I had a bloody nose Tuesday night.
There’s nothing better for a hypochondriac than to suddenly start spewing the most essential bodily fluid from their face like someone turned on a tap. It’s comforting, really. When a person spends part of each day worrying everything in the world is trying to kill them, it’s reassuring to discover they may be right.
The bad part, other than trying to keep track of how much of the roughly six liters of blood in my system had dripped onto the sidewalk in front of the public library, was the fact that any blood had dripped onto the sidewalk at all.
I’ll get back to that in a moment.
Blood does a lot of things. It carries oxygen to the cells, carbon dioxide away from the cells and travels through a 60,000-mile-long infection-fighting superhighway. It also makes a mess. By the time I got back into our car I looked like Carrie at prom.
This is great. This is just great, I thought as I started my drive home, a convenience store napkin stuffed up one nostril. A cop’s going to pull me over and I could be the killer in a slasher movie.
Imagined police officer (leaning into my open window apparently looking for a body): Do you know why I stopped you?
Me: I wasn’t speeding. I had the cruise control set on “Don’t pull me over.”
Imagined police officer: You left a trail of blood from the library. What’s your name?
Imagined police officer: As in Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th movies? Please step out of the car, Mr. Voorhees.
None of that happened, but I was ready to confess if it did.
Nosebleeds are caused by damage to the large blood vessels at the rear of the schnoz. As a (mostly) functioning hypochondriac, I did what normal Americans do when they want to scare themselves silly. When I got home, I threw down a tarp and looked up “what causes nosebleeds” on the internet.
Then I knew for certain I was going to die.
Nosebleeds can be caused by high blood pressure, infection, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, taking a daily aspirin, cancer, dry nasal membrane, nose picking trauma and, what I was immediately certain of, a Bond villain using psychic powers to explode my brain.
Any of these things, if not dealt with, could kill you.
I stopped bleeding three hours later, those hours punctuated by my 13-year-old son coming into the room saying things like, “You look pale,” “Do you feel weak?” and “You’ve lost a lot of blood, at least you don’t have to worry about vampires anymore.”
Vampires? No, I was worried about something worse.
Back at 7 p.m., when the first drops of blood struck the downtown sidewalk, I realized a witch could come by, collect the drops and use them to cast insidiously evil spells on me.
Yes, that’s how my mind works. A bloody nose equals cardiovascular disease, cancer, Bond villains and witches. At least I wasn’t thinking about vampires. Well, until now. Thanks, son.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for a Road Trip,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.