MyMan thought he'd dropped something on the floor. But as he looked he saw it was blood. A sudden nosebleed. After half and hour of sitting quietly trying to stem the flow he told me he was swallowing blood. I had some nasal plugs for emergencies such as this but we had gone through 4 of them in less than 30 minutes. I had no more left. The blood continued to drip off the end of the plug. I dialled 999. It seems such a small thing for which to dial 999 but I was just doing as previously instructed by the ENT department.
It was over 5 years ago that MyMan first had a sudden nosebleed. A few months after his RTA. It was a freezing cold day in early January when he told me early one morning that his nose was bleeding. I told him to go, sit quietly and pinch his nostrils for 15 mins. It stopped. He went to move - it started again. After a few hours of stop start bleeding he started to worry. I tried to calm him by telling him "if you lose a pint then we'll start to worry". It was Saturday so we went to the casualty department in Sidmouth hospital. By the time he saw a medic it had stopped. His blood pressure was sky high: "that's the cause" they said. "No it isn't" , I told them his BP is usually OK. It's the fear induced by the constant nosebleeds that is causing the high pertension. We were sent home twice from casualty with the advice it would stop eventually. 24 hours later it was still bleeding at intermittent intervals.
Then late in the evening when he was still unable to move a muscle without the bleeding starting afresh I bundled him in the car and drove over to Exeter A&E. Again, they treated us as if we were panicking. 'Very High blood pressure. See your doctor on Monday morning'. We insisted that he be seen by a doctor/surgeon. We received veiled threats of 'if they pack your nostrils - you wont like it'. Of course not, but what's the alternative?! In the end the ENT Registrar saw him - performed some dreadfully invasive procedure that made me feel a queasy voyeur. And said he should be admitted for 48 hours complete bed rest. Relieved to feel he was no longer my responsibility I returned home.
The next morning on arrival in the ward I was told he was heavily drugged with morphine as they had to pack both nostrils as the bleeding wouldn't cease. With both nostrils packed the blood had to go somewhere so he swallowed blood and his eyes oozed bloody tears. In the end he was in hospital for a week. He needed surgery for a burst blood vessel high up behind the nasal passage. A very rare occurence apparently. It could well have been weakened by whiplash effect of the RTA.
The week following his discharge our postman told him that he was in the same ward and the same bed - he knew this as his name was on the white board over the bed. Our postie had gone in for routine corrective surgery. We now tell anyone and everyone that MyMan and Steven have shared a bed.
On discharge we were sent home with the advice that in the event of any future bleeds that wont stop within half an hour to call an ambulance. So this time when it wouldn't I did.
Thankfully, last week after 3 hours in A&E they managed to stem the flow. The casualty doctor believes this bleed is not a burst blood vessel but possibly the result of side effects of using a steroid allergy spray prescribed for a sinus infection. This morning MyMan saw a locum who has prescribed antibiotics for a sinus infection he has had since May. The locum also explained that the infection could well have caused the bleeding and has advised that he requests an antibiotic cream to be prescribed for regular long term use on his next visit to the family doctor.