What my nosebleed taught me

The blood flowing from my nose caught me off guard. I blew into the tissue and there it was – a deep red blossom on white. The liquid felt warm on my face. I’m certain I didn’t look like Eleven in Stranger Things with her tiny, drip of a nosebleed after using her telekinetic powers (She has her own bleeding nose candle!). My nosebleed was caused by dry membranes and blowing too hard. It was a gusher. So I grabbed a box of Kleenex, pinched my nose and sat in stillness

My dog stared at me with inquisitive eyes shaped like lemons. What was she aware of? My mind wandered to the time my dad told me about my cousin’s constant nosebleeds; his parents took him to the hospital to cauterize the inside of his nose. Not wanting to think of that kind of torture, I thought of the haunting story “The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow” from the short story collection Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A simple scratch on the finger of a pregnant newlywed while traveling in Europe refused to stop bleeding. She left a trail of crimson tracks in the snow as her husband rushed her to a Paris hospital. The hospital admitted her, but refused to let her husband stay due to its strict rules and visitation policy. He tried to visit her sooner, but was kicked out by security guards with a blood-stained uniform. Things began to get really weird as the story paints a picture of foreboding, horror, anger, panic and futility. The woman bled to death and since no one in the hospital could find her husband, they shipped her body home to her parents for burial.

Death was definitely not on my list of things to think about this morning. I wanted to take a yoga class, get a mani-pedi, and spend time with my family. I wanted to live. Twenty minutes and my nosebleed hadn’t stopped. I gurgled. Blood and snot slid into the back of my mouth and down my throat. What now? My dog was fast asleep in front of the fire as I took a deep breath in and out through my mouth.

I had nothing to prove. There was no need to edit, filter or analyze. It was simply enough for me to sit with my bloody nose as it was. I realized I needed to let go of the goal of getting the blood to stop flowing. There was a sense of freedom in that. My mind calmed and my body relaxed. The blood stopped. I had a new clarity and perspective about my day, thanks to my nosebleed.

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