1.345 scan, meetings

The “tampon” up my nose was painful all night. It was very hard to sleep. Mucus (and probably blood) kept seeping down the back of my throat, because I couldn’t blow my nose to send it out the front way. About midnight I remembered I had some “Tylenol PM” which includes a decongestant, and took one of those, which dried things up a lot.

By five am I was ready to murder the doctor who put that thing up there. Lying in the dark I figured out that by holding the left nostril closed, I could exhale through the packing log. That moistened it and softened it. After a while of doing that, I very delicately began to tug on it, and it did seem ready to move, so about 5:30 I got up and eased the sucker out into the bathroom sink. (Sharing all the deets, here.) And the good news: the bastard had actually done the job and stopped the bleed.

The rest of the day I took great care not to blow my nose or to touch it in any way, and the bleed remained stopped. But no way was I going to leave that miserable thing in place “until I saw the ENT.” (Which turned out to be a wise decision, see below.)

Wednesday 11/11/2020

First thing on arising was to think about styptic pencils. I used to have one of those, back in the day, a little rod of alum(?) that would instantly clot up a shaving nick. Why the fuck doesn’t modern medicine have something like that for a nosebleed? What if the nose starts bleeding again? I want to be able to do something more effective than just packing toilet paper up there.

I did some online searches; there are a variety of styptic preparations, from chemicals like alum, to simple cornstarch powders that basically dry up a puddle of blood (not a real clot, just less mess). I ordered a liquid preparation from Amazon Prime for delivery tomorrow. (I’m picturing careful application with a Q-tip; I bet it will work.)

What if the bleed started again today, like while I’m getting a CT scan at 10am? At 8am I drove off to walk the aisles at Walgreens and CVS. Walgreen’s online store listed several styptics but all “not sold in stores.” Hah, don’t believe them. In the first-aid section was a powder preparation which I bought. As it turned out the bleed didn’t come back, but at least I had something to try right now.


At 10 I drove off to a little Stanford imaging annex I had never seen, over by California Ave, for a “CT with contrast”. That means you get an IV infusion of a chemical that makes you feel like you are blushing inside your body, which makes it easier to see something or other. The nurses were very competent; they installed an IV quickly and with no pain, and at the end whipped it out again the same. The CT scanner operator was a young woman, which was cool.


The rest of the day went pretty well, although I didn’t feel like going outside for exercise. At 3pm my neighbor Margaret, a retired doctor, gave an entertaining and very well organized lecture on one of her specialties, the gastro-intestinal tract. She gave a really fun tour of the adventure your food has from your mouth to your anus.

At 5pm was our monthly sixth-floor meeting, which among other things included three new “campers”, former denizens of the fourth floor being displaced by the renovation process. Just a year ago I was a “camper” on the 4th floor, next door to Florrie, and now I think Florrie is going to be camping next door to me.

After that I realized it had been 24+ hours since the Urgent Care doctor had put in a referral for me to see an ENT, and I hadn’t had a call from the appointment clerk. “Urgent”. Riiiiiggghhht. Sutter Health sends a “how did we do” survey email after every visit (that, they can do quickly) and I filled it out with some choice comments.

Watched Dancing with the Stars and went to bed early to read.

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