Gory story time!

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My current life is so… uninteresting, for lack of a better description. But I feel the need to write. So here’s a true story that is educational, and quite disgusting if you’re squeamish. Don’t say I didn’t warn ye.

When I was 16, I kept getting colds and bronchitis all the time. It got annoying. So my parents and I talked it over and decided that I should finally have my tonsils out. I was sort of old for the surgery, but I have been a lot less prone to that sort of illness since having them out.

I don’t remember much about the surgery itself. I know they made me take my shirt off, and I clearly recall my surgeon saying to the others in the room as he moved the sheet down (why!?!?) to expose my chest, that I was “very mature.” That bothered me for years. I was ashamed to even speak about it. It felt like visual group rape. I’ve often wondered: did he/they give me a suggestion to not talk about it when I was all the way under the anaesthetic? because after I told someone the first time, it got easier until it didn’t bother me any more.

What will bother me until the day I die is that not that he was a bit scuzzy and inappropriate, but that he cut too far down on the right side. Really, really far down. I have a pocket between my tongue and what should be throat-meat, but isn’t. Quite often, food that is small and hard gets stuck in there (peanuts and popcorn shells are the worst) and the only way to get it out is to fish it out with my index finger or suck it out while making vile-sounding slurping snotty noises. Thanks, doc.

I haven’t even gotten into the disgusting part yet. Honestly, it gets worse!

We were given a slip of paper with post-operation instructions. It said: ‘about a week after your surgery, the incision may open up and bleed. This is nothing to worry about if the amount of blood is a teacup or less.’

What the leaflet failed to mention is what to do if it was more than a teacup.

I have a mental picture of when it started: a combination of my actual view and a sort of distanced movie of where I was and what I was doing. I was outside, at the end of our driveway, right by one of the odd, light grey, cinderblock-and-concrete-stucco pillars that lined the road in front of our house. There was a small popcorn tree behind me, and I was facing toward our red-clay driveway. I was talking to one of the two beautiful, white long-haired cats that ‘belonged’ to a neighbour (my grandmother adopted one later, the other was a tom and went feral). I leaned over to pet the kitty, who had trotted across the street to see me, and suddenly I had a strange tickle in my throat.

I opened my mouth to talk to the kitty and blood sprayed on to the driveway.

I can no longer recall if I ran right inside, or gave myself a moment or two to figure out what was going on. I’m not prone to panic, and blood has never bothered me, so I’m guessing I didn’t scream for mom and run inside immediately. When I did go in, we found the leaflet and read it. One of us grabbed a smallish coffee cup (no tiny teacups in our house) and when I had filled that up, mom brought out a massive, three-quart, square Tupperware container from the cupboard. The very same one my sister and I had puked into for years when we were small and very sick. It was so deep there was little chance of splash-back, you see. Mom was practical like that.

Even better, this thing had measurements on the inside of the bowl so we could see just how much blood I was losing. The measurements were in quarts. We dumped in the coffee cup-full of blood, in the interest of accuracy. It had jelled already – perhaps due to the properties of saliva, perhaps that’s what blood does anyway – and it slopped into the bowl, keeping the shape of the cup. That was when I first realised that what was going on wasn’t “normal.”

The spray was at the very back of my throat (probably coming from the right where Dr. Inappropriate had cut too deep; it directed to the left). My mouth was constantly full, and I swallowed quite a lot without meaning to. That didn’t bother me, either. What did bother me is when it finally stopped, and I discovered that I had clots of blood everywhere inside my mouth – the worst were stuck in the top surfaces of my teeth the way potato chips do sometimes. I had to pick them out with my tongue, and swallow or spit.

The bleeding had stopped, so I grabbed the relevant Encyclopaedia Brittanica off the shelf to see how much blood someone of my age and size should have inside them. I’d lost almost a quart, according to the awesome Tupperware bowl. Brittanica said I should have about 4 quarts (a quart being about 950ml). Current Googling gives me a lower number.

In any case I was fine, it had stopped, no panic, and we’d all learned something interesting.

Then a short while later it opened up again. We rang the doctor, and he said to go to the hospital. I kept spitting into the container – good data for the hospital, right? Before we left, it had stopped again. I had closer to two quarts in the bowl, and I now knew that wasn’t a safe amount.

It was a small Florida town, and we had a (new at the time) hospital in town so the drive was short. I was fine, cheerful and chipper as I could be, and the bleeding had stopped again for the longest time yet. They decided I should to to another hospital in the next town over, and have Dr Inappropriate cauterise the area to stop the bleeding. They put me into an ambulance.

They strapped me down, as they do in ambulances apparently (this was my first and only experience inside of one). I started bleeding again on the way. I was tied down on my back, spraying blood at the back of my throat, not even able to talk because I would choke, and unable to sit up and spit it out. I always thought from movies that when a kid was in an ambulance a parent was allowed inside, too? Stupid movies. I remember feeling a bit of panic at that point, waving my arms as much as I could under the straps and gurgling for help. I swallowed a lot more blood before they let me up and I could spit. Into my mother’s bowl, still keeping track. I know I had lost over 2 quarts by then – over half my blood supply in a jellied square mass on my lap. That’s not counting the amount that I had swallowed.

By the way: ‘human’ vampires are bullshit. I know, for a fact, from this experience, that the human body can not digest fresh human blood. I will never forget what it looked and smelled like coming out the other end.

I might have gone a bit light-headed by the time I’d arrived at the other hospital for the cauterisation. I don’t remember anything else.

