Before Christmas I got sick, and then I got mostly better, and then right before New Year’s I got sick again. Even sicker than before. This time was so bad that I finally agreed with M that yes, I should probably go see a doctor. I called the office of our ENT, a brilliant doctor who doesn’t accept insurance, charges a clean $45 co-pay (cash, check or charge), doesn’t take appointments, but always seems to be there when you need him. Patients call his office line to hear the daily message from him, to learn what time to be there that day or, if calling at night, the next day, if you want to be seen. He usually holds office hours first thing in the morning and/or later at night. He has twice seen M the evening before international trips, getting him in and out with much-needed meds and saving what could have been incredibly uncomfortable intercontinental flights. He even leaves his cell phone number on his answering machine, so on the off-chance he’s not there when you need him, you can easily reach him to set something up. We love this man.
I called the night before New Year’s Eve (the Eve Eve), and learned that if I wanted to be seen by him and given All The Medicine to help me finally kick this stupid cold/flu/bug/crud, I needed to be at his office at 9 a.m. On New Year’s Eve, I dragged my miserable butt out bed and drove to his office, arriving precisely at 9.
Hello! He said.
Hi. I croaked.
You sound terrible! He said. Go down the hallway, find a room, turn on the light. I’ll be there in a minute.
I did so and waited under the flickering lights and saw again his signed photo from George and Laura Bush thanking him for his support and thought, “Oh, yeah. He’s hardcore conservative!” It makes me smile that he hangs those photos in his exam rooms. He’s a true conservative, one of the old guard who firmly believes that the federal government should get the hell out of just about everything and that bureaucracy for bureaucracy’s sake is ridiculous. In other words, he’s my kind of conservative. I rely on his kind to keep us bleeding heart liberals in check. He’s also a hunter, so there’s lots of taxidermied animals hanging around, which makes me laugh mostly because when I see taxidermy now I can’t help but think of The Bloggess and her penchant for dressing up taxidermied animals in unexpected and delightful ways. I heard his cowboy boots thumping down the hallway, and knew he was first going to treat the miserable-looking gentleman who had beaten me to the office by mere seconds. I also knew I wouldn’t have to wait long. Doc is a big believer in Get ‘Em In and Get ‘Em Out. What’s amazing is that he brings a warm, friendly bedside manner to this production, so even though it’s the world’s fastest doctor’s appointment, you leave already feeling better, even before your first dose of whatever medicine he prescribes.
Sure enough, within mere moments he was in my exam room. He made small talk as he looked in my ears, my eyes, my nose, and down my throat. We talked about how long I had been sick, and what my symptoms were. He said I had a temperature and was contagious. Great. Then he said something even more surprising.
Ah, I see you’ve broken your nose.
Huh? No, I’ve never broken my nose.
Sure, he exclaims, before making a fist and mocking a right hook to the left side of my nose.
Pow! Right there. Veers just slightly to the right.
My misery over my cold/flu/bug/crud evaporated, instantly replaced with wonder. I broke my nose? How does someone break her nose and not even know it?
Then I remembered. I remembered that time when I was a kid and jumping on the bed, which I wasn’t supposed to do, and falling over the edge causing my nose to slam into the steel bed frame. This is probably why kids aren’t supposed to jump on beds. Instant bloody nose followed by parental yelling about the mess and the stupidity for jumping on the bed. It’s the only time I’ve sustained a blow to the nose, and I’m positive that’s what did it.
Um, is this something I should have fixed?
Nah. It’s fine the way it is. C’mon. I’ll get you a prescription.
And he thumped out the doorway leaving me to scramble for my coat and bag and desperate to find a mirror to study my newly discovered old broken nose.
I stood at his admit desk while he sat behind and wrote out a prescription, barking orders for over-the-counter nasal spray and the prescription and instructing me to “write it down!” while gesturing at a pharmaceutical pad and pen on the counter. I was completely distracted from feeling sick while a cacophony of thoughts swirled through my head.
How in the hell did no one notice – i.e. the adults in my life who would know better than an eight-year-old – I had a broken nose? Is that what the bump is from? The bump that I’ve been telling myself gives me a bit of a classic aquiline nose? Is this why Zoe doesn’t have the bump that I have, because she hasn’t broken her nose? Wait, does anyone else in the family have this? How did I not notice my nose is different from everyone else’s? Two pumps of Rhinocort nasal spray two times a day, even though the directions on the box say otherwise. Rhinocort is over-the-counter, with the cold and flu medicine. Holy crap those are Trump/Pence yard signs in the corner. Jeez, this guy is hardcore. Ah, well, no one is perfect. Two antibiotic pills three times a day for the first two days even though the directions on the prescription will say otherwise. I wonder if my broken nose is why I have trouble getting air when I exercise. Maybe I should get it looked at. Antibiotic prescription should be filled at Dierberg’s because they have the best price. Hey that’s cool because my Dierberg’s has a Starbucks and I can get a tasty treat to sip while I wait. I can’t believe I didn’t know I had a broken nose. Who in the hell doesn’t know that about themselves? This is like the time I figured out that I hadn’t realized my feet had grown and I was wearing shoes that were a size to a size and a half too small. Clearly my body issues aren’t about obsessing over my body, but rather, ignoring it entirely.
And then I was out the door, clutching my prescription and my hastily-scribbled notes, and sporting my decades-old misplaced sniffer.
I’ve been ruminating on this broken nose thing ever since. It took me a couple of days to relate the story to M, who looked at my quizzically and said, Huh? Before squinting and studying my face from different angles. Really? He said you broke your nose? Weird. Then he shrugged and went back to watching drone videos on YouTube. He’s only known me with the broken nose, so this news matters not to him.
I googled “aquiline” because a.) I wanted reassurance that it’s cool to have an aquiline nose and b.) I wanted to double-check that I had been indeed using the correct word to delude myself for 35 years. I found several incredibly handsome men with aquiline noses, which would be great if I was an incredibly handsome man. However, it turns out that I fit this awesome definition of the personality of people who sport aquiline, or Roman, noses:
“It indicates great decision, considerable Energy, Firmness, Absence of Refinement, and disregard for the bienseances of life.”
“Absence of refinement” is my favorite part. Hell, yes. I think “absence of refinement” is a gentle way of saying, “curses and burps like a sailor, enjoys beer, licks her fingers after eating potato chips, and can’t dress fashionably to save her life.” And given that I had to look up “bienseances” next – it means proprieties – I’m even more sure that this is me. I have to work on being proper much of the time, for it does not come naturally. And I find that I fail more often than I succeed.
I’ve decided to continue liking my broken aquiline nose. I quite possibly like it even more now, even though I still can’t breathe great when I exercise. The antibiotics have run their course, and I’m happy to report I’m pretty much back to normal. My kind of crooked-beak, unrefined normal, anyway. Ah, well, no one is perfect.