for two weeks. After that, a Cat scan will be ordered. After four days of being on the antibiotics, I’ve noticed my face isn’t so puffy and my eyes are opened wider than I’ve seen them. I used to wonder why it looked like I was half asleep all day.  One of my friends remarked that my nose wasn’t as swollen, either.  Depending on what the Cat scan reveals, I may end up having another nose surgery to widen my nasal passages again and correct my crooked nose. 

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