I know that my mom was irritated that she never got her awesome Tupperware bowl back, though.

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28 responses »

  1. Hi Spiders, I understand it must have been a hard time for you writing this, and I’m grateful that you did. And that you did not hit Delete Permanently at the last second, the button being conveniently located just next to the Publish button.

    We all have these moments of our life which we’d rather not share, but you did anyway. I rarely talk or write about myself, and when I do I don’t do it as openly as you did. At this point, I don’t see anything which occurred in my life which would impress you.

    • I enjoyed writing this! Nothing like a good old gross-out true story 🙂
      I suppose I should be grateful for the current lack of anything interesting going on, when I’ve so many stories from my past. This is only one of the times I could have died. Now that sounds depressing but I rather think this story is funny. Wouldn’t have been, of course, if I had croaked…

  2. Yike! If I were ever likely to reconsider my well-evolved constittuional antipathy towards doctors, you’ve eliminated the chance, here.

    All I can say is: damned glad you survived this one. And I may never escape that image of blood clots in the teeth, like bits of potato chips.

    I suspect vampires, as such, digest blood in some supernatural way. I’ve had enough experience of things exiting in their original form.

    • See, I knew I was being educational!

      I was thinking more of the eejits who try to be vampires by drinking blood, as I’m pretty sure there aren’t any actual undead out there. I’d really hate to think of what the diarrhoea of a walking corpse would smell like – I would hope they don’t defecate 😦

  3. I could have told ya people can’t really drink blood. LOL. That IS pretty gross… But a TEACUP? Not a teaspoon, an actual TEACUP? That sounds ridiculous. And I’m surprised you didn’t puke all that blood up…

    • I swallowed a lot more than a teacup worth, also! It wasn’t nauseating, really. Sort of was surprised to find out my body rejected it so definitively. I did some research last night – not a lot, but a little – and one guy said only 5-7% of people bleed afterward at all. Lucky me!

      Can you imagine getting stomach acid in the open artery!?!? I’m glad I didn’t barf!

  4. My gran ( a known bleeder) did something similar to herself with injudicious application of toffee following dental surgery.
    Good story…Has the makings of a short film at least.

    • Eww, I can imagine what the evil toffee did! I’m not a bleeder – maybe I would have copped it at 16 if I were?

      I donno, the ending is a bit weak. Maybe we’d have to move the pervy bit to the cauterisation surgery, instead of the beginning. Then there could be an accident with the fancy new nuclear-powered laser tool (because doc was too busy looking at my 16-year-old-boobs to do his job right) and I would gain a super power, to be used to not only take out incompetent docs but also save billions by single-handedly making malpractice suits a thing of the past!

  5. Could have sworn I left a comment – must be a meatware problem this end 😀

    Best thing that happened was NOT getting that tupperware box back. You didn’t need any more reminding about this. Strapped on your back with a throat injury – go figure.

    • Oh, we (at least my mom and I) were a practical lot. Tupperware ain’t cheap, and blood washes off! Besides, I’m sure my dad would still be using it to this day back in America and I wouldn’t be reminded much.

      Sure there was a panic at the time, it doesn’t matter how long the panic lasted because while it is going on, it is your whole world. I’d had enough of swallowing that stuff by then, and it seems I was a pretty unusual case, after all! This was… Um.., maths… 1987. I would hope things have improved since then!

  6. And this is why despite swollen tonsils and bronchitis in college and for several years later I did not have my tonsils out. OUCHIE OUCHIE. What a nightmare.(It does sound like a movie – or at least an I Love Lucy episode – especially with the Tupperware – which was expensive!)

    • I adore the I Love Lucy analogy – most of my life, in retrospect, has felt like a cheesy 50’s comedy! Maybe it is because I do find this pretty humourous nowadays? And Tupperware? I wanted a cake saver like my mom’s and it was over $40. Um, thanks but no thanks. I won’t live long enough to get forty quids’ worth of cake-saving.

  7. This story gave me nightmares, haha. Not that you shared it, but thinking that you had to go through that, that anyone could go through that. Horror.

    But then, I nearly faint at the sight of fake blood, let alone the real stuff…

    • Aww, sorry! I did tag this as humor as for some reason I thought the story was funny… maybe because I’m still here to tell it, decades later. Blood has never bothered me, mine or others’. And clearly my mom was as stalwart as I. Seeing some white ‘me’ meat, before the blood welled up when I cut myself deeply did, indeed, make me cry for ‘moo-ooo-ooom!!!!’

      • Ahhh! Reminds me of this time these kids convinced me to put fake blood on my toe to scare my mom, and when they applied it I saw the toe and ran screaming to her in earnest! The sight of it just upset me so much that when I came running to her crying she probably believed the whole thing was real for sure, until I was like “no no it’s fake get it off get it off!” And that was when I learned I can handle neither the sight of blood nor toe injuries.

  8. i feel as though this story shall stay with me a long, long time! nothing beats a good old gross out.

    • It’s quite long, thanks for sticking with it! I love a bit of gross-out, me. I consider my mission accomplished if it was educational, too! You never know what might come in handy to have in your head. Was it the crisps-in-your-teeth analogy? I always thought that was the worst part, experience-wise.

        • Oh, yeah, it’s not something I’d recommend. Um, if you want to see my scribblings try the Brushes category-stuff. Not done anything in a while, stupid boring life got in the way, but I’m pretty proud of some of it 🙂

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